Daniel Rozensztroch’s parents sought refuge from World War II on the Côte D’Azur, and his mother fell so completely in love with the South of France that she refused to return to Paris when the conflict ended. Thus it was that Rozensztroch, now the creative director for Merci, Paris’s vastly influential design store, grew up in Cannes, where his family had settled. But by the end of the 1980s, the Côte d’Azur had become over-commercialized. Disenchanted with the area after his parents died, Rozensztroch and his brothers sold the family house.
Rozensztroch didn’t return for years, choosing instead to spend his summers in Greece. But Greece, a three-and-a-half-hour flight from Paris, was not viable for weekends, and Rozensztroch is a committed beach lover. “I needed a place that was easy to get to,” he said. “And Nice is only an hour away from Paris by air, and there are 30 flights a day.” Perhaps more important, it has a mild climate, even in the winter, when a low temperature is about 48 degrees. But finding a place was not easy.
He spent two years searching for an apartment that had character and a view—as he insisted it had to overlook the sea. He was about to give up when, walking along the promenade Quai de Rauba Capeu, he spotted a 19th-century building that had formerly been an army barracks. There was a sale sign on one of the balconies. Rozensztroch called and was on the building’s doorstep five minutes later. “It was horrible inside,” he recalled, “but it was the most beautiful location in Nice.” Unfortunately, it was “way too expensive.” But in an uncanny stroke of fate, while still in the apartment, he got a call from his close friend, Paola Navone. The noted Italian designer immediately offered to go in with him, and the deal was sealed.