The Retirees go Abroad – Nice – Days 9, 10 and 11

I have brought these three days together as we mainly spent time in Nice enjoying being in the city. We found that swimming in the Mediterranean Sea was very refreshing, too cold and that you could enjoy a pebble beach. Embarrassing photos have been posted on Facebook by others so I won’t repeat them here.

Nice can be eclectic. Traditional and off beat at the same time.

For example here are pictures of wall murals; one of a pencil drawing windows on the building and the other of a Greek style goddess appearing from the side of a building. Like most French they park anywhere. Here is a phot of a motor bike parked in a shop window. But then they have very pretty window boxes of flowers everywhere. Except at the front of our apartment which was very commercial looking.

That evening we left our apartment and strolled across to the Promenade Des Anglais to see a “strawberry moon”; another cockamamie idea by someone. So I spent my time taking shots (photos) of planes taking off from Nice airport and the lights of the promenade at night. It was too cloudy for the moon. Oh, the other photo is the street entrance to our apartment.

The next day we showed David and Veronica Nice’s old town. Starting with the Promenade des Anglais and its palms, then the harbour, some of the spectacular old homes, the headland and its memorial to fallen soldiers, some things modern, and somethings very old. We went to the home of Henri Matisse which is now a museum to his art. Back in town we kicked around the park and wished we had our swimmers on for a run through the fountains.

In fact we caught the hop on hop off bus and then the train to get to all these places. Last stop was the ruins of the old fort on the headland for the best views of the city and its beach.

Day 11 was spent at the flower markets. We saw some very pretty blooms and some interesting wall gardens.

The Retirees go Abroad – Cannes

The 5th of June. It’s Saturday and the hot weather is continuing. But this will not keep us down. We have determined to drive to Cannes and not by the motorway in the hope we will travel along the coast. We leave Nice with the morning rush hour traffic but soon leave it behind as we move into the coastal towns between Nice and Cannes. We start to get a feel for Cannes at Antibes where we spot a yacht moored with its helicopter at the ready to transport those important people to important places.

We make our way to a central parking station and move out onto the streets of Cannes. Shops abound. Some palatial, some bizarre and others just tourist.

We make our way to the Promenade and see that the boats are in. Bloody tourists spoiling our day!

The tourist information centre is our first port of call and then we try an ice cream as it is a hot spring day. The old city calls us like a siren and without knowing it we have climbed to the top of the hill. Some glorious shots of the city and coast and some fabulous pictures of the old city itself. I noticed the clock on the church tower was named “Brian”. I wonder if this was the inspiration for “The Life of Brian”. Perhaps not.

Back down the hill we are into the back lanes and the markets. Fresh fruit and veg, meats, sausages and the world most expensive nougat. A pretty fancy mobile pizza oven as well! Kerry spots a nifty shopping trolley and stops the woman wheeling it to find out where she got it. “Off the internet” says the woman with a North American accent.

We wander the back alleys and then onto Rue Antibes the shoppers Mecca, but the girls resist the sirens call. We make our way to the car and collect our picnic then go to the park on the Promenade where we dine on fresh baguette ham and salad. We are awaiting the tourist train that has been held hostage by those tourists from the boats. Finally it is our turn and we jump aboard for the slow trip through the traffic looking at hotels and hearing about the rich and famous, just about makes you puke. But Kerry spots the Palm Casino and her partner in crime Veronica are both determined to walk the red carpet with the memories of their winning at Monaco.

So after the train rise finishes we head to Palm Beach Casino. There is a grand entrance with naked Atlas holding up the pillars of the earth for a squibby little gaming area inside, but the machines were ruthless never the less and took the money from our giggling girls.


Hot sweating and somewhat tired we head home to Nice. It is getting on to 6.00pm but you would not know it. A swim in the Baie of Anges is the next treat and a treat it was. Cool with currents of cold, it turned some hot sweaty bodies into ice but the real issue was getting out of the water. An all pebble beach is difficult to walk on particularly when it collapses as you try to get out of the water.

A fantastic finish to the day and making us eager for tomorrow. But there are a few hands of cards before we see any sleep.

The Retirees go Abroad – Nice and the Cote D’Azur – Pont du Gard

It is day 9 and a long trip to Nice as we are going via Pont du Gard a Roman aqueduct. Sunshine and blue skies made the trip comfortable and we were all excited to visit this relic. On arriving at Remoulins, we made our way to a ticket office and barrier. 18€ per day was the entry fee. We thought that was a bit steep for a stop and look visit, so we looked for another option including parking illegally in a nearby caravan park. Fortunately we reflected on the cost and realised that this was only 4€.25 per person so we opened our wallets. And good thing we did as there was a lot more to see than a flying visit.

The bridge descends by a mere 2.5 cm (0.98 in) – a gradient of only 1 in 3,000 – which is indicative of the great precision that Roman engineers were able to achieve, using only simple technology. After the collapse of the Roman Empire and the aqueduct’s fall into disuse, the Pont du Gard remained largely intact, due to the importance of its secondary function, as a toll bridge. For centuries the local lords and bishops were responsible for its upkeep, in exchange for the right to levy tolls on travellers using it to cross the river. In 2000 with the opening of a new visitor centre and the removal of traffic and buildings from the bridge and the area immediately around it, it became one of France’s most popular tourist attractions.

Today the bridge is part of a large park which caters for holiday camping and bush activities, museums and of course the aqueduct across the Gardon. It is a long walk from the carpark to the aqueduct but once you turn the last corner you can imagine you are in Roman Gaul 2,000 years ago (except for the even concrete path under foot). The Pont du Gard (literally: Gard Bridge) is there in front of you The bridge has three tiers of arches, standing 48.8 m (160 ft.) high.  An ancient Roman aqueduct bridge built in the 1st century AD that crosses the Gardon River, from which it takes its name, it is part of the Nîmes aqueduct, a 50 km-long (31 mi) structure built by the Romans to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). Because the terrain between the two points is hilly, the aqueduct – built mostly underground – took a long, winding route that crossed the gorge of the Gardon, requiring the construction of an aqueduct bridge.

We crossed the bridge and I ventured onto the highest part of the ridge to gain a better view. There was a camera crew and pyrotechnics crew preparing for a celebration in June and so you will see in the photos people on the top if the bridge. It is no longer open to the public to climb a recently built (19th century) internal staircase to the top to protect the bridge. We spent a couple of hours there. So much for a quick look and see.

From here we travelled back toward Avignon and then onto Nice. A nice sunny day but too hot for a car without airconditioning.