Local wine - Domaine Augier
'Domaine Augier' is not easily found.
You have to ride bus #62 for about 40 - 50 minutes uphill. The scenery is truly fantastic, but the mountain road may give you a headache.
Step off the bus at St.Roman-de-Bellet, you won't miss the church with the fountain on your left hand. Cave Augier will be on your right.
The address is 680, route de Bellet, St Roman-de-Bellet, 06200 NICE
The sign says it's open 16.30 - 19.00 Tuesday - Thursday, but their Internet site warns: by approntment only (hope to find out if that is true soon).
By the way, I may be wrong, but is it not the same family that owns hotel Negresco?
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Nice Toponymy: Rue de Russie
Les Anglais may stroll along their Promenade, we Russians have a much more modest street to our name.
The local register says that the name appeared in 1880, when Russians living around the Orthodox church nearby made a very prominent part of the local community.
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- Historical Travel
Nice Toponymy: Espace Masséna
Marshal André Masséna, the city’s most celebrated citizen, would reportedly ‘give all his victories for his Russian adversary Suvorov’s Swiss raid’. To be frank and fair, it’s our Russian historians who claim this -)
The date 1809 on the second photo refers to the battle of Wagram, I believe, which brought Masséna the title of Prince of Essling.
- Historical Travel
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Now I could make out both smart hotels, and the numerous health-resort visitors idly walking on English quay. It was pleasant to feel myself as an element of this carefree world in one of the most luxurious world resorts.
Once the Sochi Riviera was the top of our dreams, and now its original - the French Riviera has appeared within reach. It was possible to be convinced of it on Russian dialect which was heard from everywhere. Well, not only I decided to visit Nice that year.
You can watch my 4 min 36 sec Video Nice out of my Youtube channel.
Love to walk in the sky? :Grande Corniche
Nice offers access to more than just the usual Riviera towns. The Cotes d'Azur is host to six Parcs Naturelle, the most spectacular of which is the Grande Corniche. Soaring to 700m above the sea, twice the height of the perched village of Eze which it overlooks, the wildness of terrain and the breath-taking views to the Mercantour and Italian Alps are a world apart from the hustle and mass tourism of the Cotes d'Azur. Running from La Turbie above Monaco to Col d'Eze and below, it encompasses the quirky Astrorama - more stars to spot than footballers WaGs at Ramatuelle, and the worst people-watching opportunity of the Riviera ever. I saw one person in five hours. And they weren't worth watching.
La Turbie is the main point of access, a pretty town famed for the giant Trophee des Alpes - forty minutes via the 116 bus from Nice (new Gare Routiere St Jean d'Angeley/ Tram Stop Vauban) two crossings a day - 10:45 and 14:15) . The La Turbie tourist office is delightful and a helpful French conversation lesson thrown in for free if you ask ( Alternatively pay Villefranche Total Immersion Language School a fortune) They have free walking guides - "Randonnees"- that will take you east around Mont Agel to Roquebrunne and Gorbio, downhill to Beausoliel and Monaco, or west to Fort Reverie and Eze Village. Any choice gives you a two to three hour walk ending in regular transport to return you home.
This stuff is not for the faint hearted, but its not so hard you need to be Ironman. Just a healthy enjoyment of a little physical effort repayed in spades. Your own Carte de Randonnee (No 3752 OT -www.ign.fr scale 1:25,000 Nice/Menton ) is a good investment.
Note to photographers - these high altitudes give bleached skies - shoot RAW, adjust white balance to daylight and reduce exposure 1-2 stops post processing . A Polarising Filter is helpful too.
Note to motorists: its never too late to park the car and experience to pleasures of actually being here, and walking.
Boat trips from the Port of Nice
In high season there are several boat trips worth considering - the best are probably the short trip to Monaco, and of course in the other direction, to the glamorous but not easily accessible St Tropez. There are also frequent cruises along the coast, for the less adventurous...
The Boats and ticket office are at Quai Lunel along the port. Expect to pay around 60 euro for the daytrip St Tropez. Its not cheap, but its a great experience, and you can't get easily get to St Tropez any other way as there are no direct buses from Nice and the famous town has no rail connection (The only other practical way is by train to St Raphael and then a direct ferry from the port)
The all-important daytrip boats tend to fill up quickly, so book tickets in advance. They start to leave around nine o'clock, but unless you want to stand for two hours, arrive a lot earlier! In both directions you will be regailed with the captain's commentary on the fabulous history and coastal villas of the rich and famous, and the view from the sea gives you unique access.
Another short bus ride, Route 100 from Nice JC Bermond (next to the old Bus Station in Jean Jaures) , will drop you off at the next town along the Riviera direction Monaco, of Villefranche.
Here is a restful and attractive little town with harbour, popular sandy beach, cafes and restaurants and a few historic sights such as Cocteaus inspired frescos in the Chapel St Pierre, the Citadellle St Elme, and the medieval rue Obscure
Visit Villefranche virtually
L'orchestre d'harmonie de Nice
This orchestra gives free concerts of classical music.
For the 2009 spring season, book your sunday afternoons:
From March, 1st to April, 26th, you'll find them in the Eglise Notre-Dame du port (the church on the harbour), at 15h30, for a (free) hour of music.
After that, from Mai, 3rd, they'll play again in the outside in the kiosk in the middle of the Jardin Albert 1er garden.
Cap Ferrat Zoo - for children
Cap Ferrat Zoo is a pleasant place to take children for a day out. The zoo can easily be covered in an hour or two. Most of the animals look well cared for, although one of the tigers looked a little "stir crazy". There is a cafe/restaurant within the zoo which sells a variety of snacks and meals. Entry is 12 euros for Adults, 8 for children + free for under 3.
To get there from Nice Gare Routiere you can either try to catch the 81 bus which stops off just by the Zoo at Cap Ferrat a few times a day, Mon-Sat. It departs Gare Routiere 0650 / 1020 / 1245 / 1315 / 1800 (although it sneaked out of the Gare Routiere early on the day we wanted to use it!) and returns from the zoo stop are at 1039 / 1304 / 1340 / 1819. Or TAM 111 which leaves for the zoo at 0910 / 1215 / 1550. For a more regular bus service you could try the TAM 100 bus and walk from Villefranche as we did. It took about 25 minutes to walk from the closest stop to the Zoo.
- Family Travel
Marineland for children
A nice place for children to visit, take the train to Biot from Nice and walk. Our son who was 4 at the time really enjoyed this place. Marineland is full of dolphins, killer whales, seals etc. At le Petite Ferme du Far West you can have pony rides etc. There’s also mini golf, water park and birds section. You can pay for each part separately, although when looking to go this year it was really expensive to visit each attraction! Park opens from 10am. Check their website as closing times varies through the year, as do prices.
- Horse Riding
- Theme Park Trips
- Family Travel
Cité Mixte du Parc Impérial
This huge building was built in 1899 as a luxury hotel. After World War I, the hotel was affected by the crisis which striked all the luxury hotels in the coast. Between 1925 and 1926, the county council approved this luxury hotel acquisition. Today, the building is a public secondary school estalishment. The façade changed a bit over the years.
HOW TO GET THERE
It is close to the Russian Church (L'Eglise Russe).
As you walk along Boulevard Twazervitch, turn right on Avenue General Weygand and walk up until you see the building.
From the train station (Gare SNCF) take either bus # 14 (Square Daudet - Mont Boron, Direction: Square Daudet) or # 17 (Square Daudet / Monastère de Cimiez - CPAM Pessicart. Direction: CPAM Pessicart).
This old Genovese palace is in the Old Nice.
It dates from the 17th century and shows tapestries, old furniture, and also promotes the art and traditions of the Nice region.
Guided tours are available.
It is very interesting and beautiful.
- Castles and Palaces
Le Parc Floral Phoenix
Le Parc Floral Phoenix at 405, Promenade des Anglais: This happens to be one of the largest greenhouses in Europe, but many people miss it because is located right by the aéroport and quite a hike up the boardwalk from Centre Ville. But in my opinion it is well worth it! The greenhouse it so neat the way it is divided into the different temperature zones of the world. My favorite is the room with all the beautiful papillons (butterflies).
However much every town tries, no-one acheives the celebrity magnet pull of St Tropez.
Hang around the harbour-front cafes, lurk around Hotel Le Byblos, if you can stay overnight the clubs are chocka with stars, everything around you screams glamour. Bear in mind the famous beaches like Pamplone and Ramatuelle are some distance away from the town - a fair taxi ride.
Hard to get to, exclusive, truly glamorous and ferociously expensive, a day in St Tropez is yours for the princely sum of 50-odd euros return and an early start from Nice Port. But make sure you book in advance, and arrive a half hour earlier than you are told if you want a good seat on the two and a half hour boat ride to St Tropez.
Travel sickness pills are recommended if you don't do boats. This is no wallflower cruise liner, it zips along at great speed and bounces over the crest of waves.
The only other convenient way to access St Tropez from Nice is by train to St Raphael, and a ten minute walk to the Batteaux St Raphael ferry services from the Port to St Tropez. There are a limited number of crossings each day and it is essential to pre-plan your train and boat connections.
(I know what youre thinking: why not just hire a car and drive there? Well in season, if you want to spend six hours in one long traffic jam, this is your big chance. Everybody who has tried that has come away with the words "Never again!" on their lips.)
Monaco and Monte Carlo
Access from Nice to the principality of Monaco couldn't be easier - TAM 100 or 100X bus (1 euro), or train from Gare Nice Ville (around 5 euro), will have you in Monaco in less than a half hour.
Only 2sq km in size, population 3,000 Monegasques, 27,000 tax exiles (zero rate of personal income tax) home to the wealthiest individuals in Europe. The streets are spotless - litter-free - as it has the world's highest rate of policemen per thousand population.
In Monte Carlo you can marvel at the Casino, take pictures of people taking pictures of the casino to confuse them - or go inside, if you are appropriately dressed. The free public area of the Casino is limited to slot machines, but for a charge around ten euro you can enter the gaming rooms, though real high rollers only ever play behind closed doors. The luxury cars parked outside the casino are for effect, a permanent feature to add a touch of glamour to the casino.
If you are feeling fit for the climb, fantastic views can be had from the exotic gardens (charges, but worth it) and their collection of Cactii, high up on the side of the hill above Monte Carlo looking down over the castle and the harbour.
At Prince Ranier's palace you can see his amazing classic car collection (charges). Fabulous classics, only 6 euro entry
Dont miss the fabulous Musee Oceanographique, what should be one of the wonders of the world with its three story coral reef and shark tank. And there is a guided tour deep down into the underground caverns.
In the harbour you will often see some of the worlds most impressive luxury yatchs, like the Lady Moura - said to be the most expensive in the world at $100m. Very big boys toys these.
Walk around the town and count the Porsches, Mercedes, Ferraris, Rolls Royces, Bentleys, Lambourghinis, and the odd Reliant Robin .
If you hanker after Formula One and Grand Prix week the third week of May each year, bear in mind that everything by way of accommodation everywhere goes up 30 - 50% in price, that you can't see a thing anywhere on the route without paying for a ticket, the best of which come in at 300 euro for the day.
Join me to read the lowdown on the Monaco royal family, those wild child daughters, and the real Monaco
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