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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!

Normally the title should be enough but they’ll find it even faster with the ISBN which is 978-0578359366. 

The long-awaited renovation of the Palais Caïs de Pierlas (otherwise known as “Matisse House”) is finally finished. And the result is. . .well, you decide. Here is a photo of the original:

Palais Caïs de Pierlas

And here is a photo I just snapped today:

Matisse House now

It looks neater for sure but maybe too neat? I admit that I found the new facade jarring. I miss the sunny tones of the original and I’m not sure I like the addition of the grayish-beige trim. The actual tone is much grayer than appears in this photo.

I shouldn’t complain I suppose as the road to the building’s renovation was long and hard. The owners are descendants of the original Caïs de Pierlas family and they’ve been at odds for many years over the building’s future and many other money matters. Finally in 2010 the city of Nice stepped in as guardians of Nice’s architectural and cultural heritage. Constructed in 1693, the building became famous in 1921 when Matisse moved in. Enchanted with the views over Cours Saleya and the sea, the artist created some of his most iconic paintings there until his departure in 1938.

Even after the city went to court to force the owners to maintain the facade, it took years to resolve the legal issues. The scaffolding went up in mid-September 2020 and the result was unveiled this week.

What do you think?


The full program for the Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days) is finally available with ALL the special visits scheduled for September 17-19. (See here for the partial program in English). Everything is FREE but for many events a reservation is necessary. Don’t delay! Note that a “Pass Sanitaire” or negative Covid test will be required. Some sites may require ID and/or a passage through a metal detector to gain entry.

Don’t think that it’s all about visiting stuffy museums and listening to lectures in French! There are plenty of activities for kids of all ages as well as special dance, musical and theatrical presentations. If you’ve ever wondered what Nice’s traditional language, Nissart, sounds like you’ll want to listen in on some of the short tours conducted in that language. I believe it’s the first time the city has included this feature. 

Following are just a few of my favorites:

2, rue du Sénat
Saturday and Sunday 10h-12.30 and 14h to 18h
A great way to discover Nice cuisine right in Old Nice.

Saturday and Sunday 10h-18h

The fabulous Palais du Marbre harbors the Municipal Archives. Entry to the gardens is always available (as I detail in Nice Uncovered) but the elaborate interior is normally closed. It’s definitely worth a trek to West Nice and makes a good starting point to look around the rest of the neighborhood.

89, route de Turin
Saturday 9.30h-11h
The former slaughterhouse has been transformed into a contemporary art gallery, Le 109,  and will present a special “Visites chorégraphiques d’architecture” Saturday morning. I don’t know what it is either but it sounds original.

Place Pierre Gautier
Saturday 9h-12h and 14h-17h
The Palais de la Préfecture features prominently in my Old Town tour because it was the center of government when the Dukes of  Savoy ruled Nice. The interior is spectacular but line up well in advance as this is a popular visit.

Buy Nice Uncovered on Amazon

Faculté de Droit et Science politique
Avenue du Doyen Louis Trotabas
04 89 15 25 00
The Chagall mosaic makes this a worthwhile stop especially as it’s normally closed to the public.

28, avenue Valrose
Saturday and Sunday 14h-17h
The Valrose estate dates from the heyday of Cimiez in the late 19th century when Queen Victoria wintered in the neighborhood. It’s normally closed to the public (only students and faculty members may enter) and is well worth the trip up to Cimiez. 

You can find the full program (in French) here.

Do you have questions? Just send me a message on Facebook Chat in the lower right and I’ll do my best to answer.

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