Friday, September 09, 2005

Excursions

Bellboys

Two weeks ago Jube and I explored some nearby towns with his family. We had a good time except that the weather was not very agreeable, rainy and gray. We left in the morning and explored Vieux Nice (sorry I don't have any pictures!). I was amazed at how crowded and touristy it was compared to Montpellier. I imagined that the two towns would be similar, since they are in the South, but they are different in many ways. The stores sold gelato, fresh pasta, and lots and lots of pizza, which made us all realize how close we were to Italy. Montpellier has a medieval center, but Nice (although older, having been founded by the Greeks) seems much more recent, with colorful facades, higher buildings, and painted churches. I'm sure I'll have more time to explore, and take pictures!

The next town we visited was Villefranche sur Mer.

Villefranche sur Mer

Villefranche is only about five minutes away from Nice, and you get there by following a road with a spectacular view. The small village includes a port, where we saw everything from small fishing dinghies to huge cruise ships. There is a long public beach and a charming centre ville set a bit higher on the mountainous terrain.

Eze's Only Fountain

After Villefranche, we headed up the mountain to Eze, a "perched village" (
village perché). Belle-mère was a bit daunted by the climb in the car, and even more so by the hike on foot once we arrived! The donkeys at the top of the post are found at Eze, and apparently if you have a room at the luxury hotel there, they will carry your bags for you. It is a gorgeous village, and there is certainly a beautiful view, but we didn't see it because we didn't want to pay 4€ for access to the "jardin exotique." When we were there, we saw lots of well-dressed American and French women walking through the narrow streets complaining about their high heels on the cobblestones. When we visited the church we discovered that there was a wedding! Belle-mère was not charmed--"If I knew someone who was getting married here, I wouldn't go! Imagine making your guests climb that mountain!" Then she looked at us and said, "If you two get married there, then I will come." I'm very glad that she changed her opinion for us . . .

Monaco

Finally we ended up in Monaco. We weren't sure that we could go in, since I had forgotten my passport and Le Pacha had left his national ID in Gallargues, but we figured that they couldn't stop everyone. And it seemed like they didn't stop anyone! Since it was raining by this time, we took a self-guided tour from the car, and then drove back to Nice. Monaco was definitely the least charming of all the towns we visited. Isn't that too bad? An entire country dismissed by Gem as "not very charming." Well, it wasn't! Jube took this picture of a luxury yacht that was parked (anchored?) in the harbor. We saw zero fishing dinghies here!

All in all it was a tiring but very enjoyable day of sightseeing. If you come to visit me, maybe you could enjoy it, too!

3 comments:

Stacey said...

i actually wasn't too charmed by monaco either. there really isn't much to do there if you aren't a gambler. the history of the principality is really interesting though.

fraise said...

They don't check ID ever in Monaco :) It's basically part of France. I work there occasionally, it is indeed pretty boring. The best spot to visit is the royal area, Fontvieille, from the aquarium to the palace and nearby gardens. You can go in the Monte-Carlo casino too if you just want to play slot machines.

Lulu said...

Hello !
There are many places to visit in Monaco : a very cool Sea Museum, the streets of Old town, Shopping centers ( Metropole and Fontvieille), the beach is pretty cool for seadiving, many garden ( you must see the japanese garden near larvotto beach)...
From december, don't miss the christmas market on the Condamine Port, it's very charming.
Bye !