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Your taste of life in Nice and the Riveria!

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Be Nice, You Cannes Do It, Too

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Nice is hoppin’. We came to celebrate my friend’s, Anne Morton, birthday today by her request (it’s also my sister’s — so a special happy birthday to both of you). The weather was so-so on Saturday, but the pleasure-seekers were already hittin’ the streets. Rue Masséna is ripe with tourists and everyone is in summer garb.

“Fiol Graineterie et Jardinerie” delivered six window boxes of geraniums Saturday morning early while I was languishing in the big oval bathtub of “Le Matisse”…bad timing to have to hop out soaking wet, but the geraniums are gorgeously healthy plants and they look GREAT on the balcony and windows.

Zealously I watered them immediately sending showers of fresh dirt down on to my neighbor’s balcony below which sent her up immediately to let me know! She also said that hanging them OUTSIDE the balcony was illegal in Nice — that they are supposed to be hanging on the inside of the iron railings so they won’t fall on anyone and cause harm.

That afternoon I purchased wire with which to secure them to the ironwork and a bag of chocolate covered almonds as a peace offering to my distraught neighbor. Hopefully the city won’t notice the rogue geraniums nor will more dirt come down on Madame’s balcony…at least for a while.

We managed to sneak in a visit to the “Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image” that afternoon located in the old “Théâtre de l’Artistique” to see the exhibit, “Brassaï photographe — Sa rencontre avec Matisse” which closed Sunday. (Sorry for the late notice — it was a surprise to me, too.)

Frédéric Latty, Director of L’Institut de Français in Villefranche-sur-Mer came to lunch with us on Saturday. We hadn’t seen each other in a couple of years — since I visited the school in June 2009 (“Parlez-Vous Français? Perfectly or Pathetically?”).  I’ve never attended the school, although dozens of friends have — all of whom I am sure would like to wish Frédéric a big “bonjour.” Students of the Institut de Français all leave there with nothing but praise for its teaching methods, ambiance and determination to turn out French-speaking neophytes.

I asked Frédéric about what he thought if I took two weeks there to improve my writing and reading skills. (You remember a recent Parler Paris — “How to Fake Speaking French…Pathetic!” In his really honest way, he explained that because the school focuses on speaking, he thought I wouldn’t gain what I wanted and be bored since my spoken French is fairly fluent. I appreciated his candor. But there is not doubt that the Institut de Français is one of the country’s finest French language learning facilities and has changed many lives for the better…not just for improving their French language skills, but for all the friendships made there in the process. (To learn more about it, visit Institut de Français and do tell Frédéric I sent you.)

After dinner in Vieux Nice at my favorite restaurant — “Le Bistrot d’Antoine” (27, rue de la Préfecture, 06300, +33 4 93 85 29 57), we strolled through the “Italie à Table” event on the Parc Albert 1er that began May 31st and ended Sunday night. This is the 8th edition, sponsored by the “Chambre de Commerce Italienne.” With booth after booth of Italian gastronomic goodies, it was a cornucopia of delicacies…hams, sausages and all sorts of cured meats, pastas of every sort, cheeses as big as truck wheels, roasted pigs complete with their heads, candies, pastries, mushrooms, wines, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, etc., etc., etc. You name it, it was there, along with lots of Italians!

Sunday morning I took photos of “La Côte de Paradis” — the two-bedroom, two-bath apartment adjacent to mine in Nice that is newly complete and ready for rental. It’s another Martine di Mattéo-designed apartment and it’s absolutely lovely, spacious, elegant and serene. We share one main door, then each apartment is separate, but for friends or family, together the apartments can sleep up to 10 and all be in the same space. It’s a perfect arrangement!

The photos will be used on our new Web site page in due time, but the apartment can be booked now beginning immediately! For more information and to book your stay, be sure to contact Parler Nice Apartments at [email protected].

Sunday we had the bright idea to go to Cannes. Actually, it was my ‘not-so-bright’ idea to take the number 200 bus that stops just a block away from Le Matisse at Parc Albert 1er without realizing the time it takes to get to Cannes. First, we watched a number 200 bus rush past all of us waiting at the bus stop without stopping for what reason we knew not, then waited another 45 minutes without sign of another number 200 bus coming, then walked to the “terminus” a few blocks away to catch almost any bus going in any direction for want to satisfy our growing frustration and then, in the end, running feverishly to catch the next number 200 bus…a full hour after the one that sped past us!

Once we got on, packed like sardines with standing room only, we learned it was a 1.5 hour “trajet” and considered getting off one hour earlier at Cagnes-sur-Mer to see “The Domaine des Collettes,” the last home of Auguste Renoir, now a museum. As the bus pulled into Cagnes-sur-Mer, we noticed a sign indicating the museum was closed and decided to stick it out all the way to Cannes.

That turned out to be a good decision. I’d never been to Cannes before — only having passed through it once or twice, but never stopping to spend much time there. The bus came to a halt right where the port meets the Palais Des Festivals et des Congrès. Chairs for an outdoor concert were being set up, a “brocante” (rummage sale) was underway and as it was warm and sunny, the beach was painted with sunbathers.

I ordered a “Plateau de Fruits de Mer” at a port-side restaurant, perused the brocante where we admired a sleeping dog, took a one-hour tour of the city on a “train touristique” just like the other silly tourists, walked along the beach at the water’s edge, laid on the sand to catch a few rays and had expensive drinks at the Carlton Hotel before heading back to Nice, this time on the train which took only 35 minutes with no one in the same car but us.

All in all, a perfectly delightful day in Cannes despite the rough start. Today will be eventful: the contractor is coming to finish a few details, Darty is coming to replace a part on the washer/dryer, one of my real estate agents is showing us a few studio apartments for sale, and the concierge and housekeeper are coming to prepare for arriving guests before we get on the train back to Paris. Whew!

A weekend in Nice is full of surprises. You should try it sometime.

A la prochaine…

adrian cannes_2012_with_shadowAdrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Nice

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9-4-12 SusanP.S. Now’s your chance to take the “Art of Food and Photography” workshop with photographer Francis Hammond and chef Susan Herrmann Loomis, June 25-28, 2012 at On Rue Tatin in Louviers, Normandy — two great experts in their fields! To learn more and to register, visit On Rue Tatin or contact Susan Herrmann Loomis at [email protected]

14-5-12 judith_meriansP.P.S. Don’t miss “A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES” with Judith Merians when she discusses “The African Queen,” Tuesday, June 5th, at 7:30 p.m. at The American Library in Paris — click the link for more information! 


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