Jazz in Nice = A Garden Makeover

Nice’s annual Jazz Festivalis being held in the public garden area of Albert 1st (Jardin Albert 1er), from July 8 through July 12, 2012. Last year, SEAL entertained in the garden venue.

Photo: nicematin.com

However, the day after this year’s festival, the park will be barricaded and closed for one year, to open just in time for the 2013 Jazz Festival; the closure will allow work needed to complete “La Coulée Verte,” the green-space corridor being built on the site of Nice’s former bus station.

The hundred-year old trees will not be disturbed, when the park undergoes a makeover, with the addition of plant borders, grass, and fountains. The garden’s on-site merry-go-round will stay open and accessible during the renovation works, so families can continue to enjoy it!

Brigitte Bardot & The French Riviera

Actually, it’s St. Tropez that this famous French icon, as an actress and singer, “put on the map” back in the 50’s & 60’s! She is highly recognizable throughout the world, and apparently, is still marketable; she is also passionately involved in animal rights.

As I was walking to lunch in Nice, a photo her caught my eye, and I then noticed the shop was featuring her new line of clothing.  No surprise, really — what would the French Riviera be without “BB” (as she is known)!

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Fête de la Musique (Annual Music Festival)

Other than it being the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer, in France, June 21st is a national event! The music festival sees towns, villages, and cities hosting all types of music and local performers,

Jordan Chevallier

positioned in the streets and in front of cafes and restaurants. It is a family affair, with all ages enjoying the entertainment!

This annual, French tradition has even crossed the pond to New York City, and perhaps, other U.S. cities!

Since I LOVE to dance, I wasn’t about to miss out — so I listened, watched, and danced in the street only until around midnight — I had to get up for work the next morning (the music goes on until about 3:00AM in the Old Town).

Below are some video clips of the evening’s entertainment, so get on your dancing shoes!

French Language Practice: Object Pronouns

Fill in the corresponding object pronoun (le, la, les, lui, leur, y, en):

1. Je ____ écris un SMS. (to them)

2. Je ne ____ vois pas. (them)

3. Veux-tu ___ manger? (some)

4. Donne-___ cette montre. (her)

5. Ils ___ vont cet été. (en Italie)

6. Je ___ parle. (to him)

7. Je parle d’ ___ (about them).

8. Il n’___ a qu’un. (of them)

9. N’___ pense pas! (about it)

10. Attends-___ ! (her)

How did you do? Pronouns can be tricky!

(Answers: 1-leur/2-les/3-en/4-lui/5-y/6-lui/7-eux/8-en/9-y/10-la)

“Cuisine, terroirs et savoir-faire”

This year’s “Journée du Patrimoine” (heritage day) focused on the know-how of food and working the land. In keeping with this special day, I attended a guided visit to the workshop of M. Barnoin, a local artisan/ceramist, who presented his collection of ceramics and collectable artifacts.

While walking past many large pottery containers, we were told that the major production of pottery took place in the town of Biot (in 1620), with its stamped emblem of the Croix de Malte (Maltese Cross); Monaco (in 1874); and in Vallauris, where from 1631-1782, there were 21 pottery factories for the “poterie paysan.” These large-type, glazed-on-the-inside pots were used to store olives and olive oil, and also were used to wash clothes.

What’s the difference between pottery & ceramics? Well, it seems that the actual products are called ‘pottery,’ with the term ‘ceramics’ being the finishing technique involved (rather than the finished product itself) — for example, “faience.” — a special type of ceramics.

At the end of the visit, guided by the Mayor’s office representative, we were treated to a glass of violet syrup mixed with carbonated water and pieces of ‘tourte de blettes, a sweet, swiss-chard filled pastry topped with confectioner’s sugar – both deliciously sweet!

So, in the end, we had celebrated the know-how of both: “terroirs” & “cuisine”!

An unexpected Nice sighting: Crime and Scam Alert

Yes, it’s that time of year (July & August) when Nice is packed with tourists, and so, the pickpockets, thieves, and scammers are actively in ‘business.’  Unbelieveably, my friend who had her wallet stolen on a bus, was on bus #9 and saw the same “serial pickpocket” with his modus operandum of a jacket slung over his arm — No way has it been eight months since we were in court (see linked article)!

As in any big city anywhere, petty theft occurs on unsuspecting tourists, and Nice is no differentv– the most prevalent crimes are:

1. Gold necklaces are yanked from ladies’ necks, since the price of gold is high.  Best to leave your jewelry at home!

2. Gold ring scam: Someone will pick up a gold ring and approach you, assuming that you have dropped it; he suggests that you keep it anyway, since it has value, in return for a gesture of giving him money.  The best thing to do is to just walk away or offer to contact the police about the lost ring.

3. Pickpockets – one man I know had just withdrawn 400 Euros from a cash machine and had his wallet taken from his pants pocket (no, he didn’t feel a thing!)  Purses should be worn slung across your body, backpacks worn on the front in crowded areas, and wallets not in pants back pockets. Be especially alert on crowded buses and trams.

4. Vol à la portière – In heavy traffic, or at red lights, the target is a purse, computer, or camera that can be easily grabbed by opening the car door or breaking the side window. Best to keep doors locked and items out of sight. (The below link shows an unusually aggressive incident)

vol a la portiére    (Video link)

Nice is generally a safe city with about 400 video cameras in place, so don’t be afraid to come enjoy the French Riviera — just be aware of your surroundings and be “city smart”!