We’ve been very been very busy over the last few days with early morning departures and late nigh arrivals. Throw in dinners and the need to keep with some domestic chores, we have had very little time for keeping up with our travel journal.
Last Saturday,we left Avignon to travel to Nice. This journey took us over six hours of travel and through the main area of Provence. Most of the trip was along motorways and whilst this limited our ability to see many of the towns, it did enable us to cover a lot of distance.
Our main stop was at the town of Grasse which is the centre of the french perfume business. I had imagined Grasse to be a small village, but it is a major town with a very large urban area. We visited the Fragonard perfumery where they distill essences from flowers and other natural sources. it takes one tonne of Japonica flowers to produce one litre of perfumed oil. Most of our group lined up to buy some perfume of some sort and after lunch, the bus had a very sweet odour indeed. We had lunch in a pizza shop the old centre of town – it wouldn’t be improper not to have a medieval centre in towns such as these.
We reached Nice late in the afternoon and settled quickly in to our hotel. Jill had already had enough of the day and so she decided to do a little washing while Ruth & I went for a walk through the city. They have two new tram routes in Nice and these trams are very modern and sounded just like the trams in Melbourne.We walked down to the beach where it was obvious that the prices of the women’s bikinis probably bore no relation to the amount of fabric of which they were made. We walked along the ‘English Promenade’ to the harbour where there is a lot of serious money invested in the boats that we saw moored along the harbour wall. From there, we made our way back to our hotel, which was situated near the local cathedral of Notre Dame.
On Sunday, we visited four gardens in the area around Monaco and found, as would be expected, that the quality of the garden related directly to the amount of money that the the original owner had to spend. One as very historic, but in a sad state of dilapidation. The cactus at the Garden Exotique were fascinating and I never thought that I would get excited over these prickly things. Instead of being bored, I found the subtle flowers and interesting shapes to be quite fascinating.
The rose garden that was planted in memory of Princess Grace was very pretty, but hard to get to as a number of the local streets were already closed off in preparation for the Grand Prix which was due to be held in the week after our visit. Some classic cars were involved in races around the circuit whilst we were there.
The ‘stand-out’ garden was that of Euphresus de Rothschild on the Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsular. It was centred around a lavish Florentine style villa and consisted of seven gardens including Japanese, Spanish, Cactus and Rose gardens. In the centre was a large formal garden with a pond and musical fountains that operated every 20 minutes. Very lavish indeed. It was even worth taking extra time for a second circuit.
I’ll post some pictures of our day in the area of Cinque Terra when I have more time.