Nice and Paris
October 29th to november 8th 2004
Friday, october 29'th
Not much to say about the start of the trip to Paris. First to Billund then the plane at 12.20 to Paris
1½ hour later I'm in Charles de Gaulle Airport. RER-train to the city and Gare de Lyon. A 100 meter walk to my hotel for the night, the Hotel Adriatic. Small room, but nice and clean. I'm staying here because it's close to Gare de Lyon and my TGV-train heading for Nice tomorrow morning.
There's time for a little sightseeing in Paris. I pass the Opera at the Place de la Bastille, and heads for one of my Paris-favourites - Place de Vosges. Then through Marais to Centre Pompidou and the shopping-area around Les Halles. Then back to Hotel Adriatic, where there's a football-match between Marsaille and Monaco on the TV.
Saturday, october 30'th
Leaving Paris. A short walk to Gare de Lyon, where my TGV-train for Nice leaves at 8.50. It's fast - real fast - and before you notice the train is in Marseille. And here it doesn't even stop, it just slows down for a more normal pace along Cote d'Azur before arriving in Nice at 2.30.
Then I head for Maison Danice - the place I'n gonna stay. It's very central with a nice little aparment, with bath, kitchen and a little balcony.
Since I've got a kitchen my first duty is shopping. Milk, cheese, coffee etc - so I can make my own breakfast in the morning
Then it's time for a walk around Nice for a few hours. A walk along the Mediteranean sea, where I get lost at the end, and has to consult my map to get back - and another short wail in Vieux Nice, an old entertainment and restaurant-area. I buy my dinner at a take-away-joint - Phnom Penh - before going back to my apartment to eat.
Sunday, october 31'st
Wake-up call at 7 - not as bad as it sound, because the night has been an hour longer than usual due to changing to wintertime. Breakfast with baguettes and croissant in my own kitchen
Then a walk north to the railway-station called Nice South. From here I take Train des Pignes to Entrevaux.
It's a 1½ hourt ride into Provence following the river Var. The river has not got normal river-colour. It's totally grey for some reason.
Weather in Entrevaux is almost as grey, but still no rain. Entreveux is an old medieval city, with small oblique houses, tiny streets and plenty of nice and strange things around. You can only get to the city by crossing a bridge, so it was pretty easy to defend the city agains enemies in the old days.
On top of the city you find the Citadel. It's a streneous walk uphill, but worth the effort. The Citadel is nice - and the view of Entreveux and the valley is great. It's all green and red - the colours of autumn -, so it looks real nice. On the way down it starts to rain, and when I reach the city of Entreveux, it's really nasty. But it's lunchtime, so it's just the right time to find a local restaurant.
After lunch the rain has stopped, and I spend a few more hours in Entrevaux before heading for the train back to Nice at 4. During the train-ride it really starts to rain - but I have been told that when it rains here it's usually for a short time - and when we arrive in Nice the rain has stopped again.
Monday, november 1'st
It's a public holiday in France to day - La Toussaint - and many shops and restaurants are closed.
But that can't stop me from taking the 10.30-bus from Gare Routière to Antibes. It's an one hour busride with the rain pouring down outside. But I'm lucky again - the rain stops just as we reach Antibes. So I can walk around Le Vieil Antibes - The Old Antibes - without getting wet.
Most tourist follow the main streets here, but it's much more fun going into the more labyrinthical part of the city, where you never know what will show up around the next corner. On the main streets you can be pretty sure that it's just another H & M.
From Le Vieil Antibes there's a few km to walk across Cap d'Antibes to the neighbour-city of Juan-les-Pins. And if Antibes is for the rich - then Juan-les-Pins is for the filthy rich. They hide in huge houses with high fences around. Most of the beaches are private property - we don't want everyone to mingle here. But the restaurants are still public, and I get my best pizza for decades in a restaurant down at the beach.
From here back to old Antibes and the Marina. Here is everything - from small rowing-boats to Yachts almost as big as QE2. I believe that if you are anything - and you can afford it - then this is the place to have your boat. There are boats from everywhere - London, Luxembourg, Saudi-Arabia, Hamburg - you name it.
I don't know how long I have been walking today, but my legs can sure feel it. Så it's time for the bus back to Nice along Cote d'Azur. This stretch of the coast is spoiled by ugly hotels, apartments and shopping-malls. A very sad sight.
Back in Nice it starts to rain again. So it's a little shopping in Galleri Lafayette's supermarket and a baguette full of something and then back to my apartment for a restfull evening in front of the TV and with a good book.
Tuesday, november 2'nd
It's my third day in Nice, and something I really haven't seen yet is --- Nice. So I stay here for the day, and take some solid walks around town.
Walk no. 1 is along Premenade des Anglais - the promenade along the Mediteranean Sea. It's a nice walk - you can imagine how many people there will be in high-season. But now there's room for everyone, but the weather on the other hand is gray and a little rainy.
Walk no. 2 runs through the tiny alleys in Le Vieux Nice - and end's with a climb - an easy one that is - to Parc du Château. Here is a nice parc and a great view of the city.
This is really low-season so the restaurant on top is closed, and there is not a single passenger on the stupid tourist-train running up and down the hill.
Walk no. 3 - my evening-walk - also runs through Vieux Nice to Place Garibaldi. Plenty of space in Vieux Nice this time of the year - but in summer it must be hell.
And it's going to be exiting to wake up tomorrow. The americans are electing their new President - and let's hope it's a new one.
Wednesday, november 3rd
Merde - The old bastard won again.
But on the other hand - the sun is shining for the first time on this trip. Bus to Eze Village, right between Nice and Monaco - up in the hills. A medieval town placed right at the cliffs of the hills. Plenty of old stone-houses and great views. Unfortunately also a lot of tourist-junk. This place could be hell in summer. But now there's plenty of room for the few tourist hanging out.
From the village theres a small path called Chamin de Nietzsche all the way down to Eze de Mer at the Mediteranean. It's a 1 hour exiting walk. Exiting because - eventhough it's downhill all the way - it's not an easy route. The path is made of stone, cliffs and mud from the rain the last few days - and is very much downhill at times. So I sweat a lot when I finally reach the bottom, and it's not just because of the heat. From Eze de Mer there's a bus back to Nice.
The evening-walk is a nice stroll in the sunset along Premenade des Anglais. Nice place. The Nice Airport is right at the end of the walk - some 4-5 km away - and every now and then a departing plane pass by on the sky.
Dinner at Restaurant Hippopotamus. I order my meal in fluent french, but it might have been a mistake saying "medium done", when the waiter asked what kind of sauce I wanted for my french fries.
Thursday, november 4'th
Bullshit - has catched the cold - got to stay inside all day - merde!!!
Friday, november 5'th
Fine again. Så it's a short walk to Gare Routiére and the bus to Monaco. Lovely drive along the coast. Much nicer than the trip to Antibes. Here there are no ugly hotels, holiday-camps and shopping-malls. Just nice towns and great views of the Mediteranean Sea.
I Monaco I head for the Prince's Castle. I'm there right on time for the changing of the guard. Strange tradition, where the guards lift their guns and sables up and down, while changing places. All this in front of a quite astonished crowd.
From the palace it's a short walk to The Aquarium. Plenty of fine fish, a great view from the roof, and an exorbitant price to get inside.
Then out into the streets of Monaco. I'm quite familiar with many of the streets. That's because I have seen them so often, while watching the Monaco Grand Prix on the telly. Monaco is quite hilly, so now and then you can take an elevator or escalator up the hill, which makes the walk less streneous.
I find the Casino-square. I don't go into the fine Casino. The suit's standing outside guarding the thing, doesn't seem to like people wearing t-shirts and bagpacks. Instead I find the gambling-machines at Cafe de Paris on the other side of the square. There I give my contribution to the forthcoming welfare of the people in Monaco.
Then on to more Formula 1-streets to Plaza de Armes where the bus takes me back to Nice.
This is my final day in Nice, so it's a feast in Hippopotamus, before my last walk in old Nice, and my last view of the Mediteranean Sea.
Saturday, november 6'th
Exit Nice today. Check-out at 10. Petit dejeuner at a cafe on the way to the railway station, and then the TGV to Paris at 11.30.
I'm in Paris 6 hours later, and then it's a short walk to my old hotel Adriatic.
And when this whole day so far has been transport, you have to be a tourist by night. So I take the Metro to Bir-Hakeim to see the Eiffeltower by night. There's a nice lightning on the thing, and now and then it blinks almost like the lights of a discoteque.
There are not many tourist at this time, so the line for getting all the way to the top isn't long. I have been to the Eiffeltower before, but never all the way up - so this is my chance to get there. There's a great view of Paris from there - and you can see really far.
Down again and back to Gare de Lyon. I'm getting used to staying in France, so it's 9.30 before I find a restaurant for my dinner tonight - unfortunately a bad place - but such things happen.
Sunday, november 7'th
One whole day for Paris, that's not a lot of time, so I have to use it good to see both new and welknown places. And I was so "smart" at arrival a week ago to buy a Carnet - 10 Metro-tickets, and I still have 7 left - so we are into some serious tourist-business today.
First stop is Cité - the small island in the Seine. Usually people go here to see Notre Dame, but I'm not. I go to see La Conciergerie. It's an old prison from the 14'th century. Mainly known from the french revolution, where all the wrong ones were held here, before their heads were cut off. You can see the cell of Marie Antoinettes (you know - the one with the cakes). And the power of the market was in full force those days. If you had the money you could alway buy yourself a better cell. But you lost your head anyway.
As a bonus in La Conciergerie there's a nice photo-exhibition and a exhibition with drawings of Rosinski, who made the comic-books of Thorgal. Looks exiting - have to check out Thorgal when I get back home. There's free entrence to La Conciergerie on the 1'st sunday in every month - and that is today.
Next stop Varenne. Here is Hotel des Invalides. This place was build by Louis XIV at about 1671 to host disabled soldiers from the war. At times there were about 4000 disabled living here, so it's kind of huge. Now there's a small hospital in one corner, and the rest in mainly used for offices and museums. I check out a WW2-museum. Behind the complex you will find the Eglise de Dòme. There's a huge cuffin where Napoleon is burried. Why they need such a huge one for such a little man, I don't know.
Next stop Anvers - Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. I have never really understood why Montmartre is so popular, and I have to confess, that I find Sacre Coeur extremely ugly. But the wiews of Paris from up here are great. I use one of my Metro-tickets for the funicular running up the hill to the church. Normally I would have taken the stairs - but I have to get rid of those tickets.
Final stop on this Paris-sightseeing trip is Père Lachaise. This cemetary is huge and a lot of celebrities are burried here. At the entrence you can buy a map, and then go around looking for your favourite deads. The most famous grave is the one of Jim Morrison. Last time I was here, there was a small party going on at the grave with people listening to old Doors-songs, drinking a few beers and smoking funny tobacco. But this is all over now. A guy that looks like Rutgar Hauer in a uniform is standing just opposite the grave, so no more nonsens here.
Pére Lachaise is a lovely place a day as today, with the most beautifull autumn-colors. Fits nicely to a cemetary in some way.
I'm now all done, and the second-last ticket is used back to Gare de Lyon. The last one must be saved for another trip to Paris sometime - always an excuse to go back again some day. The evening is spent in my room watching a football-match between PSG and Marseille.
Monday, november 8'th
Last day. A little tourist-time in the morning after checking out from my very nice hotel. I spend the time locally. A walk on Viaduc des Arts - an abolished railway-line now turned into some fancy shops and a nice walk on the top.
And finally a stroll over on the other side of the Seine to Jardin des Plantes - one of the many fine parks in Paris.
It's cold in Paris this morning and now it starts to rain. Nice time to go home - so I take my RER-train to CDG for my check-in to BLL. I have bought some "Boules" for Petanque, but they are not allowed on the plane as handluggage. They are "potential leathel weapons" as security is putting it - with a big smile. I have to go to check-in to get them on the plane. The guy at check-in seems to think it's kind of fun. Only George Bush would use such things as a weapon he says - they really don't like the guy here in France. He puts them in a huge plastic-bag and they are checked in for my plane to Billund where we arrive safely a few hours later.