The journal of Amélina Petit de Billier

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1821 Grand Tour: settling in Nice, France

Wednesday 31 October. [1821 in Nice] We are installed in our new house. It is quite attractive but it is not as good as the pretty house of M. Bay in Berne. The garden is large but neglected: there are orange trees in the open, laurels etc. At the end of the garden is a pretty pavilion which contains two bedrooms and a large salon; which is the dwelling of Mr Talbot. On each side of the pavilion stretch two long terraces, bordered by Cypress, and from there one has the finest view of the sea. A door in the middle of the pavilion gives on to the shore and each morning I go out through it to have a little walk, or bathe my feet in the Mediterranean. My room is well situated. I have two windows, one to the south, the other to the east, both on the sea, which I can see from my bed without moving. From the 28th October until the 3rd November there has been the most beautiful weather, the mildest I have felt at this season, but the wind is blowing hard today, 5th November.

The town of Nice is in general not as attractive as is commonly believed; there is much talk of a terrace which stretches to the south of the town from which one sees a superb view of the sea, sometimes even of Corsica, in fine weather. This town owes all its attraction to the beautiful Mediterranean, to its clear sky without clouds, to the mildness of the air, always scented with orange trees, and to its good position at the foot of the mountains. I had a charming evening - for a long time I have not had the pleasure, keenly felt by all those of my nation, of speaking and listening to interesting conversation from a pleasant man, well read without pedantry, having at his disposal a thousand little anecdotes concerning several famous personages. Mr Fasakerley provided me with these hours of entertainment which is very much to my taste. [Passage deleted.]

On the 10th November King Carlo Felice has just established in all his possessions a commission composed of priests charged with supervising strict abstinence from meat on fast days.

Caroline bathed in the sea yesterday. The water was not at all cold. Mr F. had constructed on the shore a little wooden hut where one can dress and undress without being seen. When I feel better, I hope to bathe sometimes.
17. We had a nice walk. We crossed the Var on a tremendously long bridge. This bridge serves as a frontier between France and Piedmont. The first French village is St. Lorenzo which the people call chan leurenche: the Nizzard dialect is composed of Italian, French and the Piedmontese and the Marseille dialects; nothing could be harder than this language which no foreigner understands.
The roads are bordered with aloes and every kind of flower. There are palm trees. I saw an enormous pomegranate tree in a garden near here, covered with superb pomegranates, [...]