Sunday, September 25, 2011

Girls Getaway to the French Riviera - Sightseeing, Food, Shopping & A Wine Revolution

The next morning was full of exploration as we were escorted by Olivia and Liliana to around Old Town with our first stop at Castle Hill. First the Greek Acropolis, then the medieval stronghold before the population settled at its foot to form what is now the Old Town. The Castle Hill, which is 270 feet high, is a wonderful place to stroll. We enjoyed the incredible panorama over the city from Terrasse Frédéric Nietzsche, located on the highest point of the Castle Hill Park. After our hike up Castle Hill, we toured the Lascaris Palace, which was the residence of the Vintimille family from 1657 to the French Revolution. This historic building was restored after 1963 to become a museum, and now houses antique instruments. All of Old Town is a lovely setting of Baroque architecture, delectable restaurants and a maze of narrow streets lined with amazing shops and boutiques. One of our favorites, Girofle et Cannelle, sells all types of salts and peppers in a very interactive manner.

We stopped at the wine cellar Cave Bianchi, which was started in 1860 and is one of the oldest wine cellars in Nice, for a wine tasting and sampled French wines in the same caves as Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp. Franck gave us a great overview of the history of wine and the current wine revolution that began in 1985. He explained that the current revolution in wine is rose wines, as the “pink wave” started in St Tropez 20 years ago and has moved to London then New York City then San Francisco and now throughout the rest of the world. He made the profound statement that, “wine is the one thing you can taste that can remind you of a place or time as it evokes memories.” No wonder I like it so much :)!

After the tasting, we enjoyed an outdoor lunch at Le Grand Balcon followed by shopping at Cours Saleya, one of the busiest parts of Old Nice with an antique market on Mondays. What a fabulous day!

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