Out of the Gray and Into the Blue
Today is Assomption — another national holiday at the height of the vacation season. This is the “Feast of the Assumption of Mary” when Catholics believe that the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven. Even though church is clearly separated from state in France, this one made it to the rank of national holiday and I can tell you that it is, without a doubt, the deadest day in Paris of the entire year.
Fortunately, this period was the only three-days the entire month of August that “Le Matisse” had availability for its owner (me), so I grabbed it for three girlfriends and myself. We trained to Nice yesterday in the usual comfortable style on the TGV with the sun pouring in the windows, the green pastures rolling on for miles on the landscape until the train reached the Mediterranean at Marseille. That’s when we knew we had ‘arrived’ on the Côte d’Azur in all its ‘blueness.’
The sky is blue, the sea is blue, the city bikes are blue (“VéloBleu“), the city cars are blue (“Auto Bleue“), a beach in Nice is the “Blue Beach” and of course, Henri Matisse’s nude is blue. As a result, you will find a myriad of objects made of cobalt blue glass at “Le Matisse“, too, as well as is the color scheme at our newest Nice apartment, “La Côte du Paradis“, blue.
Nice is as hoppin’ as it gets. This is the Height, with a capital H, of the season. Rue Masséna is wall to wall tourists and the cafés and restaurants are filling every seat. Everyone has been ‘kissed by the sun’ — glowing with fresh tans, wearing summer garb in the warm air and looking very relaxed. I have heard spoken French, Russian, Italian and English of different varieties, not to mention other languages which were not discernible.
Most of the restaurants along rue Masséna are not the kind you tell your friends about, except for a few you have to scope out — which of course I have been doing to get to know my own neighborhood. Last night we ended up at an outdoor table at La Taverne Masséna (number 25) directly across the street from the apartment. The waitstaff is very efficient and friendly. The “moules” were copious and well-prepared and we found it more than acceptable in spite of it being one of the largest of the tourist restaurants on the street. The added bonus was that I could look up and see the sweet geraniums and the chartreuse green table and chairs on the balcony of my own apartment, on which I am sitting as I write this.
At the water’s edge, the crowds were as thick. A few people were partying on the pebble beach and there were swimmers in the dark blue water. One young woman emerged with pale white skin, evident that she was a new arrival and couldn’t wait to get into the water. I guessed that she came from a cold climate where it meant nothing to swim in cold waters at night — something I wouldn’t dream of finding fun!
Friday morning the lot of us ‘girls’ will take the ferry to Ile Rousse in Corsica from where I will be writing on Monday. It’s one of my favorite places and an easy and inexpensive jaunt from Nice. Meanwhile, imagine us all like seals on the beaches, taking in the sun and the pleasures of the Riviera, along with the zillions of other people who have the same bright idea. I intend to come back with a REAL tan — not the kind that comes out of a tube.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Nice
P.S. I’m looking for a ‘subject’ under the age of 45 who has recently purchased or rented an apartment in Nice or environs to ‘star’ in a House Hunters International episode! If YOU are THAT PERSON, and would like to be a part of a national program, please email me at [email protected].
P.P.S. Le Matisse and La Côte du Paradis are our Niçois apartments that are total luxury with the North American demanding guest in mind. If you want the perfect stay on the Riviera, these two apartments are sure to fill the bill. Here’s what one recent guest wrote: We really enjoyed this wonderful retreat. It’s been our favorite accommodations in our travels to Barcelona, Rome and Amsterdam. We really appreciated all the comforts of home — plus the espresso maker! Thanks again for providing us with a clean and comfortable apartment — and the terrace was great for watching the world go by, too! To learn more, visit Parler Nice Apartments.