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Your taste of life in Nice and the Riveria!

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Marketing Sunny Dispositions

I arrived back in the City of Light last night, leaving sunny Nice behind me.

The city of Nice is preparing for the its 134th Carnival of Nice festival which begins next Saturday, February 17th, lasting until March 3rd. The theme: “Roi de l’Espace,” or “King of Space.” The bleachers are in place at Place Masséna and some of the barricades are already installed in preparation for the parades. Isabel, the daughter of Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil, brought the idea of this carnival form from Nice  into their own country…so you could say “Brazil has Nice to thank” for it’s own carnival!

To learn all about the Carnaval de Nice, download the Nice Carnaval Press Kit in English.

Meanwhile, Mardi Gras in my home town, New Orleans, is in full swing, culminating weeks of parades and balls on “Fat Tuesday” — tomorrow. Fellow New Orleanians have been keeping me up to date on the festivities in the Crescent City. So, while New Orleans will be winding down, Nice will be gearing up. If you were to time it right, you could easily enjoy both!

A friend visiting me in Nice this past weekend and I took Friday off to go to the weekly open-air market in Ventimiglia, or “Vintimille” as the French call the Italian town. Getting there is a less-than-one-hour ride by train from the Nice Ville station. The tickets are 8€ or less each way. It’s “du gâteau” (a “piece of cake”).

Ventimiglia is the first town on the other side of the French border in the province of Imperia, Liguria. Every Friday, about 500 stalls open up to sell everything from clothing to gadgets, not to mention food…although the covered market you pass on the way on Via della Repubblica does a better job of that, and is open from Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. When you exit the train station, all you have to do is follow your nose straight out and straight ahead to find both markets and all they have to offer.

First, revel in the Italian goodies at the covered market — the flowers, the sausages and cheeses, the pastas, the olives and nuts, and of course, the fruits and vegetables. Then, head over to the stalls to find great leather goods, all sorts of bargain clothing, gadgetry and novelties. You can bargain with the vendors, but not a whole lot — not early in the morning nor if it’s awash with shoppers.

We did not leave empty-handed by any stretch of the imagination as it would be almost impossible to do so. Allow a couple of hours to stroll and shop. You will hear more people speaking French than Italian as the Riviera denizens and visitors love to make their little excursion to Italy, just like we did. The open-air market is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., so you have plenty of time to shop and take in lunch at one of the many restaurants along the path of the market that borders the sea.

This didn’t stop us from spending Sunday morning at the market on the Cours Saleya in Nice, however. It’s a ritual of mine to peruse the market and have breakfast or lunch after shopping. It is here I tend to buy Provençal soaps and spices and “petits souvenirs,” but yesterday we also bought dinner for the train ride back to Paris — prepared foods ready for the ride.

Both days, the sun was shining brightly, as were the faces of the market shoppers and those taking in the rays at the sidewalk cafés. There is no doubt that the sun puts a smile on most people’s faces. That must be why there is that old saying for someone who is cheerful and happy: “he (or she) has a sunny disposition.”



A la prochaine,

Adrian Leeds

Editor of Parler Nice
Adrian Leeds Group



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P.S. Don’t forget that TOMORROW is your opportunity to be part of February’s Après Midi. You won’t want to miss meeting and hearing Roni Beth Tower talk about her memoir, Miracle at Midlife: A Transatlantic Romance, chronicling the two-year courtship between a divorced American attorney living on a converted barge in the center of Paris and an empty-nested clinical and research psychologist who works from her home in Connecticut. Details are on our Après Midi page. Don’t miss it!


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