On the way here, I had bought a Dior nail varnish, pink, in a shade called "wonderland" ; if nothing elsd in me, then at least my nails were prepared for this amazement. Reading up on the history of the hotel Negresco left a bitter aftertaste behind all this magic. The bold entrepreneur behind it all was a Romanian hotelier, who had worked his way up from apprenticeships in Paris, London and Monaco. He was good with crowned heads, stars and multimillionaires, it seems; and the wikipedia article elusively states that "he became very successful" on the Côte d'Azur. Gangster? A french automobile maker financed Negresco's plans to build a sumptuous hotel for the super-rich in the early 20th century, but just as it opened, world war 1 began and the hotel was turned into a hospital while Negrescu was drafted to the army. After the war, the super-rich no longer came to him, and he had to sell. When he died at 52 in 1920, he was bankrupt. One thinks of Proust's Search for Lost Time : here, as in the memory of Niçois palaces that were cut up into apartment blocks, the gone past is painfully grandiose and pointless, so much it hurts.
Like the 16,000-crystal chandelier gracing the main hall, only taken to the Negresco because its original commissioner, tsar Nicolas, was inconvenienced to take this delivery during the Russian revolution.