3/28/19 Thursday Morning
I booked a walking tour with a super nice guide on Airbnb. The walking tour was from 11:00a to 12:30p when the sun was just perfect for visiting this colorful old town. Thibault is a very decent guide (also a musician) who knows literally everything- the history of the city, architectures, and artists who made Nice more charming.
There are two more guests in my trip. I was a little bit afraid before the trip as I mentioned in the previous post. However, I soon realized it was totally unnecessary to be concerned about, rather, it was actually a great way to talk to and get to know people.
We started our tour in front of the Opera house. He introduced the opera house in an interesting way: besides all the historical events behind and the details about the architecture, he also pointed out something we did not really notice about the building. The entrance of the opera house is actually facing towards the street/alley side (which is a narrow alley as we can see from the pic below), instead of the sea side which is broader and has better view. BUT Why? Thibault told us it was because people in the old days did not like to expose themselves into the sun that much as people nowadays, they did not want to get tanned. Making the entrance towards the alley could effectively avoid the sun. I laughed when he continued by saying that it is the similar reason as he visited Taiwan once and saw Asian people use umbrella to avoid the sun in summer. I mean his explanation seems to make sense. People didn’t like to get tanned might be a reason for building the entrance in a more shadowed side. (Later when I got back to my Airbnb, host dad joked and said he thinks the entrance builded towards the alley side was because it is easier for the officials to get into the opera house as the city/town hall is just across the alley. Totally makes sense too)
I guess my biggest take away from the walking tour, if not about where to eat, is the several churches and cathedrals in the old town we visited. The architectures were typically interesting for me because I took Early Renaissance Art and Architecture in Italy back at Denison. We discussed a lot about the facades, frescos and the architectures. While most of those in the old town are actually Italian style, I am able to compare with what I have learned and what I see (Even though many of them are 16-17th century baroque style but still I can draw some connections and differences).
I learned a lot from Thibault and refreshed my memories as well. It was interesting to see the different styles of the frescos in different kinds of churches and cathedrals. Some frescos use very bright colors, such as light blue, while in some other churches, the frescos are more shaded, using darker colors to create rather different atmosphere. In one of the churches we visited, I can strongly feel a sense of joyfulness. It was because there are angels- paintings and statues everywhere in the church that created the feeling of purity and happiness. The chapels are also good to look at, even though we did not have enough time to see all the chapels and to learn the stories behind them. We talked about the columns in the chapels that show typical baroque style, as every pairs of columns are designed differently in terms of the color and shapes, yet still keep a sense of balance overall.
My favorite cathedral is called cathédrale Sainte-Réparate de Nice (Nice Cathedral). This is one of the most famous cathedrals in Nice area. It is in baroque tradition for both exterior and interior decorations. The construction of the currently main building took place between 1650 and 1865, and some alterations have taken place after the initial construction. For example, a campanile was added between 1731 and 1757, and around 1900, an apse was built on either side of the choir. We can see the different style of the architectures, but they actually match in some way. The color design on the facade of the dome looks like the design on the roof of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna where I visited with my Psych class earlier in March. They are both colorful, consisting of yellow, green and black “pixels”, even though the architectures are in totally different styles.
Inside the Nice Cathedral, there includes 10 chapels, dedicating to different saints and martyrs. It was interesting to see different designs of columns in each chapels, as they create contrast. For example, if one pair of columns has white color, the other pair in the chapel of the opposite side could be in black (sorry, I thought I took pictures but failed to find any…).
It was a nice walking tour in general. Thibault led us to several churches and cathedrals in the old town, introduced several restaurants with traditional food, snacks or ice creams, and also talked a lot about the history of Nice. I am very satisfied with this first Experience booked through Airbnb.
Would love to see what I did after the walking tour? You know what to do 😉 👇