Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nice, France: La Ville Arc-en-Ciel. Rainbow City




La ville Arc-en-Ciel

I don't know about you, but the excitement over fall colors is already wearing thin. It may be because in the Pacific Northwest, fall colors come in the wet form... Glistening pumpkins; shining evergreen leaves; dripping trick or treaters hopping over puddles to reach the next slippery driveway (well, ok. It poured all day, but the rain did stop tonight when the kids hit the street...) 

Give it another two or three weeks, and all we can hope for - for five more months at least - is a monotonous two-tone scenery: Grey (if you look up) and green (moss and evergreens.) Nothing to be excited about, n'est-ce-pas

Oh, I know. Things could be worse. Seattle could have been on Sandy's path this week when "Frankenstorm" took the East Coast by storm. That region is still reeling from the disaster, and will likely continue to do so for weeks. Hugs to you, East Coast! You were my first [American] love. I did not forget.

But over here, in the Pacific Northwest, we are going to need - and use - every excuse to smile and have a good time over the next few months.

In order to counteract the effect of a S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder,) a condition well-known in Northern latitudes, where Vitamin D is as elusive as a stylish Seattleite at the local Red Robin, a friend recently started researching the benefits of luminotherapy. She gets up 30 minutes early and sits by a small, blue light bulb while sipping her café Latte. Best way to combat the winter blues, she claims. 

Why do I find the idea of replacing natural sunlight with artificial light so depressing? Has mon amie gone "toc-toc?"

Chacun son truc. To each his own. 

But, if the prospect of looking a blue light bulb in the eye several hours a week (or popping in "Happy Pills") does not appeal too you, follow me. I, French Girl, have found the Cure. And I will share it with you, my dear reader. Who says the French are arrogant and indifferent? People who have never traveled to France, that's who!

This French Girl is going to tell you a secret. When you feel down, and need joy and energy in your life, go to Nice, France. Some people know that city as a jewel of the French Riviera. Others have heard her nickname, Nissa la Bella. Beautiful Nice. You may remember I have a soft spot for that Southern Belle.

As I was going through old photos, I thought of a new name for Nice: La Ville Arc-en-Ciel. Rainbow city. Why don't you join me on a colorful promenade niçoise today? You will agree, I know it. Allons-y! Let's go!

The first thing one notices is the sky. It takes on so many different shades throughout the day, and blue does not even start to describe it. It is best to show it. 


Painter Henri Matisse's old house, place Charles Felix

near the Préfecture

Do you see what I mean? Already, you are feeling better. Already, your spirits are up; your energy revived. Forget the blue light bulb. The blue light bulb now sits in the trash, useless, forgotten. 

While approaching the maze of seemingly dark, narrow, and winding streets of le Vieux Nice (the Old Nice,) one might hesitate for a split second. After all, one can't ignore the neighborhood's once shadowy past...

They say la fortune sourit aux audacieux (Fortune favors the Brave.) Come on, follow me...






Is it Italy? Is it France? Old Europe, definitely. Everywhere around you, intense sounds, smells, and colors. Bright façades or unassuming walls. Sleepy houses in the early morning. 














Et les volets de Nice. Did you notice them? Nice's wood shutters. A world all of their own. Unless their American counterparts, they work for a living, keeping houses dark at night, and cool in the summer heat. Sleepy giants who may - or may not - open one eye as you walk by. They serve the city well, as Nice façades reflect into their eyes... Again, colors, so many colors. Shades of ochre, yellow, red, green and blue. You feel yourself smiling. 










Leave la Vieille Ville (the Old Town) behind, and the rainbow follows you... 






Place Masséna
La Grande Bleue. The Big Blue.

At sunset, then at night, Nice, la ville Arc-en-Ciel, shines.



Le port, "en feu..."
The harbor, ablaze

Place Masséna

Place Masséna

Palais Rusca
Place du Palais de Justice

Convinced yet?

Some might still prefer the blue light bulb. 


Moi, I have found it, my Happy Place: It is a lively, hospitable city on the shore of la Grande Bleue (the Mediterranean.) I have a friend in la Ville Arc-en-Cielanother one nearby, and that makes it all the more special.

One day soon, I will go back. Until then, whenever I need a dose of good old-fashioned joie-de-vivre, I can look at these photos and pay Nice a visit. And now, so can you. 

A bientôt.


My table is waiting...



All photos by French Girl in Seattle

Do not use, repost, or Pin, without permission.
Thank you.


Note to my readers: 

I am having a hard time getting used to the new Blogger format. It seems I have a tendency to push "Publish" instead of "Preview" as I am writing my stories. This is why some of you may have received early notifications... for a post that did not exist yet. Je suis désolée. My apologies. Better late than never. I hope you enjoyed this story.

65 comments:

  1. Merci beaucoup pour cette visite virtuelle de la belle ville de Nice. Les photos sont magnifiques. Amicalement.

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    1. Et merci de vous être promenée avec moi aujourd'hui...

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  2. Lovely photos! They really made my day, outside my window here at work it's grey, cold and drizzling but that doesn't matter anymore ;)
    Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I am happy to be of service. I did not do that much, really. Nice did all the heavy lifting :-)

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  3. Quel bel hommage!Je te sens amoureuse ...J'aime toujours voir ma ville par les yeux des visiteurs, qui forcément voient les choses autrement. Comme je voyage beaucoup,je sais que les couleurs et la lumière ne se retrouvent pas partout, loin de là.Mais je ne pensais pas que ça avait un tel impact sur des yeux neufs.Pour nous, les couleurs et la lumière font partie de la vie, et on ne le réalise que quand on arrive ailleurs.
    Bon, je suppose qu'après un post aussi élogieux, je vais devoir faire face à une vague de touristes ?! :o)
    Et moi, hier, ravie parce qu'il pleuvait, j'ai passé la soirée devant Twilight IV, savourant la vue des épaisses forêts moussues du nord-ouest américain! ..:o)
    Bonne semaine et bisous d'azur!

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    1. Bon, tu n'as pas du être trop surprise, Marie. Tu connais déjà mon attachement à ta belle ville. Mais tu as raison, on s'habitue aux choses, aux couleurs, à l'espace quand on y a accès tous les jours. Et puis quelqu'un nous rappelle que nous avons bien de la chance, et nous sommes un peu surpris... Ne t'inquiète pas pour les touristes. Il s'agissait d'une ballade "virtuelle," et avec les prix des billets d'avion en ce moment, il ne devrait pas y avoir de déferlement dans les semaines à venir. Tu devras quand même me rendre visite un de ces jours. Si tu aimes les forêts, la mousse et le brouillard, tu seras servie! Bisous.

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  4. Hello Veronique

    A brilliant post and so uplifting. The light in France and Italy is so spectacular even in winter.
    I find Florida to have wonderful light too and one of my favourite states.

    To sunshine and light

    Helen xx

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    1. Bonjour Helen. Always a pleasure to hear from you. I agree with you about Florida. I don't go often enough, unfortunately. Time to plan a trip, methinks!

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  5. I did enjoyed it. Truley and completly agree with you. It's a immediate dose of happiness! Thank you!

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    1. You're welcome. It's a nice feeling to make people happy :-)

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  6. Dearest Véronique,
    Oh, that button is tricky but you will remind yourself to stay OFF the orange button till the very end. But let me give you a tip. Put on the side 'Published on' the time you want to publish it. Save and click Publish. Than you go back and edit or whatever. If you click publish again, it doesn't matter as it is being held till the time you set.
    Oh, I guess since we lived for 3 winters in the tropics while working in Indonesia, we do suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Winters are very tough to live through. Can't blame you for wanting to go to your beloved Nice.
    Hugs to you,
    Mariette

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    1. Bonjour Mariette. As always, you come to my rescue with your technical expertise. Merci beaucoup. I will give it a try. You should have heard me swear when I inadvertently pushed the "Publish" button - twice! - I was mostly swearing at myself. Poor me. I got to hear it in French AND in English! If you think winters are tough in Georgia, imagine what they are like here, in the Pacific Northwest. Hugs to you.

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  7. Dear Veronique thank you for very much needed cheer up post. Nice really is very beautiful and I'd like to return there one day. I fell in love with this belle instantly. And when the scorching heat subsides the swimming in sunset is unforgettable.
    Colors are a great solution to winter blues. November can be a real drag, everything is depressingly gray, no leaves and no snow. The in-between-ness is confusing.
    Sandy touched us a bit, very strong winds - nothing compared to NY, but a sleepless night for me glued to CNN.
    Artificial light isn't helpful, I turned to colors instead http://jewelyettofind.blogspot.ca/2012/10/living-room-is-for-living.html to resist the seasonal gloominess .
    More posts like this one please.

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    1. Bonjour Natalie. I am so glad Sandy did not harm you or your home. The poor people of New Jersey did not fare as well. Like me, you understand the power of colors. I am surrounding myself with orange these days. Looking at it always makes me happy! Take care.

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  8. I haven't been to Nice in years and now I miss it! Maybe when the Normandy grey/green winter starts to get to me, we'll take a little road trip.
    Beautiful images!

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    1. You should wait a while. You are still in the "honeymoon phase," after all :-) Nice will always be there when you need her to cheer you up! Great to hear from you.

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  9. Nice looks great,especially on this grey Seattle day!

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  10. Ahhhh just what the doctor ordered! Thank you

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    1. Absolutely. A good doctor knows Nice, France, works better than that dumb blue light bulb! :-)

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  11. Exquisite photos of what looks to be a lovely, exquisite city by the sea! The last photo is my special favorite in this post. Your table is waiting. :) And you're right, it seems the perfect 'fix' for a dark, Northwest winter! Geez, does it ever! lol. Perfection of a post, Veronique, and a real treat on an overcast, drizzly Thursday-in-November Oregon afternoon. Yummy blue sky in these pics. How i miss it already! Gack! How will i feel in January? lol again.

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    1. Exquisite. That's a perfect way of describing Nissa la Bella. You and I will need to look at these photos often over the next few weeks and months! By January, we will be sobbing in a soggy tissue, while looking at them through swollen eyelids :-)

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  12. Your photos are popping off my screen.We went to Nice..mais malheureusement..pas la vieille partie..Dommage.
    In QC..once the leaves have gone..everything seems monochromatic..until the snow and blue skies.
    So happy I found your blog:-)

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    1. Bonjour Nana! Bienvenue chez moi! Comment? You went to Nice and missed la Vieille Ville? What happened?! Well, I guess you now have a reason to go back... You have monochromatic in your neck of the woods then? Geez. And I thought we were cursed with "two-toned everything!"

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  13. thanks i needed that-just back from our house on the jersey shore-by the grace of GOD we only have clean up issues and they are NOTHING compared to atlantic city area (about 45 minutes north from my house) so these happy bright pictures were the best tonic E-V-E-R!

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    1. g. -- Wonderful to hear from you, my friend. I was thinking about you and hoped you were ok. So happy your second home is still standing. How lucky you were this time! Where are you based? Philly, right?

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  14. How beautiful. I am sure I have mentioned to you that my parents honeymooned in Nice many "moons" ago. Of course, they were living in Toulon at the time, so it wasn't far to go. Some day I will visit for myself the "scene of the crime." In this case a crime of passion that produced me nine months later.

    Bises, M-T

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    1. Bonjour M-T. Yes, I remember the story about your parents. It's very romantic, isn't it? You owe it to yourself - and to them - to visit the beautiful city where you were conceived 28 years ago :-)

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    2. I knew I loved you......28 years ago??? Merci pour la fleur.

      M-T

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  15. C'est bien vrai, Véronique, qu'à Nice, on s'y sent bien. Cette féérie de couleurs chaudes, cette ambiance, son marché aux fleurs animé... Quoi de mieux?

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    1. Et tu sais de quoi tu parles, Richard, puisque tu es un voisin...

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  16. Wow I really think that city might be one of the most beautiful places on earth. How visually stunning and charming!

    I wish I had money so I could go there to combat my seasonal blues. I tend to get it pretty bad, actually. And it gets worse when you mix in the stress from having to drive in snowy hazardous conditions every day. :(

    I might have to look into that blue lightbulb your friend swears by lol.

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    1. Let's just say that if I lived where you spend your winters, Jenny, I would have already SWALLOWED a big blue light bulb!!! :-)

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  17. oooh i'll take this post over the bulb! how fun to follow you and smile along with you. thanks for so much lovely here!

    michele

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    1. You're welcome Michele. Follow me anytime :-)

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  18. Lovely Veronique! Yes, it really cheered me up here in slightly overcast Carmel-by-the-Sea. Like you am sending prayers to America's badly hit east coast. No blue bulbs for moi! Hugs, Suzanne

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    1. Bonjour Suzanne. What? Overcast in Carmel-by-the-Sea? Ah, I am sure it remains lovely there... The sun will return before you can say "un, deux, trois!" Bon weekend!

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  19. Hi Veronique,

    I hope you don't mind if I follow along. Your pictures of Nice are be very beautiful. I love all of the color, the blue skies and especially the water scene.

    I come to you from blogs we jointly read. By the way, you look so very much like our French exchange student we had several years ago. Marine was from Limoges.

    Our daughter's husband did his residency at Children's Hosp. in Seattle so we are familiar with the dark and the wet....For you I am wishing sunshine! Janey

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    1. Welcome chez French Girl in Seattle Janey! So I look like your old French exchange student, eh? I am originally from Toulouse, in the Southwest. I will pop in chez vous to learn more about your blog. A bientot!

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  20. I visited Nice some years ago and these pictures are so beautiful they make me want to go back. Stunning!

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    1. Oh Véronique...
      Convinced ? No. TOTALLY convinced? Absolutely yes!
      You are the best ambassador to the city you love so much. You got it: Blue sky, multicolor facades: much better than any artificial light to fight the S.A.D. syndrom. Thank you for the free visit, doctor Véronique.
      A friend of mine - who lives in Nice - recently complained about Nice being too touristic. LOL. Next time she says it, I will tell her the reason why... Because a French girl in Seattle ...........
      I'd love to be there too (one more tourist) with you as a special guide / friend. Maybe one day!
      xoxo,
      Anne

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  21. Je suis d'accord Veronique. J'adore la cite Nice et la Grande Bleue. We were there last October and it was magnificent. Nice is a happy place! Bonne weekend!

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    1. Bravo Pamela. Un message en "version originale" :-) Glad you agree...

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  22. I'm ready to jump on a plane...

    If only airfare weren't so expensive this year. Argh!

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    1. Maybe you and I could charter one? I bet we could find enough people to fill it, judging from my readers' comments? :-)

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  23. These photos are fantastic, Veronique!!! Wow. Do you know that I have never been to Nice?!? Isn't that crazy? Now, I will have to go...
    Thank you for this insta dose of happiness on this gray day...
    Bisous,
    H.

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    1. Thank you Heather. Not quite your hubby's level of expertise (or yours!) but working on it... :-)

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  24. What a great way to chase away the winter blues. Your photos make Nice alluring - I have yet to visit this eclectic city. Perhaps next year? Bonne semaine.

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    1. Thank you for your visit, Elizabeth. Once your "French folly" has been renovated, you will have more time to go sightseeing :-)

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  25. During many years I had the previlege to return to Nice regularly - for professional reasons! Professional traveling is not always a pleasure, but sometimes it is! :-)

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    1. A business trip to Nice. Now THAT is a concept! :-)

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  26. beautiful veronique!! looking forward to following you too! :)

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  27. It's such a grey, wet day here made worse as I have just returned from a week in the sun (blue skies and 30 degrees - back home to 4 degrees!!)However, your lovely post has brightened my day - such a riot of colour. The amazing ochre not to mention the blue sky and the pretty 'volets'. I remember my very first visit to my penfriend's house near Bordeaux being reminded to close the shutters to keep out the sun (obviously not something I was used to coming from the North of England!) I haven't been to Nice for several years but your stunning photos remind me that I should return sometime - until then I shall no doubt come back here to look at your pictures!
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Ah, glad to be of service, miss b. Yes, you and I live in Northern Latitudes, don't we? :-) I see you go to Dubai on a regular basis, however. I need to find a Dubai closer to home so I can escape there when the grey gets too grey... maybe California?

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  28. Poor thing! I totally understand. Think happy place.. think happy place! There is light at the end of the tunnel and that's in Nice my friend. =) Hope you get there soon.

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    1. Moi aussi, Sandy, moi aussi. Congrats to you for embarking on a road trip to seek another treasure: French pastries! :-)

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  29. Oh my what wonderful images Veronique, I'm having a very strong urge to paint my house yellow and paint the window frames blue, I wonder how that would go down with my neighbours haha! I think my happy place is strolling the streets of Paris in springtime..but also working in my garden here in Perth is tres joli aussi, simple pleasure oui!

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    1. Hello Grace. Too bad you won't repaint your house in blue and yellow. I bet it would look very pretty (even if the neighbors don't approve...) Mine is ok, but a non descript putty brown, with "fake" black shutters. Blah. Maybe I could do the same? :-)

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  30. Hâve just caught up with this post - wonderful

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  31. It's true! The colors of Nice never change. In good and bad... I live in French Riviera and I still did not realize that it's actually autumn!

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Bonjour! I love hearing from you, my readers. To quote a fellow blogger, my friend Owen, "Comments are the icing on blogcake... Comments are the UFO in the twilight sky bearing news from other planets... Comments are raspberry vinegar in salad dressing... Comments are the cool balm of after-sun moisturizing lotion... Comments are the moment the band comes back out onstage to play an encore... Comments are the gleam in the eye across the room in a smoky bar... Comments are the rainbow after the rainstorm..." Merci for your comments! French Girl in Seattle