Three Days in Nice…Very Nice!
I’m in Paris, but today’s missive is about the last three glorious days in Nice, where one cannot stop saying “Nice is nice” like a dumb broken record.
I went down for several reasons and not alone, but with a couple of close friends. The first reason was not only to attend the “Meet the Authors” event hosted by Margo Lestz, but to emcee it, at her request. In addition, we have several property clients in the process of making purchases in Nice and as a result there were a few things to which I needed to attend, such as “walk-throughs” (property visits) and document signings. It didn’t hurt that the timing was perfect — at the beginning of the summer when the weather is warm, but not hot, and the beaches are populated, but not overcrowded.
We didn’t have much time for the beach, but I managed to sneak in a couple hours one afternoon to soak up some rays while my friends shopped ’till they dropped. There’s a new sand beach opposite Old Town, if you’re not a fan of the pebbles, but with my lightweight folding lounge chair and heavy-duty water shoes, I can fully enjoy the seashore, pebbles or not.
Nice, and particularly the area in which I live, is a cornucopia of great shops filled with bright-colored clothing that is too tempting to avoid. (I always buy too much myself!). But, together we found a moment to have lunch at one of the new beachside restaurants — the Ex-Le Galion, now Le Galet — both chic and cheap with outstanding service (see this article for more information about the change of hands) as we watched the waves break on the pebbles and the huge Corsican Ferries go in and out of the Old Port. To further the cause of pure pleasure, we also pampered ourselves with pedicures and hair cuts, not to mention a few new summer dresses.
Nice was a wonderland of great dining, as it always is, and no doubt, is a better value than Paris. Of all our meals, Bistrot d’Antoine still ranks Number 1 most favorite, particularly for the price of it, which is downright stupid it’s so inexpensive — about 30€ per person for two amazing courses including wine and coffee.
As we were waiting for our table to be ready, standing outside on the pedestrian street, a group of tourists came by and asked one of the waiters if the restaurant served “French food?” I couldn’t help but chuckle at their question, so innocent of the restaurant’s popularity. Without thinking, I blurted out, “This is Nice’s best restaurant!” and at the same time the waiter sent them off with his response, “We are fully booked, sorry.” Of course they were. Food-wise I’ll match its quality with just about any bistrot in France as inevitably everyone at the table spends most of their time umming through every bite. (Be sure to reserve well in advance if you wish to get a table! See their Facebook page)
The restaurant walls are filled with really good art, some of which is quite playful. Along the staircase up to the first level are large paintings by one particular caricature artist depicting the leaders of France in some cartoon-like way. Emmanuel Macron has been added, depicted as Julius Caesar in a red draping robe. Hollande is there, as is Sarkozy and a few others of note.
Surely you have already seen Macron’s statement following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord? In English broadcast to an Anglophone audience, as a response to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, he boldly says “Make the Planet Great Again!” and is inviting U.S. researchers and scientists to come to work in France to fight climate change! (See his speech at France24.)
Donald Trump won’t likely make the walls of Bistrot d’Antoine, especially after announcing his anti-France and “climate deal exit” rally planned for Lafayette Square in Washington, DC: “Pittsburgh, not Paris” that’s pretty ironic, considering that Marquis de Lafayette was “a French general who played a crucial role in helping the American Revolution” and is “a symbol of French sympathy for the United States and its ideals” — quoting New York Magazine.
What’s even funnier (or sadder, really) is how Mr. Trump is somehow confused with the name of the climate accord and the fact that it has nothing to do with Paris other than that’s where the meeting took place! We noticed that on the Promenade des Anglais Sunday afternoon, the U.S. flag was at half-mast compared to its counterparts, for what reason we didn’t know…and thought either it was a mistake or a joke…more likely a joke…on us Americans as a result of such shenanigans.
The Meet the Authors event on Saturday afternoon was a huge success with an attendance of more than 60 people and as many books sold. Coincidentally, the Festival du Livre de Nice was underway all weekend long just across the street at the Parc Albert 1er, although we had no spare time to visit it. I saw a lot of familiar faces and some old Niçois friends while meeting a whole lot more new ones from the very vibrant Anglophone community…with no shortage of North Americans among them. Each of the seven authors spoke for exactly 15 minutes (I was the time-keeper) and presented some information about themselves as writers, their books and read excerpts.
It was fascinating and fun, as each was so different, as are their books; all accomplished writers who had poignant things to say about their experiences as writers maneuvering the current very difficult world of publishing. When we had a chance to mingle and get to know one another, it was noticeable that so many of the attendees had nothing but glowing things to say about living on the Riviera. There simply are no complaints, and I swear, I think they glow…perhaps it’s the rosy cheeks from the sunshine and good moods everyone is in…all the time. That’s what happens to me when I’m there, too, it’s so infectious.
The newly renovated Gare du Sud, a landmark in Nice located at Libération, was inaugurated on Saturday, after all activity there ended in 1991. The restoration of the building includes housing the Raoul Mille library (since 2013), a multiplex cinema, meeting halls and rooms, shops and restaurants as well as residences for families and students, some specially designed for the physically challenged. Even a large underground parking lot was added to encourage more visitors. Surrounded by the activity of the Libération market, with the tramway stop just in front, it will be a new and attractive reference point for the city and a re-energizing force in the neighborhood. Nice doesn’t stop making major improvements to its landscape and this is just another notch on its proverbial belt.
Two of our clients are purchasing properties on the west side of the city where the new East-West tramway is about to make the whole district explode! All along rue de France, where the line will snake along connecting the airport with the Old Port, those living on or near this street will see huge improvements to the area and increased property values. Our clients have done very well to buy there where prices are still very reasonable, but climbing.
For those who follow Henri-le-Cactus’ progress, he is way taller than me now and shows no signs of stopping growth. He loves his sunny corner as much as I do.
A la prochaine,
Editor of Parler Nice
(by Patty Sadauskas)
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