The college body went to Nice, Monte Carlo/Monaco, and Eze this past weekend.
I was in Nice last September so I separated from the group and did my own thing for several hours. It was very cold. Wow the south of France gets so very cold in the winter. I did take some interesting pictures against the steel gray sky.
Nice is so Italian to me it’s a bit like visiting Italy instead of France. That said, I really like Place Massena and the cool modern statuary there that is both classic and contemporary. These are actually plastic and at night they light up from the inside and change colors. I love these:
We went to Monte Carlo for an evening which was “fancy” and dull. My mistake that should be DULL!!! Man if James Bond was chasing someone around that would have been exciting but nooo…all was well on the “super villain trying to take over the world” front. Sigh.
Sunday we visited the capital of Monaco; Monaco Ville, which is also called “Le Rocher/The Rock” because it’s set on a large rocky outcropping. I did not previously know that the famous Grimaldi family secured the thrown of this country due to superior scheming. The original Grimaldi family used a Trojan horse in the form of a family member dressed as a monk. Said mock monk knocked on the door of the palace. When the door opened for the malicious mock “monk” he drew his sword and the rest of the crafty clan jumped out of the bushes and took over the castle. The rest, as they say, is “histoire”. There is a tiny village on Le Rocher that has a certain charm and let’s face it, the entire principality is Disneyland clean and spit shined. We did have a bad experience at the local pizzeria, but let’s stay positive. The view is beautiful if you like that super rich coastal playground sort of thing it’s got going on.
Monaco Ville also has the cathedral where Princess Grace, and to be fair other Monaconian (Monacan? Never did get my question about what they are called answered) royals are buried. They still put flowers on Grace and Prince Albert I’s grave. It’s obvious they really took her to heart in this tiny country.
…just for fun:
We also visited Eze which is an ancient hilltop city on the coast between Monaco and Nice. This ville was attacked and taken over by pirates many times. You’d think building your city on a hilltop would be enough protection but those pesky pirates are wily it seems. It has tiny stone streets that wind their way to the top and around. Lots of little doors to little houses and stores.
At some point, someone wisely added a brick path in the middle of the streets which has much more traction than the stones because they are so worn down they are slippery even when dry. Few such villages with stone streets have done this and it’s easy to fall. (Note to hilltop town residents, when you see pirates coming, get those super slippery stones wet and maybe you’ll have a chance if they are falling on their faces trying to sack your city.) I was excited to go to Eze because I had not been able to make it when I was in Nice last September and a Swiss gentleman I had met on the plane last fall had recommended it to me.
It does have a decently sized church that I enjoyed because it seemed different from many others in that it’s color ranges were more subtle than most and for lighting it had full on crystal chandeliers.
After Eze we returned to Aix and about 30 degree weather. Wow, did I say how cold it is here? They explained that it’s because Aix receives Le Mistral which is a cold wind that comes straight down from the north much like the cold blows down the Midwest USA from Canada. Ah! That explains it. At least there has been only a little rain at night a few times and otherwise none at all.
I will post next on some art we’re working on in class later in the week. I have had only a few minutes of spare time so far but have to plan some travel for “winter break” which comes up on the 23rd of this month. It’s coming so fast I am in danger of going nowhere at this rate.