This 30 square meter apartment (317 square feet), newly renovated and fully furnished by Interior Architect and Designer, Martine di Mattéo, is located on rue Paulin Méry in the quaint neighborhood of Les Buttes aux Cailles just steps from Place d’Italie.
Asking Price: €359,000 Reference: #148
Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
Le Matisse -Adrian's apartment in Nice
A very old friend of mine is staying at my Nice apartment, "Le Matisse," and taking French lessons at a local school. Her first email to me after her arrival was "Can you clone this place?"
She loved the apartment, as I knew she would, because of how much I love it, too. It's in the heart of Nice on a pedestrian street steps from everything, south-facing with big windows and lots of light, air-conditioned with double-paned windows to keep out the noise, plus I renovated it and decorated it "to the nines." One thing I have always prided myself on is the ability to create a completely functional living environment, where everything is in its rightful place, that has a happy energy (most important) and missing nothing...down to the splatter screen. (If you cook, then you know what this is, and I can bet, most apartments don't have them!)
Daily I get a barrage of emails from her as she is discovering Nice for the first time. In a recent post on an Expat blog, she wrote:
"For all the years I've thought about living in France, I always assumed that I would end up in Paris. It's the city I know best. I've lived there before (but, not for a very long time), and I love it. But, I decided to look at other parts of the country: two years ago I spent a few weeks in Montpellier, which I liked, and I've just spent two weeks in Bordeaux, which I liked but didn't love. Now I'm in Nice for two weeks and I really like it. It seems like a very livable city with lots of the advantages of a big city...I grew up in and live in New York so my view of things is informed by that, but less hectic."
I am not surprised. I knew she would enjoy it, in spite of having been Paris-centric like almost all Americans. She went on to write:
"Also, though Nice is not cheap by any means, it's cheaper than Paris, and way cheaper than Manhattan in terms of real estate. I'm single and would be looking for a one or two bedroom apartment, not a house. I own my Manhattan apartment outright and would sell it. So can any of you opine on Nice's drawbacks? Thanks."
Let me clarify that Nice is not only cheaper than Paris, it's half the price. That's a big difference. And of course, it's a whole lot less expensive than Manhattan. It means that either you can afford more space for the money or plunk down a lot less. I know her Manhattan apartment — it's in one of the city's best neighborhoods (in fact, I almost bought an apartment in her building!), and she could sell it, take the money and buy a spacious two bedroom apartment in Nice with about 50 percent of that and bank the rest for her retirement. I guarantee you, she'll never look back.
Hmmm...so what are the drawbacks to Nice? Good question. I haven't found any yet, except that it isn't Paris. It isn't the center of business activity, or the hub of art and culture like Paris. It isn't the city that the world pines for like Paris. But, it's a whole different world with a lot of its own attributes, so it just depends on what world you want to live in. Thanks to our transient lives, where we don't necessarily have to live in any one place, given the right budget, we can have both. Personally, I love enjoying the pleasures of both French cities, plus traveling in between.
Many people come to me to help them decide where to call home in France. Like Toni, they have all sorts of ideas, such as Montpellier or Bordeaux which can be lovely towns, but they have real drawbacks for North American expatriates. One major drawback to cities like these is international access...the ability to fly to and from the States on direct flights, or to other cities around the world without having to connect to another airport. Another major drawback might be weather, since the climate on the Riviera is simply gorgeous. Another huge advantage that Nice (and environs) has over most other French towns in the large and growing North American expatriate community that is actively meeting and creating a variety of fun things to do, while providing support.
Many Americans think they will come to France and integrate into French society, forget their American roots and dive right into life in France. That's not a realistic view. The truth is that it's really tough to break into French society as an outsider. Being fluent in French will help, but culturally, there are still too many barriers. On top of that, your compatriots will know exactly what you're going through, so having that support can make or break a successful transition to life in France.
If you've already lived in France for years, and have a family to fill your time, then maybe none of that is as important. You will find expatriate friends all over France. And there's no shortage of culture and things to do, no matter where you are. So, neither Paris nor Nice is the end all. Provence...the Languedoc-Roussillon...Normandy...Brittany...all of it is really open arms to those who want to embrace it.
The point of this missive is not to promote Nice, but to de-centralize the idea of Paris as the only place in France in which to hang your proverbial "beret."
Spend time talking with me about your goals, your dreams and how you see your future. Then, together we can strategize and find a direction for a spot in France that suits you best...before you start trekking to every city to test it out or make the mistake of landing somewhere that doesn't actually tick all the boxes.
I'm headed back to Nice next week to tape another House Hunters International episode — my 40th. Toni and I will be crossing paths, as she comes to Paris while I'm back in Le Matisse, soaking up the sunshine. It will be interesting to hear from her how she feels about Paris, now that she's spent some quality time on the Côte d'Azur. She may end up with the same ambivalence as mine...wanting it all.
P.S. Now's your opportunity to have a one-on-one consultation with me if you are in the Los Angeles area in December. I'll be spending some time in Santa Monica over the Christmas holidays and will be available the mornings from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Santa Monica (if possible) December 20th and 21st, 23rd, 24th, 26th and 27th. Our two-hour session will cost the same as the normal fee, except in dollars, rather than euros, saving you 10%. To book your consultation and learn more, email me now!
P.P.S. Please take a moment to vote for us as best Parisian Expert in Expatriates Magazine's annual Best of Paris 2019! Visit their site to cast your vote!
November's Après-Midi: November 12, 2019
Edith de Belleville, Author and Tour Guide
"At age 50, I went back to university to get a guide-lecturer license. Good! I will not hide that it was difficult. But it was worth it because I discovered the history of art, the history of France, the history of Paris and also the history of French literature. Good French literature I already knew a little because before, I had a license of French as a foreign language and I gave courses in French literature to foreigners. Marcel Proust, Madame de Sevigne, Baudelaire and Zola did not have any secrets for my students."
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