Leicas in the South of France, Part 2

In the first post in this series, I suggested that I would be dividing the photos up into two groups. In looking at what remains, I’ve decided that three posts is probably more appropriate. This second set of photos includes those from the two day trips that took me out of Nice proper: one to the small medieval walled town of Entrevaux, and another to the seaside principality of Monaco.

While it might seem at first glance that these two destinations could not be more different, they have similar origins. The original hilltop citadel remains the visual center of Monaco when viewed from the sea, with the palace and the dramatic clifftop oceanography museum dominating the small old town center. But where Monaco developed into a sprawling and opulent modern city – one that seems to be under a state of permanent reconstruction – that now dwarfs the centuries-old core, Entrevaux remains today much as it when it was built hundreds of years ago. With its own castle perched on the ridge above the town, the walls that protected the town remain its boundaries today as it still commands a strategic bend in steep valley cut by the River Var.

Monaco was reached by boat, leaving the port of Nice and sailing along the coast as ships have done for thousands of years. I’ve long believed that port cities are best understood and appreciated – at least in the macro sense – if first approached from the water, and this was no exception. The journey to Entrevaux was taken by train, running along a narrow-gauge line more than a century old that parallels the Var first north then west from Nice. Here too the historical route was followed, between the increasingly steep ridges that rise above the river, arriving to much the same view as that of travelers in centuries past, passing across the same bridge and through the same gate to enter the town proper. In addition to modern trains like the one I took, a steam train runs along the route in the summer; I was lucky to catch a shot of it as it came through Entrevaux station, adding to the illusion of a place where time has slowed considerably.

Marking the history of the region with what are perhaps two extreme examples seemed an interesting way to present a distinct set of photos, so that’s what I’ve done here. I hope you enjoy them.


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