What do you do when you have a whole week to laze out in Saint Laurent du Var located along the French Riviera? Absolutely nothing! I tried doing just that for a couple of days. I was practically spending the entire day on the pebbled beach with my daughter doing nothing, except eating, stretching, strolling and basking in the beautiful weather. My daughter and I had found a nice patch under the palm tree for stretching ourselves and a mall at one end of the beach called CAP 3000 from where we could buy food and beverages. We were completely happy just sitting around and absorbing the sight of the blue Mediterranean waters and the colourful surfers bobbing on the waves. One could also see the airplanes taking off and landing from the
. The air-strip is so close to the water that it seems as if the planes are about to land on the water. Nice Côte d'Azur Airport
My daughter, however, insisted that we spend all the remaining time in one of the parks close to the port, where she could get her share of swings, slides and running on the lawns. This time, I readily followed her. I loved to see her mingle with other children and feel completely at home in absolutely new surroundings. For her, the Nice tour was now complete. Back on the Promenade, as we waited for my husband to pick us up, we were caught in a bad thunderstorm. With upturned umbrellas, we managed to run to the nearest restaurant. The sun had set and the semi-circular Promenade was getting lit up as the rains continued to lash over the Mediterranean shore. Suddenly, I was reminded of the Queen’s Necklace getting washed by the monsoons in our good-old Amchi Mumbai.
But doing nothing can also become boring for those who are used to poking around and seeing new places. So, my daughter and I decided to go on a ‘hop on-hop off’ sightseeing tour of Nice. The tour started at one end of the famous Promenade de Anglais of Nice. The footpath on the Promenade is as wide as some of the roads in
and as most people tend to flock the Promenade, it has earmarked space for all- walkers, runners, cyclists, skaters and bystanders. I accidentally strolled into the lane earmarked for cyclists and got a friendly nudge. We waited for our tour to begin and were given a brochure indicating the route and the stops the bus would take. Since we had the whole day, I decided that it would be worth hopping off at every stop. Although my daughter was not too happy with this idea especially because we were the only ones hopping off at some stops, she had no option but to follow me. We saw some beautiful mansions on the hills overlooking the Bangalore Mediterranean, churches belonging to different denominations, the Nice port and statues along the way. One of the important stops where many tourists hopped off was the Cimiez monastery. The monastery has housed the Franciscan order since over four hundred years. It has one of the most beautiful rose gardens I have ever seen. The flowers were so huge that they could cover my entire palm and the colours were so bright and unique that I wish I could take pictures of all. The fragrance was so sweet and strong that it had filled the entire garden and had surely clung to our bodies as well. Close to the monastery is the cemetery where the great painter Henri Matisse is buried. The Matisse Museum is located nearby and we took some time to go through the amazing collection of the artist, including his sketches, paintings and sculptures. The museum also showcased some of his personal belongings and publications related to his works. This was undoubtedly the highlight of the tour and after the Cimiez stop, I did not mind just sitting on the open deck bus and missing the next stops.
|Aerial view of Nice|