Exploring Nice – ❤️ of the Riviera

Exploring Nice

We explored the French and Italian Riviera in the summer of 2019. We based our travels from Nice, the largest city of the Riviera. It is a popular tourist destination in Southern France with a busy harbor, cruise port and international airport.

Yachts parked by the Port of Nice. This is a popular starting point for many private trips across the French Riviera.

We drove into the city from Southern France and parked by the Port. Parking is convenient and within walking distance of boat tours and bus stop near the harbor.

Supercars galore at the Parking garage by the Port of Nice! A Lamborghini parked near the Porsche and Mercedes supercars seen below.
A Porsche 918 Spyder next to a Mercedes Benz AMG GT S
The harbor is popular with sightseeing mini cruises
Glenda and Simone enjoying the harbor view

Most of the city center is easier to navigate on foot than driving through congested traffic. We had lunch by one of many affordable street side cafe and visited the museum district and some antique shops.

Lunch was Panini and fresh garden salad at a roadside cafe
Garibaldi square at the heart of old Nice
Shops and cafe across from the museum of Modern Art
At the museum of Modern Art
An underground archaeological crypt near the art museum
The girls found an antique shop near the harbor
Glenda shopping some antique posters of Dali and Picasso’s shows

We also took a guided tour by van around Nice learning about the history and landmarks. The tour then took us to the outskirts of Nice and to the beautiful Riviera coastline into Villafranche, Ezze and Monaco.

On the tour of Nice
One of several sculptures located through out Nice city center
View of the neighborhoods on the outskirts of Nice on the road to Villafranche

Check out the accompanying video clip below to learn more about our trip.

Video – Exploring Nice

Travel – Best of Europe

Travel 50+ sites in Europe in this playlist!

This video blog series is a trip across Europe compiled over a few years. It is also a roadmap for travelling all these sites in a single trip if you have 4-6 weeks available. For details on preparation and a suggested itinerary for such a trip check out this blog .

Places to visit

Eastern Europe and The Alps: We start in Budapest, Hungary and head west visiting Vienna and Salzburg in Austria. Then we travel to Southern Alps visiting Munich, Linderhof and Newscheinstein in picturesque Bavaria, Germany. We then turn North across the Alps to Switzerland visiting Zurich, Basel and the picturesque Rhine river village of Rheinfelden.

Italy: Next we head south to Northern Italy visiting lake Como and Milan before reaching historic Venice by the Adriatic sea. We then crisscross across Italy visiting Florence, Siena, San Giminano and Pisa in sunny Tuscany. Our Italian tour continues west through Genoa and Savona and into Ventigmilia of the Italian Riviera.

Riviera and Provence: Moving onto the French Riviera we visit Nice, Eze, Villafranca and Monaco. Driving further west we explore beautiful French villages and towns of Lacoste, Cavallion, Arles and Avignon ending up in the port city of Marseilles.

Iberia: Their we embark on a cruise exploring the Mediterranean including Barcelona, Spain! Heading deeper into Spain we explore Madrid and the Andalusian cities and villages of Seville, Zahara, Grazalema and Ronda.

Northern Europe: We then fly north to romantic Paris and royal Versailles before ending our journey in London, England!

The video blog

Rheinfelden, Switzerland – Serene and Picturesque

A video blog of our stay by the river Rhine

Rheinfelden is a small picturesque town in Switzerland bordering Germany. The name means the fields of the Rhine river. It is home to Feldschlösschen, the most popular beer in Switzerland.

The video clip below are highlights of our weekend stay at the town one summer.

The town is across the river from Rheinfelden in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The two towns are joined by a bridge over the river. They were politically separated when Napoleon Bonaparte fixed the German–Swiss border on the Rhine in 1802 and are still socially and economically tied.

The Louvre Museum – A Photo Tour

A brief photo tour of the Louvre Museum

The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres (782,910 square feet). The Louvre is the world’s most popular museum, receiving approximately 8 million visitors annually.

We visited the museum at Paris in the summer of 2018. Below is a small collection of artworks photo we took while exploring this vast museum.

The Martyrdom of Saint Dennis by Henry Bellechose (1416).

Glenda resting in one of the halls of French Art Gallery where an artist is working on a copy.

The Medici gallery at the Louvre has a large collection of artwork depicting the history of this famous Italian family and their alliance with the French monarchy through marriage.

David and Bathsheba by Jan Massys (1562)

One of the most famous sculpture at the Louvre – The Nike of Samothrace (Winged Victory) from 190 B.C.

Monalisa Gallery

Below pictures are from the Monalisa gallery which is the most visited hall at the museum.

Below 2 photos are of artwork and ceiling at the museum gift shop and adjoining hallway.

The Egyptian and Near Eastern artifacts wing holds many priceless collection of sculptures, mummy and stone carved artworks.

Exploring the Louvre over multiple days is a wise approach given the vastness of artifacts. The best time to visit is afternoon through evening on weekdays when the tourist rush is bit less. Using the Paris Museum pass will get you multiple day entry to the Louvre along with many other museums and landmarks in and around Paris.

The Fountains of Versailles

Exploring the fountains at the palace of Versailles

The Gardens of Versailles occupy the west part of the palace of Versailles. The gardens cover some 800 hectares of land, much of which is landscaped in classic French Garden style by André Le Nôtre. In addition to the meticulous manicured lawns, parterres of flowers, and sculptures are the fountains, which are located throughout the garden.

Dating from the time of Louis XIV and still using much of the same network of hydraulics, the fountains contribute to making the gardens of Versailles unique. On weekends in late spring to early autumn, the administration of the museum sponsors the Grandes Eaux spectacles during which all the fountains in the gardens are in full play.
The Versailles Orangery, which was designed by Louis Le Vau, is located south of the château, a situation that took advantage of the natural slope of the hill. It provided a protected area in which orange trees were kept during the winter months. I took the below picture of the Orangerie and South Parterre from the above Water Parterre.

The water Parterre adjacent to the palace is adorned with beautiful statues from Greek mythology. It also provides a magnificent view of the gardens and the grand canal.

The Night Fountain comes alive with sprinkling water at certain days of the week. It acts as a connector from to the Latona fountain from the right end of the Water Parterre.

One of the main attraction in the garden is the Latona fountain or Bassin de Latone . It depicts an episode from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Latona and her children, Apollo and Diana, being tormented with mud slung by Lycian peasants, who refused to let her and her children drink from their pond, appealed to Jupiter who responded by turning the Lycians into frogs. This episode from mythology has been seen by historians in reference as an allegory to the revolts of the Fronde, which occurred during the minority of Louis XIV.

The Apollo Fountain, which was constructed between 1668 and 1671, depicts the sun god driving his chariot to light the sky. The fountain forms a focal point in the garden and serves as a transitional element between the gardens of the Petit Parc and the Grand Canal

Walking back from Apollo fountain through the picturesque King’s garden, we arrived at the mirror fountain. A 10-min water show takes place here on certain days of the week at the top of the hour.

The Saturn fountain connects the Kings garden to the main corridor that stretches from the palace to the grand canal.


The Grand Canal was built between 1668 and 1671. With a length of 1,500 metres and a width of 62 metres, it physically and visually prolongs the east-west axis to the walls of the Grand Parc. During the Ancien Régime, the Grand Canal served as a venue for boating parties. In 1674, as a result of a series of diplomatic arrangements that benefited Louis XIV, the king ordered the construction of Petite Venise – Little Venice. Located at the junction of the Grand Canal and the northern transversal branch, Little Venice housed the caravels and yachts that were received from The Netherlands and the gondolas and gondoliers received as gifts from the Doge of Venice.

Glenda and I took a boat ride through the canal to experience the serene beauty of Versailles gardens from the lake!

Get a full experience of the lake in the boat ride video below. Enjoy!

Basel, Switzerland

In the middle of nowhere, close to everywhere!

Imagine a place, where you walk across a bridge to go from Switzerland to Germany. Rent a bike and ride across town into France. Take an hour or less train ride to Zurich, the snowy Alps or tiny country of Lichtenstein. A 2-3h train trip could get you to Luxembourg or Milan, Italy!

In the summer of 2018, we discovered such a destination in the city of Basel, Switzerland and its nearby picturesque villages by the Rhein river.

We arrived in Basel in a regional Lufthansa aircraft from Frankfurt, Germany on a short 45 min trip.

Basel Airport is relatively small. Our next stop was a 4h train ride to Paris. So we took the local bus from the airport to Basel SBB station. Below is a short video clip and some images of a first look at Basel.

The Basel SBB station is an ideal pit stop to freshen up, grab a bite or do some shopping before heading to your next destination – which in our case was Paris. If in any doubt, you can always check with the friendly customer service staff at the upper lobby.

Long distance train services between Switzerland and France are frequent and comfortable in both 1st and 2nd class. Most trains offer free wifi for your devices to stay connected online.

If you are staying in and around Basel, the picturesque Swiss and German villages by the Rhein river are only 15-20 mins ride in local train.

We stayed in one such place called Rheinfelden at the border of Switzerland and Germany. Below are few pictures of this beautiful sleepy little town in the middle of nowhere but close to everywhere!

Paris at night – a tour

An evening tour of the romantic city

The above video clip is a night tour of Paris we took in the summer of 2018.

Paris, dubbed the City of Light (la Ville Lumière), has a reputation of being the most beautiful and romantic of all cities.

It is home to the world’s finest and most luxurious fashion designers and cosmetics, such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent, Guerlain, Lancôme, L’Oréal, Clarins, etc. A large part of the city, including the River Seine, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Paria has numerous iconic landmarks, such as the world’s most visited tourist site the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, Moulin Rouge, and Lido, making it the most popular tourist destination in the world with 45 million tourists annually.

Paris Riverboat Cruise

A riverboat ride in Paris

The Seine river runs through the heart of Paris, France. A boat trip on the river provides a great view of many attractions. It is also a great way to relax your feet after a day of touring all the great museums and historic landmarks dotted across Paris.

Taking a riverboat ride is easy and affordable. We booked a round trip tour by the dock at Eiffel Tower. You can also get a hop-on / hop-off pass that allows you to depart from one point of attraction and get off at another one.

Once on the boat, try to find a good seat by the side of the boat or above. Our trip was during June at late afternoon, so we chose to sit outside. Most boats offer air conditioned interior sitting as well.

One of the fun things to watch is the variety of boats by the river bank. Many boats are transformed into hotels or restaurants and gives the Seine a festive atmosphere.

A key landmark to see from the river is the Notredame Cathedral. Other notable sites are typically announced in the commentary by the guide as the boat passes through them.

Taking the tour in late afternoon has an added benefit of watching the sunset from the river.

Click here to see the YouTube video highlights of our boat trip

Enjoy the pictures below we took from our boat trip! Paris je t’aime!

Orsay Museum, Paris

The Musée d’Orsay is one of the largest art museums in Europe. It is located on the Left Bank of the river Seine in Paris, France.

The museum has a grand view both from outside and the inside which is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built in late 19th century. It is easily accessible from central Paris. A 15-min walk from the Louvre or a scenic ride on a hop-on hop-off boat are two great options to reach it.

The Orsay museum holds mostly French art from mid 19th to early 20th century, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography.

It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. Below are a few of these great masterpieces.

Oberammargau, Fairytale Bavaria

A fairytale town in the middle of Bavaria

Oberammergau is a small town in Bavaria, Germany known for its 350 year old tradition of Passion plays. It is also famous for woodcarvings like the Grimm fairytales of ‘Hansel and Grettel’ and ‘Little Red Riding Hood ‘ . We visited the picturesque town in summer of 2018 on a bus tour from Munich. Below is a photo tour of Oberammergau .