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Penthouse With a View

Views from the penthouse apartment for sale in Nice, France

THE PENTHOUSE

I arrived in Nice Wednesday afternoon to the usual Riviera sunshine, even if the temperatures were similar to Paris’. The next morning, our Property Consultant, Ella Dyer, had me scheduled for a visit to an apartment we had been eyeing for me—a small two-bedroom penthouse (on the 7th floor with elevator, of course) with a large glassed-in veranda-turned-kitchen and a 37 square-meter (400 square-foot) terrace just one short block from the Promenade des Anglais on one of my favorite pedestrian streets in the Carré d’Or.

View north from the penthouse

The view from the penthouse looking north

How perfect is that(?)…except for the “small” part. One turn of the apartment was enough to fall in love. The views of Nice north, east and south, are as amazing as one can get, with small glimpses of the sea and a view of the Alps and their snow-capped tips. Elton John’s house on top of Mont Boron and Sean Connery’s are in the distance, but discernible. Each room is fit with large glass-sliding doors leading to the terrace. Each of those has an electric awning to shade it. The veranda has a slanted glass roof, with shades on the ceiling one can open and close, large enough to house a full kitchen plus an office. There is an outdoor shower on the terrace, which has been one of my lifelong dreams—the idea of showering outside in the open is a silly fantasy of mine that I’ve only experienced once or twice in my life, but loved. There is almost no “vis-à-vis” (face-to-face) by neighbors meaning that I’d never have to close the curtains except for shade.

View of Sean Connery's former house from the penthouse

View of Sean Connery’s former Villa

The penthouse's outdoor shower

In spite of the second bedroom being more like a half-room, only large enough for a twin or sofa bed, I didn’t hesitate to make a full price offer right then and there! As I often coach our clients, if the property is “hot” and the agent has other serious visits on the horizon, it’s not worth negotiating because the seller is morally obligated to accept asking price. This means that because I offered asking price, with no loan contingencies, the apartment was sure to be mine. With the pre-sale agreement signature scheduled for the end of April, this allows enough time to think, consult with advisors, and rethink the purchase to be 100% sure.

A second turn of the apartment offered up a zillion ideas on ways of maximizing the space and improving it to accommodate my own lifestyle. Tricks of the trade will open it up, improve the space, fit in storage and make it seem a lot larger than it is. I dropped everything to make notations on the floor plan, take measurements and arrange a time to speak to our designer, Martine di Mattéo and her architect.

The penthouse terrace

This project is not something I need to add to my list of to-dos, considering that sometime in the next couple of months, I must move out of my Paris apartment to allow for the full renovation of it—which will take up to one year. It’s more than enough for one human being’s plate, but this property is too special to pass up. I’ve been looking for years for such an apartment.Three times I had offered a fair price to my next-door neighbors to sell me their apartment so I could reconnect the two apartments into one large one, especially now that we have the new triple balcony. In addition, this would have solved the sani-broyeur lawsuit that has us all tied up in knots. But, they have refused to sell except for counter-offering at a price that was 30% over what I offered and the market says it’s worth. In comparison, this penthouse is the same price I offered them for their much lesser-quality property. “Tant pis.” They lose.

My daughter is on a 10-day meditation retreat in Maui and is unreachable for me to give her the good news. I know she’s going to hate the second small bedroom, but she might just love having our one-bedroom apartment all to herself, that is if I don’t sell it…which is more likely than not…to keep it, and enjoy it, or rent it long-term. Time will tell.

Street view of the penthouse veranda

Nice is so booming with our clients and Americans moving over that it’s almost shocking. A day doesn’t go by that I am not stopped on the street by those with whom we’ve worked to find them a property to rent or purchase. Others are people who didn’t ask for our help, but love telling us how they are in Nice because of these Nouvellettres® and our webinars expounding on the virtues of living in Nice. It’s very rewarding to realize how influential we can be to help so many improve their lives by discovering France, whether it be the French Riviera, Paris, Provence or anywhere their heart desires.

TALKING TAX

With the excitement of the new apartment on my brain, Brian Dunhill of Dunhill Financial, Jonathan Hadida with Hadida Tax Advisors and I hosted the North American Expats in France Quarterly Financial Forum—1st quarter 2024 Thursday evening. The topic: What you should know about taxes before you move to France. The talk was not designed to frighten you about the potential for taxes, but to inform and prepare you in order to avoid or minimize your taxes when moving to France.

Jonathan Hadida, Brian Dunhill, and Adrian Leeds

According to Jonathan, the U.S. has the best tax treaty with France that exists. No other country can compare. Most retirees will end up paying less tax living in France than they would pay staying Stateside! Americans’ fear of taxes never ceases to amaze me. Often they tell me that they can’t sleep at night for fear of the tax authorities carting them off to jail for not having reported this or that. That’s when I might roll my eyes, realizing how debilitating fear is—those unwarranted and unrealistic thoughts we conjure up imagining some scenario that will never actually happen. Jonathan and his compatriots, the professionals who are licensed to explain all the risks, can easily set up some of those fears even though it’s not their intention.

Instead, just ask yourself, “What is the worst that could happen.” The answer is, when related to tax, “You’d pay a bit more in taxes than you planned.” So, how bad is that? It’s just money, after all. And you will likely “still eat three meals a day,” like one of my friends loves to say to put things in perspective. I like to also remember that if you’re paying taxes, it means you earned money, so the worst thing that could happen from my perspective, is not making the money to begin with! Let’s just all concentrate on being smart about how we spend and invest our money, rather than focusing so blindly on taxes!

Note: We apologize to all of those who were not admitted to the Zoom webinar due to the attendee limitations of which we were unaware. This will not happen next time, but at least you can watch the one-hour presentation with a Q&A by clicking on one of these:

• On Dunhill Financial YouTube Channel

• On Adrian Leeds Group YouTube Channel

BORDEAUX OR BUST

The Tuesday after Easter weekend (which will be spent in London getting a taste of British culture and life), I will be filming our 55th House Hunters International with clients who couldn’t be talked out of moving to Bordeaux. Bordeaux is not high on my list. Not because it’s not a beautiful and great city, but because of its limited access to the rest of France and to Europe in general. Nice’s international airport makes a huge difference to the ability to travel anywhere very quickly, easily and inexpensively. In addition to that, the international and American community in Nice is vast and the activities for them abundant. This is not true in Bordeaux. Nonetheless, they are there and loving it, and you can expect to watch the episode about six months from now when we give Bordeaux complete exposure.

Bordeaux

IN THE SHADE

Singer and friend, John Garland Jones, installed a new “demi-lune” parasol on my now much-enlarged balcony, a gift from a friend for whom it didn’t work as well. It’s a bright spot on the street (if you look up) and from my windows, casting a warm glow and shading the table on the balcony from the bright sun.

View of Adrian Leeds' new patio umbrella from the street

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds with John Garland Jones in NiceAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian with John Garland Jones

P.S. Thursday of this week Jeanne Oliver, author of Nice Uncovered: Walks Through the Secret Heart of a Historic City, will be speaking at Après-Midi in Nice. The book and the walks are perfect—I learned a lot just reading it. Now I look forward to taking some of the walks myself to discover all that Nice has to offer. Don’t miss it if you can help it!

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