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Your taste of life in Nice and the Riveria!

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A Niçois Diamond in the Rough (Plus PUMa)

I came to Nice for less than three days — Saturday evening, Sunday and today, heading back to Paris tomorrow morning — which is a kind of torture, considering the exceptionally warm, sunny, seductive weather and the good spirits. Each time I land in the seaside town, I realize how much I have missed it. The sea glistens under the bright sun, sunbathers dot the pebble beaches, sweaters are hung over shoulders in preparation for the cool mornings and evenings and eyes are protected by shades of some kind, whether they be sunglasses or hats, or both.

When I exited the train station, I was surprised to see the length of avenue Thiers on which the station sits, from the station all the way to the tramway at avenue Jean-Médecin now under massive construction. At the end of August, when I left Nice after spending much of the summer here, there was no sign of it, yet now it’s undergone a huge demolition.

The project is the creation of a building that will link the train station to the tramway with the architecture of a “diamond.” The idea is to recapture an area that had become a wasteland in the center of Nice with a glass building that will look like a sculpture, seen from all angles. Daniel Libeskind is the architect of the 19,000 square meter facility costing 80 million euros that will house shops, offices, sports halls and terraces as well as a panoramic restaurant with a 360° view, plus a 600-seat theater and 120 rooms of the Hotel Hilton brand, the first to be established on the French Riviera.

The hope is to revitalize the neighborhood, but not everyone is in agreement with the project. There is the usual criticism that the architecture will not fit well on the landscape, not too unlike the criticism obtained by the “Pyramide du Louvre” when it was first built. Surprisingly the project is supported exclusively by private investors, one big plus, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

Construction in the city is overwhelming, with the new East-West Tramway still wreaking havoc and now this…but these signs of improvements are an optimistic indication of Nice to become an even more important destination and great place to live than it’s ever been before.

The goal of the trip was to wait for Darty to deliver a new combination washer/dryer to my apartment this morning. I calculated that it was less expensive to buy a train ticket than pay someone to wait for the delivery during a five-hour window, and be a whole lot more fun! Darty is the store of choice from which to purchase appliances thanks to their emphasis on “après vente” (after the purchase service), and they will schedule the delivery morning or afternoon, but determining a more specific delivery time is not easy. We always joke that you can bet that if they say they will arrive between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., that at 12:50 p.m. they will show up at your door, now that you’ve waited all morning.

I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I got a text message preparing me for an arrival at 8:45 a.m. and there they were with new machine in tow. In less than 10 minutes, they had the new machine up the stairs, the old machine out, the new machine in and running. It’s going through its first cycle as I write this, but the instructions to operate it are every bit as complicated as one might expect from a French appliance. One learns over the years of living in France that the French aren’t happy if things are too simple — it’s the complication and taxing of one’s intelligence that really turns them on…so beware of French appliances. They can make mincemeat out of any good intelligent American. (Hopefully I’ll be able to find the instructions online in English! That should help.)

This afternoon will be a whirlwind tour of apartments: one in the process of being purchased by a client that I haven’t personally seen yet, another an apartment to be put on the market for sale and two apartments for possible long-term rental by an American moving to Nice. In between will be a visit to our Nice Notaire’s office to pick up a client’s documents. There is more and more real estate activity in Nice by North Americans who are finally discovering its attributes. With property half the price of Paris, and with three times more days with strong sun (, it can be awfully seductive.

No, Nice is not Paris. And Paris is not Nice. But Nice is nice just the same.

On another note, there have been some questions in regard to a recent Nouvellettre® about PUMa (Protection Universelle Maladie)  whereas our immigration attorneys wrote: “If you are not covered by the social security in the USA, you are allowed to request the PUMa in France without any issue.”

Erin Clor, of Fragomen Global LLP, responded:

“This is a tricky one! In the U.S. social security is very different than in France, but there are bilateral social security agreements between the two countries, and when we talk about social security in the U.S., in international circles we are generally talking about people who are paying social security payments through their work or receiving Medicare and social security benefits.

PUMa grants an automatic and continuous right to health care in France to those who are legally resident in the country, without the need for any administrative formalities on a change in circumstances. The legal residency requirements are the same in that to be entitled to health care you must reside in the country in a manner that is ‘stable et régulière.’ We are still learning about the new scheme, but I do suspect that the ‘régulière’ test is tricky for economically inactive people (retirees and such).”

The point is that it’s best to have a professional arrange the coverage for you if you aren’t confident in applying on your own. I’ve heard a couple of stories recently from expats — one who found it easy to get her Carte Vitale (health care card) and the other who was denied. It’s best to talk to the experts. Visit our Counsultation Services page for more information and professional contacts.

A la prochaine,

Adrian Leeds
Editor of Parler Nice
Adrian Leeds Group

(in Nice, of course)


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P.S. Make your dream to cook with a famous chef in France come true! Take a three-day cooking class with the famous author and chef, Susan Herrmann Loomis of “On Rue Tatin,” in her amazing 13th-century home in Louviers, Normandy this October 22-25th for a very special price (special to Parler Paris readers, so be sure to ask!!). Normandy is the region of apples, and it doesn’t take long to discover this as you drive through the lush countryside. Cows graze languidly under graceful apple trees, and in the autumn, all manner of apples are on the table or in the glass. You will experience the dozens of apple varieties in Normandy, tasting and comparing, and turning them into everything from appetizers to dessert. You’ll sample Calvados, Pommeau and Cider; you’ll meet producers, you’ll walk through an orchard. You’ll leave this week with a whole new way of looking at, tasting, and cooking apples! It’s a chance of a lifetime! To book your place in the class, visit Susan’s website or email [email protected] and be sure to tell Susan that Adrian sent you!


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