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Matisse on a Sunny Day in the South

Village of Collioure
The wonderful village of Collioure

The intercity train to Marseille from Nîmes was one hour late. With one hour in between trains (the subsequent one to take from Marseille to Nice), that left literally two minutes to make the switch. Naturally (can you hear my sarcastic tone?), I was in car number two at the very end of the train farthest from the station upon arrival, and my seat was in car number three on the train to Nice, meaning it was also at the very end of the train farthest from the station. Get the picture?

Fortunately, I had the En Gare app (thanks to Patty Sadauskas) on my iPhone so that I knew in advance what track the connecting train would be on. As soon as the train pulled into the station, all of us in the same boat (or should I say train?) hopped out and ran like bats out of hell, lugging our luggage behind us. I hopped the last car I could get onto without the train taking off without me. The door shut immediately behind me without a second to lose. (That woke me up. Sarcastic tone, again.) I landed in car 13, huffing and puffing. The conductor, seeing me gasping for air, calmly invited me to stay “chez lui”—in his car where there were plenty of seats. I didn’t argue and I got to Nice in peace and relaxation!

En gare app

I do pleasure in walking into my sunny Niçois apartment after having been in the hustle-bustle of Gray Paree for a while. The timing this time around has been perfect as Paris went into a modified confinement the day after I left Paris—a curfew in place from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the next four weeks to stem the Covid-19 epidemic. Eight other cities are also under curfew (“Couvre-feu” in French): Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix Marseille, Saint-Etienne, Rouen, Montpellier and Toulouse. Nice is not among them and that makes my disposition as sunny as my apartment. (For more information about Covid-19 in France, visit the official website)

Couvre Feu

“Le Matisse,” what I named my apartment thanks to Martine di Mattéo’s “Matissien” choice of fabrics for the apartment and Véronique Husson’s beautiful coordinating mosaic tile work—all very Matisse in style. When I added the cactus to adorn the apartment, I named him “Henri le Cactus” in honor of Henri Matisse, of course. Henri has a new fried, “Henriette,” a smaller and more feminine version of Henri who seems just as happy in her sunny corner.

I had no idea at the time that this particular fabric pattern on the drapes and pillows was a reproduction of one of Matisse’s paintings from Collioure, nor did I really care. I simply fell in love with it. Now that I’ve visited Collioure, I have a deeper appreciation for the patterns and colors. This is the palette of colors that make me happiest: primary red, blue and yellow, secondary colors of green, orange and purple, but all clear and bright; no muddy or smoky tones that you might find in Paris, but are strangers on the Mediterranean. I can understand why the painters loved to be creative in this part of France—the light, the colors, the general sunny seaside mood.

The seaside town of Collioure

The seaside town of Collioure

The Collioure landscape, by Matisse

The Collioure landscape, by Matisse

Matisse painted his famous “Open Window” in the summer of 1905. He and artist André Derain were working together at the time. The colors were unnatural, part of the “Fauve Landscape,” that Derain called ““sticks of dynamite” and that later outraged art enthusiasts at the Salon d’Automne in Paris. Things sure have changed since then, and now we’re all reveling in their discovery of color, thanks to the sights of the Mediterranean town. And I am wallowing in every bright morsel.

For those who wish to enjoy Le Matisse, I do offer it to friends of Parler Paris, Parler Nice and French Property insider, for sojourns when I’m not here. Just email [email protected] for more information.

Adrian's Nice apartment, Le Matisse

Adrian’s Nice apartment, Le Matisse


On another note, podcaster of the Earful Tower Oliver Gee and his artistic wife, Lina Nordin Gee have not only gotten married, they’ve collaborated and combined their many talents into a new children’s book: “Kylie the Crocodile in Paris.”

Oliver and Lina

Oliver and Lina

“This is the first time that Lina and I have teamed up, and writing a children’s book has always been a dream project for us both. And now we’ve done one—about a crocodile in Paris. Who’d have thought it?!” Oliver Gee

Kylie the Crocodile in Paris

They are raising money to see Kylie swim, so be sure to make your pledge now!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds in beretsAdrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group

(Adrian in her famous berets, as seen on House Hunters International)

Adrian Leeds sitting in chairP.S. The Federation of the Alliances Française USA has asked me back to do another Webinar. It’s free to members of the Alliance Française and to readers of Parler Paris, Parler Nice and French Property Insider. Mark your calendars for Saturday, January 23, 2021, 11:00am Pacific/12:00pm Mountain/1:00pm Central/2:00pm Eastern and register by visiting their website!

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Adrian Leeds in sunny Nice on the beachfront

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