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SPECIAL EDITION: What a “Nice” Way to Enjoy a Bargain Winter Vacation in France

15-8-12 blue-beach26-11-12niceoldportOld Port of Nice22-10-12bistrotantoine28-3-12 MAIN breakfastby ES101-le-matisse-niceLe Mitisse104-le-matisse-nice106-le-matisse-nice117-le-matisse-nice130-le-matisse-nice139-le-matisse-nice145-le-matisse-nice101-cote-de-paradis-niceLa Côte du Paradis105-cote-de-paradis-nice107-cote-de-paradis-nice111-cote-de-paradis-nice117-cote-de-paradis-nice

I’m in Nice again today. This time to film our 11th episode of House Hunters International. It was fortunate that there were a few days available for myself at “Le Matisse,” my Nice retreat….but when you read about the offer we have for you, you may want to book it for yourself before anyone else needing a quick fix from the winter weather.

Flying Easyjet to Nice, Orly Airport this morning was white with snow that had fallen overnight in Paris. The taxi driver told me they measured 10 centimeters near the airport! Not in Nice. It was sunny and at least 10 degrees warmer.

Nice is famous for its mild winter climate. Hot, sunny summer weather is also more or less guaranteed. In fact, with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, it’s little wonder that Nice’s climate has earned it a reputation as an all-year-round resort. The winter weather in Nice is mostly dry and sunny. Temperatures are quite a lot lower than in the summer, but still mild for the time of year, with an average of 9°C / 49°F. Needless to say, snow is a rarity. It’s one reason I chose to purchase an apartment in Nice…just as a respite from the long, gray, rainy Paris winters that deprive us all of badly needed vitamin D!

Often I have breakfast on the balcony of Le Matisse in full sun. Jokingly once I told one of our staff, “I may never come home.” Even on the Paris’ brightest and sunniest days, which we’ve had little of in what I call “Gray Paree,” there is still a translucent filtered quality about the rays and the sky is never really blue-blue…at least not the same deep blue one can see in Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji or South Africa (as reported by researcher Anya Hohnbaum who visited 20 different destinations to scientifically prove her findings —

Even in the winter, with two lightweight aluminum lounge chairs in hand (with which the apartment is equipped, of course), it’s not unusual to head down to the Nice pebbles — even if wearing almost all the wrong clothing — tights and ankle boots that are more perfect on the Paris streets than at the sea. They sit up or lounge all the way back for total R and R. One of the advantages of the pebbles (although sand is my preference) is that one can do plop down on the chair, kick back, let the sun bake on your face, chest and whatever is exposed, then head home clean as a whistle without getting sand under your finger nails or dragging it into the apartment. The time you might have facing the calm blue Mediterranean in full sun will melt away any tension in the muscles, including the most important one — the brain.

“Nicing It” (“neesing it”) has become a regular monthly excursion for a ‘hit’ of sun and surf, not to mention good pasta, “Salades Niçoises” and gelati of a million flavors, topped off with a good rosé wine. This trip it is planned to try out a few new restaurants with new-found American friends who are better versed than me. Also planned is a cocktail event with an international group of members of “Internations,” an organization designed to unite expats from 300 countries all over the world.

Both Le Matisse and La Côte du Paradis, the two luxury apartments we currently offer as part of “Parler Nice Apartments” are adjacent in the same building in an area of Nice known as the “Carré d’Or.” The Carré d’Or (Golden Square) area is a centrally located vibrant, cosmopolitan district characterized by bourgeois buildings, chic cafés, restaurants and designer shops. Bordered by boulevard Victor Hugo to the north, Place Masséna and avenue Jean-Médecin to the east, boulevard Gambetta to the west and the Promenade des Anglais to the south, the Carré d’Or is a favorite area for tourists and residents.

Every apartment is no more than a few minutes walk from the beach, to Vieux Nice and Nice’s best shopping. Rue Masséna, which runs from Place Masséna to rue de France, is completely pedestrianized and is lined with bustling cafés, international restaurants and chic designer shops. Apartments with views over this street are some of the most desirable properties in Nice. We were very lucky to acquire these two apartments which both face south and enjoy sun all day long from morning to night.

Rue Masséna runs parallel to the Promenade des Anglais and is a much sought after location for vacationers and investors. Other popular streets in the Carré d’Or area include rue de la Liberté, rue Meyerbeer and rue de la Buffa. Boulevard Victor Hugo, the northern boundary of the area, is a grand French Boulevard lined with large trees and adjacent to two tranquil parks: Jardin Alsace Lorraine and Jardin Moreno Jean.

 Le Matisse at a Bargain:

 Book stays beginning December 21 through January 1, 2013 at 25% off (minimum 6 nights)!

 Book stays beginning January 2, 2013 ending by February 14th, take 10% off the already low low-season rate! (minimum 7 nights)

Le Matisse is my personal apartment and is one of two luxury apartments that share one common entrance. From the balcony overlooking rue Masséna, you can see the activity below clear to the Place and down the street in both directions. Rue Masséna and the Carré d’Or is teeming with cafés, restaurants and boutiques so you will never be for want of anything. One block away you’ll find all the necessities (groceries, wine, bakeries, pharmacies, etc.), the rental car companies, the Parc Albert 1er (currently under total renovation) and the Ruhl Casino…plus you are surrounded by Nice’s finest boutiques. In fact, I’ve found shopping in this district more enjoyable and ‘fruitful’ than in Paris, as clothing is more colorful, lighter, comfortable, fun…not necessarily good for keeping watch on the budget, but great for style!

If I must say so myself, Le Matisse is an artistry-designed newly renovated and decorated one-bedroom luxurious apartment that will put you in happy, high spirits much like a Matisse painting – full of color and life. Inspired by Henri Matisse’s works and life in Nice, the primary colors are sure to raise your mood and you will marvel at the beautiful artistic work of Mosaïste Véronique Husson throughout the bath and kitchen plus in the bedroom and of special note, the dining room table.

The apartment is on the 3rd floor of a “bourgeois” building with a wide white marble staircase that is an easy and pleasant ascent. Thanks to its location opposite a low building and facing the sea, sky and light pour in the three large windows all day long.

When you first enter (the door on the right in the entry), you will no doubt be struck by the clever use of an atelier-style glass wall that allows you to see through to the bedroom, but which can be privatized by its louvre blinds. The windowed partition allows one to benefit from the floor-to-ceiling windows, one of which leads to a balcony – a perfect spot from which to have your morning coffee or afternoon repose – perfect at the bright green table with four folding chairs.

To your immediate left is a tall coat closet in which there is a bright red Rolser 6-wheel marketing cart and where you can house your suitcases. Just ahead is a full kitchen equipped with a multi-cook oven, refrigerator, two-burner stove, washer/dryer, espresso maker and toaster. There is ample cabinetry and it’s completely equipped for even the most serious of chefs and dinner party hosts. The counter and backsplash is Véronique’s glistening artistry hand-laid tile.

To the right are two large closets – one for utilities and the other a large linen closet filled with more towels than you will know what to do with. In it you will also find equipment for your use including a folding stool, the lounge chairs, beach mats and parasol. Adjacent to the linen closet is my favorite room — the spacious and luxurious bathroom of mosaic tile also designed and hand-laid by our Mosaïste. For long soaks (at least one per day) or an invigorating shower, you will find a large oval-shaped tub with internal seat, equipped with a large shower head (choose from five different jets!) and iridescent white curtain. The heated towel rack keeps your towels warm and fluffy. The bathroom is equipped with a hair dryer (with diffuser), large brightly-lit mirror, magnifying make-up mirror, and plenty of space for all your toiletries on the shelves or in the medicine cabinet.

Just beyond is the living room with a big wicker armchair and playful tangerine-colored suede sofa bed that converts to twins or a queen-size bed for your extra guests. They are both filled with Matissien-style cushions for extra comfort. Opposite the sofa and near the balcony is dining room for four on another of Véronique’s handywork — a hand-laid mosaic tile table and four wooden dining chairs with bright red cushions.

On the wall above the hutch next to the dining table is a large flat-screen TV that swings out and swivels with viewing of hundreds of channels along with a complete home radio/video system that allows you to play DVDs, CDs and your iPod. On the cabinet below the TV you will find one of the three cordless phones with an answering machine that allows you to phone more than 100 countries free of charge. WiFi Internet access is available throughout the apartment.

In the cabinet below you will find an assortment of DVDs, books, guidebooks and maps for Nice and the entire region for your use.

On the wall between the windows is a fold-down secretary and work-station where you can plug in your computer or other device and work (or play!) comfortably. Under the desk is cabinetry where you can store all your equipment or games or whatever your heart desires. The desk is further equipped with a variety of gadgets any office space needs — so no need to bring along your tape, scissors, stapler, etc. It’s all here.

Just past the sofa is the entry to the bedroom that has a mirrored back wall giving a spirit of tremendous space and light. It is furnished with a queen-size bed that converts to twins, night stands with mosaic hand-tiled tops, table lamps that dim and can be controlled from the bed or from the entry, a large mirrored closet and a three-drawer dresser with mirror framed in hand-laid tile. Here you can fully unpack and make yourself totally at home.

In addition, the bedroom has its own flat-screen TV with DVD player that swings and swivels for easy viewing – with just as many channels as the living room TV, and fully independent so everyone has a choice!

The apartment is both heated and air-conditioned so you will always be able to control the interior climate to your perfection. The windows are double-paned so that outside noise can be completely shut out for total calm and quiet. Or fully opened to take in the beautiful Niçois climate.

Le Matisse is also equipped with beach towels for your use on the Riviera. The balcony is equipped with a small table and four folding chairs…from which you may never want to leave!

The apartment adjacent to Le Matisse on the same floor, named La Côte de Paradis, is a luxury two-bedroom/two-bath apartment owned by another American family.

La Côte du Paradis at a Bargain:

 Book stays beginning December 21 through January 1, 2013 at 25% off (minimum 6 nights)!

 Book stays beginning January 2, 2013 ending by February 14th, take 10% off the already low low-season rate! (minimum 7 nights)

La Côte du Paradis has been newly renovated and professionally-designed by Interior Architect Martine di Mattéo with “Coquillages et Crustaces” by Brigitte Bardot in mind. This spacious two-bedroom luxurious apartment will put you in cool, calm spirits with its beautiful seashore motif and Côte d’Azur blue and gold tones. You will again marvel at the beautiful artistic work of Mosaïste Véronique Husson, apparent throughout both the bathrooms.

When you first enter (the door straight ahead in the entry), you arrive in a large foyer with a console, lamps and large mirror. This is the perfect spot to drop your keys or sunglasses. A coat rack is ready for hanging a light wrap for cool Côte d’Azur evenings. A little further on the left are large storage closets, one of which houses a washer-dryer combination so you can always have freshly-washed clothing or beach towels.

On the left immediately as you enter is the first and smaller bedroom of the two, decorated in blues and yellows, inspired by the sun and sea. It has one large window that overlooks rue de la Liberté and lets in lots of light. A large mirrored sliding door closet is at your left when you enter so you can make yourself completely at home and the room has twin beds with two nightstands, each with a lamp – the beds can also be made up as one king-sized bed for any type of sleeping arrangement.

You will then be immediately drawn into the spacious living room/dining room/kitchen to your right where everyone in your party will want to be. This is the heart of La Côte du Paradis with its beautiful parquet floors, natural stone brick walls and original paintings by French “trompe l’oeil” artist, Pascal Amblard.

On the left, along the full length of the wall, is a contemporary kitchen complete with a three-burner stove, full-sized oven, dishwasher and large refrigerator. The cabinets above are filled with plenty of dinnerware and glassware to accommodate large parties and the kitchen is fully equipped with all the cookware and utensils you might need to make Mediterranean dinners.

On the wall next to the kitchen is a large flat-screen TV that swings out and swivels allowing you to view hundreds of channels, and a complete home video system that allows you to play DVDs, CDs and your iPod. On the table below the TV you will find one of the three cordless phones, with answering machine, that allows you to phone more than 100 countries free of charge. WiFi Internet access is available throughout the apartment. Under the TV a bookshelf houses the equipment, guidebooks, DVDs and CD’s for your enjoyment.

The Provençal Amadeus oak dining table easily seats six on “bistrot” chairs, but can seat up to eight should your friends from Le Matisse join you. Overhead is a chandelier constructed of “coquillages.”

The golden pearl leather sofa bed is both beautiful and inviting. It is adorned with a myriad of soft pillows and happily accommodates your extra guests on a comfortable high quality double-bed mattress, easy to open and use. In Riviera style, a wicker chair and coffee table completes the conversation circle and everywhere throughout the apartment you’ll be amused by the seashore knick-knacks in iridescent blues and pearlized whites.

Off the foyer is the apartment’s largest bathroom accessible to all guests. The bathtub/shower mosaic tile is a hand designed and tiled work of art. A heated towel rack keeps your towels warm and fluffy and there is plenty of cabinet space for all of your toiletries.

The master bedroom is the second bedroom adjacent to the bathroom and is an oversized room with lots of closet space so that you can unpack and make yourself at home. Between the closets is a large flat-screen TV with the same great channel selection as the TV in the living room. The queen-size bed converts to twins and this bedroom has its own en-suite bathroom with a luxury shower, also hand-tiled by our Mosaïste. This room has a balcony overlooking rue de la Liberté, large floor-to-ceiling windows and a café table with chairs for casual moments. The table and chairs can easily be moved to the balcony for outdoor enjoyment.

Both bathrooms are equipped with hair dryers and magnifying make-up mirrors. The apartment is both heated and air-conditioned so you will always be able to control the interior climate to perfection. The windows are double-paned so that outside noise can be completely shut out for total calm and quiet. Or you may choose to open them fully to take in the beautiful Niçois climate. La Côte de Paradis is also equipped with beach towels and equipment for your use on the Riviera beaches.

For both Le Matisse and La Côte du Paradis, you can now book you stay beginning December 21 through January 1, 2013 at 25% off (minimum 6 nights)! Or book your stay beginning January 2, 2013 ending by February 14th, and take 10% off the already low low-season rate! (minimum 7 nights)

Don’t miss this sunny golden opportunity! Visit Parler Nice Apartments TODAY to book your luxury stay on the Riviera in real style at a real bargain.

A la prochaine…

adrian place massena

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

Respond to Adrian


P.S. If you’re traveling to Paris this holiday season, perhaps on your way to Nice, you may also want to take advantage of a special offer on three gorgeous Parler Paris Apartments. Receive a 15% discount for stays between December 21 and January 1, 2013 when you book for five nights or more on Le Paris Plage and Le Parisol, L’Aubergine and Le Bien Illuminé. Visit Parler Paris Apartments or email [email protected] for more information. 


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