Monday, October 25, 2010

Biot & Nice, France - June 17 2010

The next day, we headed down to the waterfront in Nice to grab some info (and the bus) headed to Biot, which is renown for its glasswork and pottery. We had planned to maybe visit both Biot and Antibes (since they are next to one another) but our whole day was taken up in Biot, which is a beautiful little town. It's a town perched atop a hill inland, so it's not technically a seaside town, but if we had to pick a very cute French town in the riviera in which to live, Biot would definitely be in the running!

Beautiful sunny day on the seaside road in Nice.

Here is the beach outside the train stop for Biot. In order to get to Biot, we turned around and we walked in the opposite direction from the beach and up the hill to the village.

The roundabout at the entrance to the road that takes you to Biot.

Even though we saw this sign we actually still had a bit of a hike ahead of us to get to the village of Biot.

Herbie! Yes, friggin hell, Herbie lives in Biot!!! Stefan just about peed his pants!  We were enjoying the nice walk to the village when this little car drove passed us.  You've never seen Stefan get the camera out of his pocket and start clicking so fast!

Herbie again!  He was looking for Stefan! :P  The excitement of the first drive by had not yet settled, and surprisingly he drove by again!  Sadly both times were from behind so we never got to see the front, but this time Stefan kinda just dropped everything and ran after it!  However, Herbie won that race, and Stefan never caught up!  After this time we were ready for the 3rd time...things come in 3's right!?  Well, it didn't happen...which may have been a good thing, cause Stefan was ready to throw himself on the road in front of #53 to get him to stop!  Biot was a great cute town, but this made the day for him!  (for those that don't know, Stefan is obsessed with VW Beetles, especially Herbie!)

After walking for what felt like longer than we should have been, we went into a side road to ask for directions. We came across this very cool wall with all these clay sculptures built into it. We had no idea what it was or why it was there, but it was very cool regardless.

Success! We see Biot! It's the town on top of the hill in the middle of the photo.

This was someone's outdoor workspace, it seemed like. They were making very cool mosaic sculptures!

Here's a better shot of Biot as we made our way to it!

We stopped into a glass studio and had the pleasure of watching some glassblowers hard at work!

Here is the inside of the glass shop. It was housed in some sort of old mill.

On our way up to Biot, this was what we walked by. It seemed like the town of Biot that was not the really old part on top of the hill.

Stairway to Biot!

At the top of the stairway in the previous photo was this really cute school building!  Cute enough that Stefan might have enjoyed school if he went here! :P

The entranceway to old village of Biot.

Just inside the entrance we came across this map of the village. As you can see, this map was amazing! It's a ceramic mosaic! It definitely gave you the sense that the people of Biot are very proud of their glass-working traditions.

Further inside the entrance of the village, in the main square.

The outside sitting area for restaurants in the square.  Although many restaurants were in the square, many shared one space to seat guests.

Another area of the village that had many shops and places to eat at.

One of the many beautiful walkways in the village.  Very typical old french village, stone roads and houses.

Looking out through an opening between two small buildings in the old town.  In the background you see another hill with what could be more of the modern Biot, or another town!

A cute little archway between two houses.  The top of the arch sort of seems like it should be from a little castle!

A walkway in the village that is a little down the side of the hill.  On the right you can see the roofs of the houses built a bit further down the hill.  It's really nice how among all the stone, the residents still manage to create some greenery.  It is a stark contrast, but it works really well and is enjoyable to be surrounded by.

A passageway that went through a building.  Going through a tunnel like this really creates a feeling of being back in time.  It made Stefan picture how the town would have been hundreds of years ago, with the sound and sights of horses, carriages, people in period clothes, people selling food and things on the streets, and young newsie boys saying "extra, extra, read all about it!"...but in French, of course! :P

This was even cooler in real life!  We thought this photo turned out great!  (minus the power lines...which snap you out the feeling of being back in time!)  This house is in a little area of the old town that is tucked away from the more touristy area of the old town.  In and around this area the old felt really great, cause it was still old and beautiful, but there were very few people around and it felt like a real old town where people actually live and have 'normal' lives.  Not like some cute villages where it seems the whole thing is occupied by tourists and it only exist cause of them!  If you look closely, you can see an older French lady sitting outside her house just chillin!

Just another neat walkway through the village, with an arch that seems to be almost pointless! But it looks cool!

A steep walkway between some houses...looks nice:)

This corner of the village looked and felt like it was in some fantasy movie.  You know, one of those ones where Europe is over-romanticised and you think, "it can't be that cute and wonderful there!"?  but it is, it sure is! How cute is this place!?  Just beyond what you see is a dead end; the path goes to someone's front step.  How awesome is that staircase to the house on the right!?

A small square in the not so touristy part of the village.  Just to the left is the end of the hill the town sits on.  All around this square were just cute little houses.

So, we could say this is "another cute walk way through the village..."  but it's not, well it is cute, and you can walk there!  However, if you notice the street signs...yes, those are for vehicles!  People drive cars and motorcycles through this town!  How they do it is pretty amazing!  Not all 'walkways' are drivable, but somehow this one is!

So here is "another cute walkway"! Hahaha...and someone's nice blue railing to their front steps.  Secretly, the blue reminds of you-know-where! (hint: they eat Greek food in this place!)

We went into the village church, which was cute, but nothing extra special, since there are many churches on the blog, we thought since the photo of this one turned out dull and blurry, we'd save you from it! But inside the church there was a diorama of the old village, with cute little period people!

The road we came in on to the old village.  This is looking the opposite way, from the square, down the road towards the entrance/exit of the village.

We waited to eat dinner back in Nice.  We had spotted this take-out-only hole-in-the-wall...really, it was a hole in the wall, big enough for a pizza oven and two workers! The menu was on the outside wall of the building, and there was nowhere to go in, you ordered from outside!  They had really cheap pizza and calzone, so we dared to try it one night.  It was €4.50 for each, and although it wasn't the best food ever, it was still really good, and amazing if you are on a backpacker's budget!

Cliff got a standard calzone, one with cheese, ham, and tomato sauce (in pizza form it is known as "La Reine"). He saved half for leftovers and they too were delicious. Though in the world of calzones this one was pretty average. He had an amazing calzone (complete with an easy-over egg) in Nice back in 2002, and another amazing calzone (with mushroom, artichoke heart, ham, wurstl) in Florence on this trip. Too bad we forgot to take a photo of it! 

Stefan ate...Pizza!!!  When we first got to the South of France, Stefan was so sick of pizza from our time in Italy.  But thankfully he got over that, cause we had some damn good pizza in France!  This, curry pizza!!! Yes, curry pizza!  You may have heard Stefan say "I love curry so much, you could put curry on s*%t and I would eat it!"? Well, lucky for him, and all of you reading this, it's not s*%t, but pizza!  Although the curry was just a curry powder sprinkled over top, and not what Stefan was hoping for which was a delicious curry sauce instead of tomato.  But hey, it was still really yummy, and a interesting and different thing to top the zaa with!

After gobbling up our good and cheap food, we walked down to the beach in Nice.  Yeah, the sun setting on the beach side of a beautiful French city in the French Riviera! A darn nice way to spend an evening!  In the background is the hill and small peninsula that sort of divides the coast of Nice in two parts.  Around the peninsula is more Nice, and the major port for yachts...yes, more friggin yachts!

So we walked along the beach towards what you see in the background.  We carried our leftovers from dinner in pizza boxes with us, and as we were walking these two French teen girls started prancing up to us, talking all French...we knew what they were after, but pretended we didn't speak French...well, Stefan doesn't have to pretend much, cause his French isn't very good!  Cliff had to pretend though! :P  Anyway, it was pretty funny that they came up to us and after they knew we spoke English they actually said "We are very pretty girls, don't you want to give us pretty girls some pizza!?"  hahaha, well, they weren't THAT pretty...but really, need we make the "ladies, you are definitely barking up the wrong trees are sure as hell not getting any food off of us!" joke here!?  Sadly, none of the cute French boys approached us like that! :P

Us, relaxing after being swarmed by beach girls! :P  Awwww...who wants a beach sunset! Come on, off we go!

Looking east at the peninsula that divides the coast of Nice, there are some pretty nice building and houses up on that hill...but you have to have some serious good job, or head a mafia to live there!

Same photo, just some time later!  We sat there for a while...why the hell not!? We had nowhere better to be!

One of the squares in the old town of Nice, this particular one is nothing but restaurants.  It's a great lively place, and so much yummy looking food to eat! However, it's also very expensive, so we just walked through a bunch of times, drooling on people's food when they weren't looking!

Another cute square in old town Nice, more restaurants and a church.  Old town Nice becomes very lively at night, and is a great place to just walk around and hang out and people watch. It has a great energy.

Yeah, another square! well, circle actually!  This was part of the big strip that you could call a 'park' but had many different areas...some fountains, some green spaces, and some cobblestone spaces.  It mostly divides the old town from the more modern town.

Place Massena.  This is a great square just outside the old village part of Nice, but this square is still very old and beautiful looking.  It's wonderful and open, and awesomely lit at night.  You can see the old style light posts, but take a closer can see lights that are actually people! Well, ok, so not real people, but lights that look like people!  Each one slowly changed colours.

Cannes, France - June 16 2010

We arrived in Cannes in a limo, and when we arrived we were swarmed by the paparazzi (naturally). We stepped out onto the red carpet in our Versace suits (bespoke, of course). No wait...that was just the mat on the city bus, the throngs of tourists that surrounded us, and the high-end designer label stores :P 

Where we got off the bus seemed like any other French city...nothing surprising or remarkable. But once we made our way through the city to the seaside and the boardwalk we were greeted by what we had expected: a feel of Hollywood glamour fit for a movie star! The seaside strip was very nice but felt a bit artificial. On the west end of the city is the old town, and even though it was still overrun by tourists it felt more authentic and true to the spirit of what we would expect from a French city.

A nice building somewhere in Cannes... :P

Cannes is another city filled with lots of money, and that means a lot of fancy, fancy yachts. We took a tour of the marina, and it wasn't quite as jawdropping as Monte Carlo. But the millions of dollars on the water there was still enough to blow our minds. The boat in this picture was just one of many boats this size. We even found a boat that was registered in Halifax!

We bought this!!! Well, you know that we really didn't, but it's important and healthy to have dreams.

Walking along the breakwater that divides the marina and the beach.

The beach and one end of the city!

The main entrance to the building used for the Cannes film festival. Cliff had been to Cannes before, so he had already seen this structure, but Stefan's intial reaction was one of disappointment--he felt that it didn't evoke the level of glamour that the rest of the strip had, and it didn't look as impressive as you would expect from a building used for the film festival. He thought that the building looked like ugly 1960's/70's architecture...

Stefan in Cannes!

Another beachside shot...

The boardwalk... beach is to the right and the street with all the high-end shops to the left.

Along the boardwalk every now and again there would be cool sculptures. This was our favourite! Hellraiser, anyone?

One of the buildings along the street that runs along the boardwalk. This was one of many hotels on the strip that we are sure are as expensive as they look...

On the road along the water, complete with palm trees!

One of the city streets...

In the old town, on the hunt for good and cheap food.

Further in the old town. This area looked really beautiful, but we sadly didn't have time to explore it because we had to catch the last bus back to Nice! There's always next time...