I needed a holiday after my mission in Delhi. Nice was very nice.
Aristocratic Russians loved the South of France. Tsar Nicholas II financed the construction of the Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, which opened its doors in 1912. But not all of them; the door with the marble staircase was reserved for the Tsar, but he never came to Nice so it has remained bolted shut. It is dedicated to the memory of the Tsarevich, who died of meningitis in the mid 1860s in the city. If you visit, engage Tatiana to give you the full tour, she is an excellent guide.
Down in the ilots of the Old Town, the summer heat can be oppressive, so the doors are all angled to catch every breath of breeze. The fanlights above the doors are open to provide natural air conditioning.
The Lascaris Palace (converted into a museum, with a stunning collection of antique musical instruments) looks like an ordinary house in the old town until you go inside. It was built in the 17th Century, but these doors are Italian. The hinges were offset to prevent the bottom of the doors rubbing away the knap of the expensive carpets and rugs. They also prevented drafts and reduced the weight of the doors. Their embellishment in silver plating inlaid into the wood, covered with silverleaf, illustrates the rococo style.
Fancy doctors’ offices, Our Lady of the Port church, doors opening onto the balcony on the Garibaldi Square, painting the door of a chapel at the hilltop cemetery, and a glass-covered walkway to a door in a fine apartment block.