As I sat on the beach Sunday afternoon, looking out at the gorgeous aqua color of the Mediterranean, the waves getting higher as the winds came up and blew away the clouds, leaving the sky pure blue. I thought about the sad day just a week away when I'll be packing up to head back to Paris for "La Rentrée." I will have been in Nice this summer for six weeks, with another week in Corsica for my annual summer vacation—a seven-week sojourn in the south.
The time I spend in Nice is not vacation, but it sure feels that way. I work every bit as hard, if not harder, than in Paris, but it's impossible not to feel as if I'm on vacation thanks to the bright sun, the foamy surf and the throngs of vacationers who fill the nearby restaurants and park their carcasses on the beachy pebbles next to me.
It's been a very busy summer; one of the busiest we've ever experienced having a number of real estate projects, three-quarters of which are purchases or rentals "sight unseen." This means that our American clients are so desperate to make a move to France, and trust us so explicitly, that they are willing to let us make the choice for them. That's a pretty heavy decision and a lot of money to leave up to a third party, but it's working well. It's a "first" for us and likely for them, too, and while it may be cutting into my beach time, no one is complaining.
The Niçois Adrian Leeds Group Team
Our team here in Nice has grown and gotten tighter and more efficient this summer. It takes time and effort plus a lot of luck to build a viable team our clients can count on...and we've finally really done it. We now have two professional search consultants pounding the pavement ferreting out properties, a designer and contractor whose projects just keep wowing us, partner real estate agents with whom we have a wonderful relationship and a sharp young concierge who can tie up all the loose ends. All in all, I am very pleased with how our work in Nice has taken shape this summer—at a time when normally not very much happens. Yep, this year is decidedly different.
After confinement, when dining-in was the only choice one had and I resorted to actually cooking for myself once again, I've taken advantage of the al fresco restaurant dining in Nice and have discovered a lot of new restaurants as well as rediscovered my "tried and trues" at which I always feel at home. You may recall a past Nouvellettre® titled "Eating My Way Through Nice" which is a good start for a newcomer to Nice, but let me add a few more to your Niçois dining pleasure (alphabetical order):
Asian Factory: Don't be fooled by the bad name and don't assume it's strictly Asian, because it's more a fusion of Japanese and French than anything else. It's grown to double its size since I started patronizing this relatively "new kid on the block," for good reason. It is here I had the best roasted whole sea bream in my life. (Photo: Roasted Sea Bream at Asian Factory)
La Demi Lune: La Demi Lune is grossly overlooked, with its waterfront tables directly on the Promenade des Anglais that make for an unusual venue for a Chinese restaurant. The menu is full of photos as you might expect, but for a New Orleanian like me, the stew of spicy whole crawfish is what gets my attention. I'm likely the only person who orders the dish, but as long as they leave it on the menu, I don't care!
Hotel Amour à la Plage: One of the new seaside cafés on the "galets," but what a delight and pleasure, far above the others in quality dining. It's here where you can have your sea and eat well, too.
Le Liber'Tea: Sure, it's just a café on Place Magenta where you can have your morning coffee and "tartine," but new owners took over the spot next door and expanded their space, then they added table cloths and changed the menu to offer daily specials. There's a corner table with a plug that I now call my own and am treated as royally here as at Café Charlot in Paris. The food is above average and the atmosphere lovely, while the wait staff is particularly friendly.
Mon Petit Café: Ignore the generic name that makes it hard to find, and go for some very creative and yummy dishes...the kind that you "ummm" through every morsel. It's among a line-up of other restaurants, some of which are well-known, but not equally as yummy. The service is particularly friendly and attentive. Make this one a special night out on the town in the chic Carré d'Or.
There are more, but how much time have you got? For now, we are gearing up for the festivities surrounding the Tour de France that takes off from Nice this Saturday. Some people are shying away from the crowds because of the threatening Covid-19 virus, but it will be interesting to see how that plays out—who will brave the crowds and who won't. I'm planning on being there for as much as is reasonable, wearing a mask at least, of course.
Maybe you are bored to tears with hearing about Nice and can't wait till Parler Paris is back on track next week?! I've heard that Paris has been like a ghost town and even quieter than during a normal August, because not only are the Parisians gone, but the tourists haven't arrived, either. Paris without tourists is simply not Paris...I can only imagine what it has been like almost as void of humanity as it was during confinement. Am sure it's a lot cleaner, a lot quieter, but also a lot less energetic. However, this is definitely the time to take advantage of visits to the museums when there's hardly anyone in them.
Americans are still desperately trying to get to France, too. We are bombarded with questions about getting visas to enter France and I wish I had a magic wand to make it happen with the wave of it. I thought for sure by now we'd be back on track, but the U.S. is still far behind in getting its act cleaned up from the virus...and therefore France still isn't thrilled to let Americans in their door.
P.S.I'm heading back to Paris for "La Rentrée" next Monday and that means back to writing Parler Paris Nouvellettres®. It also means my colorful, delightful and well located Niçois apartment, "Le Matisse," will be available for stays by my friends of Parler Paris, Parler Nice and French Property Insider. Email me for more information about the possibilities at [email protected].
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