Many have visited the famous hilltop in Nice, which for centuries served (from the eleventh to the eighteenth century) as a fortified castle to battle those who wanted to make Nice a place of their own. A rock of about 300 yards (or 900 feet) high, it once featured a cathedral and settlements. All this was destroyed by Louis XIV in 1706 with enormous guns as part of the never ending local quarrels in Europe. Now, you can only admire the ruins (which look like all ruins.) But the stiff walk uphill is most rewarding for the spectacular views of the town and the Mediterranean, as shown below.
Halfway you find a Christian cemetery (above) and a Jewish cemetery (below), separate from each other.
The ruins on top are not very representative of what the Citadel’s cathedral once was but they indicate its ancestry.
Other worthwhile treasures are remnants of the Roman Empire (below)
And, of course, the mutual admiration of each others’ dogs.
A view of Nice’s environment makes you jealous of its many variations when you are back home with only flat boring streets.
Turning to the seaside of the hill, visitors are offered magnificent sights of the Mediterranean and the port of Nice.
Buddhist monks are among the tourists.
Nice’s War Memorial at the bottom of the Citadel.
Next time: Memory Lane of the Riviera.
Returning to the old European towns always mesmerizes me, especially after living in the USA for many years. Not that old towns in the USA do not have their charm. They do. Downtown Alexandria in Virginia where I live is a cozy, lively neighborhood, dating from centuries back. Williamsburg in Virginia and Annapolis and Gettysburg in Maryland are wonderful places to visit. So are San Francisco and parts of Boston. And these are just a few examples. But the charm of European “old towns” is unbeatable.
So I went for a long walk in Nice’s Old Town, starting relatively early, as crowds tend to blur its enchantment. You can start from the Palais de Justice or the Place Garibaldi and get lost in the many narrow streets and small squares where only locals gather, either in front of a church after attending mass or to sit down for a coffee or a glass of cool white wine. The pictures below will give you an idea. Clicking on the pictures will enlarge them for you (on most computers).
Place Garibaldi is named after the famous Garibaldi, who was born in Nice, and the man who unified Italy’s warring small states in the 19th century. Nice changed hands between France and Italy in the 19th century but was returned to France in recognition of Garibaldi’s contribution to Italy becoming the country we know now. Place Garibaldi is a favored place to have coffee and seafood. Nice has kept its many links with nearby Italy.
Garibaldi’s Statue (above) and the other side of the Square (below)
Fish stands in Old Town are loaded with all sorts of fish fresh from the Mediterranean, among others the delicious “Dorade” (see picture below), a delicacy hard to come by and a great meal when grilled. Seagulls swarm above the stands to get an easy breakfast if they get a chance.
A seagull preparing for “attack”, others standing by patiently for a “treat”.
Seven delicious Dorades ready to go!
Shop Owner Getting Ready for Business
Boys in the back playing soccer
A local climbing the street
The Jesus Church in the middle of Old Town
Peace inside the Church
Old Town at its quietest
Locals have to do a lot of climbing
The narrow streets where the shops are fill up quickly with tourists
The Palais de Justice in Old Town
One of the charming squares where you can talk from balcony to balcony
Another one of Old Town’s charming places for coffee, lunch or dinner
Next time we will show you The Citadel with its spectacular views of Nice and the Mediterranean, as well as the splendid boulevards.