When the plane arrived in Nice late at night I thought that it was landing into the inky black waters of Mediterranean Sea. That impression is created due to the unusual location of the airport. It is situated in the city area and the runways are laying in the narrow bill which seems to go for in the sea.
Emmanuel, the travel agent who was to meet us and take us to the flat that we were going to rent, had warned us beforehand that we should take the keys before 6 p. m. If we would turn up later, we had an opportunity to take them for fees. We arrived about midnight so getting the keys became totally impossible. Emmanuel sent us a secret instruction how to get the keys and whispered the password of the case where they were shut. This promised us an adventure. However we reached the travel office without any problem and the case was open. The young girl whose duty was receiving the phone call at night kindly gave us the keys and asked if we needed a taxi. The things appeared to be far easier than they seemed to be firstly.
The flight wasn’t an exhausting one so we decided to go on foot. The distances in Nice are not far at all and the fresh cool night air was gentle and pleasant. At first we went along Jules Gilly for about ten minutes, than turned to the famous boulevard Cours Saleya where a gorgeous flower market opens every morning except Mondays. On Mondays the flea market is available for the tourists and the local citizens. Finally we saw an ancient mansion that was beyond our expectations. When Emmanuel showed us the building where the flat we are to rent is situated everything seemed rather dull. It’s an interesting fact that the old town in Nice which is quite small is densely populated. The castles, mansions and palaces that the tourists usually take for museums and art halls are the real accommodation of the citizens. The center of Nice is of Belle Epoque style and the narrow serpentine streets suddenly turn into the large squares with Baroque Catholic cathedrals than lead somewhere again and end at the edge of the sea near the Colline du Chateau. During the first days of our staying in Nice I had a strong impression that it was situated I the south of Italy. Nice is the “most Italian” city of French Riviera indeed. Between fourteenth and eighteenth centuries it belonged to the House of Savoy and was given to France only in 1860 in the result of military campaign.
The old mansions of Nice are supplied with all the modern conveniences. The flats have the odd zoning but they are nicely decorated and retain the atmosphere of leisure and relaxation. The perfect renovation, high mirrors in iron frames, wrought furniture and the windows giving to the Dutch tile roofs of the neighbor houses provide the authentic look and original ancientness which are completely adapted to meet the demands of the modern tourists.