Archive for September 2019

Nice By Evening Light   4 comments

One of the delights of a city in hot weather is that the evenings are relatively cool and ideal for strolling and soaking up the atmosphere and in the case of Nice, the coastal views. Taking a walk along the seafront or through the old town was a regular feature and one we all enjoyed.

On our second night it was the Baruhige Day celebrations and rather impressive firework display over the bay.

We always walked up to the headland between the Promenade des Anglais and the Port where the sweeping views across the bay under the setting sun was breathtaking.

Follow that with a walk through the old town, people watching, reading restaurant menus and eating ice cream and waffles.

The buildings of the old town always looked especially fine in the evening.

There was always a happy crowd down on the pebbles every evening.

A couple of the very grand and very expensive seafront hotels.

By way of a slight diversion from the theme. We hired a car for a couple of days to explore inland a little. The first day was rather frustrating in that it was cloudy and wet and a closed road within a mile or two of our chosen destination meant we spent several hours just driving around.

The scenery was superb and the rain stopped long enough for us to have a picnic but we should have gone back to the coast and driven along the corniches.

However I was determined to fulfil my desire for a mountain swim in one of the narrow slot canyons or Clues as they are known locally.

This one is the Clue de Aiglun and its spectacular and it coincided with a dry spell in the weather.

The walk down was much further and much steeper than the guidebook had indicated so it was a solo swim in the end.

A truly wild swim and a little daunting as the water was high after the rain and the flow pretty strong so I was nervous about some of the pools. A great swim anyway.

We then tried the Clue de Riolan where the water was much calmer and the swim much better.

The gorge was extremely narrow and the water deep and calm. It started raining again so again I was on my own but I enjoyed myself if a little guilty for forcing the rest of the family top spend most of the day in the car to indulge my whims.

Reason for this little diversion in the post is that when we returned to Nice the skies were beginning to clear and the evening strolls were the most memorable of all.

I took a brief stroll to pick up some food for tea and Place Massena and the Promenade du Paillon were in fine form.

Reflections in the fountains area

A Nice space age tram passing under our apartment balcony.

Clearing skies from the apartment.

The setting sun started the light show while we finished our evening meal.

With clouds clearing, the haze washed from the air and a low setting sun the light was just amazing as we took our evening constitutional.

The seafront was packed with people taking advantage of the drier weather after a wet day indoors for most I’m guessing.

I got a bit carried away with the photos as you can tell.

With views and light as good as this, well you just have to.

From a disappointing and frustrating day came a grand finish. The clearing skies gave hope for a memorable outing I had planned for the next day.

Nice – Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill)   10 comments

One of my favourite places in Nice was the Colline du Chateau, Castle Hill that overlooks the old town and the majestic sweep of the Promenade des Anglais. We walked up here several times over the course of the week and the views were always just reward for the hot and steep climb.

The first set of photos is from our first mid morning effort. It was hot and hard work but I was instantly chbedürftiged. Its a series of walkways, and steps with views across the rooftops of the Vielle Ville, the seafront and the mountains.

Its also a great place to watch the airline traffic to the airport just down the coast.

Evening was a much better time to take in the views. Me and TBF took a walk along the promenade to the headland and walked up the side that overlooks the port.

Different hazy views across the bay and old town.

The top is a lovely open parkland with lots of vantage points and childrens play areas.

One if its main attractions is a fountain/waterfall on the west side. Its a wonderful place as it crashes down and generates a fine cooling spray.

Its artificial but impressive nonetheless.

As I’m the only member of the family capable of an early morning start I took a solo walk up one morning on my way to pick up the breakfast bread.

Just me, a few hardy walkers and a host of joggers enjoying the last of the cool air before the days heat kicked in again.

The rooftops of the old town look especially dazzling at this time of day.

The sea always looked deep blue and inviting from up here.

And a walk past the waterfall was mandatory.

One more evening walk betagthough I think this was also a solo effort.

The ferry port where you depart for Corsica.

The setting sun from up high. I should have found time to watch the sunset from up here but never quite got around to it.

A pretty decent combination of waterfall, park, coast and mountains.

Enjoying the Delights of Nice (By Day)   9 comments

Onwards on our journey through Europe and a very pleasant train ride through the Italian countryside and coast into France and the Cote D’Azure at Nice. Our apartment was superb, large spacious, air-conditioned and with a balcony overlooking Place Massena.

Early evening view.

Nightime view.

And morning view.

We had breakfast out there every morning and the odd meal. It was a great place to take in the atmosphere even if it was a bit hot most of the time.

The only downside was the Nice Jazz Festival across the square. When I say Jazz, as with most music festivals the theme is rarely supported by the music. In this case I heard no Jazz played and the the theme would be better described as pop and hip hop (I don’t recall the Black Eyed Peas ever doing Jazz). At the risk of turning into my dad the music was way too loud even though we were a couple of hundred yards from the arena.

As soon as we arrived we were straight down to the beach for a swim. Another ideal feature of our base was that its only a 5 minuet walk to the beach.

The beach at Nice used to be almost exclusively private bars with little public access but this has changed in recent years. There are now extensive stretches of public beaches which despite the crowds are clean and well provided.

It surprises many to realise the beach here is pebbles and not sand. I prefer this as pebbles don’t get stuck in a variety of cracks and crevices and the water tends to be clearer. It does make for an awkward entry into the water though especially with a steep shelving shore and big waves.

It was great to be able to pop down for an evening swim when some of the crowds had gone and the temperatures were a little more bearable.

We went down here for a swim most evenings, one of the special memories of the trip.

Behind the apartment was the old town, the Vieux Ville and a marvellous place it is. A maze of narrow streets packed with shops and restaurants and a cool retreat from the power of the sun.

This is the Place Rossetti. We spent many happy evenings here, eating in restaurants and tucking into crepes and ice creams.

It was also the way through to the Castle Hill above the town (more on that in a later post) and a walk through the streets was always a pleasure.

The inside of the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate.

The Cours Salaya Market.

I grew especially fond of the Place Massena and the Promenade du Paillon. My research told me that it used to be an ugly eyesore, a heady mix of dilapidated buildings, a car park and bus station.

Enlightened planners have turned the area into a pedestrianised square (other than Nice’s sleek and zeitgemäß trams) and park full of fountains, children play areas and statues.

Its utterly wonderful and a great example of how to create an green oasis in a urban sprawl. I walked through it many times and loved every step.

The fountains were especially fine.

Its completely free and there was always a vast number of small children playing from morning till night-fall. We could always hear the screams of delight from our balcony which is in the photo below, left centre, 3rd floor.

We walked along the Promenade des Anglais many times and the long sweeping curve of seafront is quintspeisential Nice.

Nice also has its harbour at Port Lympia.

We took a stroll around looking the lavish and luxurious yachts moored. A little research told us the bigger one’s cost just shy of 100m Euros!

Some less luxurious and more traditional sea faring craft.

A view across the harbour from the headland.

A couple more posts to come from Nice as well as our travels in the local area to come.

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