Posts Tagged ‘France’

Tête au Carré (the “blockhead building”) in Nice

Friday, September 12th, 2008

I’ve saved the best photos of Nice for last. Next to the conference center stands Sacha Sosno’s Tête au Carré, though most of the English-speaking engineers at the TCG meeting referred to it as the “blockhead building.” It’s apparently the administration building for the public library system in Nice, but it has to be the oddest-looking library administration building ever. Really, where else have you seen an 80-foot-tall square head?

In black and white, at sunset. The face looks across the street towards the convention center:

In color, to capture the flower beds in the nearby park:

The port of Nice

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Colline du Château is between Vieux Nice to the west and the port of Nice to the east. One night, I ate dinner near the port, and couldn’t resist taking a photo of the scrambled departure board:

The port is sheltered from the sea by a long jetty that juts out into the harbor. Protecting the ships is necessary, and I couldn’t help but notice that the ships moored came from all across the world and flew many different flags. This photo was taken from the jetty facing Colline du Château. The massive monument in the background is a memorial to the war dead of Nice.

Eglise Notre Dame du Port is located at the edge of the harbor. It’s one of the smaller churches in Nice, and was unfortunately closed by dinner time.

Colline du Château, Nice

Monday, September 8th, 2008

The early settlement of Nice occurred on a rocky outcrop next to what is now the old town. Colline du Château (“Castle Hill” in English) offers sweeping panoramic views of the city, its shoreline, and the deep blue sea. Steps away from the beach lies Cours Saleya, a traditional square lined with cafes and shops, and a daily flower market. In this photo, Cours Saleya is the diagonal area with colored awnings sheltering the flower shops.

From Colline du Château, Vieux Nice stands out from the rest of the city because of its orange roof tiles, which are a visually striking contrast to the nearby sea.

There are many places to look out over the city from the hill. This shot shows a view over the Promenade des Anglais.

Vieux Nice

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

In June, after being in England and visiting Stonehenge on the summer solstice, I went to Nice, France for a Trusted Computing Group meeting.

After arriving, one of the first things I did was head for View Nice, the old part of town. Old city districts are easy to explore on foot. As one book I read several years ago put it, cities reflect the dominant form of transportation used at their construction. Walking means you get crowded districts with small paths, like Jerusalem. Horse riding leads to wider streets but often in a jumble, like Boston. Finally, by the time the car comes along, you get wide streets all intersecting at right angles with excellent visibility for drivers. In other words, you get Los Angeles.

Old city districts are built around foot transportation, and they have a small scale that really helps me as a photographer. It’s easier to fit a lot of action into a frame without using a super-wide angle lens, and it’s easy to move around. Vieux Nice is no exception. Here’s the bustle on one of the main roads leading in:

One of the challenges walking around Vieux Nice was the lack of street signs. There were, however, several plaques commemorating French citizens who fought in previous wars. I was particularly struck by this plaque, which recognizes a young man executed by the Nazis at the age of seventeen:

Streets in Vieux Nice are narrow, even for pedestrians. Here’s a typical street size, and the width on offer shrinks even farther when cafe tables or shop displays are put out in the street.

In spite of the narrow streets, there were a few cars that wandered the cramped streets of Vieux Nice. Here’s a tiny car trying to make its way by a pedestrian who seemed perfectly content to walk in the middle of the street.

However, the prize for showing how difficult driving in the old city came one night as I was dining at Nissa Socca. It’s a bit off the beaten path, on Rue Ste.-Réparate. As I was sitting outside, a Smart car crawled by and made a turn off the “big” street of Rue Ste.-Réparate on to a much smaller side street. At the right edge of this picture, you can see the small street, barely bigger than an alley. In fact, to make the turn, the Smart had to attempt it a couple of times and back up to get a better angle.

Just for fun, I grabbed a picture of the Smart after it made it into the alley. Smarts are tiny cars, and yet the small size of the streets in Vieux Nice required it to make multi-point turns.