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The Longest Day of the Year

The Mediterranean in Nice at dusk, photo by Patty Sadauskas
The Mediterranean at dusk, photo by Patty Sadauskas

This is the longest day of the year—the Summer Solstice. The sun sets in Paris 42 minutes later than in Nice: Nice at 9:16 p.m., Paris at 9:58 p.m. There are lots of reasons for that which have to do with time zones, the earth’s axis and other factors, but it’s not for me to question. The point is that it’s heavenly to have such long summer days to help us be just a little lazier.

We haven’t been however…lazy, that is. In fact, this will be our busiest summer ever, certainly in the history of my professional life. I’m not envisioning enough beach time in my future to satisfy the lizard in me. (Did you know that lizards sunbathe for better health?…and so do I!) The busy weekdays left me with only Saturday and Sunday to head to the “plage,” but both days were a bit of a bust. While one can expect around 300 days of sunshine a year—Nice is one of the top three sunniest spots in France (after Marseille and Corsica)—this past weekend was just two of the days of the year with total cloud cover, cool breezes and light rain. I trekked to the beach both days and found myself relinquishing the seaside for safer havens such as nearby cafés or my own balcony.

Nice Plage during a gray day

Nice Plage during a gray day

Nice has really caught the attention of many of you readers and lovers of France—which I’ve watched blossom since the last 10 years of my séjours here. It’s the “hot spot” in France—not in the sense of “heat,” but in the sense of “popularity.”

Hot it is NOT. I recently had a consultation with clients who immediately had discounted Nice as a place to live because it was “too hot.” “Au contraire,” I responded, and explained how Nice is warmer in the winter than Paris and cooler in the summer…it’s the most moderate climate in all of France. When you do a search for average temperatures in the South of France, you’ll get lots of highs you might not like, but look again—that represents the areas of the region inland. For example, the city of Nîmes recorded the hottest temperature in France of 43°C (110°F) in July 2001.

The French Riviera is quite another story. The temperature most often tops at 30°C (80°F) during July and August and is just above 20°C during June and September. The winters are mild and dry, with the temperature in the South of France frequently registering 3 to 4°C above the rest of France. I find that generally the temperatures in Nice during the winter months are about 10°F warmer than Paris. Compare this to Bordeaux and the Southern Atlantic coast where the temperature there during July and August is a good 3°C cooler and in the winter the average temperature is only 10°C in December, compared to 14°C in the French Riviera. The average official temperature on the French Riviera during July and August is 28°C (82°F). That’s my idea of heaven.

Weather chart, by HikersBay.com

Weather chart, by HikersBay.com

In addition, more establishments and apartments are air-conditioned than in Paris, where the summer heat has become intolerable in recent years with climate change. There are more outdoor venues—cafés and restaurants, which often have “brumisateurs” (misters) to cool the air. I have central AC in my apartment, unlike the portable units in Paris, so my apartment is always just like I like it. For these reasons, I head to Nice in the summer to GET AWAY from the heat in generally bad summer weather in Paris!

Poster promoting Fête de la Musique in Nice FranceIn celebration of the longest day of the year, France welcomes its annual Fête de la Musique tonight with small indoor concerts permitted in bars and restaurants. The nightly 11 p.m. curfew ended 10 days earlier than expected because of the rapidly improving Covid-19 situation. The venues hosting the musical events will still have to respect health rules, including the 50 percent indoor limit, with no more than six to a table. Seated outdoor concerts will be permitted and can operate at up to 65 percent capacity with an overall limit of 5,000 people. A Covid health pass (pass sanitaire) is required for everyone attending an event of more than 1,000 people.

Amateur concerts are still prohibited…which is really a shame, since this is one thing that makes the annual festival so much fun. In years past, particularly in Paris, it wasn’t unusual for artists of all ages, colors, shapes, sizes, instruments and voices could be found in the most unusual of spots just doing their own thing and gathering small crowds. Young musicians wanting to express their budding talents were often out gathering an attentive audience. I hope this isn’t a thing of the past.

Young buskers in Paris during Fête de la Musique, 2014

Young buskers in Paris during Fête de la Musique, 2014

This year I’ll be headed over to the Grande Café de France—the very café that sits under the property I was prepared to purchase, but cancelled because of the music from the café’s speakers that permeated the floor of the apartment. It’s here that John Garland Jones is now singing on a regular basis and will be there tonight as will all of his friends and fans. My street, rue Masséna, is sure to be filled with music all evening long, so just hanging out on my balcony will be plenty of entertainment, too.

John Garland Jones, singing at the Grande Café de France

John Garland Jones, singing at the Grande Café de France

For those who have gotten the Riviera bug, too, be sure to tune in to HGTVS’s House Hunters International this Thursday/Friday, June 24th/25th, 10:30 p.m. EDT/1:30 a.m. EDT to watch our newest episode, “A Cut Above on the French Riviera.” We taped the show last December under cooler skies. The story goes, “A lifelong Francophile and her hairstylist husband look to reconnect with his family and realize her dream of moving to the French Riviera. They’re looking for a place near his job in Monaco, but her French fantasy may not be as luxurious as it seems.” For more information, visit our HHI page.

Promotional photo of Adrian Leeds for A Cut Above on House Hunters International

Yannick and Natasha Delort with Adrian during the taping of House Hunters International

Wednesday I am heading back to Paris for just a week, then will return to Nice for the rest of the summer. During July and August, we (the Nice team) will be making ourselves available, exclusive to our clients, by organizing specific meet-ups (Patty calls them “Café with Adrian”) where we can get to know each other and answer your questions. If you’ve ever had a personal consultation with me, then you’re on the A-List. If you’re interested in knowing more about these, and how to get on the “A-List,” don’t hesitate to email us.

I’ll be taking only one week of true R-and-R, the week of July 19th, when my daughter and I make an excursion to Italy’s lake country and Genoa…but you’ll be sure to read all about that upon our return on the 26th. Meanwhile, don’t miss a single issue!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds at a café in Nice with Simone, her god-chienneAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian with Simone, her “god-chienne”

P.S. Speaking of HHI episodes, coming up later this month you get another chance to watch “Puting Down Roots in Paris.” Details and air times are on our website. Watch it live or set your DVRs now!

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