My Riviera by Nicolas Anderson
Nicolas Anderson, author and co-screenwriter, has lived on the French Riviera for six years - five in the Var and one in Villefranche-sur-Mer. As an adult, he has previously lived for lengthy periods in London, Copenhagen, Berne, New York City, Newport Beach, Belize and Gibraltar. He says that his wanderlust ground to a halt here.
Where were you born?
In the Far East. Dad was a diplomat, English. My Scottish Mum was a - well to be honest - a full-time society circuit goer; cucumber sandwiches at the gymkhana and all that. Though she did say to me as a kid that if I wanted anything to not summon the - hate to say it, too - servants and to get it myself. Since then I always have got things myself. I grew up in Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta and Mumbai but attended school in County Durham, northeast England. I'm really a citizen of the world.
Why are you here?
I came to France in the course of work. (Dumb reason I know) but I used to watch men walking along or on rickety old bicycles with a baguette and think, 'Yup, I can see me doing that as well when my time comes.' Now I do that chore every single day when I'm home.
Where do you live and why?
Villefranche-sur-Mer. For me it's centre du monde - all I like doing is there or nearby. When I want to be a bohemian beach bum I am; when I want to dress up, eat well and be entertained...I also am. Best of both worlds, really. To answer this question, there's one German word I like to use: Stimmung (seeking the creative mood of the moment) - I find stimmung in Villefranche every single day.
Where do you work?
At home except when I travel abroad, which is often. Have internet-ready laptop will travel, is the name of the game today.
Early bird or night owl?
Depends. I sleep eight hours solidly like clockwork regardless of time and place.
What's for breakfast?
Freshly squeezed orange juice, buttered toast and black coffee...make that two cups, in silence. I wake up slowly but surely, then I last the whole day.
Where I live. And I've been to some great ones in Asia and the Caribbean...but this beach I look at 24 hours a day. There when I want to go to it, but always in full view when I don't want to go to it.
Ma Nolan's at Le Port in Nice is my local. I go there to watch the live football games from the English Premier League, I'm a lifelong fan of Sunderland.
Best Crunched restaurant?
Les Palmiers in Villefranche-sur-Mer, friendly, cheap, fast service, tastes great.
Best Minted restaurant?
Hotel de Paris in Monte -Carlo.
Mine, where I live. I live inside a real- life painting.
Best for love?
(Blush. Can't disclose, erm, sorry.)
Best place for people watching?
Nice's Cote d'Azur Airport (NCE) - nice curves everywhere.
Any vintage shops, there's quite a few in Nice, none that I know of in Cannes and Monaco though.
Best for late nights?
A few select non-smoking individuals on my balcony, candlelit dinner, good conversation, nice view.
Best town or village?
Obviously where I live.
Best Riviera meal ever?
Too many to mention. My favourite food is French, followed by any Asian (Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, et al, but I don't like Indian much - makes me perspire to the point of being most uncomfortable).
Cannes, Nice or Monaco?
Fave holiday/last holiday?
Last hol was Sri Lanka. Next is Bhutan. Madagascar after that.
Fave movie/last movie?
Favourite all-time films are: "Cinema Paradiso", "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Dances with Wolves". Currently I am enjoying the BBC4 TV series produced by RAI Italia of "Inspector Montalbano".
Fave book/last book?
Favourite book: "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by Milan Kundera. Last book: "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom.
Give a first-time visitor a tip?
Buy a discounted all-day train ticket on SNCF and head to Ventimiglia, first then turn around and get off at any station that tickles your fancy thereafter as far west as Saint-Raphael, so that includes Menton, Eze-sur-Mer, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Nice-Ville, Antibes, Cannes...there's many others stops I haven't mentioned.
Favourite Cote d'Azur discoveries?
The mysterious castle at the top of the hill in Èze Village then come down the slope all the way to Fragonard and take a tour of the perfumerie. The walk around Cap Ferrat is magical in either direction but it'll take three hours and don't forget to take a bottle of water. Festival time in Nice is brilliant, even better during the Christmas period with all the kids' eyes lit up.
Have you ever rubbed shoulders with a star and where?
Yes quite a lot and all over the world in many weird and wonderful places. I instantly recognise who they are but don't bother them.
Have you had your five minutes of fame yet?
It may be coming soon because I have two motion pictures in development based on stories from my first book, "NOC - Non-Official Cover: British Secret Operations" (first of a trilogy). One is with a UK independent production company, the other is with a major Hollywood studio.
What do you get friends to bring back from home?
Well home *used* to be the UK and I always was requested to come back with Coleman's Mustard. Now France is home, I give handmade soap from the savonnerie Terre Dorées in Villefranche-sur-Mer as gifts. The choice of scents there is unbelievable and affordable - everybody I know likes a wee soap as a present.
What would you miss about the Cote d'Azur?
Obviously the weather, food and people. And above all the doves cooing in the morning. It's the sound that love is in the air, to me.
Favourite French word?
Favourite English word?
Worst thing about France?
Dog poop not picked up. It's getting better but there are still some French poodle walkers that look at the cursing and wonder what the fuss is about...after all it's only making a mess of the pavement!
Best thing about France?
Anglo-Saxon culture wants to know everything about you, what you do, where you go, where you work, who you are, etc. It may, of course, be the same in the French villages in the middle of nowhere but along the French Riviera no one is that so terribly interested in you...because they are so caught up in what they're doing to bother about you. I like that. However, if you need help it's there.
Are you here forever?
I think so. I know exactly where I've asked for my ashes to be scattered.
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