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  • We are going to show you downtown Nice, that beautiful city in the south of France on the

  • te d'Azur. We'll take you down the main shopping street, show you some of the side

  • lanes and do a little winetasting. You'll obviously take time to explore Nice

  • s main commercial Street, Avenue Jean Medicin, stretching about 10 blocks from Place Massena

  • north to the train station and packed with many boutiques and anchored at the lower end

  • by the large department store, Galleries Lafayette. You can see on the map of downtown how the

  • main street goes right through the middle, just near the old town and the busy shopping

  • hub of Place Massena, and we will also take you over to another great pedestrian street

  • Rue de France. There is a convenient tram service in nice

  • running along the main avenue, practically from the beach and all the way to the train

  • station and beyond, which makes it very easy to get from one end of town to the other.

  • So it’s really not too critical that you stay at a hotel down by the waterfront but

  • of course it is more pleasant to be down by the shore.

  • Riding along on this new tram is a very smooth experience - the tracks are still quite level

  • so you have a nice view of downtown passing by as you look out the windows.

  • The tram is convenient because it's right at street level so it's easy to just walk

  • right on, and there are stops every few blocks, so it's easy to catch. And trams like this

  • have become quite popular once again in Europe, it's sort of a rebirth of an old idea.

  • A lot of money has been spent by the government to upgrade and improve the city with the new

  • tram, the new parks, really enhancing the quality of life.

  • Here's a quick flash back to the year 2006 showing the amount of construction work necessary

  • to create this tram line down the main street. It's all finished now.

  • It's really quite wonderful to see how this main street has been transformed in recent

  • years by the tram. All the automobiles of been removed, except service vehicles. Sidewalks

  • widened. Now it's a great place for pedestrians and bicycles and people, and the tram running

  • down the middle. When locals are referring to the street they

  • don't even call it Avenue Jean Medicin. They just say the Avenue because it's by far the

  • primary shopping street of Nice. Place Massena is a great hub of the city,

  • straddling between the old town and the new town and adjacent to it are beautiful arcades

  • of Galleries Lafayette and other major stores. Just beyond that central square is a remarkable

  • new park called the Promenade du Paillon. It's 1.2 km in length and it's a result of

  • nearly 10 years of urban redevelopment in the heart of Nice. They ripped down an old

  • bus station, they remove various other buildings and they put in this beautiful park with the

  • mirrored, reflecting fountainit's kind of a trick fountain, you can walk through

  • it if you dare. It covers over 3000 square meters with the beautiful trees and green

  • lawns all around it, cafe services. It's a great place for the families, and it's open

  • from early in the morning till late at nightvery safe and clean. It's well protected,

  • there is a lot of staff around, public facilities. It's really a sterling example of urban renewal.

  • The park is also open in the evening, so it's a great place for the families to come out

  • after work, before dinner, enjoying the playground facilities.

  • The park is right next to Place Massena, so it is really easy to get back into the shopping

  • part of town from here, it just takes a couple minutes, and you're walking along this beautiful

  • arcaded street toward the lower end of the Avenue, and there are more shops tucked away

  • in these arcadesthat great department store Galeries Lafayette, the largest department

  • store chain you find throughout France. The Italian style architecture of these arcades,

  • with their red ocher construction, harkens back to the days a century ago when Nice was

  • more Italian and French. From here it's only a 2-minute walk south to the beach, or turn

  • around and plunge back into the downtown shopping arena.

  • This colorful shop called Pylones was founded in France in 1985. It's a gift shop with a

  • variety of colorful and animated objects and innovative designs, and it's been a big hit.

  • You see it now in just about every city in France.

  • The Basilica of Notre Dame is the largest church in Nice. It was completed in 1868 in

  • the Gothic style but it's not the cathedral, which is in the old town.

  • In the midst of this busy street the church was pretty empty but right across the street

  • there is another kind of cathedral for shopping and that was packed.

  • This urban shopping mall on the main street of Nice offers 100 shops in a very stylish

  • setting. Of course you'll also find restaurants bars

  • and cafés inside Nice Etoile. It's wonderful that this modern multilevel

  • shopping mall is right in the heart of downtown so it complements the existing street-level

  • retail rather than luring people outside of the city.

  • Back out on the main street we ran into a little political demonstration. That's a common

  • sight throughout Europe. When exploring the downtown of Nice don't

  • limit yourself to the main avenue. There are interesting streets along both sides.

  • Good example is this lovely pedestrian zone in the newer part of Nice. This is rue d’France.

  • It used to be the main street of the city about 100 years ago and it's still one of

  • the most important streets. Fortunately it’s been converted into a pedestrian mall with

  • a lot of shops, restaurants and there's some hotels scattered along the street, and it'll

  • lead you right back towards Place Massena. It runs parallel to the shore about four blocks

  • inland - it's a wonderful street. Boulevard Victor Hugo is a main road with

  • many affordable hotels that cuts right through the central area.

  • This is the kind of really local and authentic neighborhood that's often overlooked by typical

  • guidebooks and video tours, but this is really part of the heart and soul of Nice. This is

  • where locals hang out, where they go shopping, where they get a bite to eat, go to the café,

  • have a beer, which makes it a good place for shopping and for people-watching.

  • It's so amazing how these pedestrian streets have transformed the cities of Europe. Just

  • a decade ago these kinds of streets would've been filled with cars and trucks in pollution

  • and noise, and the movement swept through the continent to convert these little streets

  • in the heart of the town into pedestrian malls. But over on the east side of downtown they

  • still have streets with cars and narrow sidewalks, and it's exciting. It's hustle bustle neighborhood

  • again, not that many tourists over here, but you should come over and take a look just

  • a few blocks east of the main avenue. You've got lively streets and shops everywhere,

  • sidewalk cafés, views back at Notre Dame. As you walk along you even get a view of the

  • national theater, a large modern building, and other side streets that wind around - it's

  • a great place to explore. There's a wonderful Matisse Museum located

  • in a park slightly away from the center of town, a little too far to walk to, but you

  • can easily reach it by public bus or just take a taxi. Matisse lived in the city of

  • Nice for many years and created some of his finest paintings here. You might be able to

  • visualize some of those scenes that were painted from his room looking out onto the beautiful

  • blue sea, with the bright colors of the south of France and Provence.

  • Just next to the museum, they love to play petanque, or boule. The idea is to get your

  • ball near the little red ball and to knock the other balls as far away as possible. This

  • is the national sport of France, especially here in the south of France, rivaling only

  • perhaps football or as we say soccer. It's believed that some variation of this

  • game has been played for several thousand years and you can see why - it's a casual

  • friendly game, it's a chance to socialize and have a little fun.

  • Next to the Matisse Museum are some major Roman ruins: a small amphitheater, housing

  • foundations and a small archaeology museum that remind us the Romans had a major presence

  • here 2000 years ago. Several other Nice museums will compete for

  • your attention: the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and the Chagall Museum with the world's

  • largest collection of the artist's works. France is a wine country. There's no question

  • France produces the best wine in the world. And there's something special about it, it

  • becomes a ritual, in the case of the Beaujolais Nouveau it's an annual event. On the third

  • Thursday of November every year it's the official release of Beaujolais Nouveau, which is a

  • fresh young wine. It is in the bottle eight weeks after it's been harvested so it's very

  • fresh and very young, and it's kind about pink purple color. And frankly it's not the

  • best wine of France. It's kind of raw - you can get much better Bordeauxs that are aged

  • for five or 10 years - but this is a fun thing because the wine shops celebrate with the

  • release of Beaujolais Nouveau with free tastings. So people come down and line up on the sidewalk

  • and gather around, and this is great fun, free wine.

  • A national holiday of sorts, celebrated around the world because these cases and container

  • loads are shipped everywhere, and it's a special day when Beaujolais Nouveau arrives.

  • They sell 1 million cases of this Beaujolais Nouveau all around the world. Half of it is

  • consumed within France. It's the biggest wine party ever on the day that it's released.

  • A wine that's been harvested, the grapes have been harvested this year, September, and so

  • it's a great party every year in France, on the third Thursday of every November, comes

  • out the Beaujolais Nouveau. These are the new ones. This is the new one so it's vintage

  • 2013, as it says on the bottle. And so forbidden by the law to open it before today. Really?

  • By law? Oh yeah, better not. It's been a good year? I think it's been a good year. 2013,

  • was a good year. 2013. Banana, raspberry, strawberry even sometimes, and that's a classic

  • Beaujolais Nouveau. So, today is Beaujolais Nouveau Day? Yes,

  • I like it. Was it a good year? Yeah, it's a good year, thank you.

  • After such a busy evening with all that walking through the old town and sampling the Beaujolais,

  • got to get some rest and then up and at 'em the next day.

  • I was out quite early for a walk right after breakfast and was surprised to find so many

  • people out. The café was alive, there were customers sitting around, this is most unusual,

  • and the lighting was beautiful. It seemed like too good to be real... it almost seemed

  • like, wait a minute, it is a movie shoot. Yeah these guys have got their equipment and

  • cameras, and they're working hard at about 7:30 in the morning.

  • It's almost inevitable if you spend enough time in these beautiful places you're going

  • to run into film productions. Maybe they're shooting a commercial, perhaps it's an episode

  • for a television program, maybe it's a feature film, there might even be a famous star around

  • somewhere. But it's best just to kind of stay out of their way. You take a look, you can

  • take a few pictures if you like, but just don't cause any problems.

  • Another surprise this early was to see so much action at a pub. Well they drank a lot

  • of beer last night apparently. They've got to restock all those barrels.

  • Well folks it's finally time to leave Nice. We've enjoyed a long visit here. We've shown

  • you all around the town, the old town, the downtown. We've also taken you to nearby cities

  • in other movies, over to Cannes and Antibes, St-Paul, over to Vence, Monaco all around

  • this amazingte d'Azur. Now we're heading out, we're taking taxi over the train station

  • and we will continue on our merry journey to the next destination which is going to

  • be the Italian Rivierawere heading for Cinque Terre.

  • It's a pretty long train ride from Nice to Santa Margheritta. That will be our base for

  • exploring Cinque Terre, and Portofino and other sites of that area.

  • The train makes a brief stop in Monaco, one of the cleanest train stations you'll ever

  • see. We have a big movie about Monaco you've got to take a look at. It's the world's richest

  • country and in many ways an ideal model of urban planning, but that's another story.

  • And then we carry on along the coast with some beautiful views of the Mediterranean

  • Sea out the window. We've got a lot more movies about Provence

  • and the South of France. Take a look at our YouTube channel.

We are going to show you downtown Nice, that beautiful city in the south of France on the

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B1 US france street nouveau shopping downtown tram

Nice, France downtown

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    Jane posted on 2015/09/26
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