Oceans and seas

Bay of Nice

November 14, 2011, 8:53 am

The Bay of Nice (approximately five kilometers long) is located in the northwestern Mediterranean basin, in the Cˆote d’Azur region, between 43 degrees 39’ and 43 degrees 41’N and 7 degrees 12’ and7 degrees18’E. The Promenade des Anglais hugs the coastline of the Bay. Its extension resulted in a general beach width reduction. Heavy swell arises mainly from east and south.

This article is written at a definitional level only. Authors wishing to improve this entry are inivited to expand the present treatment, which additions will be peer reviewed prior to publication of any expansion.

The Bay of Nice lacks a real continental shelf. There is a small shelf at the west side of the Bay in the Var prodelta area where the depth does not exceed 30 or 40 m. The Nice-Cˆote d’Azur airport, having undergone successive extensions from 1945 to 1985, covers 376 hectares, of which two-thirds were obtained by filling the submerged Var prodelta area with Pliocene sediments. The extension obstructs the transport of sand and shingle from the Var embouchure to the east; it has also modified the previous near-shore current circulation. During the late 1960s and 1970s, the deficit of sand drifting to the east also resulted from the intensive extraction from the Var bed for the supply of building material. Today the Bay is fed almost entirely by the Paillon, a small river, 31 km long with a watershed of 236 km2. Its flow varies seasonally, usually between one and 40 cubic meters per second (m3/s), but it can exceptionally exceed 500 m3/s.

Since the Var sedimentary material no longer reaches the beaches of Nice, the Borough Council has adopted a coastal protection policy consisting of breakwaters in the western part of the Bay (in the late 1970s), and sediment replenishment on the beaches and backshores. The aim of these interventions is to broaden the beaches from 10 or 15 meters (m) to 20 or 25 m on average and stabilise them.

See Also

Further Reading

  • Physical Oceanography Index
  • Anna Di Lauro, Francois Fernex, Guiliano Fierro, Jean-Luc Ferrand, Jean-Pierre Pupin, and Joel Gasparro. Geochemical approach to the sedimentary evolution of the Bay of Nice (NW Mediterranean Sea). CSR, 24:223–239, 2004.


Baum, S. (2011). Bay of Nice. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/150450


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