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Taking the Riviera by Storm

In Nice it rained without stopping from the moment we arrived on Friday to after we left Sunday evening…and I mean poured. Henri Matisse’s painting, “Storm in Nice,” that hangs in the Musée Matisse on the hill of Cimiez perfectly represents exactly what we saw and experienced.

7-11-11matisse-2His presence is so prevalent that I’ve chosen to name my Niçois apartment, “Le Matisse,” and decorate it in “Matissien” style – patterns, colors and spirit. It’s for that reason I went back to Nice – to have a look at the work the contractor is doing, make some decisions about the renovation and scout out some resources. It was also a good excuse to take a friend and have some fun…in spite of the inclement weather.

Decorating an apartment is a creative outlet that gets my juices seriously flowing – so much so that getting soaking wet walking a mile or more to “Bricorama” (like a “Home Depot”) to look at lighting fixtures was of no consequence. From there we bussed up to the Musée Matisse (Musée Matisse) to see his work and get a better sense of how the décor should reflect his style.

7-11-11museematisseThe Matisse Museum is housed in a 17th-century Genoese villa painted in a bright deep red burnt sienna and decorated with “trompe-l’oeil.” Surrounding the house is a 36,000 square meter park and next to it are the roman ruins of the city Cremenelum on which are the remains of public baths and an amphitheater. The museum includes the works left by the artist and his heirs to the city of Nice where he lived from 1918 until 1954 when he died. While the body of work is not the world’s finest collection, what’s there is inspiring and ”Tempête à Nice, 1919” could not have depicted Nice as it was at that moment any better.

In the late afternoon we took a 45-minute ride on the #100 bus from central Nice to Monte Carlo for the cost of a whopping one euro to meet with visiting friends from California for dinner. The views of the stormy skies and rough sea against the villas of the rich and famous nestled on the mountainside in the seaside towns of Villefranche, Beaulieu, Eze and Cap d’Ail will take your breath away…as it did mine as the driver tooled swiftly along the “basse cornice” and the bus swayed with the wind and rain.

The evening in Monaco turned out to be one of those adventures one never forgets and laughs about years later. A restaurant had been recommended to us, but when we got there, none of us liked the menu. In fact, there was literally nothing any of us wanted to order, so we decided to leave, gave our apologies and headed out to search for something on our own. Off-season and under torrential skies, there was little open or that looked half as appealing as the one from which we had come. Monaco could not have been more deserted. Determined to find something worth the effort, we trekked all the way down the hill to the port getting soaking wet and hungrier by the moment. Just at the corner of the port we found an Italian restaurant with one table occupied by big Italian men (a good sign) and a friendly proprietor – Chez Bacco (25, boulevard Albert 1er, Monte Carlo, +377 9350 1331).

Dinner and the Chianti wine were delicious so we felt redeemed, particularly since the entrance to the train station was only about 50 meters away. A train stood on the track for 45 minutes by the time it took off – our good fortune that it was the last train back to Nice. Our friends were praying it stopped at Villefranche where they were staying, so as not to taxi back from Nice!…and when it did, they hopped off quickly.

The next morning, she wrote: “We came close to being sorry that the train stopped in our village! We walked down three flights of very wet, leaf-covered stairs in pouring rain only to end up on a flooded walkway with the waves crashing over the water wall. Then, the wind picked up causing the umbrella to invert just as the electrical storm began! Murray [her companion] tried to hold on to the umbrella and keep us out of the ocean as I tried to hold on to him walking single file. Five minutes later we arrived soaked and hysterically laughing! What an adventure!”

A la prochaine…

adrian carol_sternberg_monte_carloAdrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

(with Carol Sternberg)

Respond to Adrian

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P.S. This Friday is the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year. “Eleven is the Master Number that reflects the transformation of the physical into the Divine.” So, it makes perfect sense that tomorrow, we will welcome Jane Grey to discuss “Metaphysical Manifestation: How to create whatever you really want in life” At Parler Paris Après Midi. Be there! From 3 to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais, 3rd. See Parler Paris Après Midi for more information.

P.P.S. For all of you Côte d’Azur lovers, stay tuned for the “Parler Nice Nouvellettre®” and “Parler Nice Apartments”…coming soon to the Adrian Leeds Group! 

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