Nice/Nizza Street Photography (Leica M6) – Part I: Promenade et Jardin

The second part of the series about photographs from the Côte d’Azur. Read the first post, about the city of Grasse, here.

Nice, France. One of, if not THE most photogenic cities in Europe. A dostoyevskian juxtaposition of schmancy-chic lifestyle with the authenticity of a mediterranean French city: Multiculturalism, tourism, spontaneity, the smell of sea looming in the air, very loud nights, and so much more.

Nice, France 2014 Leica M6, Portra 400
Nice, France 2014
Leica M6, Portra 400
If you look past the bubbling, fascinating glitz and movie-like kitsch of the Promenade des Anglais, you’re left with a myriad of things to discover. Having spent there almost two weeks, I only managed to a fraction of the place.
The Leica followed me everywhere (or shall I say – I followed my Leica everywhere), and every day I got to appreciate it more and more. Shooting the streets of a city never felt more exciting and fulfilling.  I also took three other cameras with me (see my ‘About’ page), but I didn’t feel the need to use them even once.
The French are known to have good taste, and it appears to be true even when it comes to cameras, so I got stopped a couple of times, having to answer questions such as: “C’est une M6, n’est pas?” or: “Ah c’est une Leica? C’est comme Henri-Cartier Bresson!” (… ha, I wish…)

The miles-long Promenade is the centerpiece of this city. A wide pedestrian walkway, and a sheer endless and busy pebbled beach. There is simply no way one can’t enjoy walking up and down the Promenade and do some considerable amount of people-watching.

Enjoying the view, Nice 2014 Leica M6, Kodak Tri-X 400
Enjoying the view, Nice 2014
Leica M6, Kodak Tri-X 400
At the Beach, Nice 2014 Leica M6, Kodak Tri-X 400
At the Beach, Nice 2014
Leica M6, Kodak Tri-X 400
At the Beach, Nice 2014 Leica M6, Kodak Portra 400
At the Beach, Nice 2014
Leica M6, Kodak Portra 400
Woman on a Bench, Nice 2014 Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Woman on a Bench, Nice 2014
Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Parasols, Nice France 2014 Leica M6, Kodak Tri-X 400
Parasols, Nice France 2014
Leica M6, Kodak Tri-X 400
Horse Policewomen, Nice 2014 Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Horse Policewomen, Nice 2014
Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Just across the street from the Promenade is where the city’s main garden begins. Just recently, the massive Jardin Albert Ier re-opened again after a longer period of renovations. And the city went ‘all in’ for the investment as it seems, what turned out to be one of the most lovely garden’s I’ve visited in Europe so far.
Fontaine des Trois Grâces, Nice 2014 Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Fontaine des Trois Grâces, Nice 2014
Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Arc de 115.5°, Nice 2014 Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Arc de 115.5°, Nice 2014
Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
The first part of it just north of the Place Massena has been enriched by a countless number of fountains in the ground (called the “Miroir d’eau”). During the hotter summer days, children as well as adults can be seen taking a dare, or even a proper shower, among the tall water sprays.
Fountains, Nice 2014 Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Fountains, Nice 2014
Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Le Miroir d'Eau, Nice 2014 Leica M6, Kodak Tri-X 400
Le Miroir d’Eau, Nice 2014
Leica M6, Kodak Tri-X 400
Boy vs. Fountain, Nice 2014 Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Boy vs. Fountain, Nice 2014
Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Little Boy, Nice 2014 Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Little Boy, Nice 2014
Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
At night, when the fountains are turned off, the remaining water turns the whole square into what ultimatively gave it its name: The Mirror of Water, le Miroir d’Eau. A vast, flawless reflection of the great buildings that are surrounding the Miroir.
Le Miroir D'Eau. Nice 2014 Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Le Miroir D’Eau. Nice 2014
Leica M6, Ilford HP5+
Also, it is in the dark when the length of the Promenade becomes most obvious, and the stretch of lights seems to extend all the way beyond the horizon. I tried to shoot some night photography with a roll of Ilford Delta 3200, pushed to 1600 ISO when developing. It is one of my favourite films, by day as well as by night. The results were relying heavily on my ability to hold the camera steady, which, at a certain exposure and especially after a few drinks, gets more and more difficult.
The Promenade at Night. Nice France 2014 Leica M6, Ilford Delta 3200
The Promenade at Night. Nice France 2014
Leica M6, Ilford Delta 3200
Part Two of my posts about the lovely city of Nice will feature the old town, market and more. As always, many thanks for reading!

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