Nice is to Paris What L.A. is to N.Y.?
This is the ninth visit to Nice within a year and I suspect there will be another before 12 months will have passed. This time I opted to take the train instead of flying down for a variety of reasons.
First, I had planned to carry a large suitcase filled with things for “Le Matisse,” the Nice apartment. Second, the price was very attractive — under 50 for first class with just a 10-minute bus ride to the station. Third, it’s relaxing and pleasant. Fourth, with an electric outlet next to the seat, I can work/write on my computer, getting more accomplished in the time than if I were spending time at an airport going through security, etc.
Véronique Husson, the “mosaïste,” who is doing tile ‘magic’ in the apartment, is with me to complete the work. All that she lacks finishing is the kitchen counter — a mosaic of broken yellow tile that could be done by end of day.
The ‘large suitcase’ I had imagined became a much bigger, heavier item than had ever crossed my mind. With glass shelves for the kitchen, a table lamp, tiles, a blind and six window shades, plus an assortment of other odds and ends, it became impossible to lift or barely roll on its small wheels. The expandable bag ended up more than a meter high and a half-meter wide. One sleepless night was all I needed to seek another solution to taking it on the train with us. That’s when I discovered that SNCF has a transport service that could not have been a better solution.
Within minutes on the SNCF Web site, the bag was scheduled for a pick-up in Paris and a delivery in Nice for a mere 80 with nothing to do but pay for it. It could not have been easier or more ‘worth it.’ What a great discovery! (For more information, visit SNCF Take as Much as You Like for more information.)
The apartment seems lightyears away from being finished, but that’s usually the case when it gets down the the very last details. Miraculously it all comes together seemingly at one time. Let’s hope this is true this time, too. Wednesday there will be much more to report, once we’ve had the time to meet with the contractor, pay another visit to Darty, meet with France Telecom and their technician to set up the Internet, etc., etc. The plan was for rental as of February 1st, but it does look like another trip will be in order.
You may be thinking that all these excursions to Nice are a disloyalty to Paris, but I can assure you, this is not the case. After 17 years in the City of Light, the love is even stronger. Like a ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ New Yorker, Paris is like a drug that never leaves the system. No day goes by that I don’t think about its beauty and agreeable lifestyle. Let’s face it, no city compares to Paris…not a one. Especially Nice.
But Nice is different…like Los Angeles is to New York. They each offer something completely unique and you cannot trade one for the other. How many New Yorkers do you know who moved to Los Angeles for business reasons (reluctantly) only later to discover its many virtues? I have one friend who jokes that after almost 20 years, living in Los Angeles is like forever being on vacation! Waking up everyday to warm temperatures and sunny skies is just as addictive as the kinetic energy of the Big Apple.
Someone gave me a video of the film Brice de Nice to put in the Le Matisse apartment. Jean Dujardin, the actor from The Artist stars in it…although you would never recognize him. Saturday night I popped into the DVD player and cracked up…it’s about as silly as any film I’ve ever seen, to the point of being brilliantly poignant about life on the Rivera.
The story goes that Brice…IMDB says: “a motherless super rich 30-year-old teenager fancies himself a trendy surfer. Only he never stepped out of Nice where the sea remains desperately calm and flat. Brice awaits a giant wave like the one he knows happened in 1979. In the meantime, what he lacks in technique he successfully hides and compensates in style. Yellow T-shirt, yellow hair, yellow parties, he created his own little world where he “axes” people. One morning, his father is sent to jail and “Brice from Nice” is left penniless. He first decides to find out about that thing called “work” (one of his friends does it) at a local restaurant, but then decides robbing a bank is way easier. While escaping after a failed attempt, he meets Marius who needs money for foot surgery. His new best buddy has an idea how to get it: all it takes is for Brice to win the $100,000 prize at the “world underground surf cup”…and of course, there is no way this dreamer who floats more than surfs could possibly compete — and all he ends up with is a bloody nose and a reality check.
As the train went past Marseille and the first glimpse of the sea appeared, there was bright sun on the calm blue waves. I thought of Brice de Nice and a after a brief chuckle and a mention of the film to Véronique, a feeling of calm overcame me. It’s like connecting to another inner self or another facet of my being that is enriching to the soul. With every visit to Nice, I get to know it a little better. There is so much to explore and discover — yet another lifetime of adventure to add to the one I already have.
But guess what? You won’t catch me surfing!…except perhaps in the style of Brice de Nice.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
(with Marie-Elisabeth Fasanella Crochard Fitère at Parler Parlor)
P.S. Saturday the members of the Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group downed a lot of Vin Chaud and Galettes des Rois during the annual King Cake Party. For those who have not yet tried Parler Parlor, it’s free the first time you come! For photos from the event, visit King Cake Party. And to learn more, visit Parler Parlor.
P.P.S. Le Matisse will be ready for rental soon!!! For more information, visit Parler Nice Apartment – Le Matisse for more information and to reserve your stay…be one of the first!