Designed and constructed by the French conceptual artist, Bernar Venet, this imposing 30m high Corten steel monument, weighing 54 tonnes, was created to mark the 150th anniversary of the annexation of the County of Nice by France.
The monument was inaugurated the 31 May 2010 by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and then mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi. According to the mayor, Neuf Lignes Obliques is said to symbolize the nine valleys of the old County of Nice overlooking the Mediterranean: Estéron, Roya, Tinée, Merveilles, Vésubie, Var, Paillon, Ubaye and Bévéra although the artist is said to have found nine lines the most aesthetically pleasing to him…
Designed and built in Hungary over a period of two months, the monument was split into three separate convoys before heading to Nice. It took the convoys a week and some 2200 kms to drive through Austria, Germany and France before reaching their final destination.
You can find Neuf Lignes Obliques on the Promenade des Anglais in front of the Esplanade George Pompidou, itself tucked between Hotel Beau Rivage and the Opera House. Its ‘rusty’ look changes to orange when hit by Mediterranean sunlight and at night it is illuminated by spotlights. Gifted to the City of Nice by Bernar Venet, and valued at around 2 million euros, it is said that the City of Nice paid only for its construction and installation: €280,000.
Treaty of Turin 1860
The French border with “Italy” was originally the river Var. Napoleon III agreed to give military backing to Victor-Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia, in his war against Austria but in return for the Comté de Nice and Savoie. Nice became officially part of France on 11 June 1860 and the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created a few days later to include the Grasse region, originally in the Var, and Menton and Roquebrune, ceded from Monaco in 1848 to Sardinia. The current geography of the Alpes-Maritimes was completed in 1947 when the residents of the villages of the Roya valley voted to join France.