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 – 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.

The Retirees go Abroad – Nice, the Cote D’Azur and Monaco

We arrived in Nice to meet a very flustered landlord, Norbert. He had arranged to fly to Paris the same day as we were arriving. So a very quick introduction and walk through the apartment. We were happy to see him go as he was becoming annoying with his fluster.

We unpacked and with the day being so fine and clear we strolled Promenade des Anglais until we realised we had walked most of the way to the Old City. We dropped into the Tourist Information Centre to help us plan the next few days. Then we strolled finally taking a bus back to the apartment. A pleasant end to our first day in Nice.

The next morning, Sunday, promised another fine day and as it was only 1€50 to travel by bus to Monaco we put on our walking shoes and headed for the Principality. This bus trip is a must do to see the coast line from Nice to Monaco. We got off at the Casino as the Tourist Information Centre is nearby and determined to take the Open Top Bus to see the sights.

Despite our plan to do the tour and then decide our stops, we jumped off to see the changing of the guard at the Palace and visit the chapel and the memorials to Prince Ranier and Princess Grace.

Back on the bus we completed the tour and realised that the town was cleaning up after the Formulae 1 motor race. Talking about cleaning up, Kerry visited the Casino and lifted 90€ from them. David and Veronica did a little less lifting and I cooled my heels in the sun. Outside of the casino I was able to photograph a monument in the form of a concave mirror.

Despite having been there previously we were still amazed at the grand show of wealth (there were a number of expensive cars all with Russian number plates) and the Police on scooters.

The return journey on the bus brought us back to the Port in Nice. We ventured over to the old city where we had dinner and saw the sights. Unfortunately we overstayed our time and found ourselves stranded due to a bus strike in Nice. We learnt the hard way about how expensive it is to catch a cab in Nice on a Sunday night.