Falling Back to a Summery Paris
Thursday we hosted Après-Midi in Nice with historian, Robert Levitt, speaking on the Jewish history of Nice. He’s the number one authority on the subject and knowing that, the audience came with enthusiasm.
While working in the archives of the Alpes-Maritimes in Nice, France, sorting Holocaust-era documents related to a 20th-century politician in Vichy France, he ran across a letter that gripped his attention like no other. It was a letter from a man about to be deported by the Gestapo because they were convinced he was Jewish when he was not. It was a letter that made him realize that he had moved to one of the most important cities for Jews in World War II and a city with a long Jewish history.
Nice is one of the rare places where Jewish history is everywhere and alive. In almost every apartment building there is a story and those stories weren’t just of the twentieth century, but throughout history. Before my apartment building was resurfaced this past year, there was a temporary plaque at the door that honored a man who had lived in my building and had been deported by the Nazis to a camp. He could even have lived in my own apartment, but I’ll never know the answer.
The first Jew was discovered in the region in Roman times, and during the medieval period, Jews who were expelled from England, France, Spain, Portugal, Rhodes, Gibraltar and many more came to Nice to find refuge. In the Second World War, Nice was the last refuge for Jews in Europe and it is estimated that as many as 50,000 Jews came to Nice to find shelter. Nowhere else in France could one find kosher food, or wear traditional rabbinical garb, nor speak Yiddish openly on the streets, except in Nice. That is until September 8, 1943, when the Italians quit the war and the Germans invaded the city.
Unlike elsewhere, everything remains in Nice. Nothing was destroyed by bombs and it all remains operating. The 19th-century synagogue remains the primary synagogue in the city. The places local Niçois walk by every day were the places frequented during the war, or where Jews were saved or captured. Even the famous hotels where Jews were rounded up, interrogated, and tortured remain open today, although their history is little known and often hidden.
Robert, who is writing a doctoral thesis on Jews in Nice in the 13th-15th centuries at the Université de Perpignan, illuminated us about the history of the city of Nice through the prism of Jewish history.
To learn more about it and see the photos, read our report of the event.
The event was recorded, so you can also watch it on YouTube.
Our next Après-Midi in Nice falls on Thanksgiving Day, November 3rd, so in place of having a speaker, we’re hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner from 3 to 5 p.m., with turkey and the works! This gives us the perfect opportunity to celebrate the American holiday together!
Oscar, the sister restaurant to Le Felix Faure where we normally hold Après-Midi, has opened its doors and kitchen just for us! While it may not be the same roast turkey your mother made for the family, it will surely be fun to celebrate with other Americans on this very American and special holiday.
15 Rue Masséna
Nice, 06000 France
The special menu includes:
• Turkey, stuffing and gravy
• Green beans
• Sautéed potatoes
• Tarte aux pommes
• 1/4 caraf of wine or water
• Coffee or tea
Price: 35€ all inclusive
Reservations and payment must be made in advance, no later than November 15th. Seating is limited, so be sure to reserve and pay early. Reservations are non-refundable, but are transferrable to whomever you’d like to have with you!
To reserve your place, please email us.
I’m in the market for a two-bedroom apartment for myself in Nice and visited a few properties while I was there. I’m the toughest customer because my search area is as big as a postage stamp and there are certain things that are “deal-breakers.” This time around, I won’t buy without an elevator, without the ability to air-condition it, or without a balcony or terrace. I prefer an older building, but that’s not a deal-breaker depending on the other attributes. And I’m kicking myself for not having made the purchase sooner, as prices are decidedly up in Nice!
One apartment I visited was nearly perfect, except all the brand-new work the seller had done to install a new kitchen and bathroom was not to my liking—I’d have to destroy them both and redo them entirely. This is typical of what we see by the developers or sellers who want to invest a little in order to sell at a big profit. They usually screw it up in the process by not really thinking it through, not employing an architect to do the floor plan, and using cheap neutral-colored materials. I’d rather buy a wreck for cheap and redo it from scratch to get what I want…less of a waste of money.
With this apartment, I could have done all that to get it to my standard, but the stairs in and out of the apartment to and from the elevator were treacherous. I could imagine myself killed right there in front of the apartment struggling with my luggage or even the usual heavy things I carry on a daily basis. While there are almost always trade-offs, this was clearly a deal-breaker. Back to the search…
THE 98TH ANNIVERSARY OF LA REVUE NEGRE
If you haven’t already planned your evening tonight, then put it high on your list to celebrate the 98th Anniversary of the mythic show La Revue Negre. The Museée Josephine Baker et Des Afro-Descendants de Paris pays homage to the Black composers, their music, the singers, the choreographers, the dances and the amazing artists from the revue. The 2nd of October, 1925, is when Josephine Baker and the amazing cast premiered for the first time on a Parisian stage.
This evening promises to be a fun musical retrospective of music by composers Spencer Williams and Jack Palmer, who made mythic history at the Théâtre des Champs Elysée! This will be an interactive historical adventure, curated by the founder of Musée Josephine Baker & des Afro-Descendants de Paris (MJBADP). In an intimate and elegant setting, you’ll hear live New Orleans-style Jazz performed by and with stars directly from New York’s Broadway as well as our Parisian musical legends, plus hear stories passed down through the ages by descendants of members of the revue and much more.
They will pay homage to stars of La Revue such as Maud de Forrest, Darling Légitimus, Joe Alex, Louis Douglas, and of course Josephine Baker. And you can expect to enjoy performances by Ursuline Kairson, Boney Fields, Samuel Légitimus of Collectif James Baldwin, The New Orleans Jazz Band of Paris called “Le Jazz de Poche de Paris,” sublime dancer Gwenaëlle Jacquet, and tap dance Broadway Star Jason Bernard!
Food and drink is available on-site:
Date: 2 October 2023
Address: Bambou- 23 rue des Jeûneurs, 75002 Paris
Entry Donations: 20€
Click here to learn more and register.
SPRING IN SEPTEMBER
Returning to Paris late Saturday night, I was a bit sad to leave the beautiful September Riviera weather. September is the best month in Nice as the kids have all gone back to school, the tourists are not entirely gone, but there are half as many, yet the weather is perfect—warm with cool breezes, cool in the mornings and evenings and still great for afternoons on the beach. It’s my favorite month in Nice.
Paris weather turned out to be similarly lovely—not at all what I can remember from past Septembers when the weather seemed to turn cool from the onset of the month. I’m still in sandals and short sleeves!
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
Adrian with Robert Levitt
P.S. Did you know we have filmed over 50 episodes of House Hunters International?! Newer episodes frequently re-air, so we work to keep you informed when they’ll air. You can also review all the episodes and see if they’ll be shown again by going to our HHI page.