Friday, December 30, 2016

Nice, Menton, Monte Carlo, Antibes, Cannes, Avignon

Today I'm travelling from Nice to Avignon in southern France. I will have time to visit some places along Cote D'Azur (French Riviera).
 Starting with a morning walk in Nice. Here is Hotel Negresco from 1913.
 Promenade des Anglais
 2016 has brought a new present to the world.

 Gare De Nice Ville is from 1867 built in Louise XIII Style.
 My first train will be to nearby Menton. I was supposed to take TER train at 8:59, but this one came at 8:48, so I decided to take an earlier one. It turned out to be a faster one with fewer stops.
 Z 26500, a train from Alstom Coradia Duplex family. Here in Sweden, there is X40 which is a very similar train but in French version they seems to have squeezed more seats, for example on upper floor 36 seats instead of 24 excluding the sofas and jump seats.
 The seats are as well more plastic than in Swedish version. No 1st class on this train.
 Passing by Villefrance sur Mer
 Beaulieau sur mer
 Maximum speed here is 90km/h. The section Nice-Monaco was very difficult to built and was completed 1868.
 Baie de Roquebrune

 Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur has 15 trains of this type.
 I have arrived to Menton which is the last stop for this train.
 One daily TGV operates here (what a coincidence that I caught it), the service is from Ventimiglia to Paris. From Nice there are TGV services every hour to Paris.
 TER 2N NG and TGV Duplex
 The trip to Paris from here takes around 6h

 Now comes the train that I was supposed to take from Nice. It's a slower TER and the train is a Class Z 23500.
 TER 2N NG (New Generation) from 2004-2010 is to the left and TER 2N from 1998-2000 to the right. One of the differences is that the newer 2N are capable of maximum speed 160km/h, while the older only 140km/h

While TER 2N and 2N NG are manufactured by Alstom, this double deck EMU is from Bombardier.
Regio 2N or Z 55500 has been gradually introduced during 2015-2016.
TER PACA (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) Regio 2N version has 8 coaches/sections, with 5 double deck and 3 single deck sections.

Gare De Menton
Avenue Edouard VII

Italy is very close from here

Hotel Winter-Palace from 1901
Jardins Biovés
Fake snow
Theatre Palais De L'europe

Out of 15 Z 26500 for TER PACA, 5 are painted in red livery representing the "Monaco" trains.
Principality of Monaco has only 1 station along the Marseille-Ventimiglia railway and do not have its own train company. In order to improve service to the principality for cross-border workers, the Principality of Monaco has bought 5 TER 2N NG for 50 million euros, the first train entered the service in 2008.
I had a chance to talk with a man at the station while waiting for the train, he mentioned that these 5 trains did not particularly improved the situation, as there are still many problems with the trains due to strikes and other reasons. Now when the monopoly of the railway in France is history, perhaps it opens new possibilities for a better rail transport.
My next train is a Regio 2N
I get off in Monaco
The station has been moved inside a tunnel built in 1999.
Piece of Berlin wall outside the station

Monaco is the most densely populated country in the world, with 30% of its population being millionaires. Seems that I just to the right place :-) Monaco is not part of European Union, but it is using Euro as its currency.
Statue of the first Grand Prix Monaco winner William Grover-Williams, who was captured and killed by nazis during WW2.
Hotel Hermitage
It's a huge difference between Monaco and nearby Menton (or Nice) with regards to how dense it is populated.

Opera de Monte Carlo
Grace Kelly
Fake snow here as well

Casino Monte-Carlo from 1863
Just having a glimpse inside
I'm back at the train station, where somebody is playing the station piano

My next TER is for Antibes
The line is continuing along the coast with its fancy tennis courts and other facilities.
It's easy to see why it's called Cote D'azur

I'm passing by Nice once again
Nice got its own tram line in 2007, operated with Alstom Citadis trams
Nice station and a "Thello" train
BB 36000

St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral
Marina Baie des Anges

Time to take a look inside Regio 2N train. There is a one Interville version and two Regional versions of this train, the Regional versions named Grand Confort (2+2 seating) and Grand Capacité (2+3 seating). This one is Grand Confort.

Regio 2N at Antibes

Gare D'Antibes
Le Nomade sculpture by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa
Fort Carré, once it was here the border between France and Italy was located.
Memory plate for Nicolas de Staël, a french painter with russian origin who died here in Antibes.
Picasso museum at the tower building

Suddenly a cat was running
It was fleeing from a dog

I'm back at the station
My next train, a TER at 13:59 was cancelled, so I had to wait until 14:14 which was an Interville train, which is a Regional train for longer distances. This service is between Nice and Marseille.
BB 22200 locomotive from 1979 with "En Voyage" livery

Interville service has both 2nd and 1st class coaches.
1st class is of type compartment coach

I have arrived to Cannes

Cannes is of course famous for its film festival

Intercontinental Carlton Hotel

Plage de la Croisette
I'm back at the train station
Gare De Cannes

My next train will take me to Avignon TGV station

This service is for Paris Gare de Lyon, without a stop in Marseille.
After 2,5h trip I have arrived to Avignon TGV station
Station opened in 2001 and it is located 6km from Avignon
Platform is made of wood

Station is also serving the low cost TGV service Ouigo.
The station has modern design

Since 2013, the TGV station is connected with Avignon Centre with a TER line service.
The train is a Class B 81500 AGC (BGC) from Bombardier (manufactured 2009).
The trip takes only 5min
Avignon belongs to TER PACA, but serves also TER Rhône-Aples and TER Languedoc-Roussillon services.
TER 2N NG Z 24500
B 22200 for TER service Marseille-Lyon
Temple St. Martial (to the right) and Cours Jean Jaurés
The town is decorated for Christmas
Place de l'Horloge

Palais des Papes - one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe.

French writer Frederic Mistral

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