SPECIAL EDITION: Why Nice? Why the Riviera? Why France?
Today is the longest day of the year, Fête de la Musique all over France and I’m in Nice! I took this time to meet with key players of the upcoming Living and Investing in France Conference that takes place here in Nice September 27-29. And there are already some interesting new developments.
The first order of business was to outline the coach tour we’re taking along the blue coast. The tour is scheduled for Sunday the 29th from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. — designed to give all participants a chance to see what the communities are like — what it would be like to live and invest in these beautiful seaside spots and others up in the hills overlooking the Mediterranean.
We met with the tour company who is providing a coach and a guide. Logistics are key, as we want to fit in as much as we can while making the day-long excursion as pleasurable as possible. Our original idea to begin the tour in Cannes simply didn’t make sense. As we understood it, it takes hours to travel west to Cannes to return eastbound with very little to see there. The locals don’t think much of Cannes as a place to be — only as that spot on the Riviera that hosts the Film Festival with nothing more to offer than shopping!
While this elicited a chuckle, they were right. By beginning now in Nice and heading east, we can accomplish a lot more and have a whole lot more fun! Shortly I’ll have the route penned out on a map and can publish it for all to see, but for now, here’s the plan:
We leave the Hotel Ellington at 9 a.m. and head immediately to Eze Village. We’ll have a full hour there to explore the village, make a stop at the famous Fragonard Perfumery and take in the atmosphere this ancient town exudes. Eze is the “eagle’s nest” 427 metres (1,401 ft) above sea level dating back to the 2000 BC built up as a fortified stronghold because of its proximity to Nice. You will not want to miss climbing the narrow stone paths to see the views and visit the artisan shops along the way.
The Fragonard perfume lab and factory is located just at the base of Eze Village where you can take a free tour of the facility and shop till you drop in the large shop that sells their finest fragrances and gifts. It’s definitely worth a stop! (We’ll all be smelling great!)
By 11 a.m. we’ll be taking a panoramic tour of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat — considered the “Presqu’île de Rêve” (Peninsula of Dreams), is a perfectly preserved 282-hectare peninsula with more than 300 days sunshine per year. No wonder so many rich and famous have chosen to have villas here. Beaches and paths by the seaside pass luxurious villas and magnificent gardens.
After having our heads in the Cap-Ferrat clouds, we’ll head back west to the quaint port town of Villefranche-sur-Mer for a dual purpose. Only a few kilometers between Nice and Monaco, Villefranche is one of the deepest natural harbors of any port on the Mediterranean Sea having been settled in prehistoric times. The United States Navy made Villefranche the home port of the U.S. 6th Fleet between 1948 to 1966. Since the 1980s it has been used by cruise ships for its deep waters. It is also the most visited cruise ship port of call in France!
Those who wish to tour the Institut de Français in Villefranche with Director Frédéric Latty, will have an opportunity to see the beautiful villa that houses the Institut on a personal and private tour while the students are gone! Frédéric is a long-time friend of Parler Paris/Parler Nice and will be speaking at the conference on September 27th about the best ways to go about learning French. He is taking his time on Sunday to greet us at the bus and take those who wish up to the Institut. What a special treat!
And there will be plenty of time for lunch in Villefranche-sur-Mer in any restaurant you like, whether on the port or in one of the tiny steep streets of the medieval village. We’ll have two hours there, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore, including the citadel if you like!
Our next stop is Menton on the “Basse Corniche” so hold on to your hat to see up-close the Riviera’s most beautiful enclaves: Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Cap d’Ail and Cap Martin. The road built in the 1860’s to bring people to the Monte Carlo Casino is lined with elegant 19th-century villas and gardens.
In Menton, you will have another opportunity to discover the old town, the sandy beach, shop for Provençal specialties and refresh yourself with a glass of rosé (or whatever!) before heading back to Nice. Menton is called “La perle de la France” (The pearl of France) and is France’s sunniest spot at the Italian border, thanks to a subtropical micro climate. It’s only about 25 miles from Nice and has easy bus, train and road links. (We’re headed there on Saturday, just to enjoy the beach!) This is a perfect place to take in the numerous unique craft and arts stores, as well as the renowned food and antique markets.
You may never want to leave! But once back on the bus and in Nice, we’re going to take a full tour of the key neighborhoods that make the most sense for investment before landing back at the Hotel Ellington at 6 p.m. These include: the Old Port, the Promenade des Anglais, the Carré d’Or, Nice Centre and of course, Vieux Nice.
The bus tour is optional for attendees and you need not be an attendee of the conference to take the tour — but you must at least be ‘sponsored’ by a conference participant. So, you as an attendee, can invite your friends to join you! The cost is 67€ per person — a real bargain for such a great day on the Riviera! (Reservations for the tour must be made no later than September 15th or we cannot guarantee a seat.)
We also met with the hotel staff to ensure that everything is ready. Many participants have already booked their rooms at the Hotel Ellington, luckily (!) as rooms are booking fast during this high season. If you wish to stay at this beautiful and centrally located hotel, we suggest you contact them immediately to reserve your place. Email [email protected] or call +33 (0) 4 92 47 79 79.
On the schedule the day of presentations (September 27th) we will pause for coffee breaks, take a long lunch and celebrate the end of the event over cocktails. Check out the yummy menu! (Worth coming just for the lunch!):
Three-course lunch with wine and coffee/tea:
Entrée: Crab meat with tomatoes- purée of eggplants and mescaline salad (Nice specialty)
Plat: Braised chicken breast with herbs, creamy potatoes
Dessert: Crispy chocolate –Light custard sauce with pistachio taste
For our vegetarian friends:
Entrée: Crunchy vegetables’ millefeuille flavored with pesto and pepper juice with virgin olive oil.
Plat: Vegetables lasagna with basil and tomato juice
Dessert: Pine seed and white beets pie
(Conference attendees will be asked to make your choice in advance of the conference — by September 22nd.)
In the afternoon we met with Nice’s Director of the Office du Tourisme, Denis Zanon, thanks to an introduction by our friends at the Paris City Hall. He has a big office overlooking the Promenade des Anglais (number 5) and the sea that we all (jokingly) agreed he deserves!
M. Zanon quickly became a friend of our endeavor not only volunteered to provide our attendees with more than they could ever ask for in the way of materials and information about Nice and the Côte d’Azur, but also agreed to speak at the conference about the grand and exciting future of Nice!
This is a special addition to the conference and we think it’s so key to the success of the conference, that he’ll be the ‘opening act’ kicking off the day-long presentations with answering the first questions: “Why Nice? Why the Riviera? Why France?”
Don’t you want to come to find out why?!
Here’s how: Living and Investing in France.
Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
(Place Massena, Nice)
Respond to Adrian: [email protected]
P.S. Come with us on this exciting three-day adventure! To see the full schedule and register, visit Living and Investing in France