House Hunting in Nice and Beyond
Paris is already reeking of fall while Nice is still gloriously warm and sunny. Descending from the TGV in a light coat, sweater and scarf, I shed them quickly, hopped the tram to rue Masséna and headed home. I had the pleasure of staying the first two nights in La Côte du Paradis and having drinks with the two ladies renting my own apartment, Le Matisse, just next door.
June was the last time I had been in Nice and in just three short months, “Henri” the cactus has grown another foot. He clearly loves his corner spot in the window and is growing faster than any Peruvianus I’ve ever seen — at least, I think that’s what he is. The geraniums on the balcony aren’t doing so well, but I’m sure my neighbor, Mme. C., will be happy they are dead since watering them tends to make a mess of her balcony below! A trip to my favorite nursery in Old Town (jardinerie-fiol-nice.fr) is on the agenda to see what I can do to replace the sad geraniums with something that can handle the full all day sun and lack of water and attention. (Do you have suggestions?)
The filming of the House Hunters International episode began bright and early Saturday morning at an apartment overlooking the Old Port just steps from Place Garibaldi. A big “brocante” was in full bloom at the Place, but there was no time to peruse the offerings. The crew met up at our first apartment to visit and film with the American couple who was moving to France. I had worked with this same crew on other occasions, so for us it was like meeting up with old friends that fell right back into synch with one another.
The “contributors,” Americans Bill and Lori, are testing the proverbial living in France ‘waters’ with their young daughter, Aidan, a live-in nanny, two dogs and a cat, not unlike we did way back when. This family has set their sights on Nice and environs for the great climate and relaxing lifestyle. Bill, who has lived in France before, wants a house in the country where he can while away the hours, and Lori, a city girl who doesn’t yet speak French, wants to be in central Nice where there is lots to do and people to meet. It’s here the conflict begins and makes for a challenging episode!
With views of the port on one side and the Château de Nice on the other, a balcony, hand-painted ceilings and “tomette” tile floors, in the building where Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, the German philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet and composer once lived, we started off in this three-bedroom apartment to show how city living can offer them both something special. (Tomette tiles are hexagonal, often glazed, red clay tiles indigenous to Provence begun to be made in the early 1830s. We found them in all of the properties Lori and Bill visited.)
Another property we visited in Nice Centre didn’t have the spectacular views, but had 50% more space, once again hand-painted ceilings, tomette tile floors and a covered terrace the size of a two-bedroom apartment! While it wasn’t in the country, it had the outdoor space Bill was looking for, even if there was noise from the traffic on the busy street below.
The next day we headed into the countryside to visit a village house about 30 minutes out of Nice with gorgeous views of the mountainside in Le Broc. The old stone village is perched high and as charming as any village in France can be. Ivy covers some of the stone houses, shutters adorn the windows and kids ride their bikes on the Pétanque court in the city of town. (Pétanque is a form of boules where the goal is, while standing inside a starting circle with both feet on the ground, to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a “cochonnet” (literally “piglet”) or jack. [Wikipedia.org])
With three bedrooms, several terraces, a grassy garden, a large deck and lots of indoor space, too, Bill was in heaven imagining his serene lifestyle there, but Lori was already feeling out of ‘the action’ and worried that while you could take the ‘girl out of the city,’ you couldn’t take the ‘city out of the girl.’
They ‘duked’ it out…and came to a decision…but of course, you’re all going to have to find out for yourselves which one they chose when the episode airs a few months from now! Don’t worry, we’ll let you know when it does.
Meanwhile, Nice is as nice as ever. I’m looking forward to taking in the sun and surf the next few days and those who are attending our Living and Investing in France conference this coming weekend are in for a treat! The weather is perfect and it’s going to be, not only enlightening, but wonderfully fun! (There is still time to register, if you haven’t already.)
A la prochaine…
Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
(In Nice, of course)
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