Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ferris Wheel- La Grande Roue

Every Christmas, Nice has a huge ferris wheel in the centre of town as part of the christmas festivities. Unlike the Village de Noel and the ice rink it stays past New Year- though I haven't been able to find out from any of the Nice tourist sites exactly how long its operational- though some friends have said it stays till Carnaval.
I took these photos last wednesday around dusk and the wheel was in use -though i didn't see many people actually sitting on it on this occasion.

I am not brave enough to go on it myself, as even looking up to take the photos triggered my vertigo. Its a really impressive piece of machinery though-it reminded me quite a bit of the Eiffel tower - maybe because its made of industustrial metal grids but graceful at the same time.

The sun is just beginning to set through the metal struts.
Some of the cars and a few palm trees looking quite dramatic against the sky. The view is apparently quite impressive as you can see across Nice to the hills on one side and the Mediterranean sea on the other. The wheel itself is 50 metres in diameter which is 164 feet/54.5 yards and 90 metric tonnes in weight-with 36 cars. It takes 10 lorries to transport the giant wheel and a huge 35 tonne crane to erect it when it arrives.
Here are the specifications/faq for the wheel- I suppose they must have been fed up answering the same questions every year.

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