I’ve been in Nice all weekend filming our 11th House Hunters International episode. The weather has been cold, but clear and sunny with bright blue skies. The streets are bright with the lights of the holiday spirit. Rue Masséna is strung with enormous lit bows replacing last year’s big bells. Everyone is out despite the cold, shopping for gifts and enjoying the beautiful Mediterranean light.
The ‘contributor,’ Scott Baker, is one of our readers who responded to our recent announcement searching for a property renter or purchaser in Nice who might want to participate in the popular HGTV show. The production crew came from England. Participating with Scott is a French friend of his named Clara.
Clara adds a lot of spice to the show, because in typical French fashion, she finds all the ‘not so positive’ aspects of each property, presenting a critical viewpoint and putting me, the ‘property consultant,’ on the spot to defend the attributes of each apartment. We’ve been laughing all through the filming about the ‘good cop/bad cop’ roles we’re playing and discussing the cultural differences between our points of view — her glass is ‘half empty’ and mine is ‘half full.’ She is making me work extra hard to find the perfect apartment for Scott.
The filming has had an unbelievable number of “synchronicities” surrounding it that have us all believing we are clearly in the ‘right place at the right time.’ First, it turned out that two of the apartments we’re filming are within steps of one another, totally coincidentally. Another coincidence was that new-found friends with whom I had dinner Saturday night (who I met coincidentally, too) recently moved into an apartment that just happens to look right into the windows of the third apartment we’re filming! And while we were filming this one, we bumped into Scott’s real estate agent who just happens to live in that very same building!
It was almost getting silly. With every step, there was yet another “two degrees of separation,” not even six! It seems the world just gets smaller and Nice is making it even smaller still. No doubt, I’m in the right place at the right time, too.
You’re going to love this show — as this is very different from episodes we’ve done in the past where the ‘contributor’ likes every apartment or home he sees! So, stay tuned! It should air in a couple of months and we’ll be sure to let you know about it.
Happy Chanukah from Nice!
Just at the corner from my apartment at “Place Magenta,” where rues Masséna and Paradis meet, stands a large “Chanukiah” (Chanukah menorah). Every night for the eight nights of Chanukah, the “Habad Loubavitch Nice Côte d’Azur” sponsors the lighting of the candles: first one candle, then two, then three and so on until all eight are lit by the “shamash” — the ninth candle that lights the others.
It was a surprise to find the menorah there, but no surprise to find an active and vibrant community present since the 18th-century. There are several synagogues, but one in particular, known as the “Grande Synagogue” (7, rue Gustave-Deloye) was occupied during the Nazi occupation and then listed under the classification of historical monuments on April 17, 2007.
In the cold night, a large group gathered at Place Magenta to witness the lighting of the candles. Various community officials spoke and the group sang Chanukah songs before saying the prayers and lighting the candles. “Beignets” (a kind of pastry) were handed out for all to taste. It was an unexpected treat.
Public Services in France!
Scott Baker, the ‘contributor’ of the House Hunters International we’ve been filming in Nice this weekend told us about a service the French government provides to make our lives easier. The site is the “official gateway to the French civil service” — set up in October 2000, but redesigned in 2009 — in English as well as French, German and Spanish. Along with the sites, Legifrance.gouv.fr and vie-publique.fr, it “provides easy access to legal texts and extends their knowledge of public policies.” When Scott moved into his new Niçois apartment, with one stroke of his keyboard he was able to notify a number of different services of his “démenagement” (relocation). If you are considering a move to France, put this site high on your list of great resources.
Tonight I head back to Paris after having lunch with the Director of “France-Philadelphie” and past Consul of France of Philadelphia, Danièle Easton. She’s here in Nice for several months and in typically synchronistic form, she coincidentally was instrumental in Scott Baker’s move to France, as he is a graduate of Philadelphia University.
Will the coincidences ever end? I hope not!
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Nice
P.S. Tuesday the 11th I hope to see you at Parler Paris Après Midi from 3 to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais when Susan Herrmann Loomis, author, chef, teacher discusses “Living the Dream through a Creative Life in France.” Visit Parler Paris Après Midi for more information.