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We are taking you to Nice along the beautiful shores of the French Riviera. We will walk
the little lanes and look at some shops, we will show you the beach, the open market Cours
Saleya and bring you on a walking tour through the old town. We will be spending three days
in Nice, because there is so much to see in the city and also in the nearby towns along
the Côte d'Azur. Here we are arriving in Nice now.
During the program will be sharing with you detailed tips on how to get the most out of
your visit. Great station, it's a more of an old-fashioned
station and so you'll probably have to carry your suitcases down the staircase and then
you walk through the underground corridor, but fortunately there's an escalator that
will bring you up into the main station area. And it's on the north edge of the city so
get a taxi. In our case will be staying at a hotel down by the seaside at the Beau Rivages,
ideally located near the old town, the water and the new town.
The first thing we want to do is head down to the waterfront to the beautiful beach and
take some pictures. It's a lovely long and broad beach and we've
got a sunny day in November to enjoy it. The beach itself is lined with hotels and apartment
buildings for about 2 miles. It's not exactly a fine sand beach it's more of a pebble beach.
And the water is quite clean, you see they're fishing out there. Nobody is swimming in November,
nobody's even sunbathing, but just enjoying the sunshine and the sights around it.
One of the greatest waterfront strolls to be found anywhere is this Promenade des Anglais.
It's a broad, pedestrian, paved area running right alongside the beach with beautiful views
out to the blue sea on one side and the grand old buildings lining the street on the other.
It's been the main center of attraction in Nice for the past 150 years ever since visitors
have been streaming in. You see the Negresco Hotel in the background,
one of the great five-star institutions of the city.
Here's the Opera Nice Côte d'Azur. The first opera here opened in 1776 and this building
was created a century later. The south coast of France along the sunny
Mediterranean Sea is one of the world’s most beautiful destinations dotted with colorful
seaside towns and inland villages. You'll find that Nice makes the perfect home base
from which you can easily reach those other destinations like Cannes and Monaco. Nice
has got the biggest collection of hotels, it's got a wonderful old town, a very attractive
new town, great transportation with the tram and the major train station and just a beautiful
place to be. At the East End the Promenade changes name
to Quai des Etats Unis, the United States of America, and there's a lovely memorial
in Greek revival style there to thank the United States back in 1918 for their help
in ending World War I. At this end you'll find the Cours Saleya,
just behind that memorial a block inland from the water, one of the great outdoor food markets
and picturesque spots of Europe. One of the great street markets of France
is located here in the wide Cours Saleya. This plaza features fresh produce and flowers
throughout the day and many the stalls are open right into the early evening, except
on Mondays when it becomes an antique market and some other used goods peddled by colorful
vendors. They've got a whole variety of furniture,
there's clothing, jewelry, the usual, the bric-a-brac, the old books, antiques, electrical
items, you've got old cameras. Well when I travel I am just a sucker for
antique markets. I rarely ever buy anything and am really not there to shop, to purchase,
it's just to look around to enjoy the people, to look at the other shops nearby have a look
at all of these hundreds and thousands of items on sale. Inevitably there are going
to be some cafés near the open market as well, so you can stop for a break if you like
or just take a walk on by and check it out for later. Back into the market, you might
even find something here that you want to purchase - it could be something authentic
from the region. The flower shops are one of the most interesting
features of Nice – bouquets composed of the most exquisite flowers of every size and
description from tiny buttonholed sprays to masses of blossoms 2 feet in diameter.
Flowers are so important to Provence, not just for decoration for your table at home,
but even more important because of the perfume industry. Grasse is the capital of that, we
will show you that as part of our series on Provence as well..
Chocolate lovers should look for the famous store Maison Auer in it's landmark Belle Epoque
building at the West End. The most famous artist who lived in Nice,
Henri Matisse, lived right here at the Cours in the yellow building at the far end of the
plaza. He had a great view out his window which he depicted in many paintings. He moved
to a larger mansion now converted to the Matisse Museum.
Matisse lived in and around Nice for his last 37 years about which he said "I couldn't believe
how lucky I was." And then there is socca. This is one of the
great foods of the South of France and Chez Therese is the place to go. Here I am with
Teresa herself, that was a treat. Socca is like a crepe, a flatbread, and it's
quite unique because it's made from chickpea flour, and it’s especially found in the
Ligurian area, anywhere from Nice around the coastline into Italy and down to Pisa.
Well of course it's a food market so there are lots of other eating options here at the
Cours. You'll find bread and cheese and of course always lots of fresh fruits, ingredients
for an instant picnic. It's nice to take a little time to sit down
and relax at a café for a drink and a rest and some people-watching. Instead of being
in a constant rush while you're traveling stop and take a look at the passing scene.
The church facing the Cours is the Chapel of the Misericordia, or the Chapel of Mercy.
It's built in the Italian Baroque style constructed between 1750 and 1770 by some architects from
Torino nearby. It has a very elaborate Baroque interior.
You can even buy some original paintings directly from the artist depicting the scenes all around
you that will go nicely with the photographs that you’re taking.
Of course olives are essential to the cuisine of Provence so it's only natural you're going
to find a shop selling olives and olive oil and balsamic vinegars of all kinds - a great
variety here. Just inland from the Cours Saleya you'll find
the Old Town of Nice. For many visitors it will be the highlight of the city, wandering
through these narrow pedestrian lanes lined with historic buildings and shops, lots of
restaurants, bars, town squares with fountains and statues, a church here and there. It's
just a great spot to explore and hang out. Called the "Vieux Nice," the old town is home
to art galleries little shops small restaurants bars and cafés making it the perfect spot
for strolling. The old town maze of narrow lanes occupies
a triangular slice about 300 yards long on each side.
We're going to walk you through it day and night.
So this old town is not a huge area that you're going get lost in but you'd be amazed at how
big it seems as you're walking around because of all the little lanes and alleys that somehow
connect and interconnect, so you might end up walking around in circles a little bit,
which makes it seem much bigger than it really is.
In the off-season the character of view niece is quite peaceful with not many people and
no cars but in the summer it gets very crowded. There's a map of the old town with a suggested
easy route that'll take you right through and around the heart of the old town. You
could do this in one hour if that's all the time you got, or you could spend one day.
As you enter the old town from the end of the Cours Saleya one of the first streets
you'll come to is the very atmospheric Rue de la Poissonnerie. And this has got more
of the shops and restaurants that you'll find throughout the old town.
The Old Town of Nice has a special charm you just do not find in the rest of the modern
city, so you really want to focus a lot of time in this fascinating pedestrian zone on
the east end of the waterfront We will point out a nice way to navigate through
this labyrinth to get you in and around show you the main highlights. There are a couple
of main lanes there is Rue Droite that will take you right through the center of the old
town, and then you take a left and walk along Rue de la Boucherie and that'll bring you
down to the Place de Palais and then back to Cours Saleya. So it's kind of a round-trip
right through the town and feel free to wander up these little side lanes.
The old town consists of narrow labyrinths, not really streets, more of a maze with blocks
of shops of every kind along these narrow twisting lanes.
If you come in the summer time it will be a lot busier, so you take your pick.
We suggest that you might visit during the off-season instead to avoid the crowds and
enjoy the cooler weather. Europeans crave that brief summer sunshine, so work around
their schedule and come between November and April when the weather is still wonderful.
You will be wandering this way and that is your meander through the Old Town but you'll
always come back to Rue Droite which goes like a straight line through the middle of
the old town. It's a good axis to get your bearings, to go out to the left, go to the
right and then come back to this central spine. The old town of Nice is something very special
- not so much because of historic monuments or great churches or important single buildings
that are inside the old town, but just the total atmosphere, the environment, the simple
walking lanes, the shops and the people. There are actual locals living here, there are kids
out playing, the residents are upstairs looking down from their windows and you really get
a feeling of community here, of authenticity, especially in the off-season when it's not
too crowded with tourists walking through the lanes - that helps quite a bit.
There's a typical example of a staircase street: it branches off from Rue Droite, this is Rue
Molinaro and there are several of the side lanes that go up the hill. They are regular
streets down on the flatland, and then go up so there's no cars, well a few scooters
perhaps, motorcycles and bicycles, but largely we’re entering a pedestrian zone, a typical
residential neighborhood. It's interesting to see here the working population at home
- comfortable affordable housing in the middle of the city. Another steep lane, Rue du Château,
and there are several. These lanes are some of the most picturesque streets in town but
don't worry, you don't have to climb them. And if you don't feel like walking you can
take this little tourist train on a route that will bring you through the old town and
then up onto the hill for a view. Most of the shops in the old town are independent
and unique. You've got boutiques, you've got crafts, you've got all kinds of great browsing
to do – so different than modern shopping malls.
You'll find souvenir shops with the typical Provençal items especially the colorful fabrics
and the pottery. There's also lots of food in the stores, go for the cookies maybe. We’re
just rolling along together, this is part of our visit to the south of France a small
group of us traveling together and sharing in the sites.
We especially enjoyed the local cuisine of this casual restaurant. They specialize in
crepes and socca and salads and that's really all you need for a very nice lunch. Creperie
Breton. And the friendly couple running the place
really made us feel welcome. They are the owners – the cook, waitress and the food
was delicious. You might be surprised at the variety of crêpes on offer and that socca.
And then we continue wandering about through this endlessly fascinating maze of lanes.
The Palais Lascarais is the largest civil Baroque building in the old town and the region.
It perpetuates the reputation of Charles Emmanuel the second, who was Duke of Savoy, considered
one of the principal families of the Nice nobility of the 17th century. The palace was
influenced by the Genoese Baroque and unites a set of 17th-century embellishments and some
changes from the 18th century. The building encloses two small courtyards
on which arched bays open up a monumental staircase. This lobby is free and open to
the public. Rue Rosetti is another one of these picturesque,
steep planes coming up from the old town. Notice the sidewalks are staircases - in this
case there is a little road one lane road down the middle and local folks hanging out.
Rue Rossetti is just a few blocks long but it changes character several times along the
way from the hills, swooping down and then it leads into Place Rossetti, kind of an Italian
style architecture as you find throughout the old town, and this is a great gathering
spot. We will show you more of this Place in the evening
You can see on the map how Rue and Place Rossetti are right in the middle of the old town, very
easy to find. Another major gathering point in the old town.
You'll find here bars and restaurants, little shops, there is a fountain and cafés in this
Italianate architecture of the old pastel colored buildings around the Place.
Because of its central location with so many roads going through you'll probably return
here a few times during your visit. The Cathedral of Nice is located on this square.
It's Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, and this is something that could be in northern Italy.
It's beautiful with these colors in the Baroque styles. It was built during the second half
of the 17th century, a time when this area was more Italian than French.
The interior of the church has 10 chapels with a floor plan in the Latin cross that
was based somewhat on the church of Santa Susana in Rome. Typical of the Italian Baroque,
it's highly decorated – many paintings and architectural flourishes.
At twilight the beauty of the building is at its best. In fact anywhere you go at twilight
it's a wonderful experience. Here in the old town you've got that ambient lighting on the
buildings and shops. And we are going to take you around through the same places daytime
and nighttime – give you that contrast. Walk along Rue de la Boucherie to find the
other great focal point, Place du Palais de Justice, which retains an Italian feeling
that once permeated the town. It's got French sidewalk restaurant serving
crêpes and wine, and a neoclassical courthouse looking like a Greek temple.
It is definitely worth visiting in the daytime when it's quite busy, and then again in the
evening when it's even more busy. This Justice Square with the courthouse looming above has
got very popular restaurants all around it and in the nearby lanes. It draws a lot of
people. Quite close to Place Rossetti, it just takes
a few minutes to walk over here from practically anywhere in the old town.
It's very safe walking around in the evening in this old town area, especially on the main
lanes where you've got the shops, you've got the people. Everybody's out and about, as
long as you're out there a reasonable hour from twilight right on up through the end
of dinner. The social life here at the Place du Palais
de Justice is even busier at night than during the day – in fact so popular that at 9 PM
many of these bars raise their prices, so you might want to get in and have your drinks
by 8-8:30 and then settle in for dinner somewhere. Of course the hour of sunset varies considerably
during the year, for example in December it gets dark at 5 PM and in the middle of June
it gets dark at 9:30 PM. Either way you're sure to enjoy an evening
stroll. We'll continue our look at Nice in the evening later in the movie, but now, we’re
going to bring you downtown, the next morning after breakfast at our hotel. In this case
we’re staying at the Beau Rivage Hotel, a delightful spot right down by the waterfront
next to the Old Town and Cours Saleya, a very convenient location.
We're going to have a look at the very attractive downtown of Nice. 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 fountain – it'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 night
– very 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 arcades – that 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. The Old Town of Nice is especially lovely
to walk through at night – the shops are open, the restaurants are open, and people
are out for a stroll. Appreciate this intersection if you would
for a moment. Here we have three pedestrian lanes coming together: we have got Rue Droite,
Rue Collet and Rue Françoise all crashing together in his wonderful little spot surrounded
by cafés and shops and people. The Old Town is perhaps the most interesting
part of Nice, fascinating for its labyrinth of narrow streets, picturesque and animated
peoples and buildings, expressing something Italian and their general character.
Now it's early evening, which is a magical time to be out strolling of course with the
twilight and the shop lights – very safe, very friendly – a lovely place to stroll.
And in the evening the Old Town is alive, the shops stay open especially in this tourist
area. The shops are open till 9 PM, some of them even later. Many of them do close in
the afternoon for siesta, we are in the south of Europe and they follow that traditional
custom, so it might not be best to stroll here at 1 PM or two or 3 o'clock, a lot of
the stores are closed, but they'll be reopening at three or 4 o'clock.
Rue du Collet is one of the main lanes of the old town. It changes names a few times
up ahead and it just wanderers, it meanders - it's not quite straight, there's a little
bit of a curve here and there. You have got some cafés, you got tourist shops, you’ve
got local shops and people out walking, especially here at twilight - this is perfect.
As you walk along Rue du Collet you will soon arrive at this little intersection it's a
charming spot were three lanes come together. It's called Place Central, and at this little
Place it is a simple little affair - you got a little restaurant that sells the socca and
other Nicoise specialties. You have got a café on the other side, there's a little
food market here, you can buy some gadgets and gizmos. This fresh produce market is fun.
You can shop for some clothing, all in an arm's reach of this Place Central.
A few hundred years ago this was already a very old part of town and had become somewhat
rundown and dilapidated and it's really just in the past century it's come back to life
again. So there's a beauty in this Old Town of just
simply walking. Now it's often overlooked for example in guidebooks or historical memoirs
or even dismissed as a place that's kind of dark and narrow and congested, but it really
deserves to be front and center when you come to visit Nice. It's what makes the city so
very special, along with the beachfront of course, the marvelous white broad beach and
the promenades down by the Mediterranean Sea. The modern downtown certainly is lovely, you'll
want to be sure to also visit that downtown area, but these little back lanes are really
something special. And yes there are plenty of art galleries
along the way. You might even get a chance to meet the artist himself. Usually they’re
inside and maybe doing a little bit of painting. It is like Streetside Museum of Contemporary
Art. This is art that's very much up to date - it was just created yesterday.
There are several especially picturesque intersections here in the Old Town where the lanes come
together and merge, with beautiful lighting at night.
And then as you keep walking along Rue du Collet it changes names and becomes Rue de
la Boucherie, the same street, and just keeps winding along as you pass more of these shops,
and notice they are open in the evening. We’re walking at about 7:30 and there are plenty
of people out. This of course is a very safe neighborhood, it's a family kind of place.
On the opposite side of the old town, the east side, this pedestrian lane joins up with
the busy street which leads into Place Garibaldi in the newer part of town.
Like many cities in Europe, especially France, they have communal bike rental racks.
Place Garibaldi is another major square in Nice. It's a transit hub, the tram goes through
here. There is a bus stop that will take you on to Monaco, about 30 minutes away. This
Place has recently been renovated, it is upgraded, it's looking beautiful. And it's named after
Garibaldi, who was born in Nice. He was the great unifier of Italy, which used to own
this territory until the end of the 19th century. This neighborhood is quite lively because
people live here. Most of the upper floors in the Old Town are residential apartments
with full-time residents and that gives it a real home quality. You see the life in the
streets here is what modern major urban centers are trying to re-create, trying to strive
for - real streets with real people living out their daily lives, and it's on a human
scale because you don't have skyscrapers, you don't have massive structures all around.
It is people and their homes and the shops down below, with a steady stream of visitors
and locals walking on into the evening. We're going to take you on an extended evening
walk through the Old Town at the end of the program.
But for now we're taking you to an evening viewpoint to watch the sunset along the shore,
and then up to the top of Castle Hill for a spectacular view looking down over the town.
To get this view you walk along the east end of the waterfront promenade on the Quais des
Etats Unit, and to the end you'll have this rocky outcrop with a terrace, with a commanding
view looking back along the pebbly beach of Nice.
The view gets even more spectacular when you go up to the top of Castle Hill, or as they
call it the Château. Here's a quick view from Google Earth showing
how the hill of the castle towers over the Old Town of Nice and the city beyond.
The easiest way to get up to the top of this hill is take the elevator. You pay a small
fee, it's about €1, and it's well worth it, otherwise you've got to walk up a huge
staircase. It's the equivalent of going up over 100 meters high, so it's really way up
in the sky. You don't want to walk it if you can avoid it, so take the elevator. It's quick,
it's simple, especially late in the day like – this there is no crowd, there's no line
and you come out on top and start enjoying the view.
And right away you're looking down on the Old Town and the Cours Saleya. There's all
the booths getting ready for the next morning's market.
There is a map posted to help you find your way, to locate viewpoints on both sides. But
it can be a little confusing, there's no signs on the paths. You want to go up this unmarked
staircase, don't go straight on the main lane because that does not bring you to the top.
And you can walk up a little higher. This little small child can make it. Oh it's a
big climb for this little girl so that shows you can do it, no problem. So keep walking
when you get up to the top. They even have a waterfall, it is an artificial waterfall
that was put here in the 1830s to help attract the tourist nobility from England and the
rest of France to come on down and visit Nice. The shoreline view gets even better as the
night lights come on. While you're up on the hill enjoying the town
view be sure to walk to the other side of the hill for the harbor view. And there's
a beautiful green park in-between. Looking down from the other side of the hill
you see the small boat harbor called Port Lympia, and in the distance, Cape Denise.
It's believed this Castle Hill was the site of some of the earliest settlements in the
area. They lived up here for self-defense. In very early times the Ligurians, who were
the first inhabitants of Nice had their dwellings upon the rock of the castle, and later it's
probable that the earliest Greek settlers lived there.
But as times became more settled they began spreading down onto the plain and the old
hilltown became a mere fortress to be used in time of need. And a fortress it remained,
developing as centuries followed each other into a great and impregnable castle.
Another way to get up here and back down is on the tourist tram.
If you have the patience or the proper timing to stick around for the late sunset it reaches
the visual peak. This is really grand with the lights blazing down below, the golden
sunset off in the horizon. This makes for one of those travel events that you will just
never forget. And when you're done you can take that same
elevator ride back down again, timing it so that you get down before the elevator shuts
for the evening. Or you could walk down, it's not as hard as walking up, but so much easier
to just simply ride the elevator. Now we're going to take you on a walk through
the Old Town of Nice at night. It's a very special time to be here. Shops are still up
on until 8:30-9:00 o'clock, depending on the season. Restaurants and bars, cafés of course
go well into the night. There's always lots of people around so it's a friendly and interesting
place to roam. This Old Town is so attractive that just seeing
it during the daytime, which you've probably already done, is not enough. You want to come
back and enjoy it once again at night when it looks like a different place with this
special twilight ambience. Depending on the season it might be this dark
at 6 PM in the winter for example or at 9:30 in the summertime. Either way that period
just after twilight is the most magical time to be out. You've still got a little bit of
lingering ambient light in the sky, and the shop windows are on, the street lights are
on, and it's very lively. Walking through these narrow, dark lanes illuminated
by shop lights and livened by people passing by makes you feel like you're in one of the
dream places of the earth. You have to give Nice time and get out of
your rut before you awaken to its unique characteristics. And then if you detach yourselves from the
amusement seekers, the time killers, the apathetic, the bored and the blasé tourists you begin
to realize that the metropolis of the Riviera is a world in itself – a reservoir for exploration
and reflection. Nice is the largest city along the Côte d'Azur,
and with a population of about 1 million it's the second largest French city along the shores
of the Mediterranean after Marseille. It makes an ideal home base for seeing all
of the sites along the coast. It is one of the most beautiful places and offers a large
number of hotels and restaurants in all price ranges. Nice is centrally located with excellent
rail and bus services that connect all of the towns along this coastline.
And as we are walking along through the lanes there is not really a lot to describe - it's
mostly interesting visuals of seeing the shops and the people, the old buildings, the architecture,
and it does bring to mind the very old history of Nice, so as we walk along, I let me just
reflect a little bit and tell you some about the very long history of the city in the south
of France – 3000 years of history boiled down to 3 minutes.
Several hundred years ago nearly the entire population lived in the Old Town – that
really was the entire city. There were a few people living up on the hill and a few around
the bend over by the harbor, a few houses scattered of course up hillsides in the interior,
but one can imagine that at least 90% of the population was clustered right here in what
is now the old town. So the history of Nice, you can imagine, is
very long and tangled up with a lot of warfare and a lot of different tribes of people coming
through because Nice has always been on a frontier. Even today it's very much close
to the borders of Italy, and being on the Mediterranean it's really a frontier with
the north coast of Africa as well. And this has always been the case, for thousands of
years it's been a crossroads. The Riviera first enters into the actual historical
period about six centuries before the birth of Christ, with a group called the Phoeceians
, who came ultimately from Greece. They were living along the shores of the Mediterranean
and were battling with the Persians, and ended up over in this part of what is now the Riviera.
These early Greek settlers were often harassed by the native Ligurian tribes and so these
Phoeceians appealed to ancient Rome to intervene and help them out - and this was in 154 BC
- and this is what brought Rome into the picture and they stayed and occupied the area for
the next 500 years. And the Mediterranean coast was declared a
Roman province which occurred in the reign of Augustus about 2000 years ago.
By about the 4th century A.D. with the decline of the Roman Empire, Christianity became pretty
well-established and then by the early Middle Ages the Nice area attained some commercial
importance. The French Revolution of 1789 affected Nice
for a variety of reasons and ended up by making it part of France, which it remained until
it then detached from France in 1814. At that time Nice was once more united to
the fortunes of the House of Savoy, a royal family based in northern Italy, bringing a
strong Italian influence to the area. And so it remained for close to half a century,
when further political developments brought about its return to France, under Napoleon
III. It's Been French Ever since. At the same time, in 1860, construction of
the railroad was completed and the beginnings of the tourism boom started. Travelers could
now arrive easily from all over Europe and Nice took off as one of the great centers
of tourism. 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 amazing Côte 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 Riviera – were 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.
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Nice, France, along the Côte d'Azur - the complete movie

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不信中原不姓朱 published on May 13, 2016
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