Tuesday, November 01, 2011

It's Nice to be in Nice!

Looking out over Nice, the black glass building is the Holiday Inn.  It is totally out of character with the surrounding city, but works great as a landmark to find where you are.  The apartment is just around the corner, so we could always find our way home.
The morning we left Cagnes-Sur-Mer, we were up early, as the car had to be returned to the train station in Nice by 10AM.  The drive was not long, but we were concerned about traffic; Monday morning rush hour.  There was traffic.  BIB said it would take 17 minutes, but with the slow moving cars all around us, it was more like 35.  We had already scoped out the train station, so knew where to enter and park.  I jumped out to find the car return office.  As has happened before, there were signs, but no where telling you exactly where to take the car!  The woman in the office was very helpful, telling me to pull down into the parking garage, then drive up to the 6th floor where their people were, but we might have to drive back down to the 5th floor, as they were very full this morning.  I walked outside, found the down ramp, but for the life of me couldn't see a 7 story building to drive up into.  Back inside, where she laughed and explained that we would be driving under her building and up into the building behind.  Who thinks of these things?

We did go to the 6th and back down to the 5th.  Unloaded our stuff and found the elevator, only to discover it stopped 3 floor short of the bottom.  We lugged our luggage down to the ground floor.  Bill waited outside while I returned the key and signed the papers.  When I showed her all the additional damage that had been recorded in Montpellier, she just shrugged and smiled, no problem.

Another view of Nice.

Outside, we waited for the homeowner to show up.  We had not heard from him, and I must admit we were a little concerned.  But, not to worry, at 10:05, up he walked; introduced himself, and surprise! he's American!  It was a short way to their apartment building, with Bruce giving us a small tour.  "This is a lovely garden you can visit." "This building was Nazi headquarters in WWII."  "I think this is one of the most beautiful old buildings in Nice."

Arriving at the apartment, Bruce squishes us all into the tiny elevator, commenting on how it is very dependable having only become stuck once several years ago.  Their apartment in on the top floor, #7.  Well, wouldn't you know, between 3 and 4 we come to a screeching halt!  Bruce pushed the emergency button, then every button, cursing under his breath.  Finally an elderly gentleman comes and talks to us, but we aren't sure he understands.  I pull out my phone and we call Roxanne who is waiting at the apartment.  Then we call the Pompiers, followed by the elevator company. 

Don't clang the metal doors on the elevator!!!
Roxanne comes down the stairs, which wind around the elevator cage, says Hi, then continues on to let the Pompiers in the front door.  Other neighbors come by, but proceed on down the stairs.  After a short while, the Pompiers arrive. 5 minutes later, the door is opened and we are lifted down.  Now there is a bit of laughter, as not only us, but all our luggage and  shopping bags come out.  I think France must have a rule that not only do all the Pompiers have to be in excellent condition, they must be good looking too.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture!
The apartment landing with the elevator on the right.  The elevator is an old fashioned style with an outer door that swings open and an inner accordian door that pulls back.

Now we only have 3 1/2 flights of stairs to haul our luggage up.  Thank goodness for rollers, but it was still a chore and very noisy.  Arriving at their floor, we are met by Roxanne and the two very curious cats, Jack and Tess.  Welcome to our Nice Housesit!
On the penthouse terrace.

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