It's Day 3 of our Côte d'Azur adventures and we're already trying to figure out when we can move here.
Day 0 was the start of our travels, with EDP leaving hours before me in San Francisco before we met up at Pearson for our flight to Nice via Zurich. Because we had different itineraries, we weren't on the same ticket so weren't able to sit together on our flights. That's okay, we've got lots of together time now that we're here.
Day 1 was the last bit of travelling with our arrival in Nice around 10am. We headed straight to our hotel on Promenade des Anglais (Hotel Negresco, which we've now had two people tell us is the nicest in the city - but don't get too excited, we're in a separate wing with a garden view) where we dropped bags off before walking up to the Matisse museum. Our walk was beautiful, with the sun shining and signs pointing our way, making it relatively easy to find, though primarily uphill. The museum held a tonne of work by Matisse - including sculptures, paintings and the paper cutouts Matisse gravitated to later in life, including one of his famous blue nudes. From there, we headed back to hotel, where we had a bit of a wait for our room still, so we went across the street and sat watching the beach and the sea. Then we got checked in, showered and headed out to dinner not far from the hotel before crashing early on in the evening (e.g. 8pm for one of us) and sleeping until almost 9 on Tuesday morning. Hey, we needed it - neither of us slept much on the plane.
Tuesday was our day trip to Antibes, which started with a short train ride over to the town and walk along the port, gawking at the fancy boats before turning into the old town to head up to the the Picasso museum. It wasn't quite what I expected - mostly sketches - but there was a photography exhibit of dozens of photos taken of him through his life. From there, we made our way to the market to pick up some snacks for the afternoon and then grabbed some lunch before taking the bus to Cap d'Antibes for our afternoon plans. Originally, we had planned on walking the painters' trail, basically, a walking tour of where a bunch of painters used to hang out. But then I learned about Le Sentier du Littoral, a 5km hike along the sea, which was stunning. We were on varied terrain, ranging from a paved stone walkway to rocky landscapes. The views were amazing, we saw several really, really big yachts (at what point do they become ships?) and enjoyed the crashing waves along the shore. Then it was back to Nice for the day, grabbing a bottle of champagne on the way back to hotel to enjoy before dinner.
Today was another vigorous day. We took the train out to Cagnes-Sur-Mer where we walked over to the Renoir museum, which is in a home he owned and painted in. I didn't realize he had been so struck by arthritis in his hands, which were often bandaged. The house was beautiful - and they've recently renovated it to make it more in line with how it would have been when Renoir lived there. After that, we headed to the historic city, which might as well have been on a mountain, given how high the climb was to it. I didn't appreciate how hilly Cagnes-Sur-Mer was so we weren't adequately prepared for how thirsty we were at the top, where Château Grimaldi sits. This was an odd little duck, being a 16th century castle that houses both medieval artifacts and modern art. It was... interesting. But the views were spectacular - on one side was the sea and the other was the mountains. I even managed a view Ativan-free photos on my own! Then, we wandered back down through the historic city - much easier going down - and caught a bus to Vence to look at its historic city (not quite as hilly) and visit the Matisse chapel.
The Matisse chapel is actually the Chapelle du Rosaire but everyone knows it at the Matisse chapel. Matisse desiged every single detail over the span of about 3 years, when Matisse was well into his 70s. It was beautiful in its simplicity, using his paper cutout style in the stained glass and simple (yet amazing) drawings for the murals. We also saw a number of the vestments he designed for all the different times and celebrations of the liturgical year. Then it was back to Nice where I spent some time reading by the sea before an amazing dinner, at which I ordered two desserts. I'm on vacation, I'm allowed!
Tomorrow, we stay in Nice, checking out the old town here and spending some time on the beach. It's supposed to be another beautiful sunny day, so it should be a good one!