My Reminiscences of events, old and new, and travels, far and near
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Nice and the Tour de France
As mentioned in earlier posts, when I was a small child and staying at my grand-parents for week-ends or holidays, my grandfather, to keep me busy and amused, would give me a small suitcase filled with vintage postcards. I spent many hours looking at these old postcards. A couple in particular kept my interest; they were postcards from Nice, the city on the Riviera and I still have them now (and they look well used!) One was a postcard of the "Promenade des Anglais" (The English Walk) that had been sent by my great-aunt to my grandparents in 1935 and the other was a woman from Nice wearing the traditional Nice costume - must have been from the same period. Since then I have collected more vintage postcards of Nice, but I'll include them in future posts. Here are the postcards from my grandpa -
The first time I went to Nice I must have been 12 or 13. I had been staying the summer at some of my grandparents' friends in Vaison-La-Romaine, a small town in Provence. Mother came to get me and we traveled around the region all the way to Nice. I was so excited to see the town I had dreamed of for so long. We took excursions buses to small towns close by such as Vence, Vallauris and Grasse (the perfume capital.) But I did not take pictures then. In May 1968 when my husband and I went back to France we drove around and went to Nice with my mother. I have some old slides from that trip in the South of France in our rental car. Below is the Promenade des Anglais in 1968.
Below are some more pictures taken around the Nice area during that trip. The picture on the right shows my mother and me washing some fruits in a fountain. The top in the center must be of Vallauris potteries in Provence and the bottom is a panorama of Nice. (Click on collage twice to embiggen.)
Since then I have been to Nice several times and last year, in mid October 2012, my husband and I stopped on our way back from Venice, Italy. We rented a small studio and stayed there a week. The panorama of Nice has changed a bit, but not too much. Below is the Promenade des Anglais and "La Baie des Anges" (Angels Bay) in October 2012.
The name Promenade des Anglais came from the Provence dialect. English tourists started to winter in Nice around 1822. They walked on a gravel path along the bay which became known, in the Provencal language as "lou Camin dei Ingles." Below is a painting by Angelo Garino, Italian 1860-1945, of the Promenade des Anglais in 1922.
After Paris, Nice is the next city that brings the most tourists to France. It has 350,000 inhabitants and with its suburbs more than one million. It borders the Mediterranean Sea and its area is 80% mountainous. It is an old town, called Nikaia by the Greeks in the third century BC. In closer history Nice became French in the mid 19th century. Napoleon III helped the Italians militarily and financially to fight their Second Italian War of Independence against Austria. Nice and Savoy were given to France as a territorial reward from Italy. Nice is a dynamic city with many festivals such as the Carnival of Nice, Nice Jazz Festival, etc. There are 19 art museums such as the Matisse Museum and the Chagall Museum. Nice is located very close to Italy as shown on the map below. It is also a fast train ride to Monte Carlo, Monaco.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France. The Tour started in the French Island of Corsica then the cyclists took a ferry to Nice to compete there. Below is the route of the Tour and photos of the Tour in Corsica.
I certainly was glued to the TV to watch as the Tour biked on the Promenade des Anglais and around Nice. Simon Gerrans of Australia won the Yellow Jersey in Nice (i.e. the fastest time for that stage of the Tour.)
We did walk up and down the Promenade des Anglais last October, then went up to the gardens which are on a hill with a great view of the Promenade - these pictures will be included in some future posts. For now I'll end with this painting entitled "Les Palmiers sur la Promenade des Anglais" (Palm trees on the Promenade des Anglais) circa 1938, by French artist Pierre-Eugene Montezin (1874-1946.)