Toussaint school holidays: 8 things to do with kids on the French Riviera

October school holidays run from today until Sunday 4 November on the Côte d’Azur and it’s a time to sample some of the autumn activities in the region.

There are lots of school holiday options for kids that aren’t attending the centre de loisirs/centre aérés or booked on stages for holidays – I’ve written this post to highlight some of the free or low-cost activities for families with kids of all ages on the French Riviera.   Have a safe and enjoyable Toussaint vacances!

Saturday 20 October and Sunday 21 October

JUAN LES PINS:  The 4th edition of Village des Sciences et de l’Innovation is being held all weekend at the Palais des Congrès in Juan les Pins.  The event has more than 60 stands with games, educational activities and demonstrations.  If your children are interested in robots, tech, planets and science this is the place to go!  Entry is free of charge all weekend.  Opening hours are 1pm-7pm on Saturday, and 10am-6pm on Sunday.  See the programme here:  Village des Sciences et de l’Innovation 2018 Juan les Pins

fete de science juan les pins

Village des Sciences and de l’Innovation 2018 (image: AntibesJuanlesPins tourist office)

MOUANS-SARTOUX:  The RE-PLAY festival is being held at Gymnase René Friard in Mouans Sartoux and is a great option if your kids are into video gaming, cosplay or computers with retro games on display, competitions and workshops.  Entry is free for children under 10 years of age (limit of 2 kids per family), all others entry is €5.  The festival is open from 10am to 7pm all weekend.

replay festival mouans sartoux

RE-PLAY Festival 2018 in Mouans-Sartoux (image: L’agenda Geek)

Wednesday 24 October

CAGNES-SUR-MER:  Perfect for small children around 3-4 years of age, ‘Le grenier magique de Lili’ is a theatre show of 50 minutes duration with songs and magic.  It will be held at the Centre Culturel, 28 avenue de Verdun in Cagnes-sur-Mer at 3pm. Tickets cost €5 each and can be pre-purchased from the Tourism Office on boulevard Maréchal Juin.

Saturday 27 October and Sunday 28 October

FRÉJUS :  The Festival International de l’Air is a kite festival and is a great place to go where kids can watch over 100 kites in flight, as well as join in on free workshops.  The festival is hosted at Base Nature François Léotard (1196 Boulevard de la Mer, 83600 Fréjus) with free parking there.  Entry to the festival is free of charge, and opening hours are 10am-6pm on Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday.

Festival International de l’Air 2018 is a kite festival in Fréjus – video below is by ‘Là-bas, vu d’ici’.

Until 28 October

NICE:  The 3rd edition of Quinzaine des Théâtres is presenting a number of musicals, comedies, dances and recitals that coincide with Toussaint school holidays.  As well as a diverse programme, it gives local residents the chance to discover 21 theatres and venues in and near Nice.  Some of the family-friendly shows on offer include:

  • Beauty and the Beast (suitable for kids 7 years and upwards, duration 1 hour, cost €6) and Même pas peur! (for kids 5 years and upwards, duration 1 hour, cost €6) at the Théâtre Bellecour
  • La Fôret Magique, a show with magic and songs (suitable for kids 5 years and up, duration 50 mins, cost €5-7) at Théâte de la Cité
  • Les Contes du Maneki-Neko is a show based on traditional Japanese stories (suitable for kids 6 years and up, duration 50 mins, cost €6) at Théâtre de la Semeuse.

The full programme for Quinzaine des Théâtres 2018 is here:  Programme Quinzaine des Théâtres 2018

quinzaine des theatres

Les Contes du Maneki-Neko is just one of a diverse range of shows as part of Quinzaine des Théâtres 2018 (image: Culturo)

Tuesday 30 October and Wednesday 31 October

NICE:  Espace Magnan is hosting the Fête du Cinéma d’Animation over 2 days with films suitable for children 3 years upwards.  Most films for younger ages average around 45 minutes duration, while films for older kids are around 1 hour -1.5 hours in length.  Tickets cost €6 – €7 each depending on sessions and can be pre-purchased via Espace Magnan’s website.  You can see the festival programme here:  Fête du Cinéma d’Animation 2018 programme

Halloween on the French Riviera

Halloween, recognised on 31st October, hasn’t always been traditionally observed in France but it is very popular now.  Schools host Halloween parties and local towns are getting more ‘into the spirit (pun intended)’ by giving out bon bons to children and putting up decorations.

As Halloween falls during Toussaint school holidays, there are plenty of activities happening.  The following day Toussaint (All Saints Day) is a bank holiday and a day where lives of deceased relatives are remembered.

Halloween costumes & decorations : French Riviera

There are many stores on the French Riviera that sell ready-made Halloween costumes and accessories, or for DIY inspiration you can look on Pinterest or Good Housekeeping that have loads of fun and inexpensive ideas.

If you’re looking for Halloween costumes for kids, spooky decorations and party items, the best places to go on the French Riviera are :

  • The €1 and €2 stores – Maxi Bazaar, Maximart and Destock – which always stock things such as tridents, plastic cauldrons and skeletons, and trick-or-treat buckets.
  • La Foir’Fouille in Antibes, Grasse and Mandelieu
  • GiFi in Antibes (near Decathlon), Callian, Cannes La Bocca, Fréjus, Grasse, Menton
  • IdéaFête in Villeneuve Loubet, Nice St Isidore or Mougins
  • Fêter et Recevoir in Cannes La Bocca and Nice
  • Carrefour

Trick or treating in neighbourhoods on the French Riviera is not as popular as other countries, with children mostly going around village shops or towns.

Some family-friendly Halloween 2018 activities this year on the French Riviera are:

  • Valbonne village is very popular for trick or treating from afternoon onwards.
  • Hard Rock Café in Nice hosts Halloween events each year.  This year, on both Saturday 27 October and Sunday 28 October between 9.30am-midday they welcome families for a Halloween-themed breakfast, kids workshop and magic show.  Reservation is necessary; cost is €16 each child under 10 years of age, free for under 2 years of age, €19 for adults. Email them to book: nice_sales@hardrock.com 
  • Espace Magnan in Nice has a special screening of ‘Mary et la fleur de la sorcière‘ at 2pm.  Suitable for kids 8 years up, children can go in costume and participate in a colouring-in competition to win cinema tickets.  Cost:  €6 per child
  • Parc Alpha Loup has Halloween celebrations running all through school holidays until 4 November.  Any children under 12 years of age who come in Halloween costume get free entry – a hat doesn’t justify free entry, you must dress up with some effort!   Note: The Alpha Loup website address given on all posters now redirects to Pure Montagne (the rebranded regional site for Côte d’Azur mountain activities and tourist sites).

Parc Alpha Loup for Halloween 2018

  • Vesubia Mountain Park is having a Halloween night party on Friday 2 November that includes abseiling by black light (essentially glow-in-the-dark!)  Entry is reduced to half price for kids under 12 years that come in costume.  More info is here:  Vesubia Mountain Park Halloween 2018

Until 3 November

CANNES:  P’tits Cannes à You is a family-friendly festival aimed at kids 3-13 years and comprises a programme of marionette shows, creative workshops, dance, theatre and music.  The programme includes things such as a screening of Paddington 2 on October 22 and 25, a marionette show on October 24 suitable for kids from 2 years upwards and regular storytelling sessions for toddlers.  Find the full schedule here:   P’tits Cannes à You 2018 programme

P'tits Cannes à You

P’tits Cannes à You is an annual festival with film, shows and workshops for kids (image: Ville de Cannes)

Thanks for reading my Toussaint school holidays blog post – please share it on social media if you’ve found it useful. Thanks!

 

Advertisements

Journées Européennes du Patrimoine / European Heritage Days

Every year in France there is a fantastic initiative called the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine (European Heritage Days) where residents and tourists have the chance to visit historical, cultural and architectural sites for no entry fee or heavily reduced entrance fees.

This year, the 35th edition is held this weekend – Saturday 15 September and Sunday 16 September 2018 – and over 17,000 monuments throughout France open their doors for special activities and events.

Journees Européennes du Patrimoine 2018

Journees Européennes du Patrimoine 2018 (image: JEP)

Journées du Patrimoine / European Heritage Days 2018 on the French Riviera:

Some of the participating sites on the French Riviera include:

Antibes

  • Lou Pitchoun Musée chez Bernard Boetti, Jardin Thuret, Médiatheque Antibes, Musée de la Carte Postale, Musée Peynet, Picasso Museum

Biot

  • Musée Fernand Léger

Cagnes-sur-Mer

  • Musée Renoir
Musée Renoir, Cagnes-sur-Mer

Musée Renoir, Cagnes-sur-Mer

Cannes

  • Château Font de Veyre, Forrtified monastery of Abbaye de Lérins (Ile Saint-Honorat), Chapelle Bellini, La Malmaison art centre, Musée de la Castre (Le Suquet), Musée de la Mer (Ile St-Marguerite)

Fréjus

  • The archaeological crypt

Le Cannet

  • Musée Bonnard

Lucéram

  • Église Saint Marguerite

Menton

  • Jardin Fontana Rosa

Montauroux

  • Moulin à huile

Nice

  • Cathédrale St Réparate, Église Saint François du Paul, Espac Olympia, Fort de Mont Alban, Grotte du Lazaret, Hôtel de Ville, MAMAC art gallery, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Musée National Marc Chagall, Musée National du Sport
Musée National Chagall (image: kfntravelguide)

Musée National Marc Chagall (image: kfntravelguide)

Sospel

  • Maginot de l’Agaisan

Vallauris

  • Musée Magnelli

Vence

  • Musée de Vence

Villefranche-sur-Mer

  • Église Saint Michel

Villeneuve Loubet

  • Château de Vaugrenier, the medieval fortress in the village

Chateau Vaugrenier (image: Platforme Events)

TRANSPORT for Journées du Patrimoine

In conjunction with the Journées du Patrimoine, there are various transport deals across the French Riviera this weekend offering free or reduced tickets for travel including:

€5 unlimited travel train tickets on the TER network for travel each day on Saturday 15 September and Sunday 16 September only on the French Riviera coast. For example, a return ticket Juan les Pins to Monaco is approximately €15, or a ZOU! Carte (daily pass) is usually €15 until 30 September so make use of this great deal!   Note:  This €5 offer is also available on 19 September as part of the Semaine Européenne de Mobilité.

Return ferry from Cannes to Ile Saint-Marguerite for €12.50 per adult (usually €15 per adult; no discount for children)

€1,50 for unlimited bus travel all day on Saturday 15 September in Cannes with Palm Bus www.palmbus.fr

Free travel all day in Saint Raphael on Saturday 15 September on the routes with Agglobus www.agglobus-cavem.com

Free travel all day in Monaco on Sunday 16 September on the 6 bus lines with CAM and the Bateau bus www.cam.mc

JOURNÉES DU PATRIMOINE CÔTE D’AZUR SITES

The official programme for participating sites in France is available here: Journées du Patrimoine Programme

Share this article on Facebook, or retweet on Twitter

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Guide : What to expect

Monaco Yacht Show is one of the key superyacht events in the Mediterranean and will be hosted at Port Hercules from 26th to 29th September 2018.

Each year, exhibitors from across the nautical industry join around 120 superyachts that are displayed, with 40 yachts being world premieres and 50% of the yachts being less than 2 years old.

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Exhibitors

The hundreds of exhibitors that attend Monaco Yacht Show are a representation of all sectors within the superyacht sector.

They include yacht designers and naval architects, shipyards, engineers, yacht brokers, charter agents, shipyards, marine supplies, yacht toys, tenders, marinas, tourism companies and crew.

The show is separated into zones to differentiate sectors:

  • Quai Albert 1er will host yards, naval architects and brokers adjacent to the yachts they’re displaying
  • Quai Jarlan will host part of the tenders zone
  • Parvis Piscine and the Upper Deck Lounge will display prestige luxury goods, furnishings and interiors
  • Darse Sud has marine suppliers and technical equipment
  • Quai Antoine 1er has the Tenders & Toys zones, the Art Pavilion, the luxury Car Deck, Press Centre and the Starboard Lounge

To find out who is attending, click here Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Exhibitors List

exhibitors mys 2018

Monaco Yacht Show is one of the most important annual boat shows for the marine industry (image: MYS)

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Yachts

Visitors and exhibitors at MYS are always eager to learn which yachts will be on display.  This year, some of the boats include:

6.31m Williams Diesel Jet 625

williams tenders mys

The Williams Diesel Jet 625 will be on display at MYS 2018 (image: Boat International)

10m Pascoe Open Limousine

33.5m Riva 110 Dolcevita, Riva

yachts monaco yacht show 2018

Riva 110 Dolcevita (image: MYS)

Tansu Yachts 43.7m Cyclone

47.2m Sanlorenzo 500xp, Sanlorenzo

49.98m Cecilia, Wider Yachts

cecilia wider yachts

MY Cecilia by Wider Yachts (image: MYS)

49.9m Flying Dagger, Rossinavi

50m Latona, CRN

54m El Leon in the new Mangusta GranSport line, Overmarine

55.5m Power Play, Damen

57.7m Volpini 2, the first hull in the limited edition 188 series by AMELS

volpini 2

M/Y Volpini 2 by Amels (image: MYS)

72m Solo by Tankoa

74.5m Elandess, Abeking & Rasmussen

77m Go, Turquoise Yachts

superyacht go turquoise yachts

M/Y GO by Turquoise Yachts (image: MYS)

90m DAR a.k.a Project Shark, built in the Netherlands by Oceanco

dar project shark mys 2018

DAR a.k.a Project Shark was built in the Netherlands by Oceanco (image: MYS)

95.2m Kismet, Lurssen

To find out which yachts are attending MYS 2018, click here Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Yacht List

VIP Experiences at Monaco Yacht Show 2018

Private superyacht clients can join tailor-made experiences at Monaco Yacht Show.  The Sapphire Experience and ‘Infinite’ are the official VIP programs of the show and include an invitation to the opening gala, participation in the Monaco Yacht Summit, a courtesy car service and private visits on board yachts at the show.

Monaco Yacht Show has official VIP programs called the Sapphire Experience and ‘Infinite’ (image: copyright 2017 MC-Clic)

At the show

In-show transport

At the show, there are plenty of options to move between exhibitor zones and stands.  Make use of the shuttle boats that cross the port between the main quays, and the electric golf carts that travel between Quai Rainer II and Quai Jarlan.

Here is a Map of Shuttle boat routes at MYS and golf carts.

Food & beverage

Feeling thirsty or peckish?  Here are the in-show food and beverage options:

  • The restaurant and Champagne bar at the Upper Deck Lounge is open from 10am to 6.30pm daily (lunch service from midday).
  • The café at the Starboard Lounge opens daily from 10am to 6.30pm (lunch service from midday).
  • Coffee/snack zone at Café Lucciana on Jetée Lucciana from 10.30am to 6.30pm daily.
  • For uniformed crew, you can visit the C&C Lounge between 8.30am and 7pm.

Wifi

The show Wifi hotspots will enable you to connect to Wifi to reach out to clients and keep on top of your business during the week.  Here is the map of Wifi zones and mobile charging spots – note:  All zones are accessible for show visitors, except the MYS Captains and Crew Lounge is for uniformed crew only.

wifi at mys

Wifi at Monaco Yacht Show 2018

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 parties

During the 4 days of the show, there are a number of charity galas, social meet-ups and cocktail parties.  Here are some of the parties and social events during Monaco Yacht Show 2018:

Tuesday 25 September

The London 2 Monaco charity cycle ride in support of Blue Marine Foundation has their after-party for all the riders and teams after they arrive at the Palace of Monaco – the London 2 Monaco party is sponsored by Icon Connect.

L2M after party

The London to Monaco cycle ride after-party last year (image: Icon Connect)

The MYS Inaugural Gala Party also takes place on the Tuesday night where 400 invited guests attend the 5th Monaco Yacht Show Superyacht Awards; more info is here MYS Inaugural Gala Party.

Wednesday 26 September

4.30pm-6.30pm  Informal business drinks at the Isle of Man stand at Darse Sud

5pm onwards  Yachtneeds hosts drinks, live music and entertainment at their stand (DSE7)

7pm till late The Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean under the High Patronage of H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco (invitation necessary)

monaco gala for the ocean

Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean (image: Getty Images/FPA2)

7.30pm till late IGY Marinas James Bond party at the Monaco Yacht Club (invite only)

8pm till late  The SXM Crew party at the ACREW and IMM Crew Lounge at La Rascasse.

Thursday 27 September

5pm onwards  Yachtneeds hosts drinks, live music and entertainment at their stand (DSE7)

yachtneeeds mys 2018

YachtNeeds has live music, drinks and entertainment every day during Monaco Yacht Show 2018

6pm onwards Invite-only cocktail party hosted by Zytexx at La Rascasse.

8pm-10pm  PYA Sea Changes rooftop networking drinks, sponsored by Onshore Cellars and Ocean Pantry. This event is part of the PYA Sea Changes Forum which is free for PYA members; others must register and pay a small fee via the PYA Monaco Sea Changes forum Eventbrite page.

Friday 28 September

5pm onwards  Yachtneeds hosts drinks, live music and entertainment at their stand (DSE7)

5pm-7pm  Drinks and nibbles courtesy of TINO Stone at the ACREW & IMM Garden Lounge at La Rascasse.

6pm-9pm Club Vivanova Summer Yacht Party at Le Méridien Beach Plaza (entry fee applies).

7pm-9pm  Yacht Chandlers hosts an event strictly for Captains and Crew at the Star Deck at Stars n Bars. Details below:

Other events during the week include the Amels/Damen party, Boat International party (video of 2017 party shown below), Feadship’s event, Lurssen’s popular soirée, My Yacht Group’s annual yacht party and China Night.

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 tips

  • Wear comfortable footwear – you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
  • Check the weather forecast – it may be a hot sunny week or thunderstorms; pack for the weather conditions.
  • There is no coat check or luggage storage facility at the show, so bear this in mind if you have valuable items with you, jackets or laptops.
  • Visitors are permitted to take photos and videos within the show zone. The exception is the use of drones which are forbidden inside the MYS perimeter (aside from the official drone operator, MC Clic).
  • Download the Monaco Show app for maps of the show.  You can get it on the App Store or Google Play.
  • Check train schedules to and from Monaco as evening trains run less frequently.  Taxis can be quite pricey, so plan transport in advance.  Monacair offers promotions for helicopter transfers between Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and the heliport at Fontvieille including private car transfers to the show or any address in Monaco.  Use promo code ‘MYS2018’; to book a heli transfer you can download the Monacair app or visit them at the show above La Rascasse at point N on the show map.
  • Follow the show on social media and use hashtags #MYS2018 #monacoyachtshow #MYSexperience
shuttle boats monaco yacht show

Make use of the in-show transport to save time at Monaco Yacht Show 2018 (image copyright Alina Garazhenko / Ameller Malcorps)

MYS 2018 at a glance

Monaco Yacht Show adapts each year ensuring owners, potential buyers and the industry itself evolves through B2B networking and feedback.  Here’s the show at a glance:

Monaco Yacht Show (image: copyright 2017 MC-Clic)

Yearly visitor numbers:  36,400 (stat from 2017 show)

Exhibitors:  590 exhibitors from 38 countries

Yachts:  120 superyachts, 40 debuts, 50% are less than 2 years old, 49m is the average length of yacht on display at MYS.

Luxury showcases:  10 prestige cars at the Car Deck, 2 helicopters on display at Parvis Piscine and Quai Antoine 1er, luxury exhibitors at Parvis Piscine and the Upper Deck Lounge including Dassault Aviation, Paola Lenti and ProtectStone

Date / opening times :  Wednesday 26th September to Saturday 29th September from 10am to 6.30pm

Tickets:  Tickets are available for purchase on the official MYS website, or at the show at one of the three entrances.  This year, ticket prices have increased – buy MYS tickets here.  Children under 12 years of age are free.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there!  Please share this MYS 2018 guide on social media if you’ve found it informative. Thank you!

 

 

 

PLAYGROUNDS on the French Riviera

I thought it was due time to update my previous blog post about playgrounds on the French Riviera.  If you have children, the region has lots of options for playground fun.

I have included mostly free public options in my list here, so if you have any questions feel free to post your question in the comments below the post (if there is an entrance fee I have specified where relevant).

This is by no means an exhaustive list, just an overview of a few playgrounds we have tried and tested on the Côte d’Azur.

PLAYGROUNDS ON THE CÔTE D’AZUR

ANTIBES

– UPDATE 19 August 2018:  Unfortunately, the 2 public playgrounds in Antibes old town on rue Republique, beside the carousel and main post office (La Poste) have been closed due to construction works for the Marenda Lacan new shopping precinct.  Construction work has been stalled for some months now, so it is a great shame that tourists and local residents have no playgrounds for use during summer 2018. The nearest public playground to old town Antibes is on the way to Salis beach at the bottom of Albert 1er.

– 2 public playgrounds at Salis beach (plage du Ponteil) – one is nearer to the Archaeology Museum beside the boules pitch and there is a public toilet beside that; the other is very small and located opposite the carpark at the beach.

The Jardin Enfant Albert 1er is the closest playground to old town Antibes

– Small fenced playground on the corner of avenue Philippe Rochat and avenue Mas Ensoleillé.

– Medium-sized fenced playground between route de Grasse and Hameau de la Palmeraie with climbing structures, rocking horses, slides.

– A playground at Les Semboules area, next to Jacques Prévert school.  This is a great playground for hot days as it is entirely shaded by trees.  Plenty of free carparking across the road.  Suitable for toddler age to older kids, there is also a basketball court and ping-pong table adjacent and picnic tables. No toilet facilities onsite and the water fountain doesn’t work, but a great playground nonetheless because it is a community playground and never busy.

– Parc Départemental Valmasque:  Between Antibes and Mougins this large park has forest walks, fitness trails and playground equipment.  Lots of shady trees, picnic tables and toilet facilities.

Indoor soft play centre – Royal Kids – has slides, ball pits, motorised cars. Suitable for babies up to 12 years. Admission fee applies. www.royalkids.fr

CAGNES SUR MER

– Large playground zone beside parking Villette.  There is an accessible pay toilet beside the playground. Lots of play equipment for different ages including climbing frames, swings (including a baby swing), rockers as well as a mock road system which is great for scooters and bikes.

CANNES

– A playground is located at Square Mistral which is a good option for beach goers along the boulevard du Midi.  It is 5 minutes flat walk from Cannes Vieux Port.

– Adjacent to the Palais des Festivals on boulevard de Croisette (near to the public beach where the Petit Train departs from):  Children’s entertainment area including carousel, funfair stalls, snack kiosks.  There is a small climbing frame, but it’s pretty unimaginative.  Public toilets are nearby on the beachside of the Croisette.

– Further along boulevard de Croisette in the direction of Port Pierre Canto, there is another public playground at the end of the beach with playground equipment.

CANNES LA BOCCA

– Indoor soft play – FunCity, 47 avenue Maurice Chevalier, 06150 Cannes la Bocca:  Indoor playground facility with designated playareas for different ages, large climbing frames with tunnels, nets, slides, trampolines, soft toys, ball pits, inflatables, mini-karts, onsite restaurant for snacks and gift boutique.  Entrance fee payable http://cannes.fun-city.fr

GOLFE JUAN

– Small playground at Square Nabonnand on the main road by the post office.

JUAN LES PINS

– Main playground is at Pinède Gould (also known as Jardin de la Pinède) with playground equipment, mini-train, dodgem bumper cars and mini-carousel. (Rides are chargeable). There are also squirrels to watch that roam free in the pine trees in the park.

– Another carousel is on avenue Guy de Maupassant on the Juan les Pins promenade beside Le Ruban Bleu restaurant, and just along from the carousel toward La Jétee restaurant there are go-karts and trampolines in summer.

– There is a public playground/park at Jardin Pauline (corner of rue Pauline and boulevard Raymond Poincaré).  Lots of trees so it’s great for hot days!

– Another small fenced public playground at Square Duluys (corner of rue St-Marguerite and boulevard Raymond Poincaré).

– Parc Exflora, chemin du Vallauris, between Juan les Pins and Golfe Juan:  Large open grassed area for picnics (no playground equipment).  Small lake for feeding ducks.  You can obtain access to the public beach via a tunnel under the coast road/railway line.  Across the road from Parc Exflora on the corner of chemin des Eucalyptus there is a boules pitch and a small playground with public toilets nearby.

LA COLLE SUR LOUP

– Ludiparc, 1401 route du Pont de Pierre, 06480 Le Colle sur Loup: Park set on 4.8 hectares with trees and river frontage, playground equipment, climbing frames, trampolines, inflatable castles, mini-golf, ping-pong tables, restaurant onsite for snacks, carparking onsite, Wifi connection, baby changing table.  Entrance fee payable €4 (free for children under 3 years) www.ludiparc.fr  Note:  The terrace and toilet facilities are not wheelchair accessible.  The biggest benefit of Ludiparc is they have water activities that are perfect for hot days including a splash park and access to the River Loup.

Ludiparc, La Colle sur Loup (photo: Vence Tourisme)

– There are a few public playareas in La Colle sur Loup – on rue Max Barel in the village, at Jeu de Baume down from the rue Clémenceau, and at the Parc de la Guérinière.

MONACO/MONTE CARLO

While not technically classed as part of France, I have included Monaco/Monte Carlo as many visitors stay in Monaco or daytrip there.

– If you have children you can stop at Parc Princesse Antoinette (Princess Antoinette Gardens), La Condamine, 54 bis boulevard du Jardin Exotique, 98000 Monaco – a free park with go-karts and a playground.  Older children can be entertained there by mini golf, badminton, ping-pong, a football pitch and basketball courts.

– There are carousels near the Stade Nautique, and on the Larvotto Esplanade. – In the Fontvielle area, there is a playground by the Princess Grace Rose Garden and a carousel near the Fontvielle Big Top. Kids can wander around the Trocadéro Gardens, or after some retail therapy the family can enjoy time out at the children’s playground area at the end of the pedestrianised rue Princesse Caroline.

– Another great spot to take the kids and escape the bustle of Monaco, is the free Japanese Garden on avenue Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo – a real oasis of serenity with  waterfalls, stone bridges and Zen gardens.  You can’t run around or kick balls but it’s a nice zone to wander through.

MOUANS SARTOUX

-Playground at the Château

MOUGINS

– Free entry playground at Ecoparc Mougins, on chemin de Fontaine de Currault. Accessible eco-toilet onsite at the playground, climbing frames, swings (including a baby swing), small ropes courses, playhouses, balancing beams. The play area has seating and lots of trees for shade. Nearby at the Ecoparc centre is a cafeteria that sells cold drinks and icecreams, and sometimes there are amusement rides such as vertical bungee or bouncy castles set up in summer (rides are payable).

NICE

– Parc du Chateau, rue de Foresta/Montée Monfort:  Located at the end of quai des Etats-Unis overlooking Nice, this park is on the hilltop with old ruins, a waterfall, playground, restaurant, lookout points over Nice city and port and snack kiosk.  There are public toilets onsite.  You can take an elevator up from quai des Etats-Unis, or if you are stroller-free walk up the numerous stairs for a wonderful view from the top.

– Parc Phoenix – find out more about Parc Phoenix here.

– Located on the western edge of the ‘Musiciens’ quarter in Nice (so named because the streets and squares are named after famous musicians such as Verdi) you can find the Jardin Alsace Lorraine, 30 boulevard Gambetta, with park benches, statues and a fenced in children’s playground.

-Parc Carol de Roumanie with water sprinklers and play equipment

– Central Nice play area – There is a carousel at Albert 1er gardens, also the Promenade du Paillon/Couloir Verte playarea at place Massena with sprinklers, wooden play structures, swings.  Accessible toilets onsite.

– Parc du Castel des Deux Rois not far from Nice Port with playground, water sprinklers in summer, mini-farm, accessible pay toilet, snack kiosk, lots of grass to kick a ball around, cycle paths

ParcCasteldesdeuxrois2

Parc du Castel des Deux Rois, Nice

OPIO

– Parc de Loisirs on the Carrefour du Piol, D3 d’Opio-Valbonne is a great park with a big playground zone with play equipment for just-walking age, toddlers and older kids.  Slides, climbing ladders, basketball court, exercise station, cycle paths, grassy areas for kicking balls around, accessible public toilet, picnic tables. No snack kiosk onsite but there is a bakery nearby towards Valbonne. Between May-mid June they install skate ramps for initiations in skateboarding and roller blading.

Parc de Loisirs, Opio (playground Opio)

Parc de Loisirs, Opio (playground Opio)

Parc de Loisirs, Opio (playground Opio)

Parc de Loisirs, Opio (playground Opio)

ST TROPEZ

– Plage des Graniers, located beneath the St Tropez citadel gets busy in summer but is family-friendly and offers a few different playgrounds beach-side.

– Plage des Jumeaux, route d’Epi, Plage de Pampelonne, Ramatuelle is a good place to take kids where adults can watch the kids on the playground on the beach.

VALBONNE/SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS:

– Playground in Valbonne on Val du Tuveret beside the big carpark and skate park.  There is a toddler playground on the road with Hôtel de Ville and the Abbaye de Valbonne.

– Parc des Bouillides, route du Parc, 06560 Valbonne Sophia Antipolis:  It is closer to the Sophia Antipolis area than Valbonne but is zoned as Valbonne by the local parks.  Access from Antibes is via route du Parc and look for the small side road on the right-hand side with a small sign leading to the restaurant ‘La Source’ and carpark. Fenced playground with soft matted area, running track, walking trails, also has municipal sports athletics club, climbing wall, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts, skate park.  Picnic tables all through the park, and paved pathways which are well-maintained for scooters and bikes.  No toilet facilities onsite.

VILLEFRANCHE-SUR-MER

– A public playground is located at les Jardins de l’Octroi, Square François Binon, 06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer.

– Another small public playground is also beside Port de la Darse, you can reach it via the coastal pathway below the Citadelle but be aware that this pathway while paved is uneven in places.

public playground by Darse port

Public playground by Darse port in Villefranche sur Mer

VILLENEUVE LOUBET

– Parc de Vaugrenier:  2 kilometres towards Nice from Antibes this park has walking paths, picnic tables and forest walks.  A children’s playground area, nature trail, wooden confidence course and accessible toilet facilities are at the eastern entrance.  There is also a lookout hut over the lake to view turtles.

NOTE:  For a map and more details of other playgrounds in the region, Nice Matin has a great interactive map with location pins that you can find here: Playgrounds on the Côte d’Azur

 

Review of Antibes Free Walking Tours

Antibes is one of the French Riviera’s most popular destinations and rightly so – it has amazing history, beautiful old buildings, interesting monuments, great restaurants, fantastic festivals, an award-winning market and it’s a photogenic place too!

antibes old town

Antibes is a photographer’s dream with picturesque buildings and streets

Recently, I joined a tour with Antibes Free Walking Tours to discover the best of Antibes in a few hours and find out why this relatively new company is being talked about!

Why did I join the tour when I am a local?

I know A LOT about Antibes, however I was very interested in finding out what this tour offers visitors to the Côte d’Azur and how it shares insight about daily French life, the towns rich history, popular attractions and hidden areas of a destination that only a local would know.

antibes sightseeing

Antibes Free Walking Tours lets you discover authentic back streets like a local

My tour benefits

Whether you’re a solo traveller or visiting Antibes as part of a group, here’s my feedback on the benefits of taking this tour:

  • Even though the tour is guided it moves at a good pace – it is not rushed nor too slow.
antibes guide tour

This tour moves at a good pace – neither too fast nor too slow

  • The tour is fun and educational.  Cédric has a great sense of humour and he knows so many facts and figures about Antibes.  I have been on many tours around the world and it’s so great to meet a tour guide who is smiley and enthusiastic (which is not always the case in different cities!)
  • A true representation of Antibes.  I was listening very carefully and he was 100% correct with historic dates and places so you can be assured that he is giving an honest representation of the town.
visiting antibes

Discover Antibes highlights with this guided tour

  • Chance to meet other travellers.  One of the best thing about travelling is meeting other people.  The day I joined in, other tour participants were from Sweden, Belgium, Canada and England.

Antibes is a fantastic destination and you’ll learn about the history and people on this tour

  • A good mix of locations included in the tour.  The tour visits popular places as well as lesser visited places of interest and back streets. You get to see various areas of Old Town Antibes such as Marché Provençal (the covered market), Free Commune of Safranier, the remparts, Picasso Museum and the port.
picasso museum antibes

Learn about some of Antibes top attractions such as the Picasso Musueum, as well as lesser known places

  • The opportunity to learn about Antibes in a few hours.  I’ve done them all in various global destinations – self-guided walking tours, full day group tours that cram in 50 popular touristy spots (hello, London!), tourist trains, audio guided tours.  This tour is the perfect antidote if you have limited time in Antibes.
  • Not ‘salesy’ or pushy.  I think it’s important to mention that this tour doesn’t feel like a directed crawl to various places that the tour guide gets a commission or backhander for taking people there.  Cedric has a background in I.T but due to a lifestyle change he has realised his passion for tourism and sharing his love for Antibes.  At no time did I feel obligated to buy or try anything along the way, it is a very relaxed yet professionally run tour. Cedric is personable and open to suggesting other places you can visit outside of joining the tour.

Who would suit this tour?

This tour would appeal to many different tourists with wide interests because it takes in so many aspects of Antibes.  Whether you like food, history, art, natural landscapes or finding out about French culture you won’t be disappointed.   Even for a local like me, I found it interesting and informative.  Here is a snapshot of the kinds of travellers who I believe would enjoy this Antibes tour:

  • Small groups – couples, families, friends
  • Cruise ship passengers or yacht charter guests looking for an onshore excursion of a few hours duration that gives an overview of Antibes, its history and top places of interest
  • Art or history enthusiasts (the tour includes information about some well-known attractions such as the Picasso Museum as well as lesser known spots such as Chapelle St-Bernandin and the Peynet Museum)
antibes churches

Step inside some of the beautiful places in Antibes

  • People who like quirky facts (Personally, I really love tours that include quirky or surprising information. You’ll hear some fun facts about Antibes and France including the history of absinthe (pastis’ nemesis!), the evolution of the city’s remparts and famous people who visit the area).
antibes free walking tour

Learn fun facts about Antibes and France on this tour

What time is the tour?

The Antibes Free Walking Tours explores the heart of Antibes Old Town from Tuesday to Saturday.

Tours depart at 10.30am daily from Place de Gaulle, near the fountain in the square opposite Monoprix and last around 2 hours.

Note: The fountain isn’t operating on Thursday or Saturday due to the market, so just look for the guide in the red shirt.  It’s recommended to reserve a place in advance.

How to book 

You can find Antibes Free Walking Tours on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or drop them a line via their website.

I enjoyed the tour so much I have added reviews for them on TripAdvisor where I’m a Top Contributor with over 50 global reviews of hotels, resorts, restaurants and attractions and Wiki Places for Kids.

Disclosure:   I was kindly invited to a Special Bloggers Day with Antibes Free Walking Tours to experience the tour myself.  As I believe in supporting businesses who represent the Côte d’Azur to a high standard, I am listed as a Partner on the website.  However, as always, this review is my honest interpretation of what was offered.

https://fragments.fuzed.io/v1/sdk.js
https://fragments.fuzed.io/v1/simple/iframe/source.html?button-mode=true&rounded-corners=true&info-mode=false&image-mode=true&lng=7.12510199999997&name=Antibes&border=true&shadow=true&key=fec4996ec6e67f30ff5cac218651e4be&lat=43.58041799999999&

UPDATE: Best of Du Off programme update for Jazz à Juan 2018

Due to the fact that the French football team has made the World Cup final this evening, there have been modifications to the performance times for Best of Du Off today.

Best of Du Off

Best of Du Off is a series of free concerts during the Jazz à Juan Festival held in the streets of Antibes and Juan les Pins.  It is an energetic family-friendly day, featuring bands of different styles. 

best of du off

Best of Du Off 2018 – the schedule for the free concerts during Jazz à Juan has been modified to allow Festival visitors to watch the World Cup final

The atmosphere is usually very friendly with busy restaurants and bars.  Originally, all concerts were to be performed from the early evening onwards, however the performance times have been modified today to allow visitors to the Festival the chance to enjoy the football final. 

Juan les Pins concerts will now be from 11.30am to 12.30pm and Antibes concerts are from 4pm to 5pm – for the updated list of today’s locations and performance times, find out more here Best of Du Off 2018

6 Ways to mark Fête Nationale 2018

Fête Nationale, often referred by as Bastille Day, is recognised on 14 July each year in commemoration of the storming of the Bastille in Paris in 1789.

Throughout France and its territories, people gather on this day for parties, parades and feasting in the ultimate display of patriotism.  The televised coverage of the traditional défilé in Paris and along the Champs-Élysées is particularly impressive involving military tanks, cavalry, aircraft fly overs by the Patrouille de France, jets and helicopters and the customary appearance from the French President.

fete nationale 2018

The annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Élysées avenue near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on July 14, 2018. (photo: AFP PHOTO / Ludovic MARIN)

As well, there are public events hosted across the country including balls and fireworks displays.  Here are 6 ways you can ring in Fête Nationale this year:

1. Watch the national day parades

The main event is hosted in Paris from morning with televised coverage on all major French TV stations and news channels.  Expect military formations, speeches and La Marseillaise!

2. Follow the Tour de France 2018 coverage

Whether you’re a cyclist or not, the Tour de France is one of the world’s most viewed sports races.  Fête Nationale coincides with Stage Eight of the tour from Dreux to Amiens – you can follow Stage Eight coverage here:  Tour de France route

Follow stage 8 of the Tour de France on Bastille Day 2018 (photo: AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

3. Drink French wine and Champagne

I’m not going to argue with this as there are so many fantastic French wines and of course, Champagne!

For a glass of inspiration, head to:

About France : Introduction to the wines of France

Decanters August 2018 guide with 93 rosés tasted beyond Provence, whites from Languedoc and Crémants

The Yacht Cru Wine Guide : France (Rough Regions Guide)

champagne fete nationale

Champagne for Fête Nationale (photo: Pulsd)

Of course, if adults are having a glass of something alcoholic you can keep the kids happy by whipping up fun drinks such as this non-alcoholic sangria!

4. Splurge on French-themed patisseries

French patisseries love a national holiday to showcase their skills and you’ll find every patisserie will display macarons, cakes, tarts and eclairs in the window decorated with icing, sprinkles or bon bons in the tricolore.

Sweet treats for Fête Nationale (photo: Pinterest)

5. Join in on a game of boules

Every town in France has a boules pitch and if you’ve ever wanted to learn the game, today is the day!  Usually, there are park benches beside boules pitches so even if you feel unsure you can always sit and watch the locals play.

Boules in St Tropez anyone? (photo: Dandy Magazine)

6. Attend the memorial service in Nice

Two years ago on this day, Nice was affected by a cowardly attack on a night where people were in good spirits attending the fireworks display.  Sadly, 86 people lost their lives including a number of children and almost 500 people were injured.

I did not write a blog post at that time as I felt incredible sadness for the victims and their families.  In the days following, I was asked to do a radio interview and my aim was to speak about the city they love and live in and focus on the Nice I know.

Tourists have kept coming to Nice.

Daily life has continued as the city moves on with remembrance and resilience.

Nice will always be a place that mixes not divides cultures.  You will find those blue chairs on the Prom, munch on some hot socca and enjoy a cold glass of rosé.

Two years have passed, but flying into Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and seeing that turquoise sea still moves people to call it home.  There are wonderful museums, beautiful buildings, interesting markets and pretty shops selling the best olive oil, fragrant soaps, hand made chocolates and vintage postcards.

Thank you to the city of Nice for remembering the people with a memorial service today.  There will be a free concert from 9.15pm by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Nice and at 10.34pm, 86 balloons will be released at Jardin Albert 1er with 86 light beams into the sky from the Promenade des Anglais.  You can find out the details below for the journée d’hommage:

fete nationale 2018

Fête Nationale 2018 in Nice (image: VilledeNice)

NOTE: I have had many requests for information about the summer fireworks displays on the French Riviera.  I love fireworks, however out of personal choice I won’t be publishing a public guide for the regional fireworks dates as I would like to continue showing solidarity to the families of the Nice attack.

I shall leave you to recognise Fête Nationale in your own way – beach picnics, parades or simply enjoying the sunshine or a meal with family and friends.  A year ago, I shared this video – filmed and edited by Fabien Ecochard; it still holds a poignantly beautiful capture of life in Nice:

Bonne Fête!