1. Google every word you can possibly think of to describe what type of furniture you are seeking. (Have a translation book nearby.) The French Riviera prides itself on tourism, not furniture. It is easier to find a 70 year old topless sunbather! Although, personally I am not an Ikea fan, finding something as simple as this presents a challenge as there is nothing remotely similar nearby. Finding a mattress? Ha! I ordered ours from England, via Internet, to be shipped to us in Nice. And, working out the form of acceptable international payment included a 2 week-long process.
2. You must have great walking shoes! As my husband and I recently experienced, one needs to walk miles and miles in search of a style that is not Italian and/or contemporary (mind you, we are in France). Allow for extra time if you don’t wish to deplete your child’s college fund on one piece of furniture.
3. Befriend a fabulous taxi driver (in my case, Mariana). Your new friend will not only give you tips on other areas and shops yet to be discovered, but also drive you there and wait while you run in. And, most importantly, they will advise you to ask for a discount on said expensive item, as this is customary here.
4. If you cannot speak French fluently, be sure to have all orders translated prior to putting down a deposit. As I experienced, French, Italian and English are all spoken here and service always provided with a cheek-kiss and a smile, but complete comprehension is, shall I say, comme ci comme ca? I do not claim to be fluent by any means, but thankfully my awareness of the bottom-line is parfait.
5. Patience…in addition to seeking out the locale (or website), of the appropriate shops to suit your needs (plan for 4x the amount of time you originally set aside!), you must be aware of their individual hours. Most will close during the hours of 12-14, forcing you to sit at a cafe and re-create your new home’s vision board…
6. Enjoy the adventure!
Fav decor shops:
Etoffes & Canapes
Cours Saleya Antique Market