France and England: Part 3

Then it was our last day in Nice! We spent the morning in Nice, wandering around the city. We tried to go to the Chagall Museum, which I remember being quiet good. (I don’t have good memories of the Matisse Museum). However, when we got there, we discovered that it was closed the entire we were in France. So boo.

We decided that we were not going to be deterred from enjoying the sights of the city. We decided to walk to the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral. It was such a lovely day; I even took off my jacket. The Cathedral is simply magnificent. Inside, it is beautifully decorated as well. We walked around the grounds, enjoying the sun and the architecture.

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St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

We wandered back to the hotel, making a short detour at a chocolate shop. The chocolate shops throughout France are truly special. There’s the incredible displays, especially for Christmas. I’ve seen displays of life size chocolate gorillas, or small wondrous creatures made of chocolate and other goods. But then the actual items for sale are simply magical. This place in Nice had a giant wall of different kinds of chocolate bars. I ended up choosing one with sugared violet in dark chocolate and another with sesame seeds in dark chocolate. Also, I bought marron glace or sugared chestnut for my husband and I. Almost so sweet that it made my teeth hurt! So good!

We had a very informal lunch of some sandwiches from a nearby shop in my parent’s room. We had a wonderful view of the beach and the Mediterranean. It was a simple sandwich of ham, cheese and butter.

We spent our afternoon in another perched village named Eze. It’s on the way to Monaco and was apparently frequented by Nietzsche (he had a special path). Also, it was a town captured by the Moors back in the day. We’ve only recently found it but it’s quiet charming. It has a decent number of art galleries, jewelry shops and tourist shops but much of it was closed for the holiday. St. Paul de Vence is much much more established and bigger. But Eze has a certain charm. So much easier to get lost in its windy stone streets. There’s a little cemetery too but smaller and more constrained than the one in St. Paul. There’s a botanical garden at the very top that we’ve never managed to get to. This time it was closed. But we did get to see a storm coming in the distance. It was neat to see the fog rolling down the hills from a distance.

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View of the Fog from Eze

When we got back to Nice, we went to the Museum of Massena, close to the hotel. The museum is largely about the history of Nice in a beautiful palace. Andre Massena, the namesake of the museum, was a pretty awesome general during the Napoleonic wars. Napoleon nicknamed him “The Dear Child of Victory.” Throughout the museum, you can see his admiration for Napoleon including frescoes (or something akin) of various victories. There’s also a lot of neat artifacts including items from both Napoleon and Josephine. There’s a room of old advertisements in poster and playbill form that made me really happy. There’s even a fantastic picture of Queen Victoria…I think she liked vacationing in Nice.

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Inside Massena Museum

That night we tried to find a place that served Bouillabaisse, the French fish stew. It was actually harder than we expected given that we were in the South of France next to the sea. The Koudoo restaurant had a version of it, a sort of Bouillabaisse for beginners. It was much smaller and less soupy. The broth wasn’t nearly as flavorful as I would have hoped. Oh well! (Those mussels that I had the other night were amazing).

That’s all for now. Next time, I’ll talk about our time in Paris on Christmas Eve.

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