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The Last Days of Summer Going Out with a Bang

A fantastic fireworks display over Nice, France

I head back to Paris Thursday after having spent most of the summer in Nice, but it went out with a bang!

Yesterday was the last beach day of the season…for me. It always makes me a bit sad and nostalgic. There have never been enough beach days in my book, but I know there’s always next summer to which I can look forward.

Nice had definitely slowed down and lightened up tourist-wise since I returned from California—parents are home now preparing for their kids to go back to school. Primary, middle and high school students return to school on September 1st—the same day I’ll be on a train back to Paris. Only students in the academies of Reunion and Mayotte have already returned to school, on August 16th and 24th, 2022. Although a single date for the start of the school year is set, some schools change it according to the level.

As a result, September is actually the best month of the whole year in Nice, as the weather is still warm (but not hot), there are still some beach days to be had, but everything is less crowded and more attuned to adults. Fortunately, I’ll be back mid-September for our Living and Investing in France Conference and Tour to Provence and the Occitanie (if you haven’t already registered, there is still room! Learn more about it)

Promotional meme for the 2022 Living & Investing in France Conference in Nice, France

Making the most of these last summer days in Nice was tantamount. Forty-five minutes door-to-door using one tram/bus ticket for a whopping 1€ took me to the Port de Plaisance at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on Friday to meet Christina Collier for lunch at one of her favorite spots—Diva Restaurant. The #15 bus goes direct from central Nice just near Place Garibaldi to the port in Saint-Jean, passing Villefranche-sur-Mer along the way.

Diva Restaurant, Port de Plaisance, Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat

Diva Restaurant, Port de Plaisance, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

The ride along the Basse Corniche is breathtakingly beautiful, but one couldn’t help but notice the enormous cruise ship in the port—an eyesore if you ask me! The port gets a number of large cruise ships because “the bay is one of the deepest natural harbors of any port in the Mediterranean Sea and provides safe anchorage for large ships from easterly winds. Reaching depths of 320 feet (95 meters) between the Cape of Nice and Cap Ferrat; it extends to the south to form a 1,700 feet (500 meters) abyss known as the undersea Canyon of Villefranche at about one nautical mile off the coastline. The Bay is the place where the American 6th Fleet moors when cruising the Mediterranean Coast.” (Source:

A large cruise ship ancored in the Basse Corniche

Christina is a business colleague who was instrumental in the development of our Fractional Ownership property, La Belle Terrasse. She is now renovating a beautiful home near the de Plaisance for herself. She is also an accomplished soprano who sings frequently in the area. She has a few concerts coming up you are free to attend:

September 18th at 5 p.m.
As part of the Journées du Patrimoine
Eglise Saint-Michel
4 Place de l’Église
06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer

October 2nd at 7:30 p.m.
Eglise du Sacré-Coeur
Av. Edouard VII
06500 Menton

October 8th at 7 p.m.
Eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
18 Av. Jean Mermoz
06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

The restaurant, Diva, is Italian and devoted to seafood. Located on Avenue Marmoz, at the Port de Plaisance (Quai Lindbergh, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, +33 6 14 88 31 32), it is worth a special trip. You’ll love having the boats in the beautiful port upon which to gaze while downing perfectly prepared fresh fish. If you go, be sure to tell Francesco, the owner, that Christina and Adrian sent you!

Christina Collier with owner of Diva Restaurant, Francesco

Christina Collier with owner of Diva Restaurant, Francesco

I gave up a beach day on Saturday to visit the Hockney–Matisse: Un Paradis Retrouvé exhibition at the Musée Matisse, on until September 18, 2022, and I’m glad I did. I hadn’t been to the museum in too many years, before some improvements that took place in recent years. When you are a resident of Nice—and all you need is Identification (national identity card or valid passport) and proof of address (dated within the past 3 months, such as a utility bill), you are entitled to a museum pass that provides access to all of Nice’s Municipal Museums.

The entry lobby to Le Musée Matisse

Le Musée Matisse

A hand holding the Nice museum pass card

To get your pass, bring the information to any one of the participating museums and they will make you a card right then and there! Children under 18 are always free and the Pass is valid for three years at the following museums:

• Matisse Museum
• Modern and Contemporary Art Museum
• Theatre of Photography
• Galerie des Ponchettes
• Galerie de la Marine
• Espace Donation Ferrero
• Palais Lascaris
• Fine Arts Museum
• Naïve Art Museum
• Masséna Museum
• Prieuré du Vieux-Logis
• Archeologocal Museum of Cimiez and Terra Amata
• Natural History Museum

The exhibition is part of the Nice Art Biennale—an unprecedented conversation between David Hockney and Henri Matisse. It starts with Hockney’s series of flower iPad paintings which have never before been exhibited. It takes you on a journey through the museum’s permanent collection, as seen through the prism of David Hockney’s art.

Photo of the entrance to the David Hockney exhibit at the Musee Matisse in Nice

“From room to room, we understand that David Hockney’s work is never far from Henri Matisse’s, whether in the pure lines of his drawings, in his landscapes full of his body and movements, or in his relationship with the model and, more generally speaking, in his desire to embrace reality. Traces of the same uncompromising gaze can be found everywhere in the works of two painters who never stop reflecting on perception and exploring its multiple potentialities. The same desire for color can also be found everywhere in their art: it gives us pure delight as it opens onto their Paradis Retrouvé.”

I was astonished by the similarities between the work of the two artists and of the artists themselves, who seem to resemble one another physically as do their works. Do not miss this one if you can help it! Plus, when you go to the Musée Matisse, you have an opportunity to visit the Arènes de Cimiez, a monument to the spectacles of the ancient city of Cemenelum, one of the smallest known in Gaul (estimated capacity of 4,000 spectators). Built in two stages, probably at the turn of the first and second centuries, then in the second century, it seems to have been abandoned in the 4th century. Excavated in the 1930s and 1940s, then in 2007, the site was opened to the public and continues to host cultural events.

David Hockney at the Musée Matisse in Nice

David Hockney at the Musée Matisse

The easiest way to get there is by taking bus #5 from central Nice, the Deloye/Dubouchage stop, direct to the museum at stop Arènes/Musée Matisse and back, although we chose to walk instead, down the hill along boulevard Cimiez from Le Musée Matisse to our next destination—about a 20-30 minute walk past beautiful homes, hotels and apartment buildings. One of note is the Excelsior Regina Palace, formerly the Hôtel Regina.

The facade of the Hotel Regina

This part of Nice, once agricultural, was developed in the later part of the 1800s when it became “drivable” in favor of rich residences and luxury hotels. At the end of the century, all the European aristocracy, enamored of the winter climate, came to the Riviera. Thanks to the attention given to the area by Queen Victoria, The Regina was built as a hotel/residence adapted to her requirements (electricity, mains drainage, central heating, etc.). The queen, sensitive to all these attentions, promised to come and reside the following spring in this new hotel built for her. It’s seen many lives over the years, weathering the stock market crash, and under the Occupation during World War II as Gestapo headquarters. On July 17, 1937, a new real estate company (headed by Victor Saglia) was created under the name of “Le Regina” condominium, and the four hundred rooms were transformed into ninety-eight apartments. From 1938 to 1943, the painter Henri Matisse lived at the Regina, in a vast apartment and workshop.

That evening, we watched the fireworks display from Patty Sadauskas’ balcony near the iconic Tête Carrée—a pretty great view even if a bit more than a kilometer away. Lighting up the sky was to celebrate the first year of Nice’s registration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ceremony began at 7 p.m. in the gardens of the Villa Masséna with the unveiling of the commemorative plaque which will later be affixed to the facade of the Hôtel de Ville in Nice. At a bit after 10 p.m., the sky was set ablaze with world music-themed fireworks—although we couldn’t hear the music, the booms from the fireworks we could. The display was beautiful and the summer went out with a bang!

After the fireworks, getting home was reminiscent of Mardi Gras with so many people in the streets. Place Masséna and rue Masséna were catching most of the post-fireworks traffic, all viewable from my balcony. The life isn’t quite yet gone…even if winding down.

The crowd on rue Massena after the fireworks in Nice

Rue Masséna after the fireworks

Sunday the beach was “The Beach” in all its glory. The water was still warm, but a bit cooler than last week. It was that gorgeous shade of aqua that I can’t get enough of. There were fewer kids on the beach and tons of foreigners. There were only a few topless women—who I always assume are NOT French (young French women simply don’t do this anymore). It was perfect…until next year.

Topless bathers on the beach in Nice

Today I will be visiting “Le Palais du Soleil,” one of our new Fractional Ownership Properties in Nice. It is scheduled for share usage as of January 2023. The renovation has begun—to tear down every single wall in the apartment and start over! We are converting a large one-bedroom apartment to two bedrooms/two bathrooms and the only thing that will remain is one supporting column—otherwise, it will be an empty shell before the new structure is built. I will keep you appraised of its progress. We hope to make the shares available within the next month to six weeks. (Contact us to be on our special mailing list to learn more about it)

Le Palais du Soleil under renovation

Le Palais du Soleil under renovation

There’s more to come this week…from Nice—the last few days of summer!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds with hair pulled back and wearing a sleeveless top in NiceAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

P.S. If you wish to be informed personally when our shares of next Fractional Ownership properties go up for sale, email us today.

Promotional meme for Fighting for RespectP.P.S If you’re in Paris, don’t miss this exciting screening! Fighting for Respect is a new film by Joanne and David Burke. This is their latest film about Black African Americans in World War I.

Showing on September 3, 2022 at 1:00 at the Cinéma St. André des Arts. All are welcome.


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