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The Palais de la Mediterranée in 1929, now a real estate investment hot spot

The Palais de la Mediterranée in 1929, now a real estate investment hot spot

Thanks to France’s unique real estate laws, registered agencies like Pebbles can show you almost any property on the Riviera. That’s why local buyers allow just one agency to work on their behalf. After all, who wants to trail round a dozen offices in the baking sun?

In a new blog series we explore the weirdest and most wonderful real estate in the South of France. All of which are available to view with Pebbles.

This month: Résidences du Palais de la Mediterranée

Ever wanted to live in a five-star hotel on the French Rivera? Especially one laden with history that sits opposite the beach? Then read on.

Most of Nice’s bourgeois buildings (like those in the Carré d’Or, Musiciens and Wilson areas) were built in the 1920s. It was an era of post-war exuberance and easy credit.

The Hotel Palais de la Mediterranée was no different. It was financed by Frank Jay Gould, the billionaire American who singlehandedly built Juan-les-Pins. It had a white marble lobby. Plus a 1,000-seat theatre built to host the likes of Maurice Chevalier and Josephine Baker. It opened in January 1929, nine months before the Wall Street Crash.

The Palais de la Mediterranée and its glitzy casino were in a financial mess forever more. Scandal stuck in the 1970s when prison-dodging local Jean-Dominique Fratoni opened a rival casino nearby.

Fratoni, a school pal of Nice’s corrupt mayor Jacques Medecin, then muscled in on the Palais. Croupiers were shot. Politicians were shot. More tragically, the hotel’s young female heir, Agnes Le Roux, was kidnapped and never found. Such scenes typified Nice in the 1980s, and kept real estate prices far lower than those of Antibes or Cannes.

The Palais de la Mediterranée’s reopening in 2004 symbolised Nice’s great resurgence (along with a new airport terminal and the new tram). The art deco façade shimmered as it did in 1929.

How did they afford it you might ask? By building a block of apartments, known as Les Résidences, around the back.

The trick isn’t new. Nice’s Hotel Beau Rivage and Hotel Perouse have apartments above and below the guestrooms. But Les Résidences is A-grade, with videophones, grand hallways and balconies that look sideways onto the sea.

Naturally, the location is so good that they built a five-star hotel here in the first place. The Résidence’s studios and one-bedroom apartments rent like hot cakes for the price of a hotel room.

Nice Pebbles frequently have similar investment studios on their books, both in and around Le Palais. Contact us for a viewing, with a bit of history thrown in.

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