Thursday, June 28, 2007

from Nice: colors

So this is Nice. My Pierrerue of 07. What a difference.

Last June, I shut myself away from everything in the little village of Pierrerue, in the Languedoc. So little was it, that I had to hike for several miles to reach a grocer or a café.

This year, a friendly stranger at a chance meeting in La Rochelle said – you should go to Nice. And so this is where I am. To work, to think, and to look at colors. This is Matisse and Chagall land. An old city of constant sunshine and soft cream buildings. At least that’s my image of the place.

My train pulls into Nice in the evening. Last stop on a run through France’s Riviera – Cannes, Antibes, ticked off, minutes apart.

Antibes train station

I am here for a week and the small hotel is a lovely old thing. So… Nice-like. The garret room has a tiny balcony where I can sit with a glass of rosé late at night. At least that is what I think I am expected to do, for I find a chilled bottle in the room, waiting for me after dinner, along with fruit pates.

in the shadows of the evening, a balcony with a view

I had taken a quick walk to the shore – a half dozen blocks away. Nice at dusk. Is Nice nice? First impressions, first sightings. You tell me. I wanted a complicated French city – one with character. Nice looks to be just that.

evening beaches

evening cream

evening balcony

Dinner? I was directed to a cheap Provencal restaurant around the corner. Oh, it was the usual wonderful local fare. Baby artichoke salad, grilled fish, strawberry napoleon. And rosé. The colors. I am here for the colors. I think that part will be easy.

baby artichokes with shaved parmesan

fish over Provencal veggies

strawberry napoleon