Nice Just Keeps Getting Nicer
SPECIAL NOTE: From time to time, instead of “Speak Paris” (Parler Paris), you will be receiving “Speak Nice” (Parler Nice). It only makes sense that when I’m on the Côte d’Azur, that instead of pretending to be in Paris talking about Nice and the Riviera, that we should just call ‘a spade a spade’ and talk about Nice instead.
For those of you who are only interested in the Riviera, and not Paris, you may opt in to just Parler Nice. And for those of you who have been reading Parler Paris for a long time, you may just have to put up with a Parler Nice on occasion. If you’re not interested in what goes on on the Mediterranean coast, then just delete the issue and forget you ever saw it.
Yes, it’s Saint Patrick’s Day, it’s also the 16th anniversary of Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group and several of my close friends’ birthdays (you know who you are)…but other things take precedence today.
I was in Nice most of this past week filming yet another House Hunters International — our 17th! According to those in the know, no other real estate ‘agent’ (I use this term lightly, since I am not an ‘agent’) has participated in so many shows. For this we are very proud and as long as we continue to have fun doing the shows and as long as the producers continue to ask us to do them, we will.
This episode took us to beautiful properties in Nice, Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cap d’Ail with a couple from Northern California who own a winery in Sonoma Valley — Gerry and Jann — with three kids and a very long, strong marriage. I’ve never seen two people so totally in love with one another, to whom at one point after hearing them be so in synch with one another and “sweetheart” themselves to oblivion, I joked, “Boy, you guys are so mushy!” That elicited a laugh and an admission that in fact there had been a few rough spots along the way, but they had survived them well. (We should all be so lucky!)
In the Mont Boron area of Nice, we visited a spacious apartment with a big private garden, a pool for the residents and a view on Elton John’s villa which looms over all of Mont Boron. In Villefranche-sur-Mer, well known by Americans thanks to the Institut de Français and because it is one of the Riviera’s most seductive old villages, Gerry and Jann visited a studio apartment loaded with charm, but lacking in space. Then, to really confuse them, we visited a garden apartment in the chic community of Cap d’Ail just next to Monaco, with a beautiful terrace and amazing view of the sea and St. Jean Cap Ferrat.
No matter how many times visiting the Mediterranean coastline in France, the beauty is overwhelming. The van loaded with the crew would head out early in the morning catching the light shining down on the Baie des Anges and the port at Villefranche, then returning back to Nice, the pink misty landscape at dusk was like nothing one can describe. Along the way loom the stunning villas and elelgant garden apartments with views of the sea. The lush flora even at the end of winter makes one forget winter exists at all. The boats floating peacefully on the calm sea conjure up dreams. With each visit, an appreciation for the region is renewed and confirms why an addiction for the Riviera has settled in to stay.
Aside from the filming, time was made to visit an apartment a client of ours is purchasing in the Carré d’Or district of Nice, just down the street from Le Matisse and La Côte du Paradis, situated over one of my favorite restaurants, Il Vicoletto. In a few months, the two-bedroom spacious apartment will undergo renovation to create a luxury rental and will be offered on Parler Nice Apartments along with the others.
Little by little, our community of luxury rentals in Nice is growing — our goal being to provide good quality accommodations that meet high American standards. This means the apartments are designed for total comfort, with not a single thing missing for a perfect stay, still at market value and therefore just as affordable as those less adequate. We are seeking more American owners who have apartments in central Nice that meet these requirements and who wish to rent their properties to our North American (and other Anglophone) vacationers who appreciate high quality and take care of the property. If you know of anyone or any property that fits this description, please let us know!
Friendships made in Nice along the way are getting stronger with each visit. Along with meeting up with them, we discovered new restaurants and learned of new and different things to do and visit. There is so much to explore, that like Paris, will take a lifetime to discover.
La Kaloupilé is a restaurant serving Creole cuisine from Ile de la Réunion near the Old Port worth a special mention. Meanwhile, so many new restaurants are popping up in Nice, it’s tough to keep up — especially in the area of the Old Port which is growing quickly. It’s so similar to how Le Marais in Paris quickly gentrified that it’s been called “Le Petit Marais Niçois.”
The “Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image de la Ville de Nice” is something on the ‘to do’ list each time — as long as a new exhibition has opened. It’s one of the country’s best photography showplaces for exemplary work and it’s free entry. The current exhibition (on till May 25, 2014) is an “introspection” of Jean-Paul Goude’s photography and drawings. If you like fashion and graphic style, do not miss this opportunity to see a master’s works that include iconic images you are sure to recognize…such as the sculptural Grace Jones and Galeries Lafayette’s many publicity posters featuring Laetitia Casta. Be sure to stay for the 52 minute film that runs continually throughout the exhibition times for an insider look at Mr. Goude and his extraordinary creativity.
The 72nd edition of Paris-Nice Cycle Race ended in Nice on Sunday. Cyclists and their cycles were all along the Promenade des Anglais under the beautiful sunshine and backdropped by the gorgeous aqua sea. Lunching at the Blue Beach as the cyclists rode by was another one of those Niçois experiences that memories are made of.
Next time I’m in Nice will be for Easter weekend. That weekend, American jazz pianist Farnell Jenkins, father of Parler Paris/Nice reader, friend and journalist, Maureen Jenkins, will be performing three nights at “Le Relais,” the bar at the Negresco Hotel. I plan on being there one of the nights! You should be, too and invite all your Riviera friends! Visit hotel-negresco-nice.com/ and urbantravelgirl.com/ for more information.!
A la prochaine…
P.S. Tune in tomorrow, March 18 at 7:30 a.m. for the House Hunters International episode “Sizing Up the Parisian Suburbs.” Will Rich and Rachel be able to find a home that’s large enough to fit their needs while staying within their budget? Find out when House Hunters International peruses the villages outside Paris, France.