I especially enjoyed seeing...
I especially enjoyed seeing the vast variety of spices layed out in baskets before me. What a variety of colorful, fragrant spices, many that I had never used. It was a fantastic way to spend the morning and to stock up on food at the same time. We bought sandwiches, fruit and other goodies and had a delightful picnic at the nearby beach.
When you are exploring the mediaeval Old Town of Nice have a look at the wrought-iron grating above each door. Each grating is unique and varies in design from a simple fan of bars to much more elaborate affairs.
The purpose of the grating is to provide an open but secure inlet for cool air to be able to enter the house. In the summer, hot air rises and draws the cooler, damper air from the narrow shaded streets of the Old Town through the grating and up through the building helping to keep it cool. Judicious use of window shutters combined with internal courtyards helps to keep a continuous draught flowing through - a natural form of air-conditioning.
In the heat of summer, you might think that the last place you would want to be is in the busy, crowded Old Town but in fact, it can be quite refreshing due to the cool damp flowing air.
Some of the gratings and stone lintels above the doors are dated and it is fascinating spotting the different dates and designs. The dates vary between 15th and 20th century but the majority were made in the 17th century. In some of them you will see the initials HIS - the first three letters of Jesus, in Greek. Other gratings and lintels have the owners' initials and Christian icons and inscriptions engraved in the stone or worked into the wrought-iron.
In my photo, the wrought-iron work is very simple and you can see clearly the initials HIS engraved in the stone lintel with a cross in the middle. No date, sadly. I found this example of grating above a door on rue Jules Gilly, a road that is a short continuation of rue Droite, just south of Place du Jesus. The light seemed good for a picture.
Information from 'Strolling through Old Nice', a wonderful booklet, English version available in bookshops and Tabacs plus the airport Relay shops for about 8 euros. Informative and a lovely souvenir of the Old Town. It was this book that opened my eyes to the door gratings in the first place.
Two legs good, two wheels better!
No other nation is quite as barmy about cycling as the French. The Tour de France has the entire nation gripped (despite being won by an American for the last four years in a row). Paris - Nice 2005 is one of the biggest races, after the big one. Held in the second week of March, it too was won by an American, Bobby Julich .
Against a pure blue sky, the Men in Lycra hurtled from the Prom pursued by a pack of photographers on big motorcycles, cheered on by young and old cycling groupies similarly decked out in logos, spandex and shades. The Promenade was festooned with logos of obscure companies that make space technology derived titanium mudguards, performance-enhancing energy drinks, or Bleu Azur radio station.
Competitive cyclists in their brightly coloured jerseys sped off like a swarm of bees pursuing their queen, around the Port and off uphill towards Villefranche and the dizzy heights of Eze, winding its way back to the finishing line in Nice. The champions greeted by national TV cameras and thousands of journalists from Top Velo! or Quel Mudguard? .
That evening the cycling media circus packed up shop, and headed back to Paris to file their copy and their expenses. Upturned cycles were loaded onto roof racks, and the spandex folded away, whilst diaries were marked up for the next competitive event on the cycling calendar.
I sat on a plane heading back to London recently , next to a Frenchman who was reading, as it happens, "Top Velo". I mean how can anyone find enough things to write about to fill eighty pages about cycling? Every page had a picture of someone - wait for it - on a bicycle. Maybe I'm missing something but bikes are for riding on, not reading about.. Though not if you are French apparently. Can't wait for next months issue, can you? Bicycles and spandex
2nd pic: THE PARC CHAMBRUN..A...
2nd pic: THE PARC CHAMBRUN..A PLACE FOR LOVERS...
LITTLE TOURISTS KNOW THIS BEAUTIFUL PLACE...YOU HAVE TO MAKE A WISH IN THE LITTLE COUPOLE....AND BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR IT BECOMES TRUE SAYS THE LEGEND...
99% cocoa content chocolate bars
Monoprix is a well known branch of supermarket in France that sells qood quality food, wine etc and also clothing in the larger branches. The two branches that I know about are my local at Place Garibaldi and a larger branch on the main shopping road, Jean Medecin, in the city centre.
It's in the basement of the Monoprix on Place Garibaldi that you can buy 99% cocoa content bars of chocolate. I have read that the higher the cocoa content, the higher the antioxident content, which is supposed to be good for you, though probably not as good for you as a punnet of blueberries I suspect. Lindt's 99% cocoa chocolate.
Head downstairs to find this wonderful chocolate. I know there are plenty of specialist chocolate shops dotted around Nice, all fiercely defended by their devotees, but I have never come across 99% cocoa content in plain chocolate before.
The highest cocoa content I can find back in Liverpool is Lindts 85%. Before you point out that this make isn't even French, well, these 'excellence' bars, are in fact, made in France for Lindt.
I first bought one out of curiousity with the idea that a square might go very nicely with a cup of coffee after dinner. I have to say it wasn't long before I developed a taste for this strong depth of cocoa intensity and to my shame my record this holiday has been two whole bars in one night. I stopped buying it for a while after that.
Anyway, my sister's here for a week giving me a perfect excuse to get some for her to try. It costs 2, 09 euros for a 50g bar. There is a whole display devoted to chocolate bars here so if plain isn't your thing, then you will be spoilt for choice with a whole range of other makes and varieties of chocolate bars, plain, milk, fruit, nut etc. Prices start from about 1,29 a bar and usually the bars are a bit bigger, around the 200g size.