A week in Nice to decorate our studio

Sunday 1st April - Friday 6th April 2007

Took advantage of the daughter away on a school ski trip to nip off to Nice for a week by ourselves with decorating rather than romance in mind. The weather can be pretty grotty this time of the year, good for staying in and painting walls. Sunday night arrival, not much we could do, all our ski stuff was lying around left to dry out from our ski trip in February. We intend to have an afternoon skiing so left it in a heap in the corner and made plans for the week, mostly involving DIY.

Thought we'd try a new restaurant tonight and set off for the far side of the post. Had the bad luck to be 30 minutes too early for the Michelin-starred L'Ane Rouge and too hungry to wait so we walked to the end of the port and found a tiny Corsican restaurant called L'Espad'or that was almost full and looked very inviting. All the signs were good, attractive interior, small menu but it turned out to be very disappointing. The service was slow and the waitress difficult to attract. The food when it came was indifferent, unimaginative and meagre. I had the usual Nicoise Salade, I have so many of these, I know what's good or not and husband had a large plate of charcuterie. The photos don't look that bad but believe me, you can find much better. We had to ask for bread which was stale. The wine was bitter. How I wish we had hung on for L'Ane Rouge. There was one young lad there, a waiter who was trying hard and was helpful. It was excruciatingly slow, waiting for the bill after this miserable meal. We will never go there again. Not when there are several rather nice places along that side, the Barque Bleue, La Geolette etc. Not the best start to the week.

Spent much of the next morning at Carrefour, the large hypermarket within the Centre Commercial TNL on boulevard General Louis Delfino. We are lucky, it's just a short walk north from our studio. In spite of its size, it's a easy place to miss as it is all indoors within a mall with no obvious main entrance. Once inside, you have to walk past all the smaller shops, Sephora, McDonald's etc until you come to Carrefour. There is only one entrance and that is a walk past most of the tills. The trolleys are stored up a corridor to the right, hidden away just past the La Brioche Doree sandwich bar. You need a euro to release the trolley. When you enter Carrefour, you might be called over by security who will want to seal up any bags you might be carrying to stop shop lifting. Also, on the way out past the tills, show your empty shopper to the till staff so they can see it is empty. It's normal and OK, don't stress about it, at least you are warned if you are reading this.

You can buy anything from this Carrefour, over the years we have bought a computer, washing machine, TV, bikes, rollerboots, DVDS, clothes, towels, cutlery and of course food and wine. The children's clothes are very good value.

We were able to buy everything we needed to paint the studio plus all the extras, masking tape brush cleaner etc. The paint appears to come in two sizes of tin; too big or too small. We choose a sort of gentle yellow called 'vanille' for the walls and plain white for the ceiling.

The studio has undergone a few changes over the years. On my allaboutnice.com website you can see the changes through the old photographs on my Port Nicea pages. We started off with a double bed for us and a leather sofa bed for the daughter. We decided this took up too much room and eventually sold our bed on anglo-info.com We now have the sofa bed and daughter has a single pine bunk bed up with her desk underneath. We bought this from Fly - a French chain, similar to Ikea.

We never watched the large TV and sold this plus its stand on anglo-info. We all use computers though and when we are all in Nice, we can have three computers on the go simultaneously, one PC and 2 laptops. In 2006 we organised wireless broadband through a fantastic chap we met through anglo-info.com. Please email me for his contact details if you wish to install anything computery or internety in your apartment, I would be very glad to recommend him.

With my daughter getting older, life en famille in one small studio during the holidays can be a bit fraught. In the good old days the daughter would be asleep by 7:30 pm leaving us to spend a quiet evening on the balcony in peace. Now, she goes to bed later and won't settle while we are still awake. I wish we had had the extra 20,000 pounds needed for that extra bedroom when we bought this studio. For the next few years something needed to be done. Just before Christmas December 2006, we spent a week in Nice and husband set about building a partition wall to separate off the daughter's bunk bed, making effectively a tiny bedroom within our studio. We decided to leave the end open and I will make a curtain to pull around the top of the bunk. Hopefully, this will be enough quietness and privacy for us all over the next few years. If this doesn't work, then we will add an end wall and door to the arrangement.

So far, it had worked well, the living space does not feel any smaller, in fact it feels larger as your eye is not drawn to the toys and clutter of the daughter's desk area under her bunk. Husband incorporated a shelf unit by the kitchen and now the kitchen looks like a proper kitchen area, we are thinking of adding a breakfast bar/stools and selling the table and chairs...

We ran out of paint in the end so back to Carrefour. The bathroom is already yellow so we chose some pale peachy coloured paint that was designed for bathrooms and kitchens, not very nice to paint wit, very draggy and sticky and required special cleaning fluids for the brushes. After we had cleared up and binned the brushes and tins, we discovered places requiring touch ups; they will have to wait for the next five years now.

The studio is improved greatly with the new paint. It had become gradually scruffier over the years, now it is all fresh again and we are filled with inspiration and good intentions re tidiness. Husband is working on a plan to hide the wires behind my computer table and I have a couple of posters to bring out for the walls. There is a lot of wasted space in the cupboards in our hall and we have plans to add shelves etc on our next trip out.

When we first bought our studio, we made a trip out to Toulon, there's a big Ikea there and we bought a bright yellow parasol which has done great service over the last few years. This year, we have decided to get awning put in, like many of our neighbours. Because we are east facing, we have sun on our balcony up lunchtime so it will be great for breakfast and lunch. In the evenings, we will still use the awning for some privacy on our balcony during our evening meal. The awning must match the others in our residence. We have ordered one and it will be installed on our next trip to Nice. I think we will be clearing the plants off our balcony, we are not in Nice consistently every month and they are looking very scrubby and unloved. I think some fresh geranuims from the market every summer might be the answer.

The week wasn't all work and no play. We had another meal out at La Grange in rue Bonaparte off Place Garibaldi. A small unassuming restaurant that serves consistently good meals with professional politeness and efficiency. Thought it best to stick to a safe bet after the horror by the Port.

We had a garlicky lunch at Chez Christiane, reviewed here on this blog, another safe bet for a quick lunch - our default restaurant when everywhere else is full or closed. You need to like pasta though.

Managed also, to spend a day away from Nice completely, took the 750 bus up to Isola 200 for an afternoon skiing. Great day out, reviewed here on this blog.

Managed a bit of shopping at my beloved Hermes and husband treated me to an early anniversary present, the most beautiful Bolide I have ever seen. The Bolide is one of Hermes original bags, designed to fit in the new-fangled motorcars in 1923 and was originally called the Bugatti until Bugatti complained and so the name was changed to Bolide which I think is the generic name for a fast sports car. It was the first ever hangbag to have a zip. Carried her home tenderly in the drizzly rain.

On our last day, we walked up past the Port and had lunch at Jounis, it was just too tempting to miss and I recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Nice, great food, service, location overlooking the sea. I think this has been one of our best meals. Reviewed here on this blog.


Iheartfashion said...

WOW! beautiful Bolide; so chic! What a wonderful anniversary gift.
Enjoying your blog...of course it makes me miss Nice.

Lollipop said...

that was a beutiful house you have. I'm an american and I had an project. I have never been to Nice, but it sounds very fun. I hope you and your husband got your privacy.I hope to visit someday. It is so beutiful. It seems like there's much to do out there. Well I hope you have fun in your house.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for you insigtful page of wonders about Nice.