Nice, St Paul de Vence et Eze
22.02.2008 - 26.02.2008
When leaving Marseille, we had a bit of a scare. Although we arrived 15 minutes before our train was to leave, we still barely made the train. Jamie had bought her ticket with a credit card that was not recognized by the "bournes" or the automated ticket dispensers and we had to wait in line. However the line was extremely long and not moving. Before we knew it it was 5 minutes before our train was to leave and there was no way we were going to make it! I went and asked an employee who was helping direct people into proper lines if she could do something. At first she said no, but then realized our predicament and helped us. She saved the day. Good thing too, because the train ride had the most beautiful views I have ever seen.
When we arrived in Nice, there were crowds everywhere. We did not think anything of it, as it was sunday and we were in the middle of the city and the weather was amazing. However, we did notice something a bit strange, there were all these children dressed up as princesses and pirates. It was like Halloween. We made our way to our hotel right outside of vieux nice in a packed tramcar. We were a bit worried about the hotel as the last one was horrid, but to our surprise, the hotel Picardy was really nice. The walls were painted a cheery yellow and the proprietaire, or the owner was nice and loved chatting with us. After dropping our stuff off, we headed to the modern museum of art (it was the first sunday of the month, so it was free). We saw some interesting exhibitions and then decided to head to the beach. On our way there, the crowds kept getting bigger and bigger and everyone was covered in confetti and silly string and were wearing big hats. We had stumbled into the last day of carnavale. There was a giant ferris wheel and big floats. We even got attacked by several children who had silly string and were spraying complete strangers. It was hilarious! At the main site of the carnavale, there was a blues/jazz band playing and vendors selling various foods, including freshly made socca-a regional specialty (a sort of chickpea bread). We walked the length of the quai des anglais and seeing the beautiful ocean and watching the sunset. We headed back into vieux nice and explored awhile. We ended up getting dinner at a take out restaurant with tables outside. We tried regional specialties, vegetable beignets, stuffed vegetables (farci) and more socca. It was delicious! Then we went and found a cafe called Johnny's Wine bar and had some sangria. It was a hilarious place, we basically had the place to ourselves. There was a british couple, a couple on a date and us three. There was live blues music. The couple eventually left and all of the sudden the british couple picked up instruments from who-knows-where and had started playing blues with the guitarist. We realized we were the only customers and left. Just in time! because as we headed out and heard loud noises. There were fireworks for carnivale! It was beautiful!
orange trees-they were everywhere with lots of fruit
the remnants of carnivale
a blue man
a giant cat float
The next day we ended up visiting many museums (3) and walking over 3 Km. The first museum we visited was the Musee National Message Biblique founded by Chagall. This was one of the most amazing museums I have seen. There were many painting and studies for the paintings. I recognized all the biblical stories. Then we walked to the roman ruins and to the Matisse museum. We were lucky enough to see the famous Jazz book cover by matisse. We found out at both these museums that in march, all museums were free for those under 26, it could not have been better planned
We headed back to Nice for lunch before we boarded a bus to St. Paul de Vence, a medieval city on a hill. We were on the bus for an hour, which gave us some time to relax. We really loved St. Paul, we walked all around the walled city and ended up sitting for an hour (it was around 80 degrees just sitting in the sun ) We tried to find Chagall's gravestone, but we were not able to, but we did find a cat. Many famous artists traveled to St. Paul to be inspired by its beauty and the beauty of nature. Many modern artists also come and establish galleries, so we enjoyed looking at all the galleries. We also saw many more orange trees with tons of fruit gracing their branches.
We then decided that we would go to one last museum of the day. We headed to the Maeght museum of modern art. When we walked up to the gate a woman was standing there with a clipboard. She asked us if we were students hear for the activity. I automatically said yes. She said it had just started. We had no idea what she was talking about and followed her in. It ended up being an activity for the march museum thing. It was a guided tour of the museum. It was awesome, we learned so much! We learned that the museum has two visiting artist and commissions work by them to go along with the permanent collections of the museum. After the museum we were exhausted and headed back to the bus stop.
Right across from the bus stop was a space invader, all the way in st. paul! It was exciting (see previous post on space invaders). We ended up walking around vieux nice in the evening and walked on the promenade des anglais.
At the chagall museum with my favorite painting (that just happens to match my shirt)
The roman ruins
More ruins, can you spy the person in the photo
The Maeght foundation
view from the ramparts
the cat in the graveyard where Chagall is buried
yes! a space invader!
an old street in st. paul
On our final day of our adventure on the cote d'azur we decided to go to Eze, a village along the coast. Going there was worth it just because of the views that we saw from the bus. We visited the Fragonard perfume factory and had a free guided tour about how perfume was made. Kate told us about a movie she had seen called Perfume:a murderer's tale. She said it was the worst film she had ever seen. I later saw it as well with my cousins, don't see it, no matter how interested in perfume you might be. I learned some interesting things about perfume. Perfume only lasts 6 years. Its mostly essential oils obtained by distilling flowers etc. Perfume will last 8h to 1 day. Eau de parfume will last 6 hrs. Eau de toilette will last 3 hours and cologne will last 1 hr. This is due to the amount of essential oil in the parfume/eau de toilette etc. It was an interesting tour. After walking around the old town and admiring the view, we headed back to Nice and the beach. We had planned to try to go swimming as the water was warm (not as warm as hawaii, but slightly warmer than normandie in the summer, so not too cold to swim) However, the mistral (a cold wind) had picked up and we decided to content ourselves with laying on the beach. After our sunbath we headed to vieux nice to get lunch, I tried pisarro (another specialty of the region, bread with anchovies, tomatoes and onions on it). We then headed to Ginocchio's for gelato. We shared 3 flavors: melon, confiture de lait and peach. Kate's pick, the confiture de lait, was by far the best, we still aren't sure what it is though. We then headed back to the hotel for checkout.
We conversed with the owner for awhile. He gave us some great life advice such as : don't get married until you are much older (his daughter had divorced 3 times) and live in Paris while you are young then retire in the Cote d'Azur. I definitely recommends this hotel. It was great. We then headed back to the train and watched the sunset on the Mediterranean from the train's window.
the view from eze
an old map of eze
a statue in eze
the beach of nice