Wednesday in Nice
This morning we drove around Nice in our huge bus. We went past sites too fast to see (the Russian Orthodox church, which was spectacular- or at least I think it was…), or appreciate them and had opportunities to take photos of the panoramic view of the entire city from two different heights on Castle Hill, and drove along the Promenade des Anglais along the water, where we saw the flower memorials for the people who died there on July 14th. Afterwards, Caroline said that she hoped we had a better idea of how to get around in Nice. NOT!!!
Then we were dropped off at the flower market in the old town, which was bustling and also had vegetables, fruit, many different fragrant soaps, olive oil, lavender, more soap, more lavender, tapanades, etc.- as well as many artists with bright vivid colored paintings of places in Nice. If I had lots of money and more wall space, I would have been in heaven. As it was, I was sorely tempted.
The buildings in old town are beautiful, made of yellow stone with green or red louvered shutters that are built so that the bottom half can be opened to let in a breeze while the top half stays closed to keep the sun out. There are a lot of terra cotta colored buildings, with terra cotta tiles on the roof. More embellishments with statuary and flower motifs, large parks with tropical plants and trees, a carousel (of course!), and many open air cafes and glace (ice cream) shops.
Fenocchio Glacier off the square has the following flavors:
Just try to pick one! And don’t ask me what most of them are- I haven’t a clue!
This walk through the market and the old town (down narrow winding streets) could have given us a real appreciation for the history, the buildings, the people. But Dominique is simply not Carolyn, so that was very disappointing.
We had lunch in a restaurant in the old town. I ate the starter, a lot of bread and the dessert. I just couldn’t bear to eat the fish (I really don’t like fish!) But I was satisfied.
Then back onto the bus to see the Matisse Chapel in Vence that Matisse created for the Dominican Sisters. It is described as follows:
“The Rosaire chapel, conceived by Henri Matisse remains a sacred art monument, unique in the world. From 1948 to 1951, Matisse drew up the plans for the edifice and all the details of its decoration: stain glass windows, ceramics, stalls, stoup, cult objects, priestly ornaments… It was the first time that a painter entirely designed every detail of a monument, from the architecture to the furniture. The first stone of the chapel was laid in 1949. The inauguration and consecration of Notre Dame of Rosaire, took place in 1951. For Henry Matisse, ‘this work required me 4 years of an exclusive and tiring effort and it is the fruit of my whole working life. In spite of all its imperfections I consider it as my masterpiece.’”
It was fascinating to hear the docent explain the significance and symbolism of the drawings and the designs of the stained glass windows. On the back wall he has drawn what look like charcoal figures of the 14 stations of the cross. On the front wall, behind the altar, he has an enormous stained glass made with green, blue and yellow. These represent cactus, which Matisse felt represented God (since it can give life- its flowers and the water within in- even in the desert. It is a fascinating story, which you can read at https://vence.fr/the-rosaire-chapel?lang=fr
Following this, we drove to St. Paul de Vence, which is the most charming old city that I have visited during both weeks of my stay in France. And unfortunately, that is when my phone (with camera) depleted its battery!
Here are photos of the ancient buildings, winding narrow roads (that are studded with river stones in beautiful designs), flowers and ivy, artisan shops- truly a place I would love to visit for hours- and with lots of money to purchase the art: http://www.gettyimages.fr/photos/saint-paul-de-vence?sort=mostpopular&excludenudity=false&mediatype=photography&phrase=saint%20paul%20de%20vence
It started to drizzle jut after we climbed back on the bus to return to Nice. During the brief trip, in answer to questions, Dominique told us that:
French restaurants do not condone sharing a meal- not even sharing slices of pizza.
The French do not take “doggy bags” of leftover food. They would not like to eat the same thing twice.
Back at the hotel, I washed some clothing in the sink (who knows if it will dry!) so I could meet Sue and Glen, LaDonna and Joan to go back to the market area to have a farewell dinner- because Sue and Glen are leaving tomorrow afternoon, while the rest of us will be here until Friday morning.
We had a lovely dinner under a canopy as the rain drizzled- Glen had a pizza with everything on it, I had grilled veal and frites (French fries that are just “fries” in France) and salad; and Sue, LaDonna and Joan had huge pots of mussels and frites. Our conversation began with LaDonna asking us where we felt that Dominique fell on the Carolyn scale. We decided on 3 out of a possible 10.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that Dominique, who is ambidextrous, keeps confusing right and left- so we never know where we should actually look for something she wants us to see. She has to be in her 40’s if not older so we would think by this age that she knew her right from her left. She also repeats everything she says three times, which means that once she has the microphone on the bus, she never stops talking.
And when we would like her to talk, to tell us what we are seeing and why it is important (using the “whispers”) she simply doesn’t.
We also had quite a discussion of American politics, Trump and many other governors, senators, representatives and mayors in different cities who are a complete embarrassment. I learned a lot!
On our way back, we stopped for ice cream- small dishes with one scoop that you eat with a tiny little shovel spoon (it looks like a shovel, with a flat square surface you use as the spoon).
I walked with Glen, who really zooms along, and we saw dancing fountains lit with red, blue and white lights; and the seven statues of Massena Square: https://www.lomography.com/magazine/12063-the-seven-statues-of-the-massena-square-nice-france ; and an enormous nude statue of Apollo in a fountain: http://www.bestofniceblog.com/what-to-see-in-nice/monuments-in-nice/apollo-statue-in-place-massena/
A funny story: the sculptor contracted to create the Apollo statue confused the French word for “long hair” with the French word for “horses”- so instead of long hair, Apollo has horses on his head!!!
Oh, I just remembered that LaDonna researched the Dilbar, the enormous private yacht we saw in Antibes. It is evidently the largest yacht in the world, owned by a Russian man. It is 512 feet long and cost at least $600 million. She can accommodate 40 guests and a crew of at least 80.
You can see a photo and learn more about the yacht and her owner at http://www.superyachtfan.com/superyacht_dilbar.html
It will be hard to see Sue and Glen leave tomorrow and even harder to part from LaDonna (on her way to London) and Joan (on her way to a cruise to Iceland). We’ve become a family over the past two weeks. I hope that we will stay in contact with each other.
Well, it’s midnight and time to call it a day.