Our original itinerary had Monte Carlo as a port destination but changes offer opportunities and ours was to go to France.
Our port was the Bay of Villefranche. Our ship was too large to dock directly so we used tenders – a taxi vessel that took us from our ship to land. We learned that the Mediterranean Sea is not effected by lunar tides.
Nearby was Nice on the French Riviera, also known as Côte d’Azur (blue coast). Nice thrives on tourism, perfumes and a growing tech industry. Nice is the fifth largest city in France with 400,000 people.
There is a nice promenade along the beach.
Elton John has a home way up on a hill. Telephoto lens in use here!
We traveled by bus to Saint Paul de Vence Village.
There were once 3500 inhabitants inside these 16th century walls.
We entered the village through the arched gate.
Some of the oldest buildings are from the thirteenth century.
Villages like these were built on hills so to avoid flooding and pirates.
Being up high on the hill also allowed them to see any enemy that was approaching.
The mountains in the distance are The Alps.
The traditional architecture is white-ish with red tile roofs.
More recently artists arrived in Saint Paul de Vence and created the current version of artist colony. In the early days artists would pay for drinks and food with art.
Currently, only about 300 people live here. It is very picturesque but not very convenient for vehicles or deliveries.
The village is very picturesque!
There is a lovely fountain in the middle of the village.
Of course there is a Roman Catholic church.
There was a cemetery with a view.
We left the village and made our way back down to sea level.
While tendering back to our ship we saw the St. Helena out of London. A little research revealed she had been one of the last two ships holding the RMS designation and had served as a mail ship and lifeline between Cape Town and the remote British territory of Saint Helena.
In 2016 the ship was retired, sold and entered a two year season of refurbishment. Efficiency was a priority to her new owners. The engines were rebuilt to run on low-sulphur marine diesel and the propellers were refurbished to reduce friction. Underwater sections are painted with anti-fouling paint to keep her more streamlined thus reducing emissions.
The ship supports the Extreme E’s Five Race Global Odyssey – an all electric grand prix conducted near ports around the world. Who knew?
And there is our Nieuw Statendam. It was a good bonus day in France!