A Nice Life: Mixing Business with Pleasure
I snuck in a weekend in Nice to attend to business, but it’s always a pleasure to take in the ambiance of the Riviera town and some of the friends I’ve made who apparently all LOVE living here. The weather wasn’t perfect, by Niçois standards, but a whole lot warmer and sunnier than Paris, nonetheless, so not such bad timing! As an added plus, the Carnaval de Nice began Saturday night with the first parade of the season, so the city is awash with visitors and lively activity.
My street, rue Masséna, what I jokingly call “the parade route,” is really that, but unofficially. The parades don’t traverse it, but hordes of people do as do street vendors, musicians and street performers. There is rarely a dull moment on rue Masséna. Almost every night, the same guitarist serenades me just at my building’s door till about 11 p.m. or so. It’s quite delightful as is the free show one can take in from the balcony.
Friday I hit the ground running. It was a marathon day of property visits, client consultations and an emergency repair of my apartment’s Freebox High Speed Internet/Satellite TV/Free VOIP Phone system which has a tendency of burning out about once every couple of years. One call to Free.fr set the new equipment in motion and by the next morning, it was all re-installed and back up and running to perfection. It’s an amazing infrastructure in France that offers such a service for next to nothing — about 30€ per month plus tax for all of it. Eat your hearts out — those of you who pay about $200 for the same service!
Americans have discovered the Blue Coast with a vengeance. We have American clients signing the final deed tomorrow of their brand new out-of-the-box apartment on rue Meyerbeer in the Carré d’Or with its wrap-around balcony and view of the sea in an older building that a “marchand de bien” (developer) renovated to perfection. It was my job to ensure that all the work was done to their expectations in advance of their arrival yesterday, so the first order of business was a visit to the apartment with the real estate agent and the designer.
Over lunch at one my favorite spots, “Il Vicoletto,” I discussed the difficulties of finding a property with very specific parameters with an American woman. She is well versed in U.S. real estate and is still not coming up with the property after having contacted about 20 or 30 agents and spending months looking. “Something’s gotta give” is the answer to that problem, or “pay the price,” or let someone else (like us) do the legwork and turn it up — but until she makes a change in her strategy, it’ll be tough to tick off all the boxes. What she wants is rare, and that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but it won’t be easy.
In the afternoon I visited a small apartment in “Vieux Nice” (Old Town) that an American is interested in purchasing, as per his request to assure him that it is a valid investment for his needs and assist him in the “due diligence” process, plus provide the necessary resources to make the process simpler. Quirky as one might expect, it managed to eke out two rooms in 23 square meters, quite efficiently.
After that, I visited two apartments owned by an American which will soon go on sale: one in Vieux Nice and the other in the Carré d’Or. Both are beautiful properties that should be grabbed up — both in perfect locations, move-in ready to live in or rent or both. You are sure to hear more about this at some future date. Stay tuned!
While the Carnaval parade was filling the streets Saturday night, we were dining peacefully on our side of town. Having fully experienced the revelry last year, I opted out of being in the crowds and confetti. “Thanks” to a heightened level of security, entry into the parade route is highly guarded and therefore not quite as much fun as it once was. To say I HATE what has happened to our world and our need to box ourselves in is an understatement. We are creating our own walls and obstacles to a more global lifestyle for which I am not in favor. It doesn’t make me feel any more secure — just more afraid for our general well-being.
Sunday, as is traditional, a stroll along the Cours Saleya was in order, where I love to purchase Provençal soaps. There is one vender at the very western end of the Cours amid the flower market vendors that has what I think are the best of the bunch, the rosemary being my favorite. It has pieces of rosemary in it and the scent is particularly pungent, plus it lathers creamily like there’s no tomorrow. Three bars are a mere 6€, so you can’t go too wrong.
If you want a table at Le Safari, the Cours’ most well-known classic Niçois restaurant, you must get there at noon and no later. By 12:30 p.m., the tables both inside and outside the large restaurant will be filled. By 2 p.m. when you’re having your coffee, there are crowds hovering over you hoping you’ll get the hint to leave. I particularly like to order their half portion “Salade Niçoise” and half portion Petits Farcis — a 15€ good deal that satisfies a craving for Cuisine Niçoise.
It started out cloudy that morning, but the sun poked through every few minutes. By the time we took our table, the coats came off and the sunglasses came out. There were no heaters necessary at the outdoor tables reminding me of one of the reasons I love Nice so much…”al fresco” dining even in the middle of winter.
Steps away on the Promenade des Anglais, strollers and bikers, along with the newly added militia to ensure public safety, were out in force. On the pebbles lots of people were stretched out taking in the rays of sunshine. The meters-high red, white and blue “I Love Nice” sign that was once at the entrance to the Promenade de Paillon, has been relocated to the far eastern end of the Quai des États-Unis, an extension of the Promenade des Anglais, drawing quite a nice little crowd.
As is my usual M.O., eating my way through Nice is “de rigueur.” It’s almost ridiculous how well one can dine in the Mediterranean town for the price — cuisine that would be at least 25% to 50% more expensive in Paris. Great meals this trip were had at:
And that’s just scratching the surface. It would take a lifetime to try out all of them…but I’m prepared to do that.
A la prochaine,
Editor of Parler Nice
Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. “Le Matisse,” my apartment near the sea in the Carré d’Or district, and the two-bedroom apartment next door, “La Côte du Paradis,” are available for short stays to friends of Parler Paris, Parler Nice and the Adrian Leeds Group. Email [email protected] for more information and to book your stay!