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September's Après-Midi: September 10, 2019
Susan Herrmann Loomis, Author & Cooking Instructor
As an internationally-recognized expert on food and an award-winning journalist/author, Susan takes a unique approach to her craft by combining training in journalism with a love for food and the people who produce it. It all started with cooking school in Paris, then a year co-researching and authoring THE FOOD LOVER’S GUIDE TO PARIS, by Patricia Wells. She is the award winning author of thirteen books, both food and literary, the most recent of which is French Grill (Countryman, 2018).
This is the last Parler Nice I'll write for a short while. By Wednesday I'll be on the train back to Paris for La Rentrée, hard work and real life. That's not to say that life in Nice is not "real." It's very real, but a very different kind of "real."
For whatever reasons, life in Nice is slower-paced, more relaxed, less stressful, sunnier for sure, and easier in so many respects. It's also less expensive (restaurants, cost of housing, etc. all cost less). I will likely be a bit sad to board the train, but I already know that it will only be about five weeks before I step foot in "Le Matisse" again (what I call my Niçois apartment). In the meantime, I'll miss the big oval bathtub (my Paris bathtub is a short one so that my knees are in my chest), the occasional dining out on the balcony (no outdoor space in Paris, as is the norm) and even the comfortable mattress (that I've worked so hard to duplicate in Paris with no success).
As a last hurrah in the south, I spent as much time on the beach as I could afford, but also took 24 hours Saturday to Sunday to go to the Luberon in the heart of Provence for my friend, Barb's, annual Barbecue Rib Fest. She's a master at "sous-vide" — meaning "under vacuum" — but it's a method of cooking in a water bath for extensive periods of time at very low temperatures which cooks the ribs (and anything else) to perfection from inside out. At the last minute, she browns them on the grill and I can vouch for the fact that her ribs are THE BEST! I stayed a bit longer than usual in the south this year so as not to miss this special event or the delicious ribs.
The village of Ansouis was hoppin' when we arrived Saturday afternoon with a wedding taking place at the tiny Mairie (City Hall) and a music festival with live bands that played well into the night from a stand set up in what is normally a parking lot. We ignored all that and allowed the music to serenade us as we chowed down on the succulent pork ribs from Barb's interior patio, which was once a feeding station for the barn animals in her centuries-old village house. The top level of the house is a big terrace she has luxuriously furnished with big sofas so that after dinner we could lounge, take in even more of the music and play our usual game of "Cards Against Humanity" where we always laugh until we cry.
Sunday morning I hopped a bus from the Aix Gare Routière back to Nice, depositing us all at the Nice airport — available with Phocéens Cars and/or Zou Ler. The fare was a little more than 30€. In spite of the fact that I was about the last to board, I scored a front row seat with a perfect view of the route with no one sitting next to me. I was shocked that no one else had already taken it, but surmised that perhaps its sunny nature wasn't as appealing to the others as it was to me. From the airport, the new tramway took me straight home in less than 30 minutes. What a pleasure! And by 3:30 p.m. I was back on the beach for the last time this season.
The bus routes in Nice are about to change, as of September 2nd, thanks to the new East-West Tramway. The "Noctambus" (night bus) routes will be replaced with regular routes, with extended evening timetables from Monday to Sunday.
Then, by clicking the "Routefinder" or "Timetables" button on the top right hand-side of the home page of your Lignes d'Azur website, and by entering your journey details or your stop/route, and by selecting a travel date from September 2nd, 2019 onwards. Thanks to the interactive map, you can compare the old network with the new network and follow the transformation of the network route by route!
Thanks to the new system, 90 percent of the population of Nice and 75 percent of the population of the region will be guaranteed the service of a tram or a bus every 15 minutes (within a distance of 500 meters). Eighty percent of the journeys will be assured by tram or tram-frequency bus transport (bus line with high level of service). The reorganization of the network concerns 77 lines with about 3,100 bus stops in the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolis.
If you live in Nice, not only do you not need a car, but you won't want one. For us to drive to Provence, we simply rented a car from a rental car company located literally around the corner from my apartment...everything is so easy and so close.
This morning I'm off to visit an apartment, steps from the sea, in the last stages of renovation of one of our Nice clients. She came in to be a part of the final touches. In early to mid October, she and I will be filming a "Mediterranean Life" together. This is one of HGTV's newest shows. It seems that their viewers are hungry for dreamy get-aways "from the crystal-clear waters of Spain’s Costa del Sol to the rugged beauty of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, the newest series in the fantasy lifestyle genre will follow house hunters seeking the perfect Mediterranean escape to call their own."
With so many new clients in Nice, we are sure to be filming a lot of new shows. Stay tuned for more information!
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