Nice was the home of Matisse and used to be very popular with British vacationers who loved to walk the promenade. I stayed just off of Place Massena at Villa St exupery beach, one of two quite famous/ popular hostels. They have tons of activities including sailing- unfortunately all were cancelled or not full enough when I was there. The square has an art installation called "conversations" and consists of 7 meditating figures atop of poles, each representing a continent. At night they light up and the colours change, thus it's about the conversation among continents.
Like Cannes, there are private beaches along the ocean, along with bits of rocky beach for the public. Walking promenade Des Anglais is really nice. Of course there are parks and fancy hotels along the way.
The day after my French riviera excursion, I took a hostel walking tour of Nice, which I found quite informative. A building 5 seconds from the hostel was the scene of a famous bank robbery. There's one English and two French movies about it. The thief famously confused the judge with a coded document, jumped out a window, rolled off the roof and onto a waiting motorbike- & was never seen again.
Next we were off to old town and cours saleya, which is a constantly changing market of flowers, spices, fruit and art. We walked into the catedrale st Reparate as well, which is in Baroque style and has a lot of angel statues-over a hundred.
On the walking tour, I learned about a clothes washing lady who stood up to the Turks during an invasion and a poet who made fun of the catholic church, was subsequently beaten, then swore to never publish again. We also saw what is called "Adam and Eve house," the best remaining example of painted facades that use to decorate the homes in old Nice. Lastly we went into a palace, which looks nothing of the sort from the outside and now houses music classes. Inside are beautifully painted, high ceilings and wall frescos.
After the tour I walked uphill to chateau castle hill- a fortress destroyed during King Louis XIV's reign. There's only one large piece of the fortress still there but it was pretty cool. Usually a waterfall runs over it, but they were doing some renovations. The view from up there was great, so it was worth the climb.
I mentioned the British right? Well Queen Victoria spent a lot of time in Nice so she built a residence, which is now a hotel. Nearby is the Monestere Cimiez and a park that houses half a roman arena, roman bath ruins, and an archeological museum. Once called Gaul, there are still major indications that France was part of the roman empire (see my blog on Nimes). Really cool.
Now for Cannes. I went back Friday night at about 5:30- just in time for the red carpet at 6. It was a foreign film so I didn't recognize anyone, but I had a decent view of the carpet stairs and a great view of the video screen showing the red carpet. It was exciting- all the cameras flashing, excited fans etc. One Asian lady was dressed in a green army type outfit with white gloves and walked slowly down the carpet waving at photographers. Later that night I saw her walking down the Croisette so she couldn't have been that famous lol.
After the movie had started, I watched a bit of the French interview show they have on the Croisette. The only reason I recognized it is because they interviewed Rob Pattinson there last year lol. Later on, a French singer performed there.
I was getting tired and the only party I saw was wide open on a dock, with a mission impossible : ghost protocol sign up. I am glad I waited for dark though, because they put lights along the Croisette - first changing colour, then just red (like the carpet). They also show a free movie on the beach at night- that night it was Das Boot (3.5 hours long!) Most people were dressed to the nines... There were some women in like prom dress ball-gowns , and many with awful makeup and clothes. I wonder what some people think when they dress up for these things lol. Another thing about Cannes are the amazing stores along the Croisette- Dior Jimmy Choo Chanel... Some fabulous clothes and shoes.
Now I'm off to Lyon, then that's it for France :( I really enjoyed my time in the French Riviera. My favs were Cannes and Monaco, but it was all lovely!!