The Things we Didn’t Know About Nice
Nice is on the horizon for a landing about 1 p.m. today at the Gare Nice Ville. It’s a business trip, pure and simple, with a search for an apartment for clients who have fallen in love with the city as well as the filming of yet another House Hunters International episode this weekend — this time in the neighboring enclave of Villefranche-sur-Mer. (You’ll hear all about it on Monday.)
Our clients not only fell in love with Nice, but they also fell in love with an apartment their first day of visits (this happens often!) not far from my own in the Carré d’Or neighborhood of Nice very close to the ocean. I am scheduled to visit it this afternoon with them and give my ‘seal of approval’ as well as some renovation ideas as I understand it needs it!
If you were to equate the Carré d’Or to an area in Paris, it might be similar to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, as it’s the city’s most expensive and prestigious area, classic architecturally, and on the waterfront. It’s considered the city’s true center, beginning at Place Masséna running westward, with some of it “Zone Piétonne” (pedestrian) filled with the best of shopping, tons of cafés and restaurants and immediate public transportation access.
Since this is my ‘hood,’ I have only wonderful things to say about living here. Everything is literally steps away — the ocean, the tramway, shopping galore (that gets me in trouble every time), more great restaurants than one can (more trouble!) and even the car rental agencies are just one block away. Our clients are going to love living here, too — and that’s their goal — to live in Nice.
More and more Americans are choosing to move to Nice and environs. Maybe that’s because the older we get, the more relaxed we want to be, with more sun and a simpler lifestyle. Paris will always be Paris and no city can replace it, but it’s never going to be accused of being ‘laid back’ or ‘sunny’ and ‘warm.’ Nice is all those things. Nice cannot offer the level of cultural activities that Paris offers, but it does offer other things, including more outdoor activities that all of the beautiful Riviera offers, of which there is immediate access. My friends who have moved there say they have taken up boating, swimming, jogging, biking painting, writing and just exploring the region, as well as Italy — just a few minutes away by train.
In a recent article in The Local by blogger Allison Coe, of “Best of Nice” http://www.bestofniceblog.com/ titled “Ten things you definitely didn’t know about Nice,” I learned a bit more about the Nice I’ve come to love. Many of them I had learned from Margo Lestz, author of Curious Histories of Nice, but one can never stop discovering such a profound spot on the planet, much less in France.
Nice’s Italian heritage clearly gives it a very different flavor from any other part of France — one reason for its abundance of great Italian restaurants, colorful architecture and anarchistic style. It’s old as the hills, too, particularly the Parc de la Colline du Château — the city’s first enclave, that once housed a reputedly impregnable citadel and where an archeological dig evidenced tourism by transient cave-dwellers as long ago as 400,000 years ago!
I love the story about Catherine Segurane, a laundress with as much punch as Jeanne d’Arc, who in 1506 fended off the city’s attackers with her laundry bat and wiped her “tooshie” with her attacker’s flag! This kind of spunk is part of the Niçois spirit, so watch out — you might not want to cross a Niçoise the wrong way…especially if she’s carrying her beach umbrella!
One thing I didn’t know and want to learn more about is the history of the Jews of Nice who, in typical anti-semitic fashion, were locked away at night on one gated street in what is now Vieux Nice. Their non-Jewish friends didn’t like it any more than they did and created underground passageways with which they could reconnect. I wonder what they were doing down there all those years until the Jews were finally considered “Vrais Niçois” 200 years later? I bet you have an idea or two!
Elton John lives in Nice along with a slew of other celebs, such as Tina Turner, Keith Richards and Bono. Elton isn’t in Nice at the moment, however. I happen to know he’s in New York because my daughter and friend, Barb Westfield (of Ansouis fame) attended the Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF) Annual Hot Pink Party Fundraiser together last night at the Waldorf Astoria where Elton performed. Erica was a few feet away and managed to get some great shots (see the video she took). His Niçois home sits high above the rest in the Mont Boron district, with some of the city’s best views. (But he’s not as close to the beach as I am!)
Old Town is much like Le Marais in Paris, when you think about how much of a slum it became until the Minister of Culture André Malraux passed laws to protect the historic centers of French cities in 1962. Boy, things have changed! Now it’s as desirable a place to live as the Carré d’Or, but tricky to find a great apartment. The narrow streets originally designed to keep out the heat pre-air-conditioning, also keep out the light and keep in the noise from the bars and restaurants. Finding just the right spot in these old buildings with no elevators is one of the toughest searches we can have.
The sun is pouring into the train window as I write, with views of the sea, blue skies and pastel villas dot the landscape as we ride along eastbound along the coast. My wet umbrella in the rack overhead fell off onto my head reminding me of this morning in Paris when I left home before dawn. According to the weather predictions, it will be the last I need it all week long.
A la prochaine,
Editor of Parler Nice
The Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. Linda Hervieux was a smashing success at Parler Paris Après Midi yesterday with her presentation about her book “Forgotten.” Visit Parler Paris Après Midi to see photos and learn more about it.
Nice is nice and Le Matisse is even nicer! Le Matisse is Adrian Leeds’ luxurious, and sunny jewel in the Carré d’Or area of Nice just two short blocks from the ocean in the city’s finest central district just off Place Masséna! Everyone who has ever stayed there has loved it more than they expected! Now is your chance to book your stay for your summer vacation between June 1 and August 31st before April 30th and take advantage of mid-season rates during the apartment’s highest season!
3022/month (4 weeks)
To book a Paris apartment for a visit in the City of Light on your way to Nice, visit The Adrian Leeds Group Apartments to view our full selection.