Reflections on art, fitness, family, politics and literature that hit me like bricks as I chauffeur my children from place to place...
A pink taxi
July 29, 2010
Of all the towns on the French Riviera, my favorite one is Nice. In fact I know Nice better than I do Paris because I frequent it more, having spent every summer in the area since I was an early teenager. I love this city with a pretty name, abutting the great blue Mediterranean, with a board walk ironically named "La Promenade des Anglais". Despite their historical antipathy toward the Anglosaxons, the French gave the English their due for creating the aura of the Cote d'Azur. Nice represents "l'ecole de Nice", the school of art that groups the French artists I know best: Yves Klein, Cesar, Ben, Niki de Saint Phalle, Venet, Sosno, Arman and Moya. I have enjoyed visiting the many museums of the city. I have toured the hills of Nice (Cimiez), savored lavender ice cream in the Old City, bought fruit at the market with my father, walked the Promenade for exercise, shopped at Les Galeries La Fayette, FNAC and Faconnable. I have even been to Madonna and Michael Jackson concerts in Nice. But the first reason for us to go to Nice weekly is to satisfy our stomachs. As a family, almost every Sunday and sometimes twice a week, we embark onto Nice to devour the most delicious pizza you would ever have eaten at the infamous "La Pizza" restaurant. The pizza there is incomparable to any other in the world, because not only is it baked in a wood oven but the ingredients of flour, tomato and cheese are sourced meticulously and are of very good quality. The waiters sport a typically French attitude (Jean Paul Sartre has written essays about them), and are career waiters who remain at the same restaurants for decades. For example, to request a "carafe d'eau", those narrow recycled jugs of water filled with tepid faucet water, we used to toss a coin, of fear of angering these venerable waiters. Where are the smiling young American waitresses with large ice filled water jugs when we need them? While La Pizza is a delicious meal on a budget, La Chaumiere is another amazing restaurant, one of my very favorites, with a significantly higher "douloureuse" at the end of the meal (agonizing name French give to the bill). La Chaumiere sits in the high hills of Nice, on the Grande Corniche. The menu is simple: meat, lamb or chicken cooked in the fire place, preceded by delicious appetizers of crudites and salads. For dessert, one of the highlights of the meal, you are served unctuous caramelized apple pie with cream served directly from a big pot. One of the special attractions of La Chaumiere, aside from the food of course, is that there is a good chance you will get a Bono (from U2) viewing, seated two tables away from you. Like me, he loves Nice (to the point of making it his residence) and La Chaumiere is his neighborhood hang out (the way LaPizza is ours). My brother saw him at Chaumiere once, and I saw him there last night. My husband, sister and I saw him once before at the famous Jimmyz nightclub about ten years ago. The two times I have seen Bono, I always assume he is a look alike of the U2 singer, not the real pop star. The last time, we approached him and he was gentleman enough to kiss my sister's hand. I, standing beside her, requested the same treatment. He was equally kind so I chose not to bother him this second time. Nice and La Chaumiere, (RED) Gap Tshirts and art......and of course his music, it seems I have more in common with Bono than I would have imagined.
The pink taxi runs from 7 am to 7pm. It picks and drops off my 3 kids at school, ballet,judo, aikido, violin, climbing, riding, squash, basketball, skiing, skating, swim team, friends, grandparents and teachers. The car, not pink, but a black SUV, drives to Carrefour and Coop. To Club stretch for pilates and Aviation club for weekly workouts. It is driven by a woman who navigates on the radio, gets DJed by her 4 year old or sometimes quietly reflects. The thoughts are about politics, family, humor, literature, art or fitness. Sometimes they are excruciatingly longwinded, other times they are gossipy and hot.
I hope you will all enjoy!