Susan's sketchbook log: Nice and the Cote d'Azur


"La Prom"

Hotel Negresco, Nice FranceNothing says "Nice" like the Promenade des Anglais. On my first day I felt a little overwhelmed by so many things to sketch, so headed down "La Prom" to something I knew: the iconic Hotel Negresco.

My first day was also the first full day of Carnaval. Turns out that Nice's Carnaval draws a million people over two weeks. Hunh. So, en route to the Negresco, passed the stands set up for viewing the "flower battles." The first one was scheduled for that afternoon, and the seats were sold out, but I bought a standing room ticket.

I had envisioned rose petals floating through the air, which wasn't quite it.There were bands and dancers and giant balloons, and about 20 floats, made of flowers, with wildly-costumed women tossing mostly mimosa branches at us. The 'battle' seemed to be among the spectators: men ripping flowers out of women's outstretched hands, women tussling with children for them. It was sort of New Orleans Mardi Gras parade meets the Tournament of Roses parade.

Before I left, I read that they are moving the flower battles off the Promenade beginning next year due to the traffic snarls (heaven knows my taxi driver from the airport the previous evening, when opening ceremony was held, was muttering and nearly hysterical about having to get us to the east side of town)! So, I was pleased to have been part of this last opportunity to catch mimosa (the real thing glued in below) with the Baie des Anges as a backdrop.


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