Nice in Nice with My Niece
My niece visiting from New York accompanied me to Nice very early on Monday morning for a couple of important reasons: 1) a meeting with the “copropriété” (home owners association) of my apartment’s building, 2) a meeting with a client who is wanting to find a property to purchase on the Riviera and 3) just to enjoy Nice and all is has to offer. It was the second time for me to be with my niece in Nice.
The weather had not been as ideal as one might like, but it’s decidedly warmer than Paris and still sunnier. It doesn’t really matter, though. Just the sight of the palm trees and Henri the flourishing cactus is all I need to feel like it’s vacation time…yet being very much at home, even if working non-stop.
The moment stepping into “Le Matisse,” it’s impossible not to smile. Henri-le-Cactus sits in one corner where he is obviously very happy. He is growing before our very eyes, more like a weed than a cactus, now bursting with new “pups.” It is customary to greet one another first thing, then unpack the bags, open the ‘owner’s closet’ to retrieve a stash of toiletries and then head to the bathroom where the heavenly oval bathtub awaits my arrival and to be filled with warm water and lots of bubbles.
The bathtub in my Paris apartment is only 1.2 meters long and because of the interior shaping, your knees end up in your chest while ‘trying’ to relax in the suds. From the time it was installed during my absence, when it was too late to do anything about it, I’ve longed for a tub I could soak in forever. The renovation of Le Matisse made it possible to install a large and deep oval tub along with a 200-liter hot water tank that could easily fill the tub with enough hot water to cover every inch of skin. The result is ‘pure heaven’ and if I were relegated to living in just this room, surrounded by Véronique Husson’s magnificent mosaic tile work, I’d be eternally content.
It’s carnival time in Nice, but we managed to time the trip badly, missing one of the night parades as it was taking place while we were flying back to Paris last night. Confetti still dots the streets leaving remnants of past parades and festivities. The King and Queen and a few of the most important carnival floats are parked at the south end of Place Masséna, the bleachers are set-up and the venders of candy and balloons have installed themselves at Place Magenta, just steps from my apartment.
As usual, dining in Nice was a delicious treat. The city never stops producing new restaurants to try, but with just two short days, it made more sense to pay a visit to a couple of our old favorites: Il Vicoletto and Le Victor Hugo.
Il Vicoletto is an authentic and formidable Italian restaurant at 6, rue de France, that has an inexpensive lunch special tough to pass up. You can count on me being there at least once, if not several times during a stay in Nice.
Le Victor Hugo is a woman-owned and operated corner just a few blocks north of the Hotel Negresco on the corner of avenue Victor Hugo and rue Berlioz that is exceptional. The menu changes daily and it’s difficult to refrain from ordering all three courses — as one is more delectable than the next. The restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the glass walls make dining inside as pleasant as being on a terrace. It is always filled with fragrant flowers and locals who love bringing their dogs, as the chef (a woman) is prone to feed them goodies from the kitchen. This is one of those little spots one must know about — it’s only open for lunch, so call ahead to be sure you can get a table (+33 4 93 87 11 58).
A new exhibit just opened February 14th at the Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image of Patrick Swirc: Voyages Photographiques. I was not familiar with his work, but it’s too extraordinary to miss! The theater itself is currently getting a fresh coat of paint, so the doors were closed, although it wasn’t too difficult to crack one open to get a glimpse of what was taking place inside.
For the first time there was a long queue to enter — it seemed rather chaotic, in fact. As of January 1, 2015, the museum became no longer free. Municipal museums in Nice were free for years, but now there are admissions fees, except for residents who are eligible for a free pass. To obtain a pass, you just need to show proof of residency — such as an electricity bill and an I.D. at any of the museums — but many in line, like ourselves, didn’t know a thing about it. Live and learn!
Every minute of our two days in Nice was filled and therefore we felt fulfilled…but I can never get enough of Nice.
A la prochaine (from Paris)…
Editor of Parler Nice
(In Nice with Shari)
P.S. “Le Matisse” is booking NOW for the spring and summer seasons! It’s available for your long or short stays. Book NOW before it’s too late and let Henri-le-Cactus welcome you! Visit http://www.adrianleeds.com/parler-nice-apartments/le-matisse for more information.
P.P.S. For those of you in the New York City area, who would like to know more about investing in France, I will be available for private consultations on March 13th through 18th. Consultations are typically two hours, and I will be offering my usual euro fee at the same fee in U.S. dollars. Email me personally to make your appointment: [email protected]. And if you’re in the Nice area this coming weekend and would like to meet with me to discuss the pros and cons of property investment in France, please contact me at [email protected].