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Your taste of life in Nice and the Riveria!

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Everyday Living Niçois Style

25-9-13jardinerieThe jardinerieFirst off, thanks go to all of you who seem to care enough about the dying geraniums to offer suggestions for other plants that will survive the Riviera sunshine. Later today I hope to take your suggestions to the “jardinerie” and if the perfect solution is found, I’ll be sure to report on the progress!

I’m starting to discover Nice more like a resident than an occasional visitor, now that many of the daily tasks are in preparation for the upcoming Living and Investing in France Conference this weekend.

25-9-13FrancePapeterieThe papeterieWhile Paris has copy shops scattered throughout, we discovered they were a bit less available here in Nice. Perhaps that because it’s not quite the business center Paris is…as the one that could easily, quickly and inexpensively produce the printed materials from files sent by email, was located near a university just west of center. Four different buses that stop just behind my apartment made it fast and simple to get there and back — the transportation here is amazingly efficient (

Finding stationary goods, such as folders for the handouts, took ferreting out a special “papeterie” (France Papeterie, 33, avenue Maréchal Foch) where they weren’t naturally in stock — so had to be special ordered. Fortunately, a larger store (but, not quite “Staples” size) is located just around the corner from the Hôtel Ellington which is on boulevard Dubouchage in Nice Centre.

25-9-13OsteopathPenaMircacle working osteopathWhen I complained about a ‘pain in my neck’ of the ‘real’ kind, a colleague referred me to an Osteopath who was able to grant a visit within 24 hours. This was fortunate, as he is reported to be quite good, popular and very booked up. His office was only a couple blocks walk from the conference hotel, too, and as it turns out, is located on the street which is the continuation of my own, but on the eastern side of avenue Jean Médecin (where the tramway runs). Thirty minutes later I came out a new woman once he realigned my jaw with my spine and told me to chew food equally on both sides of the jaw and never to chew gum again!

25-9-13FleurdeJadeThe Fleur de JadeLast night I started out in the direction of the Gare de Nice Ville to meet up with a friend arriving from Paris, with the idea in mind to try one of the Asian restaurants along rue Paganini. The walk from the station is downhill about 15 minutes, so I have the habit of rolling my bags home, thereby passing these restaurants and wondering which are worth a try. The largest one on the corner across from an Arab market, a Vietnamese restaurant named Fleur de Jade (8, rue d’Italie, 04 93 88 34 01) with seriously kitsch decor, seduced me in.

A sign on the door indicated free WiFi. Crossing over a small bridge that exposed a fish pond under glass upon entering was the first sign that this might be a memorable experience. The waiter (perhaps owner) offered up a table near an electric plug where I could happily plug in and work on the laptop while having dinner (a bad habit that has developed thanks to so many emails!).

 25-9-13LaCagole25-9-13 photobyParisMatche Ode-a-la-cagole article landscape pm v8Trappings of les cagoles – photo courtesy Paris Match

Kitsch can often describe Nice to a tee. It’s become a new sport to spot the best “cagoles” — the women of the south who fit this description, of which there are many, old and young alike. Just having learned this in a French lesson this week (that, believe it or not, I take from a teacher living in San Francisco by Skype (, a “cagole” is what we might call a “bimbo,” usually dressed in a short skirt, high heels, exaggerated make-up, too much tacky jewelry and wearing way too much bad perfume.

Even the older Niçoises who started out as young cagoles, don’t change their style with their age…and you see them everywhere and can almost imagine what they might have looked like in younger years. Parisian women on the whole are more sophisticated and more tastefully dressed, but if they were to be transplanted here in this scene of sun and surf, palm trees and casual lifestyle, they would seem very out of place indeed.

There has been way more American English heard this time in Nice than before and everyone is saying the same thing — there are more Americans coming to visit the Riviera than before! This is music to my ears as it’s about time we discovered the virtues of the Côte d’Azur. As I meet more and more Americans living in Nice and environs, I’m learning about what makes them love the microclimate of the Riviera — the extreme southeast of France — the area around Cannes, Nice and Monaco, which benefits from its own microclimate. Protected from the Mistral by the mass of the Alps, the climate on this narrow coastal plain is pure Mediterranean, with mild winters and warm summers.

September could be my favorite time of year here. The afternoons are gloriously warm and sunny. The evenings just cool enough to warrant wearing a sweater…or not. The kids are in school leaving the adults to play. The restaurants are full, but a table can easily be acquired. Fall fashions are in the windows begging to be purchased and the residents are hard at work.

Monday we’ll all be recuperating from a very “chargé” weekend and you’ll be hearing all about it. And for those of you who still have the inkling to join us, do! We’ll be able to fit you in, even at the last minute. Just visit Living and Investing in France to learn more.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC

Respond to Adrian

(In Nice, naturally)



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P.S.Tune in on September 30 at 12:30 p.m. ET/PT for HGTV’s House Hunters International “Searching for Style and Space in Paris” when fashion stylist Illysia and her husband Alec embark on a quest to find the perfect Paris pied-à-terre that will suit a family of four, yet appeal to potential renters — and suit Illysia’s strong sendse of style!


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