A Nice Addiction to Have: Nice
The first three days in Nice were rainy and overcast and cold…not ideal weather for the Riviera beach resort, but by Sunday, the sky was bright blue, the sun intense and the breezes warm. This is the Nice to be loved.
About once a month I need a Nice ‘fix.’ Like an addict desperate for the needle, ‘la vie à la Niçoise’ has gotten into my veins. While Paris may be the world’s most romantic city, the Riviera is the world’s most elegant leisure land. Regardless of how much work I’m pounding out on the laptop, sitting at my desk with “Henri le Cactus” by my side, there is a sense of being detached, relaxed and at one with the world. The hustle-bustle of urban Paris is replaced by a slower pace where strolling is the norm and the stress is released into the waves of the Mediterranean Sea.
Henri, the apartment’s ‘mascot,’ is decidedly taller and is growing pups with a vengeance. He has tripled in height in two years. Now he has a little friend who a recent guest affectionately named “Henrietta.” I doubt she’ll be able to keep up, because if Henri keeps up this pace, he’ll outgrow us all within no time. Yes, it seems odd to be so in love with a cactus — the spiny tree that no one dares to touch — but he is so happy in his corner by the window that he’s become a welcome friend in spite of his ornery nature.
One seriously ‘dangerous’ aspect to being in Nice is the irresistible cuisine — a blend of French, Italian and totally Mediterranean. There is no way to leave Nice without having added at a bit of padding to the old hips ‘thanks’ to the abundance of good restaurants and lovely Provençal wines.
While discovering a couple of new dining spots, we snuck in a visit to some of our old favorites. Le Bistrot Antoine is still at the top of the list best bistrot on all counts (even compared to Paris), followed closely by Il Vicolett for authentic Italian with total class.
Two new ones added to the book of recommended bistrots introduced to me by Niçois friends is 1) “Daddies” at 10 rue Dalpozzo (04 93 81 03 23) where we had an exceptional and reasonably priced meal. (Dalpozzo has become restaurant row and it could be tough to know which one to choose, but this is one you can count on.) And 2) L’Anis Etoilé just at the Marché de la Libération at 10, rue Clément Roassal (04 93 01 65 99). It’s small, friendly and innovative — expect every dish to be decorated à la star anise!
When the sun finally came out, we hopped on the #100 bus to Villefranche-sur-Mer for Sunday lunch at the “petit port.” The 100 bus starts off from the Promenade des Arts, just at Place Garabaldi, and rides all the way to Menton for a mere 1.50€. To Villefranche, the ride is about 20 minutes and the coastal road is spectacular. Along the water’s edge we sat in bright sun dining on “Aïoli” — a Provençal dish consisting of various boiled vegetables (usually carrots, potatoes, and green beans), boiled fish (normally soaked salt cod), and boiled eggs usually served with snails or other mollusks, with an aioli sauce. Watch out — you’ll be craving chocolate as an antidote to the garlic, but that’s a tolerable problem to have!
As we were taking in the beautiful scenery and dining experience, a fisherman strolled by the tables carrying an assortment of freshly caught fish and squid. He didn’t mind stopping to for a photo op. We wondered on whose plate the “poissons” would be found in the near future…wish it would have been ours! Villefranche-sur-Mer is well-known for being the home to the Institut de Français and is certainly one of the Riviera’s most quaint and beautiful old villages. Oozing with charm, it also has thousands of steps upon which one must climb or descend to get anywhere. Be prepared for a good work-out. For an afternoon, it’s a perfect bit of relaxation and exercise, but not sure it’s ideal for long-term living!…But I know there are many of you who would disagree with me!
The Promenade to Paillon has become more of a destination than the Promenade des Anglais since it’s opening more than one year ago. Sunday afternoon it was awash with kids and their parents enjoying the sunny weather and wonderful playgrounds. At night, the lit rendition of the beautiful Belle Epoque Crystal Palace Casino that once existed on the Promenade des Anglais is still stealing the show mirrored by the shallow pool and fountain. It all simply takes one’s breath away and is a reminder of how much the city is changing, growing — coming of age and rivaling Paris!
Bleachers are already set up at Place Masséna in preparation for the Carnaval de Nice that starts at the end of this week on February 13th. I’ll be back down for two days with my niece to take in a bit of the festivities. Don’t miss it! It’s Nice at its best. Download the entire program (And be sure to stay in one of our luxury apartments! Visit Parler Nice Apartments for more information.)
A la prochaine (from Paris)…
Editor of Parler Nice
The Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. For those of you in the New York City area, who would like to know more about investing in France, I will be available for private consultations on March 13th through 18th. Consultations are typically two hours, and I will be offering my usual euro fee at the same fee in U.S. dollars. Email me personally to make your appointment: [email protected]. And if you’re in the Nice area this coming weekend and would like to meet with me to discuss the pros and cons of property investment in France, please contact me at [email protected].
P.P.S. It’s not every mother who is proud of seeing her daughter NUDE in public! I guess I’m not an ordinary mother, because I couldn’t be more proud of the work Erica Simone has done with her collection of photos in “Nue York: Self-Portraits of a Bare Urban Citizen.” She has launched a fundraising to publish a high quality hard cover fine art photography book, containing approximately 45 original images, taken over a five-year span. The funds will be directly used to cover the costs of producing and publishing the book. “To clarify, I’m not an exhibitionist or a nudist –- I’m an artist looking to humorously poke at some interesting thoughts about society and question who we are and portray as human beings. It’s now up to the viewer to answer those questions, as he/she likes.” (Erica Simone) To support the project, visit pubslush.com/project/4327