Calling It a Nice Day…in Nice
I waited for an Uber to arrive, standing outside in the freezing snowy winter Paris Wednesday morning. Within minutes we were pulling up to the Gare de Lyon where a train would take me to Nice, a trip of about six hours. The snow covered the ground for many miles before the fields of white turned to green and I could start to breathe again. Once we hit the water, not long after our stop in Marseille, I could totally relax and take in the contrast of the two very different cities in my life.
Nice was awash with blue skies and warm sun, while still a bit crispy-aired. I always love that little moment when I exit the tram at Place Masséna and see my “petit balcon” from a distance, the sun shining brightly on it as it faces south. Upon approaching the building, I noticed there was a new sign next to the door. It reads:
“Ici au 24 rue Masséna vécut…KLEIN EMMANUAL, 43 ans
Victime de la barbarie nazie, il fut déporté parce que juif pendant la Shoah Passant, souviens-toi de son nom.”
“Here at 24 rue Masséna lived EMMANUEL KLEIN, 43 years old
Victim of Nazi barbarism, he was deported because he was a Jew during the Passing Shoah, remember his name.”
My downstairs neighbors didn’t know anything about it. They had hardly paid attention, although when I questioned them, Madame subsequently asked if I was Jewish. She confessed she was, too. “Quelle surprise!” I never would have guessed it, but I’m hoping this will shed new positive light in my favor for their future treatment of me!
Sunday morning I spotted another one of these signs, but this time it was plastered on the ground, wet from the past two days of drizzly rain. It must have come down off of number 3 rue Masséna. It mentioned Joseph Goldinson, 45 years old.
Nice Matin had the answer to what these new signs were all about. There were forty posters recently plastered on buildings between avenue Jean-Médecin and the Opera House by seven Niçois members of the Union des Etudiants Juifs de France (UEJF) (Union of Jewish Students of France) joined by two members of the national office. They put up the signs early in the morning at the end of January with the objective to pay tribute to those who were rounded up and deported during the Second World War.
Nice Matin has the whole story, but what impressed me most is that this and other efforts are part of a mission by the UEJF that wants to make students aware of the dangers of prejudice against race and religion. I am quite proud to have one at my door and now I’d like to learn a lot more about Emmanuel Klein who once lived in my building, perhaps in my apartment, before he was sadly taken away.
Rather than take time to unpack and settle in, but taking time to say hello to Henri-le-Cactus and his friend Henriette (who have both grown wildly since I was home last) by giving them each a big drink of water, I headed out to see the sea. Six weeks of Gray Paree was enough to send me packing, looking forward to that moment when the aqua blue water and bright sun would warm my weakening confined bones. It felt like what I imagine would be a shot of a heroine, without the heroin, but with the addiction. The more I see it, the more I want it.
The next few days were further injections of sweet visual highs, with the visits to three properties recently found for our clients. One, a large studio (to be renovated into a one bedroom) directly on the Promenade des Anglais, ground level with a private garden; a two-level penthouse with an 80 square meter terrace and views north, east and south toward the water, just steps from the ocean; and another directly on the Promenade des Anglais with a glass-walled round room that juts out at the corner and commands the entire Baie des Anges in one wide-angled view.
It’s very satisfying and rewarding when our consultants ferret out such jewels and I know that our clients will be forever happy with their Riviera “pied-à-terre.” (Special Note: The plural of “un pied-à-terre” is “des pied-à-terre.”) It would be impossible for these properties not to be thoroughly enjoyed and ultimately be solid investments. I have a pinge of sweet jealousy, but get pleasure vicariously through theirs!
In the drizzle, I walked up to the market at Libération on Saturday to shop for Sunday’s lunch “chez moi” with invited guests Patty Sadauskas and an old friend from New Orleans who has lived in France almost 20 years. Our usual MO is lunch on Sunday at Le Safari on the Cour Saleya, but not this time around—while all the restaurants are closed as part of confinement. So, I decided a real Salade Niçoise was in order and set out to get all the ingredients, of which there are many.
To start off with, I hit up the fishmongers for fresh tuna. The market has about five or six vendors all in one row that offer dozens of different varieties of fish and shell fish. The vendor was a good salesperson and talked me into a two large slices of fresh deep red tuna, a quantity enough for six of us. Then I began to fill in with everything I needed: three different kinds of lettuce, green beans, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, radishes, beets, red onion, capers, anchovies, black Niçois olives, plus eggs. For dessert, the bag filled up with blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, red currants, pineapple, bananas and nuts. It was a challenge to fit it all in, but my little fridge has never been so full in all of its 10 years of existence.
While all Nice was in drizzle mode, I was glued to CNN watching the Donald Trump impeachment hearings, knowing full well that it would be near to impossible to get two-thirds of the Senate to convict him. And it was, “thanks” to Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader of the Senate, who voted to acquit him, but said in his speech, “There’s no question—none—that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.” The proceedings fascinated me as the two sides drew their swords to show their strength. And I wondered: 1) Will we ever have a system in the U.S. where party politics are not part of the equation and only do what’s best for the people?; 2) Will we ever be able to rid the U.S. of racism, discrimination, misogyny, homophobia and all the other terms that describe hate of some kind?; 3) Will the Republican Party ever realize that they don’t need Donald Trump to survive, surpass and be victorious?; And, 4) Will we ever get Donald Trump out of our lives as long as he is alive? (The answer to all that is move to France!)
Sunday, Valentine’s Day, the sun came out again with a vengeance. I trekked down to the Cour Saleya—as is my habit on Sunday mornings—with enough time to peruse the flowers and the market’s goodies, then walk home via the Promenade des Anglais. At 10:30 a.m., it could not have been more beautiful. Everyone was out breathing in the fresh air (but masked) and ogling the aqua blue waters of the Mediterranean while walking their dogs, jogging, biking or just strolling along. The blue chairs are out again after having been taken away for confinement, and are filled now with lovers of the sea…such as me.
A copious and delicious Niçois lunch was served and enjoyed, the sun streaming in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, with enough time to spare in order to head back to the edge of the water to take in the sights, sounds and vibrant colors…just once more before calling it a day…a Happy Valentine’s Day!
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
P.S. If you’re learning French, or making your plans to live in France, then you might enjoy a recent Webinar sponsored by the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA titled “The Secrets of Mastering French.” It really drills down to lots of good tips for people learning French at all levels! Here’s where to watch.
And, coming up at the AFUSA is “Demystifying the French” with Janet Hulstrand April 17th at 2:00 pm ET/8 p.m. CET (France) For more information, visit AFUSA.