Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A tale of two cities

City life. Nice at night from our apartment

Two cities I really feel at home: Nice my real home and NY my 'wish I lived there at some time in my life' home. Completely different places, I know, but there is also some cross-over I think. Stick with me on this one, people. Both cities have a street-life culture of eating out and simply hanging out. Both cities can be frenetic and pushy at times until you get to really know the different areas away from the tourist throng. Niçoise pretend to be laid back, but they are actually as highly strung and volatile as any New Yorker. Just try driving here. Each neighbourhood has its own distinct feel. Architecturally they couldn't be more apart, but at the same time both are visually pleasing. And last, at night our view from our penthouse apartment is a little like the big Apple (...well if I squint).
In order to get to know a city, you really need to live in it, be part of the everyday-ness of it. Cities take some time to grow on you. However, for me Nice and New York were never like that. It was love at first sight with both.
Someone recently asked me about Nice's reputation as an unsafe town. I really have no idea where this one comes from except a past image of a Southern city that has long been discarded. I have to smile. It's not the Bronx (with apologies to people in the Bronx).  But then I remember people saying things to me about New York before I visited. Sure, you need to watch yourself whenever you are in a city, but no more than I would expect than if I were in London or Paris.
What's great about Nice is that it is a living, vibrant place. People rub up against one another (and it pays to be careful where you choose to buy here because of this), but this is what also makes it interesting as a place to live or visit. Other places on the Côte d'Azur may offer a more sedate, softer image, but a visit in winter gives you the real picture. Whereas many places out of season feel about as fun as drinking rosé in the rain, Nice keeps you interested.
The other thing I like about Nice? There are regular flights between us and New York now. What's not to like?
For help buying on the Côte d'Azur, see www.coteabode.com