Solo Traveler: French Riviera, Nice
Bonjour! The beauty of French Riviera!
Last December, in order to escape from a rather chilly winter, I decided to go to the South of France while the eastern part of North America was all covered in snowy white.
Once landed in Nice, the weather welcomed me with a cool breeze, and the temperature was about 10 degrees.
The hotel I stayed was at downtown, and the "Place Massena", a square where the famous Apollo Statue resides, was only a corner away.
Normally, when I visit a country, I would prefer in-depth travel because I want to explore and experience every detail of the city. Therefore, I deliberately arranged to stay in Nice for six nights. In a slow and chill vibe, I got the chance to admire the city exquisitely. If I only do a 2-to-3-day trip, then the pressure would certainly overwhelm me and the schedule would be very tight since I don’t want to miss out any attraction.
During the six days, I collected so much about Nice:
Roaming in streets with a tricycle and listening to the driver's explanations made me understand the historical background and the famous attractions of Nice. We even passed through a seemingly ordinary building, but turned out that it used to be Renoir's studio!
Speaking of the English promenade, I have walked back and forth several times, experiencing the midday sun, and even indulging in the golden sunset. Though I couldn't wear a bikini in winter, I still wander around the cobbled Angels Bay, listening to the sound of the sea and enjoying the washing of the waves. At someday 8 o'clock in the evening, I was alone on the beach, but I wasn’t afraid at all. Instead, I appreciate the precious moments spent alone with nature.
As I followed the shore all the way down, I found a port harboring countless ships in various sizes. After seeing the scene, I couldn’t help but fantasize that I would like to explore the sea with a private yacht someday!
The old town in Nice was full of restaurants and local shops, and it was similar to the alleys of Venice. In fact, Nice and Italy did share the same roots. Nice was once colonized by the Roman Empire for a long time, so the architecture and food were full of rich Italian style. I also visited the Palais Lascaris, the former Royal Palace and now the musical instrument museum. In this ancient building, I witnessed the evolution of various instruments. Evolution is always interesting, isn't it? Whether it is thoughts or things, the “matters” should always advance with times.
Although small, there are a lot of museums in Nice. Instead of grabbing a car, I chose to walk all the way up to the mountain to visit the Chagall Museum and the Matisse Museum. I was so excited and very much looking forward to seeing those great artsy pieces. Because ever since I started my career as a blogger, I gradually became passionate about static art. But to be honest, the works of the exhibition were not the same as I expected... After all, the taste of art is unique to everyone, still, I admired the creativity, imagination, and vitality of the masters!
One day during my journey, it rained cats and dogs so I chose to stay indoors and went shopping at the Galerie Lafayette and Nice Etoile. Both of the department stores were on the main commodity street, “Avenue Jean Médecin”.
Luckily, when I visited Nice, the time coincidently matched with the Christmas holidays. On the Place Massena, vendors gathered at the Christmas market. It was lively and teeming, which made me intoxicated directly in the authentic and happy Christmas atmosphere.
In addition, there are many distinctive cities around Nice, such as Cannes, the home of movie festivals; St Paul De Vence, a medieval mountainous city which is full of galleries. So I took part in a local mini-tour group. The driver drove a nine-seat recreational Banz, carrying three groups of tourists, and introduced the sites while driving. I sat in the front seat, enjoyed the beauty of various sceneries, and learned so much about the area in a total of nine consecutive hours! It was exhausted but in a satisfying way. Details on that day will be covered in the next article.
Before leaving Nice on the last day, I climbed all the way up to the castle hill and overlooked the extreme landscape of the mountains and the sea. After taking artistic photos, I still couldn't take my eyes off of this "postcard-like-scene” for a long time, because I wanted to imprint all the dazzling features of Nice, deeply and dedicatedly, in my mind!
舊城區佈滿著餐廳與小店家，感覺很像威尼斯的小巷。尼斯與義大利有很深的淵源，曾長期受羅馬帝國統治，所以建築與食物方面，都充滿濃濃的義式風格。我參觀了原是皇宮的樂器博物館 Palais Lascaris, 陳舊的建築內，展示著各樣樂器的演進。演變是一種很有趣的過程，不管是思想或事物都該與時俱進，不是嗎？
有天下著大雨，我轉移到室內，在主要商品街 “Avenue Jean Médecin” 的 Galerie Lafayette 和 Nice Etoile 逛街。期間因正逢聖誕節，馬賽那廣場上搭起各式各樣小攤販的耶誕市集，正好讓我這隻身的旅人，更直接的感染道地的耶誕氣氛。
在尼斯附近，有許多很有特色的城市，譬如影展城市：坎城，佈滿畫廊的中古山城：St Paul De Vence。我參加當地迷你旅行團，司機開著賓士九人座休旅車，載著我們三組遊客，邊開車邊介紹。我坐在前座，吸收了九小時的新知、飽覽各種風格的美景，好累，是一種很滿足的累！關於這一天的旅遊細節，我會在之後的文章仔細介紹。
最後一天離開尼斯前，爬上城堡山丘，俯視依山傍海的極景，拍完意境照後，我仍望著這 “明信片” 景色很久很久，因為我想把這幅包含了尼斯所有特色的景象，深深地、細細地，記在腦海裡！
~ Special Recommendation ~