Place Garibaldi

Place Garibaldi looks very impressive this year. This is a huge Italianate 18th century plaza or square at the back of the old town. It divides the Port, Old Town and edge of the modern city centre. It was a mess for a couple of years when the tram was built and the associated time-consuming archaeological dig that accompanied it. You can take a small peep at some of the archeology at the tram stop Cathédrale-Vielle Ville where a small section of the platform has been glazed over to provide a viewing window.

Now, the almost fully pedestrianised square is open. The traffic is much reduced; there is a one-way single lane through the centre and another one-way road along one side. This seems to have had an affect on all the surrounding traffic - the drivers must have found other routes. Rue Cassini which links the Port to the square is much quieter. The Tram traverses the square with the Garibaldi stop just beyond the square on rue Republique.

Our studio is very close to Place Garibaldi and we pass by most days. There are restaurants, cafes, MAMAC, the huge main library, a Monoprix supermarket and separate bakery and ice cream parlour. There's even a cinema here, tucked away in a corner - the Mercury. Films in English will have VO - version originale after the film title in the listings. For shops, other than a lovely shoe shop, you need to nip into the old town or stroll to the modern city centre 10 minutes away. The Chapel of the Holy Sepulcre or Blue Penitants is found just past the famous fish restaurants de Turin. Look for the three cannon balls mounted above the central three arches of the church arcade - monument to the Turkish-French invasion in 1543.

The centre of the square has a large water feature with a rather grand sculpture of Giuseppi Garibaldi facing Turin up rue de la Republique. The pool has rows of water sprays which can soak the surrounding edges but when these are switched off (quite often) they provide handy seating where you can usually find a shady spot from established trees to sit down for a few moments, maybe cool off with an ice cream from the new Giuseppi & Pepino gelateria.

There are new benches and planters filled with young trees dotted around the square. These need to grow a bit to give more shade - the square is huge and sun-soaked most of the day. You can choose to walk across the square in full sun or go around the four sides shaded by the vaulted arcades or porticos.

The square is often busy at weekend with art fairs, antique fairs etc. A film crew were making an advert for Samsung recently, the velo blue cycles were inaugurated here last month and the restaurants and cafes have invested in some huge parasols and are starting to edge out into the square. There are famous established restaurants here like the Turin seafood restaurants - in a group of three - the Grand café de Turin, the Petit Turin and the Turissimo and a bit further along, the Cappa tearoom and patisserie. On the same side as Monoprix, Au Petit Gari is an established low key family restaurant specialising in hearty home cooking and charcuterie.

There are also newcomers to the square - Le Danieli, a combined bread and Patisserie, bistro, bar and restaurant, opened in August 2009. An ice-cold half carafe of rosé wine costs 5,50 euros here - it's a good spot to chat and people watch.

I don't know how long it will last, but Place Garibaldi has so far escaped the attentions of the passing musicians who play their set repertoire in the same circuit around the restaurants and cafes of the Old Town every day. Place Garibaldi is a very peaceful and civilised place to have a meal or drink, take advantage for as long as it lasts. Sometimes groups of skateboarders will practise their skills in the square but this is not a regular feature and the open space is vast enough to absorb them.


Anonymous said...

I cannot send you my comments. What problems are there?


AllaboutNice said...

Hi Mirjam

Hope you are enjoying Nice - your comment arrived safely ^^ so I'm not sure if there are any problems - I will see if I can spot anything, although I'm not at all technical :-) What happened to make you think there was a problem?

Anonymous said...

I think i did something wrong when i wanted to add my name. When i stay anonymous all is OK.
So here i go again.

Last saterday late in the evening we arrived back home. The trip back home was not nice because the airco in our section of the TGV didn't work at all. It became very hot and people had to go to the barwagon now and then to cool down a bit. There was a possibility to change trains but the explanation was in such fast French that we couldn't understand all of it at once and stayed (like everyone else) in our train. Halfway we got a little bottle of water. Passengers had to distribute it.At the end of the journey personel of the train gave one of the passengers a block with forms to give to everyone so that you can try to get back some money. They didn't want to give it themselves i think. They stayed away the whole journey and didn't even check the tickets.
We also loved the "new" Place Garibaldi. We had a lot of drinks and a few dinners at Campo Caffé in one of the corners. Delicious thin pizza's there end very friendly staff. Also Villa Sorriso in Rue Cassini is nice for a pizza. Locals also come there to have dinner. Airco and not high priced. Do you know them as it near your flat? Thanks for your tip for ventilators. We got one from Monoprix (I don't like the shop as it is not very clean), there was a large pile of them. Only €21,00 and making very little noise so we could use it also during the night. We left it in the second apartment we had for the next people. Did you visit the end 2008 reopened International Perfume Museum in Grasse? If not I highly recommend it. It is very nice with nearly all signs also in English. I liked the room at the start very much. During 9 minutes you can experience smell, sound and colours together. Extremely relaxing for me. We also visited Fondation Maeght again and for the first time Monaco. We did a "tramtrip" from beginning to end and I made a lot of photo's of the colouring statues at place Massena. i can send you some if you want to. We visited a lot of museums. The museum on Asia is a nice one. Also the Photografic and Modern Art museum. I liked the (new?) shoppingcenter at Rue General Delfino. If you forgot something at home you will find it at the Carrefour, There is a lot to choose from and it is also a very clean.