Carnival Time in Nice Feb14th – March 4th

Don’t miss out on Nice’s biggest and craziest event of all time…the Carnaval de Nice!

affiche_2014Nice’s landmark event that has actually been present since the middle ages, continues to draw in over 1 million visitors through the course of the 2 week event with 600,000 spectators gleefully watching and participating in this magnificent display of creativity, music and dance.

This year’s theme will be the “King of Gastronomy” with Germany as being the special selected guest this year.  This year’s theme is set to launch the revival of the “Cuisine Nissarde” label, an initiative by the municipality to promote the regional produce by honoring those restaurants that withhold the Nicoise tradition in their menus.

With all this food, we need some exercise!

In it’s second consecutive year, the Rock-n-Roll Carnaval 10 mile run will accompany the festivities. Suit up in your festive garb and throw on your running shoes for the most festive run of your life!  3,000 runners participated last year and is expected to to exceed 5,000 this year on February 16th at 9am.

And if that is not enough exercise for you, there will be a giant Zumba class on the Promenade des Anglais from midday.

Bring your kids, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles for the biggest social celebration on the French Riviera!  Viva la bella Nissa!!

Insights from Abroad: France Show in London

What a fabulous weekend we had at the 2014 France Show in London!

Nice Properties and My Place Riviera had the amazing opportunity to exhibit at the France show this year and we were completely amazed at how many vendors and services were represented at the show. Everything from mountain fresh cheeses to ferries, notaires, currency exchange companies to estate agencies covering all regions in France.

One of the most interesting highlights for our group was the insight we received through talking to so many people about how they feel about the French Riviera.  It was wonderful to see people’s reactions passing by our booth and looking at the expansive backdrop of Villefranche and pointing to the hotel or apartment they stayed at when visiting.  I think we brought back a lot of memories and were happy to hear so many good stories.

In addition to the wow’s  and ahh’s, we had heard several comments such as “If I was a millionaire I could live there.”  From all the worldwide fame that the French Riviera possesses as being the playground for the rich and famous (which is true!), it is understandable that some people would think you have to be a millionaire to have a property on the Riviera.  And while yes, there is prime prestigious villas, penthouses and luxury apartments that carry a hefty million dollar price tag, there are so many beautiful apartments and homes that are in fact reasonably priced.  And you can be sure that your  property investment will be secure as this is one of the most coveted destinations in the world.

One of the things that some people might not be aware of is the fact that the topography of the French Riviera’s coastline is terraced with surrounding hills. This means that the properties located on these terraced parts offer some of the most spectacular views of the Mediterranean because they are set back from the beach.  The advantage here is that these properties offer quiet residential neighborhoods with more affordable properties, yet still have very quick and easy access to the beach either by walking or by car. And since there is a tremendous amount of real estate on the Riviera, that means there is always a deal to be found. You just have to know where to look.

The 2014 France Show was a true success and we hope to see everyone next year for another 3 days of French bliss in the glorious city of London!

Nice Properties is going to London!!

We are very excited to announce our participation in the 2014 France Show in Earls Court London on January 17-19th at booth 207, conveniently located across the Champagne bar at booth 207.

Currently in its 7th consecutive year, the France Show features the largest French property exhibition in the UK.

But that is not all!  We have partnered up with an exceptional interior designer My Place Riviera, who is a subsidiary of one of the most talented London based interior design firms Callender Howorth.  Visitors who come by our booth 207, will not only have the chance to preview the latest properties on the French Riviera including brand new projects, but also find out about the best options in bespoke interior design and furnishings.

You will have the French Riviera at your disposal with our on site international management team to answer all your questions about buying property in France.

Host to the weekly series “Property Report of the Week” for the Property Thursday segment on Monaco based Riviera Radio 106.5FM, Nice Properties will also be broadcasting live updates and interviews on Riviera Radio 106.5FM.

 

Spectacular Holiday Fun in Nice

The Holidays are Here!

One of the most festive times of the year as Nice puts on the holiday festivities full tilt. Rides and games for the entire family along with an ice skating rink and charming Christmas village where you can taste some hot sizzling Socca (traditional Nicoise chick-pea pancake) with mulled wine to warm you up in this spectacular winter wonderland located right in the heart of Nice in the Place Massena.

place massena3This year is a bit special as the new Coulee Verte (green corridor) has opened and is a wonderful place to take a long stroll and an even more fun place for the kids to play. While this is a very fun place to go during the day, the night is extra special as it is transformed into a spectacular array of color and light.

placemassena2

For the best perspective, take the ferris wheel and you will be able to enjoy the entire panorama of the city center as well as the sea.  Great photo ops!

An evening spent at the Place Massena during the holiday season is a must-do and will certainly immerse you in the holiday spirit in the famed capital of the French Riviera.

Courchevel: The Winter Playground of the French Riviera

There is no denying the fact that Courchevel is the diamond jewel of ski resorts of the French Riviera whose world class skiing and amenities attracts people from all over the world to spend their winter holidays in this prestigious and highly sought out Alpine destination.

Three interconnected valleys offering over 150 kilometers of an ultimate skiing experience for skiers of all levels, stunning panoramas of Mont Blanc , La Grande Casse, and Les Ecrins, 5 star chalet rentals, gourmet restaurants with renown chefs, a full schedule of activities for the entire family, luxury spas and world class shopping…the list goes on an on. It is no surprise then that this hotspot books up very quickly. If you think that you can wait to make a reservation in January or February or just show up and find a hotel, think again.

That being said, it is completely worth it. Spending the whole day, skiing 3 different valleys is enough that will make the soak in the hot jacuzzi afterwards even sweeter. Serviced by 58 high tech ski lifts with secure Zen ski areas for beginners, 19 green, 35 blue, 34 red and 8 black ski runs guarantees that there is something for everyone, along with special ski activities and classes for the littles.

If there is any ski resort to go big and live large, it is here in Courchevel.

 

 

France’s best kept secret : Bellet Wine

wine grapes

[rev_slider vineyard]When people think of wine, they usually think of France. With its global reputation as the leading wine producer, its a given that when you are in France, you can find very good and inexpensive wines in every area of the country.  However, wines such as Bordeauxs and Saint Emillions heralding super star status, smaller appellations tend to get overlooked or missed. Hence, one of France’s best kept secret’s can be found right here on the French Riviera, in Nice no less.

Covering 125 hectares of terraced hillsides overlooking the Mediterranean sea is the small boutique sized appellation of Bellet wines.  Well known by locals who have penchant for rosé wines, Bellet produces some very nice strong reds and fresh rosé from 2 main varieties, Braquet and Folle Noire, while whites are predominantly the Rolle variety among others.

Domain de la Source wine cellar

Because of the natural topography of Bellet that only permits the land to be worked by hand, rather than machinery, wine production is estimated at only 100,000 bottles a year.  This is also one of the reasons believed to be the attributing factor to the very good quality of Bellet wines. as Carine Dalmasso, winemaker for Domaine de la Source explains, “For these unique and endemic varieties, the soil (pudding stone) sand and rounded pebbles, the sun and the wind from sea and the mountains are the elements that make a quality wine, expressive and very atypical.  Small yields, organic farming and a manual harvest brings to this exceptional wine incomparable aromas.”

Typically harvest season begins around mid-September to mid-October, and is a very jovial time for the vineyards as they invite family and friends to harvest the grapes and of course celebrate with wine!

As you drive through this hillside wine making region, 15 minutes inland from the beach, you can visit the vineyards and taste the wines currently in production. Vineyards such as Chateau de Bellet, Domain de la Source, Chateau de Cremat, Les Coteaux de Bellet,  and Clos St. Vincent are the most well known vineyards in this regions, some of which are still family run such as Domaine de la Source from the Dalmasso family.

A labor of love for the vineyard of Bellet  reveals itself in the quality of the wines produced and is treasured among the Nicois community where Pissalediere  (a pizza like Nicois speciality) or Socca (a chickpea pancake another Nicois specialty) go hand in hand with a glass of Bellet rosé.

 

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The Carre d’Or….Where the Heart Is

[rev_slider carredor]

Hallmarked by its famous black and white checkered square in the heart of Nice, the Carré d’Or still remains the most popular tourist destination in Nice as well as the most highly sought out neighborhood in the center of Nice.

Why? Because everything is here. The beach, boutiques, restaurants and cafes abound, it’s all here. You don’t even need a car, since there is a tram, and yes it’s silent.

The pedestrian zone is one of the most popular places for lunch or dinner, pizza, and just about everything else you can imagine.

An underlying sentiment that fills the air in this beautiful and colorful “quartier”, is the elegance from its past. Colorful and ornate facades of the “Niçois” style buildings ornately pristine with flowing flowers from the small balconies while the hum of tinkering wine glasses and wafting Mediterranean aromas play on your senses like a dream. It is this unforgettable ambiance that keeps drawing tourists and residents alike, and is also giving properties in this prized area positive property values and a very secure return for rental investments.

The fact that President Hollande is easing up on the capital gains tax system for exemption from 30 to 22 years, as well as all time low interest rates and very attractive mortgages, just makes this area even sweeter.

 

The Cultural Art of French Perfumes

Travel guide author Kim Defforge shares an insightful journey into the making of French perfumes

Nice is about 27 km (17 miles) from the “perfume capital of the world”, Grasse, with its large parfumeries, “Fragonard” and “Molinard”, major industries and tourist attractions. There are several options for visits, as Nice has “Molinard,” Eze village has “Fragonard,” and Cagnes-sur-Mer has its “Atelier des Parfums,” all where you can do a guided visit and purchase products.
In the 16th century, roses were added into the leather making process, as a way to hide the animal odor in gloves: at that time, animal fat was used to absorb the flowers’ fragrance, then washed with alcohol and filtered. Today, petals are distilled in a variety of methods, depending on the concentration of oil desired:

~ 1,000 kg of flowers distilled with water vapor = 1 kg of essential oil

~ 600 kg of flowers distilled with solvents = 1 kg of “absolu” (a higher concentrate)

Surprisingly, most flowers are imported; however, there are three grown around Grasse: rose, jasmin, and violet. The most common regional flowers used in making perfume are mimosa, lavender, rose (petals), jasmine, orange blossom, violets, and broom. No wonder pure perfume is so expensive, as 10 ml of natural rose liquid costs 200 Euros!

Le “nez” (nose) is, logically, the title given to the creator of original perfume scents, and who, to begin with, must be able to recognize the smell of 400 primary scents, with an increase in repertoire possible to around 1,500-2,000 different odors. Reportedly, about 50% of “les nez” are women, with the main training center being situated in the town of Versailles.

What I found fascinating during my visit was the perfume laboratory (more like an office library), where there were rows and rows of shelves (called an “organ”), full of bottles of scents (each one called a “note”); the combination of scents is called a “chord”, with many chords being a “composition.” So, the “Nez” is, in fact, a ‘musical’ composer with around 80-150 different scents in one perfume!

Perfume fragrance changes over time: the first impression – that first burst of smell – of a perfume is called, “la note de tete”; after a couple of hours, you smell “la note de coeur”; and the final phase, or lingering scent, is called “la note de fond.”

Following are the concentrations of the various grades of perfume, so the next time you are shopping, you’ll know the differences:

  • Perfume = > 20%
  • Eaux de parfum = 12-15%
  • Eaux de toilette = 8-12%
  • Eaux de cologne = 7%

According to an English physician of the 19th century, “a perfume should correspond to the personality, physical, emotional, and mental characteristics of its wearer, and should be as specific to each woman as the sound of her voice.” (source: Complete Illustrated Guide to Aromatherapy)

Enjoy discovering and wearing YOUR unique ‘song’ on the French Riviera !

sunandseabook

Kim Defforge is the author of “Sun, Sea & Savoir-Faire – Travel Focus on the French Riviera” as well as “Solitary Desire – One Woman’s Journey to France”.

She is also blogger of the blog 24/7 in France.

 

Plenty of snow means it’s time to hit the slopes (in Auron)

WINTER SKI SEASON ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA

One of the true advantages of living on the French Riviera is the easy access to the ski resorts in the southern Alps, at 1h30 driving from Nice depending on where you go you have 15 different ski resorts with Auron, Isola 2000, and Valberg being the biggest ones.

You can wake up in Nice and an hour and a half later be drinking your hot cappucino in the village of the ski resort overlooking the slopes. Not a bad way to start the day!

The Auron ski resort offers 135km of sunny skiing and snowboarding and is situated in a very family oriented picturesque mountain village where you can walk to everywhere.  The main plaza with an ice skating rink in the middle is surrounded by fabulous restaurants and shops to enjoy, while your kids can have fun ice skating or on the trampoline.

In both the winter and summer season, Auron offers a complete schedule of activities for the entire family with outdoor concerts, activites and entertainment that the whole family can enjoy…and isn’t nice you don’t have to drive anywhere!

THE PEARL OF THE SOUTHERN ALPS

In the last few years Auron has experienced a strong demand that spurted a major investment by the local government with a value of 120 million slotted to modernize the ski resort with the latest technology in ski lifts, snow machines and more. An additional 25 million more is expected to continue the modernization with additional features like Hands Free Ski Lift Passes.

With the recent investment by the local government, an influx of private investments followed with the building of new developments of new chalet condos that would cater to the increased demand.  One of the new projects, the Las Donnas 2474, sold out the first two phases last winter season, and is currently selling the third phase with 1, 2, & 3 bedroom units starting at 244,000 euros taxes included, as well as large penthouses overlooking the slopes.  With the current investment blooming in Auron along with its modernization and full scale amenities, it is no surprise that this ski resort is becoming the “Pearl of the Southern Alps”.

Since the winter ski season this year has started earlier than expected with the recent abundance in snowfall, now is a good time to get in on the third phase of the Residence La Montagne project .  If you are in Auron and would like some information about this project, there is a sales chalet in front of the doctors office just next to the childrens park. If you are in Nice, you can also view the actual project model in the New Properties Showroom on the second floor of the Nice Properties Promenade agency.

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A Real Vacation…French Riviera Style

French Riviera Vacation
How to truly experience the best of the French Riviera?
Thinking about your summer vacation this year?
Why not make this year’s vacation, not just a vacation….but an unforgettable experience.
If you plan now, NICE PROPERTIES new Property Rental Service can help you find THE place to spend your summer basking in the Mediterranean sun with your family or friends and enjoying those panoramic sea views poolside.
While spending your holidays might be “convenient” and “easy”in a hotel, the experience of “living” in a beautiful rental property with breathtaking views is the most authentic way to spend your vacation in a most private and tranquil ambiance.
If you do prefer the ‘service’ aspect, there are always concierge and personnel staff services that can attend to your every need.
Whether you seek to rent a private hilltop villa in Villefranche Sur Mer, seaside home in St.Jean Cap Ferrat, apartment with panoramic sea views and a large terrace in Cannes, NICE PROPERTIES is your link to the French Riviera.
Your summer sanctuary.  Share your coffee with the quiet morning sunrise,  relish the refreshing plunge in the pool after a day at the beach or on the boat, lay back in the chaise lounge with your evening aperitif taking in the evening sunset’s deep fuscias and golds reflecting in the glassy calm sea.
Moments unlike no other.