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Our spring project was the purchase and renovation of an apartment in the central part of Nice, France. We returned to Nice from Mexico in January, with really no intention of buying a place in Nice, but we were getting tired of living out of suitcases and moving from one rental apartment to another. We knew we eventually wanted to get a place in France, we just weren’t sure where, although Nice was looking better and better. Well, we ended up finding a for sale by owners that offered all we were looking for, so we went for it.

This is a first for me, living right in the middle of a rather large city. I was brought up in a town of 15,000, on an island, and our home was on the outer edge of the town. If you needed anything the nearest store was over a mile away. So like so many Canadians and Americans, a car was essential.

Not so in a city. It is quite easy to get by without a car, actually a car can be a hindrance with trying to find proper parking, dealing with traffic and of course, the cost of operating it, especially the cost of petrol. So we’ve decided not to buy a car and just rent when we do need one. Although on Place Wilson, a square/park less than a block from our apartment, there are electric Auto Bleu vehicles you can rent for 21 euros for a half-day or 45 for the full day. If we had a car we’ve have to park further away! They have the four-seater Peugeot iOn and also even a Citroen Berlingo mini-van, if we need more space for moving things. So two options available for wheels without having to own one.

There’s also Velo Bleu bikes to rent, which are just one euro per half-hour, and only one euro if you bring it back to a velo station before 30 minutes is up. And there’s stations all over Nice. Great system. The bus and tram system is great, so transportation is taken care of.

But it is getting to know the neighborhood that I’m enjoying the most. We’ve gotten to know the man at the meat store, and we have identified our favorite boulangerie for our daily baguettes – actually twice daily. Within a one block radius there a hardware store, a couple of bakeries, numerous restaurants and cafes, hair salons, post office, three food min-markets, and always a lot of real estate offices. You find you don’t have to venture out to much farther than your own quartier, or neighborhood. I’m starting to recognize regulars on the street, who must live here as well. It’s all quite different but a nice change; something we definitely were ready for.

Renovations took a couple of months and involved removing a few walls to make rooms larger, adding some walls, scraping down walls to show the rock underneath, refinishing the marble and parquet floors, and a lot of painting and touch-up.

Here’s the results. When placing the photos I had them grouped with the appropriate before & after photos together, but for some reason WordPress doesn’t want to display them that way.

Before: Living room

Before: Living room

Before: Hallway

Before: Hallway

Before: Hallway 2

Before: Hallway 2

Before: Master bedroom

Before: Master bedroom

After: Hallway 2

After: Hallway 2

After: Hallway

After: Hallway

2nd bedroom

2nd bedroom

Exterior of building

Exterior of building

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

After: Living room

After: Living room

Living room

Living room

Living room

Living room

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

Kitchen

Kitchen