Here's your chance to stay in an apartment dating back to 1768 with aged exposed oak beams and parquet flooring, set against lusciously-colored furnishings inspired by the Orient, superbly located in the heart of Le Marais with a view on the Place du Marché Saint-Cathérine and a block away from the famous 400 year-old Place des Vosges.
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Dear Parler Paris and Parler Nice Reader,
Beach Chair Buddies
Adrian's Gear on the Plage
Florence Richburg, on the Big Red Transat
The Big Stage at Place Masséna
Festival Seating, Becomes Festival Standing for the Performance
Henry Butler, May He Rest in Peace
R+R=NOW Playing at the Festival
Gregory Porter, Crooning with the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra
I arrived in Nice just in time Monday night to let the storm pass. When I descended from the train, the ground was wet and the air was cool. The TGV was 37 minutes late (highly unusual) and as a result, SNCF refunded 25% of the cost of my ticket. Keep this in mind next time it happens to you – it was easy to redeem by going on line to make the claim and the refund can be used toward future travel. (See more about this)
The blue skies and warm air on Tuesday made for a perfect beach day, which I was not going to let pass by without my taking advantage of it. The water was as aqua blue glass as it gets and looking more beautiful and inviting than ever. Long-time member of the Adrian Leeds Group "family," Florence Richburg, who has been living in Villefranche for the last few years, joined me for the day on the beach.
You might recall that the last time I was in Nice, I decided it was time to replace my two worn-out beach chairs and did a little online surfing for lightweight chairs that offered ease of carrying, sun protection and the ability to sit up or lie flat. The chair of "my dreams" was a click away at an affordable price. So after a brief click-click-click it was on its way to Le Matisse (my apartment in Nice). (See adrianleeds.com/parler-paris-past-issues/archive/ to read the story)
Patty Sadauskas and I were sure we could DIY to assemble it together, but for the life of us, we couldn't stretch the canvas long enough to finish securing one last bolt, try as we might. Fortunately, with the help of two big, strong men (my Niçois clients who came over for drinks), and not easily for them either, the chair was finally in one piece and ready to rock and roll down to the "plage" (beach). The only problem was that the chair was so big, once fully assembled, that I needed another apartment in which to store it! (You can see by the photo how it dwarfs the old chair!)
This chair of "my dreams" turned out to be not so "dreamy," after all, so I offered it up for someone to take off my hands right here in my Nouvellettre®. No one came forward. Meanwhile, I rearranged things in the closets to fit it...barely and temporarily...until I returned this time to find it a good home. Fortunately, Florence agreed to test it out and possibly take it home if it worked for her.
Before I left for Nice, I went on line and ordered two more chairs, that hopefully will work better. They arrive later this week, so I'll keep you posted, but until they do, we set out to test out the new red "transat." We trekked down to the beach, wheeling all of our belongings on top of the chair, which was pretty easy, I must say. It was like a big light wheel barrow. Getting it through the packed mind-summer crowd on the "galets" (Nice beach pebbles) was a bit challenging, but Florence managed to worm in and found a spot front row to the water to set us up.
That's when it got comical. It took a bit of finagling to get it in place and ready to use, collapsing or getting stuck in all the wrong positions. Everyone on the beach was watching us, chuckling since we looked like complete klutzes. The chair was giving us both a hard time like a spoiled child who needs discipline, but who you love in spite of his bad behavior. I'm sure they were all secretly hoping we'd settle down, get onto the damned thing and stop blocking their view, since the chair is definitely bigger than most.
The woman behind us, laughing and intrigued by the scene involving the fancy-schmancy chair, asked us where we got it. Maybe she wanted it? "I'll sell it to you if you want it!" I replied. She wasn't taking it.
Whew! Once done and ready, Florence stretched out on the chair, adjusted the sunshade and was more than content. Yeah! Sold! Price: "gratuit."
The water was making big waves, but warm and delightful. I floated on my aqua-colored "noodle" a few times, enjoying every moment of floating in the milky water and took in the stunning scenery on the shore as I like to do. Yep, Nice is nice. I realized while lying on the water with the sun on my face that it was going to be very challenging to get any work done and accomplish much with the sea calling my name at every tide. At least I knew this was just the first beach day of many to come.
The annual Nice Jazz Festival is currently underway – celebrating the 70th anniversary of the first jazz festival in the world! No, the first festival didn't take place in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, where it should have (right?)...but right here in the Riviera town. Surprising, but true!
Before coming, I had noted on my agenda that Henry Butler was playing Thursday night and wanted to see and hear him play. A blind pianist from New Orleans, acclaimed as a member of a New Orleans piano pantheon, he lost his piano, all the master tapes of his recordings, as well as thousands of pages of jazz theory, history and scores he had written in Braille, in the flooding aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I couldn't wait to see the concert, but much to my dismay, he died of cancer just two weeks ago, leaving a real void (for me and a whole slew of others) at the festival. Condolences are in order to everyone who loved him and everyone attending the festival who would have loved him.
The festival takes place on two stages on the Parc Albert 1er, a stone's throw from my apartment, making it simple and easy for me to attend. Attendees gather freely in front of the stages – one might call it "festival standing." Florence and I, now tan and relaxed, managed to see three concerts in one evening: Derobert & The Half-Truths, R+R=NOW and the highlight and patron of the entire festival, Gregory Porter. Porter sang a tribute to Nat King Cole accompanied by the Nice Côte d'Azur Opera Philharmonic Orchestra on the big stage at the "Théâtre de Verdure." Considered one of the most charismatic vocalists in contemporary jazz, after hearing him sing, I agree that he's a crooner extraordinaire. The orchestra was beyond excellent and the songs a whole lot dreamier than my big red "transat."
The evening ended late, but beautifully. The weather couldn't have been more heavenly. The beach had been a dream come true. The crooning was moody and sleep-inducing. Florence stayed the night, then wheeled the big red transat home to Villefranche this morning. It will have a good home.
And I'm at home in Nice...for the summer. Come visit!
Le Magenta is a spacious three-bedroom apartment newly renovated and decorated by our own Martine di Mattéo, perfect for those who need to get a little work done or who just like the feel of a little elbow-room while vacationing in space-starved Paris. Conveniently located a short Métro ride from both Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, the apartment is on the third floor of a good building on a quiet street.
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