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Nice, South of France. Took this while exploring the Old Town of Nice (Vieux Nice) on one of the most perfect early summer afternoons.

I had only meant to get lost for a few minutes but spent nearly an hour wandering around blissfully lost, intoxicated by the small streets and history of this incredible area of Nice.

This part of the South of France is incredibly close to Italy and so it has a distinct Italian influence since ownership of the region passed through many hands over the centuries including Italy. There really is no better place to get lost in the South of France. Really.
(at Vieux-Nice)

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:

An overhead perspective of Nice showcases the Cote D'Azur and riviera as well as the wealth of colors that dominate its architecture. This photo was taken from a public lookout spot at Castle Hill, or Colline du Château:

In the early summer, the sun takes its time setting in the South of France. The sunsets range from anywhere between 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm on the solstice., Walking through the streets of Nice in the late evening is highly recommended. The light washes over the brilliantly colored walls and creates such a spectacular glow through the city:

One of my favorite things to do when I am in a city I have never experienced before is to watch where the tourists congregate and then walk in the opposite direction. It’s in these moments, that I tend to feel like I am one with the streets. These moments I treasure. This was taken during one such moment:

But, I also appreciate the beauty in the places that are popular. These are the places that beckon people from around the world to bask in the expectations of a place. The beaches in Nice on the riviera don’t fall short of expectations:

One of many motorbikes that pepper most French cityscapes regardless of geographic location:

A heart-wrenchingly gorgeous scene on a late afternoon in Nice which prompted me to write this prose while there:

The setting sun in Nice:

Looking for these (and more) South of France photos to view larger? Here you go (click or tap on each photo to view larger):

Interested in viewing all of my France posts so far? Here they are:

France Through the Lens

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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 , , 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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