South of France: Nice
Nice is a visual feast.
The soft light toys with the entire spectrum of human emotion as if it is a paintbrush joyfully dragging itself through a colorful palette warmed by the Mediterranean sun.
To understand the level of enchantment that Matisse, Chagall, and countless other painters have felt through the decades in Nice, one only has to wander aimlessly through the streets in the summer when the sun is languidly descending in the sky.
Nice is the second largest city on France’s Mediterranean coast. Due to its close proximity to Italy (it is located 20 miles west of Italy’s current border) and its geographic good fortune of being one of the busiest trading ports dating back to around 300 BC, it went through many different periods of ownership until it became a part of France in the 1800s.
The Italian influence is strong especially in the older parts of Nice where the narrow streets wind through rows and rows of ochre, and orange buildings, most of which date back to the 1700s.
The Port of Nice is located in the center of the city. This port serves as a main point of transfer to Corsica as there are ferries that travel to Corsica from the Port of Nice regularly.:
The colors of the walls in Vieux Nice are a stunning backdrop for its many restaurants, shops, and cafes. The South of France, much like many other Mediterranean cities and cultures, possesses a very laid-back attitude which carries over into every aspect of life. It’s almost impossible to feel the anxious rush that tends to hum along the periphery of life in cities like New York City, London, and Paris while in Nice. :
It’s in the quiet moments that Nice really blossoms:
After quiet moments:
(Click on the Read More below to see more photos from the Nice…)
Nice - South of France - Sunset in the Streets
I have been slowly going through my photos from South of France which has proven to be a gargantuan task considering the sheer amount of content that I ended up with from each city I visited.
I plan on posting quite a few photo-sets from each city as well as separate in-depth photo posts highlighting some of the unique aspects of each place. And, of course, I will also do the same for Paris since I ended up spending 10 days in Paris after the South of France journey was over.
While I was in France, I posted quite a few photos in-the-moment and I typically did that with my cameras (I brought along my Sony corral which included the: A6000, A7R, and A7) by uploading the photos from the camera directly to my phone where I did super-quick edits of them using iOS photo-apps before posting them to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and my travel blog.
This photo means a lot to me.
It was taken on the first evening that I was in Nice.
The light was light I dreamed about when I was younger and would bury my head in books about far-off sun-drenched locations.
I didn’t grow up in a family that traveled since my family didn’t have the means to travel. My father worked nights as a pressman for the Daily News, a fact which I was ashamed of when I was in grade school since it seemed like most of my peers had parents who had glamorous white-collar jobs which afforded them the means to travel. It took my parents 10 years to save up enough money to take a 2 week European vacation back in the 1990s without feeling intense guilt about allocating those funds for something other than necessities.
And so, when I travel, I always get a bit emotional along the way (that’s a bit of an understatement). My eyes well-up when I think of how much I yearned to be able to experience travel when I was younger. And while travel is part of my career in photography, it’s still constantly amazing to me that I even get the opportunity to do what I do.
I posted another version of this photo a month ago on the evening when it was taken. I stood there in Vieux Nice with the other journalists who were traveling with me and we all took turns admiring the light and capturing it with our cameras.
I insisted we all do that because I knew this was the light that people dream about.
It’s the kind of light that keeps you going even in your darkest hours when you are trying to claw your way into the life you have always wanted to live.
And it’s the kind of light that just knowing it exists in reality is enough to keep the dreams alive.
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Paris: Sunset and the Eiffel Tower - Notre Dame View
And the bells
of Notre Dame
over the rooftops
This was taken on a typically moody Paris evening with my Sony A7R. I had climbed the 387 steps to the top of Notre Dame de Paris earlier in the week with a wonderful person who worked for Centre de Monuments Nationaux, an organization that tends to the historic monuments and landmarks of Paris.
While standing on the highest platform of Notre Dame, I expressed to her that it would be incredible to photograph the sunset or even dusk from such an impressive vantage point.
Typically, throughout the year, access to the top of Notre Dame is restricted to the morning and afternoon hours. However, as fortune would have it, the summer hours had just started and evening access to the top of the cathedral which itself dates back to the 1100s would be starting later in the week.
Later in the week, I made my way up the 387 steps again later in the week on an evening when I wasn’t sure that the weather would cooperate. It didn’t really matter to me though. The view, in any weather condition, is nothing short of breath-taking.
I stood there as the storm clouds receded over Paris revealing a subdued sunset, a perfect backdrop for the tiny Eiffel Tower that stood in the distance.
And it was absolutely sublime.
View: “Paris - Eiffel Tower at Sunset - View from Notre Dame Cathedral” in my portfolio, My Gear List, My NYC Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.
Paris - La Pagode
Paris has many hidden treasures.
One of them is La Pagode located in the 7th arondissement. It was on my original list of places to visit back in April but I never made it there.
Today’s rainy weather was perfect for a long walk from my hotel in Montmartre all the way down to Rue de Bablyone with an incredible stop at the Gustave Moreau museum (quite a hike!).
Built in 1896, it started out as a ballroom but was transformed into a theater in 1930. It is still in use today as a theater.
I literally dropped my bag when I entered the garden because I was overwhelmed by the emotional pull of the scene laid out before me. I stood there for a while watching the painter paint under the canopy of trees before taking photographs and sitting down for a while to savor the beauty.
What a perfect end to a whirlwind of a trip. I leave Paris early tomorrow morning with so many amazing memories.
Paris has a permanent spot in my heart.
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