Nice, France - 30th January 2008
I woke up earlier than Kavin and decided to go explore
the vicinity. I walked down the street towards the beach and stopped by
a little café for breakfast. I had a croissant
with butter and strawberry jam, and a cup of Darjeeling tea.
It came up to 8 Euros. ouch. But it was nice to be able to sit,
read a bit of the Herald Tribune newspaper and watch traffic go by
along the beachfront of Cannes.
Enjoying breakfast at a cafe in Cannes, France
The beach front at Cannes, France
After this, I made my way to look for the little church that
I’d seen on my map and happened to stumble upon a pattiserie.
Wow…my very first French pastry shop encounter.
I walked in, and bought a chocolate croissant for Kavin’s breakfast.
I also ‘kay poh’ –ed the next door grocery store, and was fascinated
by the different brands of food they had on display. Then, looking
at my map discretely ( I didn’t want to appear too ‘touristy’. I liked
the idea of blending in as much as possible) , I found my way
to the little church of Notre Dame de Pins. I walked in an discovered
that the church was actually bigger than I thought it was from the outside.
The interior of the church of Notre Dame des Pins.
A priest saw me walk in and motioned me to the chapel in the back.
I couldn’t understand a word of what he was saying in French,
but I figured he wanted to let me know that it was good to visit
the chapel. So I went, and it was beautiful in its simplicity.
Jesus was there in the tabernacle, so it was a good place
to just be quiet for a while and to say a rosary.
The little chapel and tabernacle
After this, I walked around the church, admiring the nativity
scene that was set up in the left hand side of the church.
(This being the end of January, they still had the Christmas decorations
up. I thought it was great. In the US, it seems that Christmas decorations
are taken down so fast right after Christmas which seems a pity)
Some information I found about the church on the internet
EGLISE NOTRE DAME DES PINS
Nineteenth Century Church
32 Boulevard Alexandre III
(25 Boulevard Eugène Tripet)
Phone: +33 4 93 43 26 39
Fax: +33 4 93 99 56 17
East of the city of Cannes, the Eglise Notre Dame des Pins is part of an active parish, with masses conducted every day of the week except Thursday. Baptisms and marriages are also conducted here, and the church is open to visitors every day but Sunday. The eclectic styles of the architecture, encompassing the 1864 construction and two additions, is Roman, English Gothic, and Italian.
Outside view of the church
I walked back to the hotel. Refreshed by my explorations.
We checked out of the hotel soon after and took a private cab
(the taxis in France were on strike that day to protest some ruling)
to Nice, checking into the Le Meridien. The room was nice, and
since we were starving by then, we walked towards the nearby
McDonalds (A travesty you say? to be eating McDonalds in France!)
It was surprisingly good. We had a Raclette burger that came with
some French local cheese and bacon. I’ve found that it’s always
nice to explore the local McDonalds in various countries as they
always have special burgers that are specifically catered to the taste
and culture of each country. Case in point, Singapore had the ‘Rendang
Burger’ in their McDonalds for a while, which featured a nice, rich
curry paste derived from the Malay culture’s cuisine, paired with
a beef patty, sandwiched in a bun.)
The McDonalds hamburger box
We went for a tour of Nice after this in an open-top tour bus.
Among the attractions we stopped by to see were the Cimiez
Resplendently beautiful in terracotta hues on the outside,
it featured many works of art within, and perhaps for that reason,
we were not allowed to take any photographs within the church.
But it was so beautiful, with all it’s painted arches and domes.
To the left of the church, the Blessed Sacrament was in a small side chapel.
We spent a little bit of time there before heading downhill to check out the
vicinity. Kavin wanted to see the gallo-roman museum at the
Musée et site archeologique de Cimiez but it was closed for renovations.
ah well…We passed by the Matisse Museum but decided to skip it.
Ruins of Gallo-Roman amphitheatre
Walking through the public park was quite a lovely experience.
It was a workday but surprisingly, there were many people there in the park,
just enjoying the laid back, overcast skies and balmy afternoon. There were parents
playing with kids, toddlers in push-prams and senior folk playing ‘bocce’
which resembles a bowling game, except that instead of pins, the winner is the
one who places the bigger ball closet to the small target ball.
The French truly know how to savour life in all its finest details.
We also spent a little bit of time looking at the ruins of a gallo-roman
amphitheatre. Amazing to think that it’s been standing there for so many
Ruins of Gallo-Roman amphitheatre
After this, we caught the tour bus back to the hotel and walked around
later for a bit along the streets of Nice before catching sunset on the beach.
The beach of Nice is lined with pebbles. We found a ralphie rock. (ie.
a grey-white rock that resembled our grey-white cat Ralphie) and laughed
about it. The sun was beautiful in the sky. It is said that a lot of painters
and artistes love the light in Nice and in other towns along the French
Riviera. The light does look different here. There is more of a colourful
orange/ yellow glow to it. No wonder the paintings by Matisse had
a lively colour to them. It’s interesting how light looks different from
place to place. I’ve noticed that the light in LA has a whiter hue than
that in Singapore where the light is more akin to the light on the
French Riviera, a bit more orangey.
Kavin dressed like a Franciscan, standing on the pebbled beach of Nice.
We were hungry after this and spent a long time trying to decide
where to go for dinner before finally settling in at a ‘Maori’ restaurant
where I had gnocchi and Kavin had a chicken dish. Yes, I know,
we’re in france and we choose to have ‘Maori’ food? LOL.