A Lot to Love and Some to Not Love
BATTLE OF THE COFFEE
Starbucks is opening up next to me in Nice! From what I can tell, it’s one of only a few to hit the area, with one at the airport, one at the Pathé Gare Du Sud and one on avenue Jean Médecin. Now, on rue Masséna at #26, not far from Nice’s best coffee (Italian)—Caffè Vergnano 1882 at 11 Rue Halévy. This corner has been many things before—most recently a Copper Branch Vegan Restaurant that didn’t weather the Covid-19 storm, and before that a Crocs shoe store. Starbucks likely has better staying power than either of those…but we’ll see.
LOVE HOTEL OFFERS A LOT TO LOVE
I had the pleasure of dining Saturday night with a Parisian friend at Hôtel Amour. With a name like that, it’s hard to ignore. The immediate neighborhood around the hotel is our clients’s hottest spot—with many buying within steps of the hotel and the Tramway #2 station, Alsace Lorraine. The moment you cross boulevard Gambetta going west, you land in the Quartier des Fleurs, which is less expensive than the Carré d’Or, but every bit as beautiful and elegant. With the new Tramway, it’s become just as convenient and “agréable.” And with amenities as hip as Hôtel Amour, Le Victor Hugo (1 rue Berlioz, lunch only) two blocks down avenue Victor Hugo and The Garden Café on the boulevard opposite the Jardin Alsace Lorraine and the Tramway.
The restaurant is, according to their promotion, “where the local table meets the Parisian café, all in the colors of Provence.” I’d agree with that. In fact, it didn’t feel or look Niçois at all, but that shouldn’t be a count against it. It’s Delightful with a Capital D and the food (modified Greek) was exceptional. “Should it be for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, the kitchen is open non-stop from eight until eleven.” The bar is particularly hip and both stay packed, so be sure to reserve. You’ll find locals among the tourists, but all savvy and “in the know.”
The opinion of Le Figaro is that…(translated and edited from the French) “the hotel, a creation of the Parisian trio Delavenne-Saraiva-Costes, combines good taste with comfort, tradition with modernity. Targeting a modern, demanding and responsible clientele, it attracts both couples and friends, French people eager for warmth and foreigners in search of authenticity. For the people of Nice, the address has become a privileged meeting place to work in peace, receive professional or private meetings, have a drink, taste dishes that modernize Mediterranean cuisine or enjoy the pretty little private beach.” (Article published on October 1, 2020)
Hôtel Amour à la Plage is their seaside restaurant, decorated in pastel colors with lots of greenery, on the rocky beach of the Mediterranean, where I’ve also enjoy a few delightful meals. Be sure to try them both.
Walking over to Hôtel Amour, I took a zig-zag path to see how some of the east-west streets are looking now that they’ve been adorned by shrubbery and trees, bike and scooter paths, wider sidewalks and narrower streets for the traffic. The greenery is already growing up and getting thick. Rue du Maréchal Joffre used to be one of the Carré d’Or’s least pretty streets, but no longer. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the districts most beautiful, almost rivaling avenue Victor Hugo.
Nice just gets nicer all the time.
BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE
Not sure the same is true for Paris. Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who touts herself as an environmentalist, planned to fell about 20 century-old trees as part of the “OnE” redevelopment project between the Trocadéro and the Champ-de-Mars.
A petition launched by the association France Nature Environnement (FNE) Paris and relayed by several personalities, including the journalist Hugo Clément, gathered more than 120,000 signatures. Actually, about 175 additional trees were threatened to allow the construction of luggage storage for visitors and premises for the employees of the Eiffel Tower.
Madame is getting a lot of flack for her aggressive and tasteless projects which she envisions as an improvement to the city, but others do not. Now, she has had to backtrack and promise not to cut down the trees. “There will be no tree felling, the commitment is made by Anne Hidalgo,” assured on Twitter by Christophe Najdovski, the assistant for green spaces and biodiversity. They went further to state that the redevelopment of the Eiffel Tower district will make it possible to plant more than 200 new trees and create 1.6 hectares of green space, with promises to plant 170,000 additional trees or create five urban forests and four new parks. Let’s see if she comes through on her promises.
Another promise she is making is to renovate the Champs-Elysées, with a two-stage project: a first phase of work aims to renovate and green up the famous avenue by 2024. A second phase, which will run from 2024 (after the Olympic Games) in 2030, will aim to green it up in depth.
In 2020, a study had revealed that Parisians wanted a greener and more authentic avenue des Champs-Élysées. It was criticized for its impersonal side with its large brands, off-putting to the locals. In short, the avenue seems to have taken on a few wrinkles.
But, according to Anne, a second wind will be given to the famous Parisian avenue thanks to the project “Re-enchanting the Champs-Élysées,” driven by the City of Paris and the Champs-Élysées Committee. Embellished and refurbished, the Champs-Élysées promises to once again become the place for historic promenades that were regular occurrences when it was created. The avenue, nearly two kilometers long, currently attracts 100,000 visitors every day from all over the world…few of which are the Parisians. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I went there myself. (Read more about the project [in French] here.)
I don’t have faith that the current administration can do the famous avenue justice. So far, Madame La Maire hasn’t proven herself with intelligent decision-making! She seriously needs to take lessons from Nice’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, on how to beautify a city and gain love and respect in the process!
WHO IS THAT UNMASKED MAN?
We may not recognize our friends! As of today, the Minister of Health, Oliver Véran, has declared that masks are no longer mandatory on public transport in France! While they still recommend you maintain your mask in such public places, given the large drop in Covid-19 cases it’s not as dangerous and therefore the authorities are easing up the rules. This goes for airline travel, too, however the airlines may still require the masks on flights to reduce their liability. The only place where it remains will be in medical situations for doctors and nurses and in the hospitals.
According to The Local, Covid-19 cases have been falling in France. (See the statistics here.) That being said, I have an awful lot of friends still getting sick! Fortunately, the cases aren’t as severe as the first strain of the virus.
SECRET SPOT ON THE BEACH IN NICE
At the Ruhl Plage in Nice, there is a shaded spot filled with two-seater sofas and tables where you can have a drink or snacks, and even lunch, with a perfect view of the sea. No need to have on a bathing suit, or manage tromping on the “galets” (pebbles)…just walk down the steps to the water, hang a left and grab a seat for a fabulous view. The zone is equipped with WiFi, so if you’re wanting to catch up on emails or surf the Internet (or write your Nouvellettre® like I am doing now), it couldn’t be nicer.
You’ll find it (and me) opposite Le Balthazar Café, rue Halevy and the Meridien Hotel on the Promenade des Anglais.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
Adrian, a screenshot from a new House Hunters International episode not yet aired!
P.S. For a fun video about the opening of the new Ikea store in Nice last week, visit this site and at 16:19 minutes in, meet our clients Eric Schwartz and Lane Greer with their pup, Jet!
P.P.S. We have an Ikea table “INGATORP” for sale that normally sells for 429€, that we’d like to sell for only 300€! It’s ready for pick-up in Villefranche-sur-Mer! See ikea.com for more information about the table. Contact us immediately!