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Your taste of life in Nice and the Riveria!

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Parler Nice, Parler Posters and Parler Parades

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 Blue Coast (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 (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 it and forget you ever saw it.

And yes, I’m in Nice, at least until this afternoon. As always, it’s been an adventure. It was the last weekend for Carnaval and have had the pleasure of the “Corso Illuminé” just a block from “Le Matisse” Saturday night and the “Corso des Fruits d’Or” (Parade of the Golden Fruits) during the “Fête du Citron®” in Menton Sunday afternoon, but missed seeing the closing fireworks last night — although they were booming overhead loudly while we were dining on pasta at the “Villa d’Este” restaurant on rue Masséna.

5-2-12villa-d-este-nice5-3-12 Henri cactus5-3-12 nice-digne carte5-3-12 var5-3-12 lake var5-2-12 Menton Citrus Festival

Besides having a fun-filled weekend on the Riviera, the trip was designed to put finishing touches on the Niçois apartment that only a ‘mother’ can do — like when sending a child off to college for the first time to make sure he/she is completely prepared for life ahead.

At a nursery in Old Town, I spied a large cactus that seemed to need a home. We found a cobalt blue pot and with the help of the salesman, potted him, wrapped him and headed home with “Henri” under my friend’s arm. “He” now sits in the corner of a window minding his own business and looking very elegant.

From I had ordered three Henri Matisse posters framed in red to suit the apartment walls. One of my objectives was to have them hung and photos taken before leaving Nice. Each day, we awaited their delivery and no show. Each day I phoned and they were very kind in trying to assist, but once learning that they had been sent via Chronopost, I knew we were in trouble.

Chronopost International is a member of the La Poste group in France and provides ‘express shipping and delivery service’ (I use these terms loosely) both domestically (in France) and internationally. Sort of. Once many years ago they managed to NOT deliver my newly renewed passport only to discover it along with my old passport at their main distribution center for absolutely no reason whatsoever except that it was August and the workers were too lazy (or on vacation) to actually deliver them to me. I vowed then never to use the service again.

After many phone calls and one call ‘on hold’ for 40 minutes, I was able to learn the posters were at the Chronopost distribution center at the airport. Fortunately we had rented a car and were able to go there, retrieve the packages before heading north into the mountains. If not, they would likely have either sat there a decade or been returned to Holland from whence they came. Thanks to a bit of ‘sticktoitiveness’ they are now happily hung on the three walls that so desperately needed their beautiful colors.

The posters came with us on our excursion to Digne-les-Bains, a town dating back to the Neolithic era that was a frequent commercial stop during the Roman era and now noted for lavender trade. We traveled along the edge of the Var River through stunning mountains, stopping at a train depot and “auberge” to have lunch. The Var is more a dry river-bed with a stream running through it at this time of year although I suspect fills from the melting snow in the spring. A small train travels this route (The train to Dignes-les-Bains) and makes a perfect day-trip from Nice and back — should you want to venture away from the sea into the mountains as we did.

Sunday we headed to Menton for the Citrus Festival Parade and so had a zillion other folks. The roads were bumper to bumper entering the town and seeking parking amid the massive tourist buses bringing in Italians from just the other side of Menton by the bus-load. We were lucky to find a spot up the hill in a residential area to view the parade of floats made of lemons, oranges and limes.

This parade, like many of them, are paid public events — a strange concept when considering the city must section off an area and only allow those who have tickets into a public space. I can think of a lot of ways to fund a parade of this kind other than charging the spectators, but that’s my Americanist thinking that doesn’t fit with the French idea…I suppose.

So, Nice was nice, as it always is, and Le Matisse is finished one hundred percent — and I must say, it has turned out to be all I’d ever hoped for plus a lot more. In fact, it would have been just fine if we had never left its four walls, as the sun pours in with unabandon, and the colors scream life itself on the Mediterranean.

A la prochaine…

adrian digne 3-2012Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Nice

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P.S. Mark your calendar for March 13th when Bernadette Martin of Visibility Branding, LLC talks about “Fusing Personal Branding and Storytelling” at Parler Paris Après Midi! Visit Parler Paris Après Midi for more information!


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