modern airport, Nice is the perfect place to start your southern vacation.
Here you can discover French Southern charm, museums, beaches, food and
promenades you dream about. Here, you walk along the Mediterranean, past the
famous pink domed Negresco Hotel and the shining white buildings from Nice’s
glory years. But there’s much that is new in Nice as you’ll see.
there are open air flower markets, wonderful restaurants, like Flo, right
behind Galleries Lafayette where shopping is the best. Chez Flo is a
reconverted movie theatre. The food is top quality and the atmosphere
exotic. Make a reservation in advance.
market was created in 1897 at the Cours Saleya near the water. There is a
food market open every day but Monday an antique market open daily from 7:30
– 6 PM but not on Mondays. In the evening from June 1st – Sept 3oth there’s
an evening showing of local art.
no visit to Nice is complete without the Chagall Museum of the Bible and the
park-like setting of the Matisse Museum.
City and harbor are great evening places to eat or just walk along the
Promenade Des Anglais in French Southern ambiance.
Note: A day
trip to St paul de Vence in the foothills is rewarding and visual. Include
the Fondation Maeght .
Nearby, a day trip to sunny
Villefranche, the harbor with the fortress, permanently decorated Jean
Cocteau Church (Chapelle St-Pierre) and the Rothschild home perched on a
rise above the deep water bay on cap Ferrat, all pink and inviting. The
admission charge is worth it and there’s a charming restaurant for lunch.
Just a Salad Niceois is worth the effort.
place to visit while here is the Russian Orthodox Church. There was one a
great Russian presence in the area as the Russian Government leased
Villefranche Harbor for their fleet.
area offers everything from modern art to gambling. It is a city with a
spirit and even a simple salad Nicoise is not so simple.
suggest Hotel Rivoli…centrally located in Nice. From here you have
easy access to all points and it’s walking distance to the beach.
Hotel Nice Rivoli
3* 45 rue Pastorelli
Phone: 33 (0) 4 93 92 69 60
But we have to move on. Monaco is a short hop away and on
route, a stop in hilltop Eze will make your view of the sunny seacoast
memorable. At the base of the town, you can enjoy a few hours touring
Fragonard and learn the wonders of perfume making.
place for the rich and famous. Here the hotels are splendid but expensive.
The gambling casino is famous, the palace is splendid and the Monte Carlo
auto race attracts thousands. It’s a nice place to spend a day touring
around or perhaps overnight, but it is a tiny municipality with a forest of
high-rise buildings. The whole principality covers less than 2 square km or
one square mile. Yet, the views are wonderful and the experience not to be
missed., especially a visit to the Palace, open daily June – Oct.
There are day or evening tours to the
city or Casino from Nice by motor coach. The drive along the middle Cornish
with its twist, turns and tunnels is in itself a treat.
But if you
are going into Italy by car, I wouldn’t spend too much time here. There are
treasures ahead, not to be missed. The Corniche is the fastest way to get
through the first part of the Italian coast. Here you’ll pass spectacular
views and see the towns far below near the sea. Once you get to Genoa, you
turn south and the terrain becomes more forested and serene.
Genoa is a
mega city famous for its relationship with ship building and Columbus, but
there are more interesting places an hour to the south so stay on the main
soon see the exit for Rapallo and Portofino on the Autostrada
Drive through Rapallo to Sta
Marguerita where the hotels string out along the shore. You can
easily find a place to stay here, as there are wall to wall hotels.
But It’s crowded and with a minimum of charm. Keep traveling on the
coastal road to nearby Portofino. There is an indoor garage and a
very short walk to the sleepy fishing village that awaits you. It is
one of those picture perfect places to have a glass of wine with
biscotti, even in the morning, as they do here.
The jet set discovered
Portofino and made it famous. Climb the stairs and see the port from
above. There is a yellow church, a museum and a castle open t0 the
On a recent visit I bought a delicate
water color poster of the bay. It hangs in my kitchen ever since. That alone
could wet anyone’s appetite to visit Italy. Movie stars and Royalty visit
here often. You can join them. There is no more peaceful place for a
holiday. You can stay but make a reservation in advance.
Hotel suggestion Hotel Splendido a
classic 4 story hotel in a historic building dating from 1400. It sits on
beautiful grounds overlooking the sea. There is a bar, restaurant and pool.
Inquire for prices at Tel: 0185 267806.
|Not everyone takes the time to get off the
through highway and visit the five towns on a cliff looking out to
the Western Mediterannean. If you have the time you will be
rewarded. There are not many places to stay but you might still
enjoy the spectacular panoramas from this towering location.
Driving can be another problem but there is a train
and good walking paths. From Riomaggiore you can descend the steep
street that leads to the harbor. The bright colored fishing boats
are a photographer’s delight.
Try to get
to Manarola, the most picturesque of all. There’s an American style
restaurant but not much else. The dock is cut from the rock wall. From here,
there’s a ferry to Vernazza
area you can take a ferry to Elba. It’s of great historical significance .
Mountainous with lovely beaches and you can see the mansion in Portoferraio
where Napoleon lived while in exile for ten months after his defeat at the
Battle of Leipzig in 1814. He returned from here and organized an army that
was defeated in 1815 at Waterloo (near Brussels).
Everyone knows about the great leaning Tower and so it’s
always teaming with visitors. While it’s worth a visit there are two
drawbacks. First of all the ‘field of miracles’ where the tower and basilica
stand teems with vendors. It looks like a lavish market with cheap souvenirs
and illicit hawkers everywhere.
Secondly, if you arrive by car or tour bus, you have to
drive outside the city and leave your car in a special car park. From there
the small shuttle busses take you back and forth to the tower.
I suggest you go once so you’ll have seen it. A good guide
will explain how the engineers have come up with a way to save the tower
from leaning any farther and possibly collapsing.
The old town is interesting but no more than most towns in
|This was once a famous seaport but with the
changes in the land and ocean, the town is quite far from the sea
Perhaps that explains why the tower
was leaning and sinking. The ground below is quite water-logged.
As you drive east from the village you will come
to a tiny town with thermal baths. While it has its charm San
Giuliano Terme offers an excellent modern hotel with a wonderful
dining room. Their risotto is special but even if its not on the
menu you will be able to sample many other local delicacies. This
hotel is a true oasis, away from the noise of Pisa, yet only a short
Gran Duca Hotel
pink and white hotel is a good place to spend a night or two. There are
tennis courts available. Call ahead for reservations.
Lucca is about thirty minutes away.
This old Tuscan Capital is certainly worth visiting even if its only for the
1402 Words Arnie Greenberg
You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at:
Over the past few years, Professor
Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece,
Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of
Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the
globe including Italy and most of
China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters
from St.Petersburg to Moscow.
"He took a group to Greece and another to northern
Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour
groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They
winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico. His newly found spare time
is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His
current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders.. "So
You Want To Be A Tour Leader."
Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing
Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel
writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.
Keep reading his web for travel ideas. His next
novel HELLSTORM'S Folly,
will be available this fall. He now
lives in British Columbia.
www.top-travel-ideas.com or contact him directly at
(More about the writer.)