The Face-Lift of Nice
The big truck inched its way down the ramp along the Promenade des Anglais to the beach. When it hit rock bottom, it lifted it’s bed to spill the “galets.” Once they were spilled into a big pile, a backhoe scooped them up and transported them to another truck which then made its way down the beach and deposited them further along.
The galets are the “pebbles” on the Nice beach — a fragment of rock with a rounded and smooth appearance, generated by mechanical wear or formed by the movement of water. Every year, the Promenade des Anglais is “fattened up” with these pebbles that come from the neighboring river, the Paillon. About 15,000 square meters of pebbles are imported to fight against erosion of the beach. The process starts in December to mold the beach and shape the coastline.
At first glance, one might not like a pebbly beach like the one along the Baie des Anges, but I have come to greatly appreciate it. Sure, it’s nice to have sand between your toes, but not dragged into the house or stuck in your hair or teeth. With good water shoes and a good beach chair, the galets allow you to have a clean stay at the beach without taking the remnants home with you. You can head down to the beach for as little as 30 minutes or an hour, take in the sun and surf and head home again without too much fuss. This means you can frequent the beach a lot more than you might otherwise.
The Cours Saleya is getting a face-lift, too, as did Place Pierre-Gautier, the square at the center of the Cours. Four meter-high palms were set in place as were motorized and retractable tents installed for the flower vendors, temporarily there while the original flower market is under renovation. Section by section it will undergo a restoration and modernization taking a break during the summer season, then resuming in the Fall for final completion in early 2021.
The street between the Cours Saleya and the Quai des Etats-Unis that services the businesses along the Cours and is also under complete renovation, the Cité du Parc, is changing this month to “Cours Jacques-Chirac” to honor the former head of state. (See more at nice.fr/fr/nice-en-images/)
The new East-West tramway is now running all the way to the Old Port stopping at the “Quai Napoléon 1er.” The tramway has changed the lives of the Niçois, as I was told by residents living west of Avenue Jean Médecin and others near the Old Port. No one is surprised, but everyone is thrilled by the improvement in transportation. Nice just keeps getting nicer.
The greening of the city has really taken shape. Six kilometers of greened-up arteries have arisen from the disappearance of the bus lanes thanks to the arrival of the tramway. They’ve planted more than 10,000 trees where asphalt once was. The rails of the tramway are covered in grass. Hundreds of planters and structures have been installed all over the city. Two parks will be fully created. Along the Promenade des Anglais, 265 new trees and palm trees will be facing the sea. The landscape has seriously changed…all for the better.
Every month I try to go to Nice for a few days or more just to get a hit of sunshine, surf and relaxation. This past week, I met up with friends and clients, and clients who have become friends. The community has grown by leaps and bounds since my first venture into Nice in 2011. Many of them regularly congregate around John Garland Jones‘ singing gigs that have also blossomed this past year. He’s now singing three times a week (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) at Le Truc and BrewDog. I heard all about it from newcomers to Nice who made fast friends with some of the “regulars.” So, if you’re spending any time in Nice and want to make new friends, this is a sure-fire way of immediately being welcomed into the fold.
John isn’t the only one singing in Nice these days. Asa, a Nigerian-French singer/songwriter I met a while back, has been described as having “a smoky voice.” That’s a good description of what her luscious, soft sound is like. Her name is pronounced “ah-shah,” and her music “combines elements of soul, pop, folk, and reggae, among other international influences, in her warm neo-soul songs.” (Quote taken from a biography by Marcy Donelson. You may recall that I attended a concert of hers in Paris mid-December that blew us all away, especially me! Well, now’s your chance to hear her, too. She is on tour and will be in Nice March 6th (and in Nimes on March 7th), plus a host of other cities in France and Germany. Don’t miss at least one of her concerts! See her website for dates.
Meanwhile, the bleachers are being set up at Place Masséna in preparation for this year’s Carnaval de Nice, February 15 to 29. The theme: Carnaval Roi de la Mode (Carnival King of Fashion), honoring one of the most emblematic stylists of the 20th and 21st centuries — Karl Lagerfeld. Not to miss it, I’ll head back to Nice for the last weekend, so stay tuned for more information about this annual festival that everyone needs to experience at least once in their lifetime!
A la prochaine…
Editor of Parler Nice
(by John G. Jones)
P.S. We’re looking for a loft or atelier style property in Paris in which to tape a House Hunters International episode — valued between 350,000€ and 400,000€. If you have such a property or know of one, please contact me immediately. Merci!