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Travel stories > Nice

From Cannes to Nice, or Nizza, is but a short run by rail. Nice is the birthplace of Garibaldi, the great liberator of Italy. Immediately on arriving at the station, you see what a gay and busy place this is.

We put up at the St. Jullien, a quiet, pleasant hotel. One of the great secrets of comfortable travel consists in carrying as little luggage with you as possible, and as there is no difficulty in procuring the services of a laundress at a few hours' notice, this rule may be readily complied with. It is always well, however, to be provided with a good-sized hand-bag, containing all the necessaries you require for one or two days, and this you should never lose sight of.

Nice is a charming town, with its beautiful promenades facing the sea, its palatial hotels, fine streets, and gardens. The Promenade des Anglais, and the graceful, waving palm trees planted along the streets, give it quite a different character to the French towns we had visited. We were much struck by the elaborate way in which the houses and villas are decorated on the outside with paintings, giving the flat surface all the effect of being embellished with beautiful frescoes and works of statuary.

Some of the villas, which are on the hill overlooking the town and sea are most delightful residences. Among other places of interest, we were pointed out the villa where the young Czarowitch, the elder brother of the Emperor of Russia, died, attended in his last moments by his mother, and his wife Princess Dagmar, who afterwards married the brother of her first fiancé. The house is in no wise remarkable, save for the lovely views it commands, and the large and beautiful gardens which surround it, where almost every variety trees grow to perfection

Nice is divided into two distinct parts, known as the Old and New Town. The latter is well laid out—there are two very fine squares, one being surrounded by very handsome porticoes; while the other is supplemented by a raised terrace, which serves both as a sea-wall and public promenade. The shops are remarkably good, the confectioners' windows being very tempting with their array of airy-looking pastry. Especially to be noticed, too, are the displays of corals in all its most exquisite varieties, as also various kinds of lace.

The flower-shops are one of the most interesting features of Nice, especially to ladies. Bouquets composed of the most exquisite flowers, of every size and description, from tiny button-hole sprays to masses of blossoms two feet in diameter, surround you on every side. The culture of flowers in this part of the world is a very profitable and important industry, and, remembering all the distilleries—such as at Grasse—for making perfume, we can well understand the numerous beautiful flower-gardens in Italy, particularly along the shores of the Mediterranean.

The river Var passes though the town, and falls into the Mediterranean. Its valley, or bed, being spanned by a number of bridges, adds not a little to its picturesqueness.

Nice is so surrounded by beautiful walks and drives that one fails in the attempt to describe the half of them. View after view breaks on the admiring gaze, till you cease to exclaim at the varying loveliness, and content yourself by drinking in the grandeur and beauty of nature in silent admiration. With the exception of the splendid hotels, Nice can boast of few buildings of any importance, save the Cathedral of Notre Dame, which is a fine-looking edifice, and has several objects of interest in the interior.


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