Postcard from the Cote d’Azur in France (Nice and Monaco)

» Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 in Featured, France, Nice, postcard

At the beginning of the year, I spent a few days in Nice before going to Ethiopia (more on this in another post). I knew that Monaco has nice fireworks for the New Year celebration and I had enough knowledge where they would be fired from to pick a nice view from a higher elevation as I wanted to capture the harbor, the Monaco Castle and the fireworks. There are only a few places that are public accessible to catch that view.

Fireworks In Monaco

Fireworks In Monaco

The next evening, I went to the Chateau de Nice (castle). From the Castle, there is only one tower left and the city made a park from the land where the Castle once was. The Castle was located on the closest hill from the sea, with the Old City at its feet. During Christmas time, a gigantic Ferris wheel is installed in nearby downtown. From the top of the Castle Tower,  you have a beautiful view of the bay, the city and the Promenade des Anglais.



Luckily for me, the first Full Moon of the year was on January 3rd, so I could try to capture the rising moon above the Observatory. A long time ago, I was able to visit this observatory and it has one of the nicest view of the city. The coupole was designed by Eiffel in 1887. It is the home of what was then the largest refractor (77 cm)  in a privately funded observatory but it was outperformed very shortly after (in 1889) by the 91 cm (36 in) refractor installed at the Lick Observatory, located in California.

Full moon over the Nice Observatory

Full Moon over the Nice Observatory

The moonset was over the harbor a couple hours later:

Full moon over the harbor in Nice

Full Moon over the harbor in Nice

In the last few years, the City of Nice has done a great job making its downtown pedestrian only and has added a light rail system that brings you downtown.
The old regional bus station was moved near the main train station and in its place and what was originally called “Les Jardins du Paillon”, the city has build a large green area called the “Coulée Verte”. The old pool was redesigned and replaced with a walk-in water fountain and reflection pool. People can cross over the water until the water fountain show starts. Don’t worry, you have plenty of time to get away as they start the show.


During this Christmas Season, the city also built a replica, of the casino Jetée-Promenade which used to be on the bay in 1883. It was destroyed by the Germans in 1944. There is a lot of pictures of this casino on the bay and the photo library of Jean Gilleta is among the most comprehensive.

This year, the city installed a look-a-like structure and positioned it right in front of the reflection pool on the coulée verte. The fountains would start at random to create the reflection. There is a lot of people during the day, enjoying the warm sun and the spectacular effect.



I came back after sunset to see how the lights on the structure where reflecting in the pool. I did not notice at first that the water jets have white lights under them, creating a candle-like effect. I actually enjoyed the view both with and without the jets running.