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The Villa Les Palmiers (aka Palais de Marbre) is the jewel of West Nice. Ernest Gambart, an English art dealer, built a vast mansion on an 18th-century estate to house his extensive art collection. 27 boats sailed from Carrara, Italy laden with marble for the statues, columns, balustrades, walls and floors. It soon became the center of Nice’s social life when Gambart welcomed his famous friends. Argentinian meat-baron Edouard Soulas later renovated the interior in a neoclassical Louis XV style replete with chinoiserie, paneling, inlaid wood and gilt. He also laid out the English-style garden.

Readers of Nice Uncovered know that the vast garden is open to the public and well-worth a visit. The interior contains Nice’s Municipal Archives and is usually only open to researchers and on special occasions.Read the rest

As you move around Nice for the next few years, you’ll be seeing a lot of construction. What’s going on? A lot. A major expansion to the west is intended to revitalize the entire area between Nice Airport and the Plaine du Var with parks, gardens and cultural centers. Central Nice will lose the massive TNN structure which, controversially, will be destroyed and replaced with parkland. Nice’s current administration is determined to reduce cars and pollution in central Nice. To that end there will be new transport lines to the north, east and west and plenty of greenery to keep the air fresh.

To put it in historical perspective, Nice’s mayors and governing officials have always sought to put their imprint on Nice’s urban landscape. Some projects have worked out well such as the expansion of Nice from its old town core to the Quartier des Musiciens and Cimiez.Read the rest

Because not everyone is comfortable buying books on Amazon (Jeff Bezos is not a popular guy), I’ve decided to go the extra mile and make Nice Uncovered: Walks Through the Secret Heart of a Historic City available to bookstores. The process was a bit fiddly but involved submitting the manuscript to a platform that distributes to bookstores worldwide. Not that your local bookstore will have a shelf of “Nice Uncovered” books! Not yet anyway. Getting bookstores to devote their limited shelf space to any book is an uphill struggle, even more so when the author is not a brand name. But it’s a start.

What you can do is simply ask your local bookstore to order you a copy. And, maybe if enough people ask, they’ll decide to stock it!… Read the rest

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