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We almost skipped Nice because I had already been there and my husband loved Aix and was happy to stay there longer instead. But I wanted to show him Monaco and convinced him to go to Nice. He was very happy we went!
It started off in a very cool way as we met a really nice woman on the train while we were travelling. There was a girl from Italy in our car who was very loud and obnoxious at the start of the trip, and the woman and several of us were quite disturbed by her antics. Finally the woman spoke to her about it and she quieted down for about 5 minutes. Then the ticket agent came by and asked for our tickets and the girl didn’t have one! She had some story about why and tried to flirt her way out of it, but at the first stop she was escorted off. We were all relieved and joked about it the rest of the trip. Everyone clapped after she got off!
So after that our fellow passenger started speaking to me about our trip. She was from Cannes and showed us her house as the train sped by! It was right on the water out where the land jutted out into the Mediterranean sea! It was so great speaking with her as she had lots of suggestions on where to go, not just in France and Nice, but all over Europe. And she was typically French, very kind and funny. She even slowed down her speech so I could understand her easier. We hugged when she got off the train. I won’t forget her. The camaraderie of travelers never ceases to amaze me.
But it wasn’t much further to Nice, and we arrived to glorious weather: sunshine and coolness, but not too cold. No wonder the whole of Europe goes there for vacation. Our hotel was a block from the train station, and it had American TV, so we got to watch American movies which was the first time we experienced that in Europe. One night we stayed up till 2 in the morning watching 3 movies in a row!
Our hotel was a Kyriad, which is a chain that seems to have properties by all the train stations. They are very beautiful, with large rooms and all the amenities so from then on we stayed in many of them. We found them on Hoteis.com.
It was still early so we hopped on the tram and went down to the beach, a short ride that was 2 Euros and stopped by the old city about 5 yards from the promenade. On the way we met a French girl who had studied in Cambridge, England so she spoke excellent English and gave us another rundown of where to go in Nice. We were so happy to have met her.
So the beach in Nice is rocky, but they are smooth pebbles, and it’s not too bad to walk on them, but the city built a promenade along the shore for miles and people walk there every day. It’s called the Angels promenade! It goes along the Bay of Angels! How cool is that? I love Angels so that was a treat for me.
There are benches every 25 yards or so in case you want to stop and take in the spectacular view. The water is an amazing color of turquoise blue! It was calm the whole time we were there too, with gentle waves caressing the shore. We walked for miles and were knocked out by the scenery!
Here’s a statue that celebrates the Bay of Angels there. It’s on the Promenade and is called Anges. It’s very tall, aproximately 18 feet up!
Here’s a closeup of the Angel! So beautiful!
As I said, Nice has an old town, like many of the cities we visited. By this time we were used to them but they are still quaint and endearing. We walked all through Nice’s old town, stopping to have lunch and dinner and snacks in the darling bistros. Quite by accident we stumbled onto the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate (Nice Cathedral) there and snapped a few photos. When I got home I looked it up and it had been on our list anyway. It was spectacularly beautiful inside! It was consecrated in 1699 so not as old as some of the ones we saw in Italy but still 315 years old is amazing to be still so beautiful and in such great condition, don’t you think? Here’s an inside photo.
We also went to the Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral (Notre Dame de l’Assumption) on the main boulevard that goes down to the beach and is the main shopping street. Here are some photos from that. I love stained glass and like to go into all the cathedrals to see it. The way the church is constructed makes it a little hard to get photos, because the windows are behind pillars, but I wanted to show a few of them anyway.
In the upper windows at the front someone decided to use modern stained glass like the one below. I don’t like them as much but many people really do like them. Here’s an example.
We tried to go to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, but it was closed and they were doing renovation on it, so sadly we missed it. But the other cathedrals were magnificent as you can see here!
If you love photos of cathedrals and stained glass this book will knock you out! All the great cathedrals all over Europe, not just the ones I was able to visit. Lots of beautiful stained glass too. Vicarious travel. You will love it!
Besides visiting the cathedrals we just enjoyed the sunshine and the shopping. It was a sales time in France so the streets were crowded with lots of shoppers! As an aside, I find it strange that the French government regulates when stores can have sales. They happen only 6 times a year. So during those times all the stores have their sales at once. The rest of the time they are not allowed to put their merchandise on sale at all. Can you imagine? Business owners don’t get to control their own stores. The government decides when you can put your merchandise on sale. I would never want to have a business in France.
But I would love to live on the Riviera! We can see why everyone talks about it. The food is spectacular! The Mediterranean Sea, the light, the weather, the people! Amazing. The Riviera did not disappoint! We want to go back!
All Photos © Heather Burns, 2015. Please do not copy.