The great North South divide in Europe could be reassumed by the following story:
A well off German manager takes a holiday and decides to visit some of the more exotic European destinations. He travels to Naples. As he walks close to the sea, he spots a beggar on the sidewalk asking for money. Irritated, he decides to unfold to the beggar some of the secrets of his work ethics:
– Instead of asking for offers, you should do like me. You should study, look for a job, make a career, earn the money, and then you will be able to afford to idle in the sun in the Golf of Naples !
– But Sir, protests the beggar, I am ALREADY idling in the sun in the Golf of Naples !
People who live in cold and cloudy climates fail to understand the importance of nice weather. It looks to them, that it is only a difference of several warm days in the summer, but for the rest, the year still has its long dark, chilly and damp spells. What you discover when you live on the Mediterranean coast instead, is that there are three elements that count: average temperature, average daily amplitude and number of sunny days in a year.
On Cote d’Azur, the average temperature is not very high, probably only just over 16 C, but the daily amplitude hardly ever goes beyond 6 degrees. In other words, you don’t need to wear multiple layers of clothing to be ready to face a long day. There are 62 rainy days a year here, around Monaco and Nice, that means statistically only one day out of every six.
This drives a lot of social life out into the open of the streets, promenades and parks.
When friends or families meet, eventually their common activities evolve towards one of the numerous establishments, when you can socialize more effectively over some food and a glass of wine.
What you see on the photo above, is one of the numerous restaurants along the market of Cours Saleya in Nice, and the elegant building in the background has hosted for several years the apartment and atelier of Henri Matisse.