Air dates: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at 10:30 p.m. ET Wednesday August 7, 2019 at 1:30 a.m ET
A woman (Kelly Pruitt) is ready to pack up and move to Paris, France — a dream she's had ever since visiting the Marais neighborhood as an exchange student years ago. She's bringing along a good friend who tries to keep her grounded but injecting practicality may be difficult as she decides between the perfect neighborhood and the perfect space.
As I wandered around Vieux Nice last night and took a few photos of the beautiful old Niçois buildings at dusk, I thought about what an amazing alternative the seaside city is to Paris at half the price...yes, half the price. Either a comparable property costs half the price, or you get double the space, depending on how you'd like to view it.
While Paris is Paris and always will be, as a cultural Mecca and the center for doing business in France or internationally, the Côte d'Azur has other attributes to ensure a happy and healthy life...such as the warmer climate, the deep blue Mediterranean Sea, a substantial transportation network and a relaxed outlook that removes stress.
Neighborhood map of Nice
Promenade de Paillon, Old Nice
East West Tramway
Quartier des Musiciens
Mont Boron from the Old Port
In some ways, Nice reminds me of Los Angeles, in that there are many parts of the city's geography that offer different properties and lifestyles. Like Los Angeles, you can be located in the middle of a grid of trafficked streets, in the hills with lots of trees and beautiful views or on the water's edge, just as it is in Nice. But thankfully, Nice is NOT Los Angeles and here, you don't need a car to have everything at your toes.
I will admit that I discourage our clients from considering the enclaves outside of Nice because while they are all beautiful with wonderful attributes, there is nothing like living in the center of it all, where you have immediate access to an international airport and a large expatriate community. I find that when you're living outside of center, you will spend a lot more time and money finding ways of getting to the center to do everything that it offers, or missing out on a lot of it. Since I personally hate to miss out on anything, and want to pack my life with as many experiences as possible, living outside of center has never been appealing to me...but, I do realize that not everyone shares in that viewpoint.
Still, if you agree with me, then central Nice is where you'll want to be for a truly great life on the Riviera with immediate access to everywhere else by bus, train, plane and even boat...without needing a car!
Let's start with Vieux Nice, aka Old Nice, aka Old Town, as it's at the heart of the city and is the oldest part of town. That doesn't make it a great place to live, but it does make it a great place to play and own a revenue-generating rental apartment.
Dating back to the 16th-century, it's a maze of narrow streets awash with shops, galleries, bars, boulangeries, bistros, boucheries, etc., and a lot of historical sights to visit. The sea is at its doorstep as is its main shopping street, La Cour Saleya. The tramway runs alongside its northern border and the district is anchored by Place Masséna on the west and Place Garabaldi on the east.
Finding great property is tough as nails here. Because the streets are narrow, locating apartments with a lot of natural light are found mostly on the upper floors, and usually without elevators. The stairwells can be steep, making it even harder to climb up. The ability to air condition a property is limited because there are few balconies on which to put a compressor. Buildings are old and usually in disrepair. When the shops are closed, the narrow streets can become a bit dismal. The large number of restaurants and bars contribute to rowdiness and noise by tourists.
The bottom line is if you want a great place to live, this might not be it, but yes, an apartment for tourist rental will do very well! And yes, if you find a jewel, grab it, because there aren't many and Vieux Nice will always hold it's value as the historic center of the city.
The prestigious Carré d'Or (or Golden Square) is my favorite part of the city and where I have my second home, "Le Matisse." The district is right on the water and easy walking to Vieux Nice, is hopping with fashionable boutiques, is close to the main shopping district along avenue Jean Médecin and not far from the train station. The buildings are beautiful: a mix of Bourgeois, Art Deco, Edwardian, Niçois, and Belle Époque, many outfitted with parquet floors, decorative ceilings, and Juliette balconies often with ornate wrought iron. Filled with great restaurants, it's also residential and highly desirable for all its wonderful attributes, but it also makes the best short-term rental for all the same reasons. Transportation abounds with buses and the new East-West Tramway that will soon connect the airport with the Old Port and goes right through the Carré d'Or.
Put this district at the top of your investment wish list, even though you'll pay the highest price for property here...for good reason.
QUARTIER DES MUSICIENS
The Quartier des Musiciens is a close second to the Carré d'Or because it's just north of it and below the train station...so just a few steps further to the water, but accessible to everything central. The architecture is equally as classic and beautiful. It's even more residential than the Carré d'Or and a lot quieter. Property here is also a lot less expensive than the Carré d'Or, so it's a great alternative for year-round living with such immediate access to it all.
My advice is to avoid the area adjacent to the train station, but other than that, it's a perfect lower-priced alternative.
Nice Centre is just on the east side of avenue Jean Médecin from the Carré d'Or, but a bit further from the water and a whole lot more business-like. If you don't mind the hustle-bustle of city traffic, from here you can go a few steps to Vieux Nice, or to the Carré d'Or and have immediate access to the crossroads of the two Nice trams.
Be sure to include this district in your property search.
QUARTIER DES FLEURS
Avenue Gambetta separates the Carré d'Or from the Quartier des Fleurs. With the new East-West Tramway, it's no longer far from center and is close to the water. The architecture is a mix of modern and historical, so it's here where you can get a large balcony or terrace in a newer building. Property values have been increasing here faster than we can keep track thanks to this new tram access and before our very eyes, the neighborhood is growing by leaps and bounds. Our clients who have purchased here couldn't be happier — for less budget, they've achieved spacious apartments, larger outdoor spaces and a very easy, pleasant lifestyle, within easy reach of it all.
Le Vieux Port affords gorgeous views of the boats and ferries going in and out to keep you entertained. If you don't care about being directly on the beach, this can be the perfect sea view for you. The gay community moved in a few years ago and while you might feel its presence, it's not exclusive by any means. Property is so popular that it's hard to come by and little is available at any price. The alternative Riquier train station is a short walk to the north, and the 100 bus that takes you all the way to Menton and back for €1.50 starts off there. The new East-West Tramway will soon go from the airport to the Vieux Port and back again, one big reason for its sudden popularity.
Some of our clients have chosen to go just a bit north of center to the area around the Marché Liberation. The market itself, the largest in the city, is a great reason to be there, as is the price of property. The tram serves the area well, so within minutes you can be at the train station or the sea. It can be a good alternative if your budget needs to stretch, but still want to be in central Nice.
Mont Boron is gorgeous. This is where Elton John's estate sits at the top of the hill overlooking the sea, but this is quieter living and you'll need to have a car to fully enjoy life here. It's green, largely residential and not teeming with restaurants or amenities like in the center. If you like being more remote, this could be your answer, as your friends will not be "just dropping by" unannounced, and you can while away your time in complete calm likely with stunning views of the sea.
Much like Mont Born, plan on owning a car if you're living in Cimiez. It's not far from the center just above the city and is home to several important museums (Musée Matisse and Musée Chagall) and city sites (Cimiez Monastery and Roman ruins). The park around the arena and Roman ruins are fabulous for your pets and for picnicking. Views from the apartments here can be drop-dead magnificent, but expect to be in a big complex, likely made up of modern buildings with big terraces or balconies.
My advice...look for real estate in districts of Nice in this order:
1. Carré d'Or 2. Quartier des Musiciens 3. Quartiers des Fleurs 4. Nice Centre 5. Vieux Port 6. Vieux Nice 7. Libération 8. Mont Boron 9. Cimiez
For more information about the various quartiers of Nice, visit this page on Wikipedia.
And to find a great property here in Nice, contact US! Email us for a description of our property-finding services.
P.S. Did you know...friends of Parler Paris, Parler Nice and French Property Insider are welcome to stay in Le Matisse — at least when I'm not there. It's warmer in winter and cooler in summer! Contact us to secure your stay!
One-Bedroom Apartment on Avenue Gambetta, Nice
Just at the corner of avenue Victor Hugo and avenue Gambetta in Nice, where the new East-West Tramway will have a station, in a beautiful Art Deco building, is this superb 48.11 m2 two-room one-bedroom apartment with a west-facing balcony in perfect condition, fully renovated with high-quality amenities. It is composed of an entrance hall with an independent toilet, living room, fully equipped kitchen, and a large bedroom with bathroom.
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