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Ending the Summer with a Bang!

Fireworks over the Baie des Anges in Nice France
Fireworks on the Promenade des Anglais, Ending the Summer with a "Bang"

The summer is coming to an end, sadly (for me). Even the temperature made a slight turn toward fall this week in Nice as the air got a few degrees cooler and crisper. It’s a more natural way of ending the season rather than an abrupt return to Paris earlier in the month of August as I did in previous years. This is more like waking up slowly to the sunrise, rather than a jolting alarm clock. These were my last weekend days at the beach, so I tolerated grayish skies and windy air on Saturday, but Sunday was as glorious a beach day as it gets…a perfect way to end the season.

Adrian on the beach in Nice

This year, the pre-commencement date for teachers is Wednesday, September 1st. This means that students will start school on Thursday, September 2nd. That makes this past weekend the last of the season and parents scurrying home to prepare for “La Rentrée.” (I don’t envy those traveling at this time on the roads or by train or plane.)

I head back to Paris on Friday once the kids are in school, and just in time to celebrate my 27th year in France. We left the U.S. on September 3rd, arriving on September 4th, so I suppose that one can count both dates as the anniversary. It’s still so hard to believe that I’ve been anywhere for such a long time—and France is a testament to that.

Aliance Francais Panel Discussion with Mark Greenside, Janet Hulstrand, Adrian Leeds, and Harriet Welty RochefortSaturday I was one of four on a panel discussion on Zoom led by Linda Witt of the Fédération des Alliances Françaises USA titled “Demystifying the French“—inspired by Janet Hulstrand’s latest book, Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You. More than 500 people registered for the event with about 350 attending—an impressive number considering that we’re no longer confined to our homes and relegated to meeting on Zoom. This indicates the enormous interest by North Americans to understand the French and French culture.

Together, everyone on the panel had well over 100 years of combined experience living in France, consisting of Janet Hulstrand, Harriet Welty Rochefort and Mark Greenside— all authors of cultural books—and myself. We four could have talked for many hours given the chance, but Linda organized the event in a way that made it easy to cover a lot of territory. We were given four questions to answer and we each had about two-and-a-half minutes to answer each question, in a round-robin way so as to give equal time to all.

The questions were:

Q1 – What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about dealing with the French?

Q2 – What’s the biggest (or most embarrassing) faux pas you’ve made?

Q3 – Things you like best/least about the French? And/or the thing you admire the most…

Q4 – Most important tip for travelers to France?

We all had very different answers to most of the questions, except that unanimously we all agreed that the Number One lesson for everyone to learn is to say “Bonjour” before speaking to anyone for any reason whatsoever. Without this, you don’t exist in the eyes of the French, or worse, you exist, but behave badly. We also all agreed that everyone coming to France should read The Bonjour Effect by Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau, even though all the authors on the panel have much to offer in their own books.

Why don’t you take the test for yourself? Write down your answers, and then compare them with what the panelists who have all those years of experience said. You can easily do that because the Federation makes the recording (about 1 hour 10 minutes) available on their website! Just click here and sit back for a little over an hour and have fun! Enjoy!

The summer in Nice is ending with a bang! Later that evening at 10 p.m., fireworks were fired from the Quai des Etats-Unis to celebrate the recent recognition of the city of Nice by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The award cites the value of the city’s architectural, landscape and urban heritage, and in particular of a vast 522-hectare urban complex, an eminent example of the fusion of international cultural influences, shaped from the middle of the 18th-century to the middle of the 20th-century by what they term as “the cosmopolitan winter resort.”

Nice designated as a world herritage site by UNESCO

Nice is still nervous about hosting such events, ever since the July 14th, 2016 terrorist attack when a 19-tonne cargo truck was deliberately driven into the crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais…but they came just the same to see the illuminations. People were camped out on the pebbles on the beach, on the “chaises bleues,” walking along the Promenade and seated in the cafés along the beach and along the road. The display lasted about 20 minutes and couldn’t quite rival the “feu d’artifice” at the Eiffel Tower in Paris on July 14th, but the Mediterranean Sea made for beautiful reflections of the fireworks as they lit up the sky.

Poster for the fireworks in Nice celebrating becoming a world heritage site by UNESCO

Fireworks in Nice seen from the Promenade des Anglais

With La Rentrée, comes the onslaught of events all over France, too many to mention, but one in particular to take note of: Les Journées Européennes du Patrimoine September 18th and 19th. This is your opportunity to visit (for free) museums and monuments that open their doors so that you can discover the greatest treasures in France and Europe. This year’s theme is «Patrimoine pour tous» (“Heritage for all”). For those interested in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region, be sure to visit this website. For Paris I don’t recommend trying to maneuver their official website, but Sortir-à-Paris does a great job of outlining the events.

Poster for Les Journées Européennes du Patrimoine in France

Stay tuned for more coming up in Paris and the rest of the country during La Rentrée and hopefully good news regarding getting back to normalcy after our struggle with the Coronavirus.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds, photo taken in Provence 2021Adrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

View of Villefranche-sur-MerP.S. Patty Sadauskas and I visited our Fractional Ownership property in Villefranche-sur-Mer (“La Belle Terrasse”) on Friday to work with my partner and designer on the finishing touches of the renovation and decor. Once again we were impressed with the ease in which one can access the apartment—a totally stairless route from the bus stop on the Basse Corniche (#15 + #100) to a flat pathway/street (rue Poilu) leading to the Place Conseil (with a working fountain)—in less than 10 minutes. From the Place, there are about 30 stairs up to the apartment. From Place Conseil, there is a four-minute walk, again on a flat pathway, taking you to the train station, making it easy-peasy to roll your bags and get anywhere you want to go. The views from the apartment and the terrace are breathtaking of the port and Cap Ferrat. The apartment will be charming and luxurious, once we’ve had our hands in totally transforming what is there now. Soon we’ll have design ideas to present, but for now, even without all those details, we can begin to sell the shares—13 four-week shares starting in January 2022. For those interested, email us. Do it NOW because many of the shares are already spoken for! Don’t miss out on being one of the first.

Poster/meme for the Adrian Leeds Group Living and Investing in France conference in Nice in October 2021P.P.S. We are gearing up for our Living and Investing in France Conference and Tour to Provence and the Occitanie at the end of September, beginning of October. We’re putting in a lot of effort to make this conference and tour very safe and very comfortable for all the participants, as well as fun and enjoyable. If you haven’t already registered and wish to do so, visit the event’s page for more information.


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