Sunday, July 31, 2016

Trip to Nice (French Riviera), France (June 2016)

Riviera was originated from Italy. Literally it means a coastline in Italian. Riviera indicated Riviera Liguria which covered a region from Southern France and Tuscany. So, the Riviera without any adjective, it means Riviera Liguria.

However, the word Riviera has been adopted by many countries, starting from France, to indicate coastlines with mild climate. So the definition has been expanded to include the southern France coastlines from Canne to Tuscany in Italy. To differentiate, people often call the French part of the coastline French Riviera compared to Italian Riviera. Other nations are now calling such coastlines as Riviera with the country's name, such as Spanish Riviera, Slovenian Riviera, Mexican Riviera etc.

At any rate, the heart of French Riviera lies in Nice and Canne, another French beach city. We rode a bus from Pisa to Nice. The journey was very scenic since it was passing through the Italian Alps. Because of high mountains, they built a lot of tunnels. The route from Pisa to Nice was 381 km, approximately 3 and a half hour drive. This route, however, passed through 164 tunnels. Amazing. Throughout the journey, we had mountain views on the right hand side and substantially coastal view on the left hand side. We were fascinated by the view while we were awake.

"Nice is always nice."

A catch phrase for Nice. It may be so for the mild climate and beautiful surroundings, but the beach itself was not impressive at all. The beach is not sandy, but rocky with a lot of pebbles and rocks. A certain section has yellow sand, but the width of the beach is quite narrow. So I wonder how this place has become so popular. I suppose it is more fad than reality.

We heard that Canne is a lot more beautiful than Nice in terms of beach. But we did not have time to visit.

This visit to Nice was not the first time for me. I came to see the renowned city of Nice a few years ago from Turin where I was attending the Boulder Microfinance Insitutite at the U.N. International Labor Organization training center. At that time, I jumped on the hop-on hop-off bus to visit the city.

This time, we spent time walking on the promenade that represents a boardwalk that stretches all beaches in Nice. People stroll, speed-walk, jog, run, roller-blade, sun-bathe or just watch other people. We experienced French foods at a couple of restaurants and they were all delicious.

There are Museums that exhibit artworks of Matisse and Marc Chagall. But we could not find time to visit.

Nudity was common at the beach, but they look so natural. Perhaps it is a matter of perception.

In this city, specifically on the promenade where we walked, there was a mad attack by someone who drove a truck on the promenade crowded with people who came out to see the fireworks to celebrate the French Bastille Day. More than 80 people were killed and tens of people were injured. What a tragedy and what a shame on humanity! My condolences to those who perished and who lost their beloved.

Our visit to French Riviera included an excursion to Monaco and a visit to Fragonard, a fragrance factory on the way to Monaco. Please click here to go to the blog post.  - Jeffrey

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