Trophy of the Alps—La Turbie
What do you do when you have just a couple of hours to kill, before your rental car is due back, and you are in Nice, France, or any other town on the French Riviera? Firstly, you choose a small town like, La Turbie, accessed by the Grand Corniche, but don’t blink, or you will miss it – the Trophy of Augustus.
La Turbie is situated high above the bay of Monaco, like a balcony in the sky, with an astounding panoramic view of the Mediterranean, namely, the French and Italian coast. Now, you know why the Romans celebrated their victory at this precise spot. It’s the highest point in La Turbie, almost 500 meters above the sea. This structure represents the unity and power of the Roman Empire – the Pax Romana.
We climbed up the stairs, passing an above-ground cemetery (mausoleum), to get to the top. Such a privileged area! The monument is surrounded by Doric columns with a platform that bears the commemorative inscription of the tribes subdued during the Augustus campaign.
Victory Monument of the Alps
Here, you will find the famous Trophy, built in 6 BC by Roman Emperor Augustus after the defeat of the Gallic tribes in the region. It is incredible to get this close to the monument. While the gates were closed that surround the foundation, it was wonderful to be there and feel its grandeur. It was our misfortune of coming on a Monday when the site is closed.
However, as you can see just a portion of the tower remains, still very impressive today. Vandals and other barbaric tribes robbed the stone. The structure is made with local limestone (from a quarry still in use today), and partially restored with Carrara Marble back in the 1930’s. Half in ruin from its glory days, and now only 35 meters tall. In 1860 La Turbie became part of France, and in 1865 the monument became classified as a National Monument.
Exploring the medieval streets…
The town still has the usual medieval style of cobble streets,
…fallen blossoms decorate the stone pavement.
Ancient stone houses are so charming, aren’t they?
Secondly, find a place to eat and soak up the atmosphere. We had lunch at Café de la Fontaine, which was one of the best restaurants I have eaten in the Cote d’azur, not a tourist trap, by any means.
In short, we made a sudden dash back to Nice, to return the car on time. The hair-pin turns make for crazy-fun driving, that afforded us another bird’s eye view. Eze village – a lovely perched village…This is an incredible view…”n’est pas vrai”?
Come and discover where the French Riviera meets the Italian Riviera from up on high!
PS. The first car-chase scene in Ronin was filmed here in La Tubie and Nice.