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Out and About in Nice, Côte d'Azur, France, September/October 2016

If you want to know why we like Nice (map link) so much, you will find lots of photos of our first visit to Nice here.

On this occasion we didn't take many pictures of places we had been before, but once again we had a very pleasant visit, and were exceptionally lucky with the weather.

Just a nice plaque on the wall of our apartment's small courtyard garden

View of the Promenade des Anglais and the Old Town from the Colline du Chateau - spectacular weather

Two hilarious locals on the Colline, passing many comments and something of a tourist attracion

A rare dull-weather evening on the Promenade des Anglais - but people still out and about as usual.

Promenade du Paillon - the fountains temporarily quiescent and lulling new visitors into a false sense of security...

...although nobody minds getting a little wet in this weather!

A beautiful sunset on the Promenade du Paillon...

...and people still out and about enjoying themselves

[Nice and Beaulieu-sur-Mer visit continues in Part 2]

Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Villa Kérylos, Côte d'Azur, France, September/October 2016

[Nice and Beaulieu-sur-Mer visit continued from Part 1]

Villa Kérylos in nearby Beaulieu-sur-Mer is a Greek-style property built in the early 1900s by French archaeologist Théodore Reinach [a very interesting guy], and his wife Fanny Kann, a daughter of Maximilien Kann and Betty Ephrussi, of the Ephrussi family. Madame Fanny Reinach was a cousin of Maurice Ephrussi, who was married to Béatrice de Rothschild. Inspired by the beauty of the Reinach's Villa Kerylos and the area they built the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at nearby Cap Ferrat.”  —Wikipedia article

Beaulieu-sur-Mer (map link) is a well-named place only a 6-minute train ride from Nice Riquier station. Walking beneath the railway line at Beaulieu-sur-Mer brings you quickly down to the waterside via a pleasant short walk.

Looking towards Cap Ferrat, on the other side of which is Villefranche-sur-Mer, even closer to Nice

Looking towards Villa Kérylos

On the villa's terrace

There was a very arts and crafts movement feel about this place

[Nice and Beaulieu-sur-Mer visit continues in Part 3]

National Marc Chagall Museum, Nice, Côte d'Azur, France, September/October 2016

[Nice and Beaulieu-sur-Mer visit continued from Part 2]

The National Marc Chagall Museum, about a 15 minute walk uphill from central Nice, is the only museum dedicated to a famous artist that was opened by the artist himself (so far as I know). Many great artists, unfortunately, were not fully appreciated in their own life time. Marc Chagall is one of our favourite artists.

The images below are my own photos (photography without flash is permitted in this museum), processed to correct perspective etc.

Stained glass windows in the auditorium

If you like this, you might like...

[All of my art posts]
[My stained-glass posts]

[Index of all my photoblogs]

Asian Arts Museum and Phoenix Park - Nice, Côte d'Azur, France, November 2015

[Continued from our visit in Feb/March 2015]

This was our second trip to Nice this year (our first trip in Feb/March can be found here if you are interested). We revisited many of our favourite places, so this time I am mainly showing our visit to the Asian Art Museum and Phoenix Park, both in l'Arenas district, a nicely redeveloped area near the airport, on the western side of Nice.

This area houses many modern business buildings, an excellent restaurant (Le First), the free Asian Arts Museum, and Phoenix Park (admission €3, free for children). It reminds me of some redeveloped areas in London, but with a distinctly French (and sunny) flavour. It is easily reached from many parts of central Nice by a #9 or #10 bus.

The Asian Art Museum, seen from the bridge linking two of its sections

The quiet refreshments room has a unique atmosphere. While you can get coffee from a Nespresso machine, it would be a shame not to ask for Jasmine tea, which will be made and served for you in a very uncoffee-shop way. It also displays some nice things, like this.

Stairs leading to the upstairs art gallery...

...currently showing a series of very nice abstract paintings by this Chinese painter, who lives and works in France (click my photo of the poster above for information about him)

My photos of three of the very large paintings hanging in the gallery, which I particularly liked

“Cosmic Tree”, “Tree of Immortality”, also “Money Tree” - click the label for some quite interesting information!


Click the label if you would like to know more...

This had an abstract appeal, so I tried a monochrome image...

“Scholar's Rock” in Ying limestone on a wooden pedestal - click the label for some quite interesting information!


Phoenix Park, just across the water from the Asian Arts Museum. The enormous greenhouse can be seen in the distance.

A pleasant walk around the lake...

...brings you to the Phoenix Park Greenhouse, one of the largest in Europe. It is much larger than it looks here.

A small aquarium has recently been added, currently at an early stage of construction - it has no ambitions to compete with the awesome Lisbon Oceanarium that we visited earlier this year

Outside the greenhouse you come to a great play area for children - one of several in Nice. This is probably much busier in summer, but this kind of off-season weather is one reason why we like Nice so much.

There are also safe mazy trails around this area where kids can explore safely

The rest of our visit (in brief)...

We actually spent two weeks here, the first at the end of October when we had our daughter and grandchild with us. I have spared you many family mugshots as well as pictures of places seen on our previous visit in Feb/March 2015.

As apparently is typical of the off-season months, in any 2-week period you can expect 2 or 3 days of cloud and rain, which duly arrived. Rain here, however, is not the same as rain in England! This is taken outside the National Theatre.

Most of the time the weather was like this (taken in the sheltered bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer, a 3-minute train ride from Nice, mostly through a tunnel), where there is a good beach of fine grit and higher-than-normal prices!

One of several lookout points at the top of the Colline du Château, on the eastern side of Nice...

...from which there is a great view of the Port. Descending on foot from here to the inner part of the Port takes longer than usual at the moment, because the construction of a new section of tramway to the Port (and a new promenade) has cut off the shortest route.

Nice, I have to say, has one of the best and cheapest public transport systems that we have found anywhere. Bus tickets cost €1.50 on the bus, but only €1 if bought in packs of 10 at the tram stops (coins or card only), or in the Lignes d’Azur boutiques across from the main train station, or on Blvd Jean Jaures on the edge of the Old Town (thanks to Best of Nice Blog for the info). You can change buses on the same ticket, providing you revalidate the ticket on each bus and the whole journey is within 74 minutes, as it was for all journeys we took. The same tickets can be used on the superb modern trams.

Children under 4 years go free, and two children under 10 can travel on the same single ticket.

Farewell to Nice, at least for this year... taken outside Les Jardin du Capitole, a great (and inexpensive) place to have a last meal before catching the #98 express bus, right outside, for a short ride to the airport (the buses for Phoenix Park also stop here).

If you like this...

[Index of all my photoblogs]

Visit to Nice, Côte d'Azur, France, February 28th to March 15th, 2015

We spent two very pleasant weeks in Nice this year, escaping the British winter, staying in a small self-catering apartment just behind the Promenade des Anglais. The air was cool (high 50's) but we had blue skies and hot sun most days.

We loved Nice, which we learnt is the 6th largest city in France, after Toulouse. Even at this time of year there is much to be enjoyed, almost all of it on foot, and although it is beautifully located on the aptly-named Côte d'Azur, it doesn't feel like a seaside resort.

Nice day in the Promenade du Paillon, a park which runs at an angle from the sea front, starting at the Promenade des Anglais, with the Old Town to its right

It was lucky that we decided to go up on the wheel now (6 Euros), as it wasn't there next week!

The wheel, and these great bouncy things, were probably put here for the Nice Carnival that runs through the second half of February, and later in our stay they were being removed. We missed the Carnival on this visit, except the final firework display.

Going up on the wheel... The curved sculpture in the park is a 115 degree arc, the same as the arc of the Baie des Anges, the beautiful bay around which Nice is set.

Looking down on the Old Town, and the modern and excellent tramway

The hill in the distance is the Colline du Château - on the other side of the hill is the Commercial Port (see later)

A rubber-wheeled Tourist Train (8 Euros) starts on the Promenade, goes through the Old Town and takes you up the hill, at the top of which there is a recreation park and great views all around (see later), stopping there for 10 minutes before returning to the Promenade

Down from the wheel, enjoying walking through more of the Promenade du Paillon

We know a small person who would like playing here...

...and here...

...and here!

A day trip to Cannes... and the only picture I thought it worth taking there. Cannes, unlike Nice, seemed to us a horrible mix of pretension and seaside holiday resort tat. The bus to Cannes takes 1½ hours but only costs 1.5 Euros... we took the train back, happening to catch a TGV (½ hour, 7 Euros).

The self-catering apartment where we stayed was on the front ground floor of 1, Gloria Mansions - B1 in the photo. Originally very grandly situated with a carriageway leading up to it, the developers have added B2 in front of it, and another even grander B3 behind B1 (not visible here). At this time of year the balcony of our apartment got only 2 hours of sunshine after lunch, the rest of the time the sun being blocked by B2. Our apartment still had much to recommend it. B2 shields B1 from the noise of the road, and it is excellently situated for shops and walks, and... only takes 2 minutes to carry the apartment's deckchairs onto the beach!

We loved the evening light

Monument set into the side of the Colline du Château, near the Commercial Port

We loved the decorative walls on the parths leading up the Colline (we took the Tourist Train up, and walked down)

Interesting things to see up there...

The Commercial Port, seen from the recreation park on top of the Colline

A neat parking job

Ships (not this one) leave from here for Corsica, one of our favourite places (click the link to see why)

The top of the recreation park, from which there are excellent views all around

Disney Theme Park employees should look away when passing this!

More views from the Park

Part of the Baie des Anges, and a good view of the Promenade des Anglais (built by a grandson of Queen Victoria). Note the jetty fragment in the water (see later). The Flower Market is below on the right.

Walking down, heading for the Flower Market...

...which can be seen on the left, with the dome of the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate to the right

Nice place for afternoon treat sitting outside, not so good for lunch

Can't capture the fragrance from these shops, unfortunately (although we took some home)

Very nice family restaurant next to the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate

Back on the Promenade du Paillon

In this chain of Boulangeries / Patisseries, the people serving you don't handle money any more. You can put bills or coins in the slots (even a 50 Euro note!) and it gives change. Works great.

Inside the wonderful Chagall museum, which we walked up to on one of the supposedly bad-weather days (we still had sun for a snack lunch outside in the café).

Bad weather day at the Massena Museum (history of Nice), 2 minutes walk from our apartment. I loved the dining room. This was the hangout of royalty and similar at the time of the Belle Époque.

Photo of Nice taken about 1865

Before the "modern" promenade was built (by one of Queen Victoria's grandsons). The jetty and the Casino are no longer there (see below).

Photo of Nice taken about 1865

A papier-mâché model of the old jetty and Casino, made by students at a local college. Found this info about it: "In 1891 the construction of the Casino de la Jetée-Promenade began... it remained until the end of WWII when the Germans began to dismantle the structure stripping it of its valuable metals."

A glass fish in our local restaurant (Les Jardins du Capitole), taken on our last of several visits... it seemed to have attitude! We liked this place, and eventually acquired regular-visitor status (e.g. free Limoncello at end of meal). Very friendly service, good food, well patronised by the locals.

Our other favourite local restaurant was Italian, the excellent Restaurant Davisto - everything authentic and freshly made, and their “Spaghetti alle Vongole” was absolutely the best that I have ever had.

[Photoblog continues in Part 2, a day trip to Saint Paul de Vence]