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Never Sick of Seeing the SEA


SEA* view is addictive. That’s what we discovered during the last three days of filming another House Hunter’s International — my 23rd TV episode — this time in the little Riviera enclave of Villefranche-sur-Mer.

The “contributors,” Todd and Jim, for whom we found the apartment of their dreams with a SEA view, made that their number one priority…the best view of the SEA they could get for their money. For the production crew of the popular HGTV show, it was not too much of a hardship to come down to the Côte d’Azur and follow Todd and Jim around as they visited three properties, all with drop dead gorgeous views of the sea. The crew consists of a director, a videographer, a sound engineer and a “fixer.” The videographer, Gordon Ross, has filmed a number of shows in which I have participated and is responsible for many of the great photos you see here.

Todd and Jim chose this particular spot in which to purchase a property along the French Riviera specifically for its situation between Nice and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat where the port is one of the deepest harbors in the Mediterranean SEA and is a second home and vacation haven for a very international community.

It would not be prudent of me to give away the surprise ending of the show — which apartment they chose of the three to purchase! But I will tell you that we visited one in what once was an old monastery, another in the Old Town and a third up above it all in a contemporary building. All three apartments were one bedroom/one bathroom and had SEA views, one better than the next.

The “decision scene” — where the couple discuss the pros and cons of the apartments they’ve visited and conclude which they will purchase, was filmed at the Institut de Français, which is largely responsible for so many people falling madly in love with the town. At least this my own hypothesis — as their students come for four weeks where they spend 8.5 hours per day, five days a week, speaking French and only French in the rooms of a luxurious Provençal villa, set on the hillside of Villefranche-sur-Mer overlooking the SEA accompanied by luscious and expansive gardens. Once they’ve had a four-week taste of the town, and leave speaking fluent French, they might never want to go home…but often come ‘home’ to Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Many of you readers have attended the famous language school and know the Executive Assistant and Teaching Supervisor, Frédéric Latty, who assisted us in allowing us to film at the school for the episode. He and I regularly joke that we have many, many people in common — perhaps many more people than we even realize. TripAdvisor lists the school as ‘one of the things to do in Villefranche’ and 79% of all reviewers rated it as “excellent.” The reviews are impressive and for good reason. If you attend the Institut de Français for the full program, you are sure to leave speaking French! (If and when you contact Frédéric ([email protected]), be sure to tell him Adrian sent you!)

Villefranche-sur-Mer has a long and fascinating history beginning with prehistoric times, including the Celto-Ligurian tribes, the Greeks, the Romans and finally the French. The bay is so deep that it’s always been an important port, hosting the U.S. Navy since World War I along with some very impressive cruise ships. It has long been the winter residence for royalty and wealthy visitors…and now Todd and Jim.

*Special note: My apologies for recently erroneously calling the Mediterranean an “ocean” and not a “SEA.” According to, a SEA “is a large body of salt water that is surrounded in whole or in part by land. More broadly, “the SEA” is the interconnected system of Earth’s salty, oceanic waters —- considered as one global ocean or as several principal oceanic divisions. The SEA is conventionally divided into up to five large oceanic sections —- including the IHO’s (International Hydrographic Organization) four named oceans (the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic) and the Southern Ocean; smaller, second-order sections, such as the Mediterranean, are known as SEAS.” Thanks to one of you loyal readers for pointing this out — I will never make this mistake again.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group

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