“I just love living here.”
Tomorrow the train will take me back to Paris and away from the glorious Riviera weather (if the national strike doesn’t mess that up!). An American friend living here who moved from Paris a few years ago poignantly said this week, “When I’m in Paris I miss Paris, but when I’m here, I don’t miss Paris.”
That was so astute and so true. Friday during lunch with another Parisienne-turned-Niçoise American friend, she said with sparkling eyes, “I just love living here.” She’s a retired graphic-designer who is exploring her artistic talents by painting on canvases…soon to have her own show. She gets a lot of energy from the atmosphere of the region to paint and be creative. She’s not the only one to have said these words to me. In fact, every American I’ve come across living here or spending any serious amount of time in Nice says the same thing: “I just love living here.”
In addition, every person I’ve come across declares living Central Nice is nicest, although perhaps that’s because it’s the lifestyle that suits them best. It suits me, too. Being steps from the beach is tempting to take in a bit of beach-time almost daily. It’s the first time to have ever had such luxury without a car, as even living in Los Angeles so close to miles and miles of sandy shore, without the car, you weren’t getting to the beach (unless you lived in Venice Beach or Malibu).
Beach temptation has not thwarted my thirst for culture and Nice has plenty of it. Jacques Henri Lartigue’s stunning photos are on display at the Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image in an exhibition titled “A Floating World” that is not to be missed if you’re in the area. He was a wealthy lad born in Courbevoie who photographed his idyllic life and the beautiful people around him in their leisurely and fun-loving situations, all dressed to the nines — in the early part of the 20th-century! One of the museum guards was so in love with the works that he couldn’t help himself but explain some of what he had learned about Lartigue and the techniques he used. One image is more beautiful than the next as are his subjects.
Upon entering the museum with a copy of my Nice EDF (electricity) bill in hand, proof of residence of Nice, I asked for a pass that gives residents of Nice and the municipalities within the metropolis over the age of 18 free access (children are admitted free) to all the city museums and galleries. (nice.fr/fr/actualites/pass-musees-de-nice/mairie)
It is easy to do if you have proof of residence here — just bring along to any of the city museums your passport or national identity card and a utility bill or other document that proves your residence. I failed to bring my original passport or Carte de Résident, but had copies with me. My U.S. driver’s license wasn’t acceptable, but with a bit of flirtation and ‘begging’ the lovely woman at the desk acquiesced into giving me the card. She was prepared to take a photo of me (quick, I put on fresh lipstick and took down my hair!) and within moments I was on my way free of charge to see the Lartigue exhibit.
The sports fans are still abundant as the UEFA Euro 2016 continues through July 10th. In support of the event, Apollo was dressed for the occasion. The statue of Apollo that crowns the fountain at Place Masséna, that was banned in the 1970s for being overly well-endowed (!), is now in full soccer uniform. The seven-meter-high, seven-ton white marble statue shocked the onlookers when it was unveiled in 1956 for his masculine attribute.
The sculptor, Alfred Janniot, ‘re-erected’ the scaffolding and chiseled him ‘down to size.’ In the 1970s, someone painted a fig leaf on him and then later in that decade, The League of Feminine Virtue, a local Catholic women’s group, had him exiled to a less offensive spot (a football stadium in North Nice) where he lived for a number of years till the then Mayor Jacques Peyrat had it restored during the construction of the tramway.
What would Nice be without its Apollo!? It’s the center of Nice and represents the good humor that abounds in this fun-loving town.
The annual Nice Jazz Festival, having been launched as long ago as 1948, begins on the 16th of July less than a week after the UEFA sends everyone home, lasting through the 20th. Sadly I’ll be missing the event which takes place at Place Masséna in what they call the “Théâtre de Verdure” — a.k.a. the Parc Albert 1er. Tickets range in price up to 39€, but there is one free concert on the 17th at 11 a.m. with the London Community Gospel Choir. David Bowie is being honored this year with nightly themes named of his iconic albums. All this is another good reason to be in Nice.
If you’re in the Nice area, mark your calendar for July 9th when North Americans Ella Dyer, Margo Lestz and Patricia Sands will be the guest authors at “Riviera Readers Riviera Readers English Book Club” Meetup on Saturday, July 9, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Trinity Church at 11, rue de la Buffa. This is your opportunity to get to know the club as they share their experiences and talk about their work, plus get tips for writing your own book. Visit their page to sign up to the Meetup, hosted by Ann Sumwalt.
Normally on Independence Day I like to be with American friends eating a real American hamburger, just for the spirit of the day, but this year will be different. Instead, am opting on surprising a visiting non-American friend with a beach day at Paloma Beach in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat reachable easily from Nice via the 81 bus from Nice Port. Named after Paloma Picasso who’s father, Pablo, enjoyed the beach with his family and friends, the reviews from those who know it say it’s paradise.
After, to end the evening will be dinner at “Le Jungle” — an oasis of a garden inside the posh small Hôtel Windsor that one has to know about…quiet, green, tropical, romantic and secluded from the hustle-bustle of the tourists just steps outside.
Living on rue Masséna, what I call “the parade route,” is in the heart of tourist-town, and perfect for access to everything. I am often asked about the noise outside my windows — if it’s offensive or not. No — it’s just perfect. It’s not traffic din — just the noise of people having a good time. By about 11 p.m., it dies down to nothing and with double-paned windows and air-conditioning, the revelry outside becomes virtually inaudible. No one has ever complained.
Happy 4th of July!
A la prochaine,
Editor of Parler Nice
Adrian Leeds Group
(in Nice, by Ann Sumwalt on Le Voilier Plage ((58 Promenade des Anglais))
P.S. I’ll be saying ‘so-long’ to Henri-le-Cactus and Le Matisse for a few weeks, but to those of who will stay in Le Matisse in the future, I do warn you. The sun lights the room all day (thanks to being south facing), so you may need an eye mask if you wish to sleep past dawn! (Provided by the landlord…me…and BTW, if you book your stay NOW for a stay in July or August 2016, I’ll give you the low season rates during this very high season!