Côte d’Azur-Le Quatrième Jour-Day 4

The fourth day of our trip to France began with another delicious breakfast at the buffet at our hotel. It was obvious that it was a Saturday because the number of people at the buffet, especially children, had increased dramatically from the first two days we ate at the buffet.

After showering and getting dressed we headed out for the day. In the fall of 2015 before we even bought our plane tickets to Nice I read about a village outside of Nice called St. Paul De Vence. It sounded like the perfect little French village to visit. I was super excited to visit and every time my husband and I discussed the plans for our trip I emphasized how much I wanted to visit St. Paul De Vence. I researched the best way to get there and even printed out copy of the bus schedule so that there could be no mix ups.

Day four was the day that we were scheduled to go and as we walked the two minute walk from our hotel to the bus stop I bursting with excitement. I even had a song, “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast, a cued up on my I-Pod to play once we got there. We arrived at the bus stop about fifteen minutes early just to make sure there was no possibility of missing the bus. And we waited for the bus.

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And we waited for the bus and we waited for the bus. There was a whole bunch of us waiting for the bus and with each minute that it was late I began to grow more and more concerned. Then finally after waiting what felt like forever we saw our bus, the number 400 bus. A bunch of us stood up and watched in horror as the bus drove right past us. It was infuriating. The bus had the sign up that it was full but the bus wasn’t even close to being full. We were left perplexed, confused and disappointed. We didn’t know what to do. This was the day we had scheduled but there was only one bus that would take us to St. Paul De Vence and it had just passed us by. Not only that but since it was a Saturday the next bus wasn’t scheduled to come for another hour. As much as I wanted to visit this little French village it felt like it would have been an incredibly irresponsible waste of time to sit around for an hour for the next bus and risk that the next bus might pass us by too.

Before our trip we had vowed to be flexible because of the lack of a comprehensive Metro system and this was a classic example of that. So there would be no St. Paul De Vence. I saw no point on dwelling on it. I just wanted to do something before the day slipped away from us. So we discussed what to do instead and we settled on visiting the remains of a Roman Amphitheatre in the hills over central Nice. So we quickly found out which buses would take us there and adjusted our plans.

Thankfully, there was no drama with the buses this time and before two long were found ourselves at our new destination. The remains of the Roman Amphitheatre were very impressive.

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It was actually much more intact that I thought it would be.

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We took our time walking around and checking out the amazing ruins.

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Our next stop was just a few steps away. The home of artist Henri Matisse was converted into a museum after his death and the Musee Matisse was our next destination.

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I really like art from about 1900 forward and Matisse’s work fits that bill. I took a few flash free pictures of his beautiful work.

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The when I got scolded by the security guard I found I wasn’t supposed to take pictures at all, in my defense there were no signs saying that pictures weren’t allowed. Oh well…After checking out the museum we went to nearby park to recharge. I had a cup of coffee.

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My husband had a coke.

On the other side of the park there is a monastery called Notre Dame and we decided to go there next. The monastery and church were impressive from the outside.

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Even nicer were the gardens behind the buildings.

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We took our time strolling around the gardens and taking in the views of Nice from this high vantage point.

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We then checked out the inside of the church.

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One thing that was really nice about our ticket to the Musee Matisse was that it allowed us to visit several other museums over the next forty eight hours without having to buy another ticket. As luck would have it there was another museum right next to the Roman Amphitheatre. This museum included a close up view of even more roman ruins!

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These particular ruins that were next to this museum were the remains of three different Roman bathhouses.

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The Ancient Romans were excellent engineers. Not only did they have an impressive system of aqueducts that allowed for running water all over the Empire but their bathhouses had headed water thanks to fire burning underneath the pools of water. It was really cool to see what remained of these structures and imagine what they looked like two thousand years ago. The Ancient Romans also had an impressive system of paved roads and at one point next to the ruins of the bathhouses we could see the remains of one of these roads.

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In addition to seeing the road we could see the sewage line that ran under the road as well.

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Inside the museum were even more impressive roman artifacts.

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We stayed at the museum until close to closing time before getting on a bus to head back down to central Nice. It was dinner time and we found a restaurant that looked interesting. To start my husband had French Onion soup.

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I had escargot.

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On our trip to Paris in 2012 I discovered that I actually really liked escargot. I have had it several times since and I prefer when it is served in a shell. I was quite happy when my snails came out in a shell this time. For dinner we each had rather large salads. I had the Atlantic Salad which included shrimp.

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My husband had a salad that is a specialty to that part of France called the Salad Niçoise, that includes Tuna.

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We both enjoyed our salads, a lot.

We talked about the possibility of going to a bar or a club but we were both pretty tired and since it was the spring forward time change that night in France we decided to just go back to our hotel and relax. I took a long bath in the nice bathtub in our room and read.

Despite the fact that we didn’t get to go to St. Paul De Vence we still had a very nice day that included seeing some very cool and historic things.

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