Day 8 - Friday, May 3, 2013 - Guided tour of Aix-En-Provence; Home of Cézanne, Drive to the Mediterranean City of Nice; Optional Excursion to Monaco
How lucky can we get? We started the day with blue skies with a few powder puff clouds. The temperature was 53° and the humidity was 86%.
Gianni took us into Aix where we met our city guide, Loni. We traced the footprints of the famous painter, Paul Cézanne by walking the marked path. We saw his birthplace (1836), his father's haberdashery, the church where he was christened, the schools where he studied as a child, and finally the house where he died in 1906.
The path is clearly marked with brass tiles placed in the sidewalks. Loni gave us information about his life and the early times of the city. We drove up to his studio that was just as he left it when he died.
All of his painting equipment, the vases, and the pitchers used for his still life paintings are on the tables. A continuous loop video shows many of his paintings done in this studio.
Our last stop was a ride to the hills where he painted his mountain scenes. A new expensive community of homes has been built on the hillside, but the city has preserved a small park as a memorial to Cézanne and his works.
We thanked Loni and drove back to the fountain in the city center and had an hour for lunch. We sat at a little table on the sidewalk and had quiche; onion for Vic and salmon for Gennie.
The group gathered at the Cézanne statue and started our drive to Nice. The breathtaking drive was about two hours. We made one quick stop for restrooms and arrived at the hotel at 3:40.
Vic brought our luggage to our room as we only had 20 minutes to get to our keys, find our passports, change our clothes, and head out for the evening. Amazingly everyone was ready at 4:00 and we started for Èze.
Fifteen of us made the trip to Èze. It was sunny and warm with beautiful palm trees and villas clinging to the hillsides above the azure Mediterranean below. We had an hour to climb to the top of the old village.
At the summit was Le Jardin Exotique. For six € each, we could see the beautiful succulent plants from all over the world. As we climbed to the top we were amazed at the cacti, the century plants, and other tropical plants. The spectacular views alone were worth the money and we were so happy to have made the effort to climb to the top!
We met our group at 5:30 and 10 of us continued on to Monaco and Monte Carlo. We traveled on the steep and winding roads where Grace Kelly, the Princess of Monaco died in a car crash in 1982.
Before entering the Principality, Gianni had to pay for a parking pass which was over 140 € for the evening. The city was preparing for the Grand Prix which will be held on May 23 this year. The grandstands were constructed along the race way and the tight turns were banked with rows of tires for padding.
Jean-Sébastien took us on a walk around the Principality. We saw the Oceanographic Museum and aquarium, the government buildings, the palace, and the Monaco Cathedral containing the tombs of Princess Grace and Prince Rainer III.
Our dinner was at L'Aurore Restaurant in Monte Carlo; the wait staff was very attentive and the wine flowed freely. After dinner we walked to casino and were required to check cell phones, iPads, and cameras at the door. The management also required all of us to show our passports for identification.
We received a ticket to go into the high stakes room where serious gamblers were starting to gather. We were there at 8:30 and it was pretty quiet – by the time we left at 9:30 more of the rich and famous were entering the casino. Time for us tourists to call it a night!
It was a short drive home to our hotel in Nice. We decided we would tackle the photos and the journal. Gennie’s pedometer told us we had walked 9.13 miles – another good day on the Walking Tour!
We want to add a special “Hello!” to Isabelle in Barcelona who is following our journey.
Accommodations: NH Nice Hotel - - - Meal: B - - Rating: C
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Wow! What a packed day! You would only do this much on a tour. I need to add the Cezanne walk to my list of things to do in France. I have also enjoyed the Jardin Exotique in Eze. I am really glad you had such a nice sunny day! Steve and I walked over 16,000 steps today in Leicester. It is a really interesting city with lots of pedestrian streets in the historic center. Tomorrow we go for our canal boat week!
Day 15 – Tuesday, October 25, 2022 – Return Flights to the USA
Our bags are unpacked, the laundry is done, and we are trying to get back on Colorado body clock time. Our trip home was long but basically uneventful, always a good thing!...