What we did in Nice when we weren’t eating food

I actually have a couple of food posts lined up – I swear. In fact, I was going to do one tonight and combine it with my final vacation post, but the problem is I really loved Nice and therefore have a lot of pictures. The prospective food post will give me something to do this weekend – when I’m not celebrating Bloomsday!

So, Nice.


I planned nothing for Nice. I figured we’d just see what happened once we arrived. Of course, I also assumed we’d have internet access in our hotel which would help in that regard, but that turned out to be a lie. So the first day or two, we just did a lot of walking around and taking in the sights. I liked this plaza.

It inexplicably contains a statue that from the back, from far away, looks like a giant sea monkey.

Up close its a naked man wearing a crown of horses, which I think is actually more bizarre than the sea monkey theory I first put forth. There are also these tall poles with more naked – but horse-crownless – men kneeling on them. I was entranced by them.

At night they lit up different, cycling colors!

One night as we were wandering we came across this street artist who does these pretty amazing works with spray paint and the occasional blow torch. It takes him about 10-15 minutes to complete one. They mostly depict ethereal forest scenes or other worlds. He’s like the Bob Ross (aka God) of spray paint. Mark had in fact seen videos of his work before and thought it was cool, so it’s pretty awesome we just ran into him – Mark hadn’t even known he was French. It was fascinating to watch and I’m sorry we didn’t buy one of the paintings.

Not only are there bizarrely wonderful statues and crazy-cool street artists, but there’s also a little something called the Mediterranean Sea, which I had never seen before!

So blue, so painfully gorgeous. So different than the opaque greenish-brown Atlantic Ocean.

Mark managed to connect to the internet long enough to learn about Le Château, which is not a castle (any longer) but is a park atop a hill, accessible via many stairs or, for cheaters, a secret free elevator. There was apparently a huge Jewish mafia wedding reception going on in the park when we were there. Although a large part of the open space was roped off and patrolled by slightly menacing men in black, it was a charming park with beautiful views. The park is quite large but somehow we managed to run into Brad and April while we were there, completely unplanned.

Did I mention the views?

One day we found ourselves in Monaco, which was preparing for the Grand Prix, which was to take place that weekend. That’s a Ferrari going under the Grand Prix sign. My father is a Formula One enthusiast and I therefore tried to work up some vicarious excitement, but I have to report that Monaco wasn’t all that interesting. I mean, outside of being located in what is my new favorite part of the world, the Mediterranean.

The best day of the entire trip was the result of Brad’s planning. (If you’ve actually read any of these vacation posts, by now you’ll know I’m not a big planner.) Brad had learned about the nearby village of Èze, and that we could take a 20-minute bus ride to the top of its renowned hill, explore the medieval ruins, then hike down the Chemin de Nietzsche (Nietzsche’s path): crumbling, rocky steps that wind through woods down the hill, depositing you at the stop for a different bus back to Nice. Èze was magical. After stepping off the bus near the tourism bureau, you begin walking up lazy sets of stairs that meander through the remains of the old village, now filled with artists’ galleries, boutiques, cafes, and a couple of what-must-be-totally-fabulous hotels.

It’s completely charming.

There’s a very old church …

… near these stairs …

… that lead to what must be the greatest location in the world to be dead, a small cemetery of crypts overlooking this:

After eating lunch and falling in love with the village, it was time to begin our journey down the hill. Nietzsche’s path is so called because Nietzsche walked it several times when staying in Nice and found inspiration in it while writing Ecce Homo. At the top of the path, you can sidestep to admire Èze on the hilltop. It’s nearly impossible to see in the small version of this photo, but the large garden of one of the hotels contains numerous animal sculptures (as well as a human-sized chess set), which dot the terrain.

Brad had read that it should take about 45 minutes to walk down the path. It took us about two hours. I will admit up front that I was at least 95% responsible for the extra time. I’m afraid I amble more than hike and I photograph EVERYTHING. But surely you’ll understand why; it was probably the most breathtaking place I’d ever been.

Seriously – I want to move to the French Riviera. I felt right there. I liked Paris, I really did, loved it even. But the Cote d’Azur? I can picture myself living there until the end of my life (something I’ve never said about any location), the long days (boy, the days are long there) mingling into each other sun-drenched day after sea-dazzling day. Yes. Yes I will Yes.


  1. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy Said,

    June 14, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    so so beautiful. Love all the gorgeous pics! thanks for sharing!

  2. Lisa Goldstein Kieda Said,

    June 14, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

    Jewish mafia wedding?? My interested is piqued… please elaborate!

  3. renae Said,

    June 14, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

    Lisa, probably not as interesting as it sounds! It was definitely a Jewish wedding based on the singing we heard over the loudspeaker, but the security guys patrolling the perimeter looked mafioso. They were probably hired, though, and had nothing to do with the wedding (or the mafia) other than looking vaguely menacing and keeping riffraff like me out.

  4. Lisa Goldstein Kieda Said,

    June 15, 2012 @ 10:01 am

    Oy oy oy!!

    So I’m in Tucson for the summer and have commenced my “summer of reading”. I’ve read five books in one week already! And, I am – drumroll please – eating vegan for the summer! Wish me luck. I hope to drop about 20 pounds in 10 weeks, and eating less and healthier will probably get me there no worries (I actually need to lose about 50 total – but that’s another milestone beyond the summer). I HIGHLY recommend to you an amazing book – “The Submission” by Amy Waldman. It was riveting and thought provoking. The characters were engaging and the writing was just spectacular. Please feel free to email me at: lisakieda@homemail.com with any recommend you may have. Peace/Shalom, Renae! Lisa G/K

  5. Josiane Said,

    June 15, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    Ooooh, je comprends parfaitement que tu sois tombée amoureuse de Nice! Judging from your pictures, it looks gorgeous! A friend of mine studied there for a few years. It’s really too bad I didn’t pay her a visit at the time… Well, when you live there, I won’t miss my chance! 😉

  6. v Said,

    June 21, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

    renae! you must take me with you when leave. i can get behind that plan!

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