Nice. Day off.
Il pleut. Which always comes as a shock in these parts but we awoke to the kind of grey, wet day that wouldn't seem out of place on the North Yorkshire Moors. This rather scuppered my plans for an active(ish) outdoor day but channelling the resigned optimism of my grandmother ('well at least it's warm rain') I headed out anyway. After days of staring at computer screens in a hotel room I was feeling like a giant blob of lard so took a hike, rather appropriately, down the Promenade des Anglais.
'La Prom' is the sea front boardwark that stretches from the old town practically as far as the airport. It's also a major motor thoroughfare, so focussing on the horizon rather than the traffic, I walked the length of the prom right into the old town. It's a fair old way ('a tidy walk' as they say where I come from) but if you can tune out the car noise and carbon monoxide there's plenty to look at en route. Madly flamboyant Beaux Arts and Deco hotels line the street, now the absolute epitome of faded grandeur. These are interspersed with smaller individual residences of equally opulent aspirations. This was the Victorians' South Beach Miami and must have been an idyllic place to stroll prior to the arrival of the constant bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Paused for tea in the old town and picked up a Herald Tribune before starting the hike back. By now a steady drizzle had set in which made this a bit more of a chore than the journey out, but it did feel good to do something remotely physical. Through rehearsals, with programming, editing and constant computer work, you can end up feeling dead from the eyes down if you're not careful.
Team AudioVisual regrouped in the IKEA penthouse for the afternoon to carry on with the translations. The sky was practically black and it was pouring with rain, which added an air of one of those school weekends where you had to stay indoors and play Monopoly because it was too wet to go outside on bikes. We still managed to have some fun with our chores though and carried on ploughing through the translations until tea time.
My evening plan had been to go and visit some friends over in Villefranche, but clearly this was not going to be a night for sitting out under the stars, so we've postponed til after the weekend. The rain did eventually stop, more or less, so Team AV settled for a stroll into the old town, my second of the day. En route we stopped for a cocktail at the American Bar of the Hotel Negresco, which felt like an aesthetic oasis after a week at the Hotel IKEA. It's a remarkable place - old school upmarket, with polished wood, oil paintings and tapestries, velvet sofas and even a huge, ginger, tomcat asleep on the couch next to us. Emboldened by a couple of Martinis we slipped into one of the polished-wood-and-brass elevators to see if we could take a look around some of the guest floors. This we managed, going up to a high floor then walking down the giant staircase. At this point the aesthetic oasis turned into more of a hallucinogenic swimming pool, with fantastically over the top, eclectic, high-gay, bonkers decor. There's no accounting for taste once you've got a taste of the accounts...