Music Under the Arcade and Sun in the Train Window
The sun is pouring into the window of the TGV as we hum along so fast that the trees on the side of the tracks are a blur. The landscape is particularly green and beautiful as we whiz through the countryside. I’m headed south to my home-away-from-home in Nice and looking forward to seeing how “Henri-le-Cactus” has been doing without me as well as basking in the sun and warmth of the Riviera. The bathing suits are packed for some quality time on the beach — badly needed.
Until today, Paris has been non-stop gray, rain and cool air — not the kind of summer I had in mind. It’s the bane of our Paris existence, to endure the sad weather that is more gray than not in exchange for the glorious city that it is. It is a joke that one doesn’t come to Paris for the weather…and maybe that’s a good thing, because if it were better, it would be even more crowded with tourists (not that we really mind the tourists — as we each used to be one!).
This trip to Nice is both business and pleasure. We have clients for whom we will be searching for an apartment in Nice or environs that eventually may be their more permanent home. Their prerequisites are two bedrooms with outdoor space for themselves and their dog with possible parking for a car. I will be active on the search with a new consultant I am training and looking forward to visiting properties this week and next in the residential areas of Nice of Cimiez and Mont Boron as well as the neighboring Villefranche-sur-Mer to find just the right property.
On top of it all, this afternoon I will be attending the annual Homeowners Association meeting of my Niçois building — always a fascinating adventure in home ownership in France.
I opted to take the early train today in order to have yesterday evening in Paris to celebrate the annual La Fête de la Musique. The rain held at bay most of the evening and the temperature was balmy. Place des Vosges attracted those of us who were concerned about the rain because of the shelter of the arcades. It makes for a perfect musical venue thanks to the great acoustics under the arches…plus, let’s face it, Place des Vosges is one of the city’s most beautiful squares close to which I am most fortunate to live.
Music could be found dotted everywhere, but it seemed like there were less than in previous years. On route to the Place des Vosges, there was a band warming up at the corner of rue Vieille du Temple and rue des Francs Bourgeois to which a little boy was wildly dancing. In the courtyard of a Hôtel Particulier on rue des Francs Bourgeois the Gay Choir MéloMen was singing harmonically.
There was an assortment of musicians under the arcade taking advantage of the 400 year-old brick residence: the usual sing-a-longs, a church choir, a group of bagpipe-players, a young band performing popular songs, a group of accordionists with dancers dancing some very specific dance of which I was not at all familiar and an old lady with a raspy smoker’s voice playing a keyboard accompanied by a young guitarist.
The music isn’t always great, but it can be and it’s free, so you cannot complain — just move on to the next one till you’ve found your favorite.
People often ask if when I travel to Nice do I take the plane or the train and why. Train is my transport of preference, even though the cost is about the same and the train ride is five-hours-forty-minutes compared to a flight of one-hour-fifteen-minutes. When you consider the time it takes to go to and from the airport along with the advance time to go through security, the savings in time isn’t that much…maybe a couple of hours. In addition, there is the expense of traveling to and from the airport unless you take public transport, but even that is more than just a bus or Métro to the train station. But most important of all, is that nothing gets accomplished when I fly as there is never enough time to really concentrate on much in between all the stages from home to airport to plane to airport to the destination.
The train is much simpler — a bus ride or Métro to the Gare in advance of 20 minutes of the departure time (still no security check at Gare de Lyon), walk on with as much heavy luggage as you want, plug in (first class assures this) and work, read, sleep or do whatever in total relaxation while watching the gorgeous world go by, then take public transport to your destination. Quite honestly, it’s perfect.
As I write, plugged in and on WiFi using a Personal Hotspot, the scenery is splendid having just passed Aix-en-Provence. In a few minutes we’ll be at the water’s edge and it’s then I know I’ve arrived…really arrived!
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. You will never have a better time in Nice, when you stay at Le Matisse! Now is the time to book your summer vacation at Le Matisse! Visit Adrian Leeds Group apartments, Nice for more information and to book your stay.