Keeping it in the family
Jackie Whittaker bought her two-bedroom apartment in a side road off lower Gambetta in 2008. “It’s a quiet quartier, served by many buses and several supermarkets and is only three or four blocks from the sea,” she tells me.
Jackie had been a regular visitor to Nice for weekends when she worked in Geneva, and was impressed by the beautiful buildings, the proximity of the airport and several ski stations, plus the wonderful seafront promenade and, of course, the climate.
“I enjoy hiking, and the fact that several buses go up into the hill villages was a definite advantage – no real need for a car!” she explains.
Although English is quite widely spoken here, some knowledge of French is useful, she adds. “And the daunting French bureaucracy requires a lot of persistence!”
Since December 2017, her sister Jenefer Thomas has rented a quiet fifth-floor, one-bedroom, 40m2 apartment with balcony on the Rauba Capeu Point, overlooking the bay between the Old Town and port. “It feels like a real French city, not simply a place for wealthy expats,” she says.
Jenefer, who divides her time between Nice and her London home, has no plans to buy here: “I appreciate that renting could work out more expensive, but I like the flexibility and I couldn’t afford to buy a flat with such a wonderful view.”
Although she says the French have a tendency to strike rather a lot, “which can be rather frustrating”, she prefers France to most European countries. “I like the food, culture and language and I find the people friendly.” Her French is improving and she feels “reasonably confident speaking”.
Jenefer rows at the Club Nautique most weekends, skis at Isola 2000 in winter, and appreciates the proximity of the beautiful countryside and Maritime Alps. Public transport is “very reasonably priced”, there are several good museums and art galleries – free entry to many for residents with the Nice Museum Pass – and concerts galore. “To me, Nice has it all,” she says.
The view from Jenefer’s apartment