Halloween 2021 for families on the French Riviera

Halloween has grown in popularity in France and the Côte d’Azur with lots of options for fun family-friendly activities before and during this year’s Halloween date, Sunday 31st October.

Trick-or-treating from house to house isn’t that popular here compared to overseas, with children mostly going around village shops and towns.

Halloween in France always falls during the Toussaint school holidays so you can be sure of finding something to see or do that suits most ages.  The day after Halloween is Toussaint’s Day (All Saints Day), 1st November, and on this day French people traditionally visit cemeteries often taking chrysanthemums and praying for their deceased relatives and saints (This is why leading up to Halloween in France you will see lots of chrysanthemums for sale at florists and supermarkets).

This isn’t an exhaustive list as there’s not as many Halloween events happening this year, but here are a few options for Halloween 2021 on the French Riviera:

Antibes

Antibes usually has an informal trick-or-treat walk around whereby local children wander around the old town stores on 31st October asking for candy.   Because Halloween falls on a Sunday, I think there won’t be too much happening in old town Antibes for families, however the Blue Lady Pub has a Halloween day starting from 3pm.

Cannes La Bocca

Fun City is an indoor play venue that’s good for rainy days or when your kids need to burn off energy. Their Cannes La Bocca venue is holding a Halloween night with disco.

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Details:

Fun City Halloween 2021

Friday 29th October from 7.30pm to 11.30pm

Kids: €20 each including entry to Fun City play zones, disco and kids menu (nuggets, crepe, candy)

Adults:  €22 each as above with adult food option being lasagna and tarte au citron or chocolate tart.

Tickets:  Pre-book online here: https://fun-city-cannes.qweekle.com/shop/fun-city-cannes/multi/halloween

Le Rouret

Little monsters from 3 years of age upwards can head along to an afternoon Halloween party at the Thêatre du Rouret with a fancy dress ball, games and Halloween gouter.

Details:

Le Rouret ‘Bal des Petits Monstres’ 2021

Sunday 31st October from 3pm to 5pm

Kids: €5.99 each

Adults:  €3.99 each

Tickets:  Pass sanitaire is obligatory for 12 years and up.  Reserve your place online: https://www.weezevent.com/halloween-32

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Mougins

The Musée d’Art Classique Mougins is having a Halloween day from 11am to 5pm on Sunday 31st October.  Kids under 10 years are free, kids from 10 – 17 years are €5 and adults are €14.   Bon bons for kids in costume!   No pre-reservation is possible but there will be limited entry due to social distancing.  More info here: https://www.mouginsmusee.com/fr/2021/10/halloween-au-macm-2021

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Nice

Théâtre Alphabet, 19 rue Delile, is hosting a theatre show for small kids on Thursday 28th October.  The show is in French language, duration is 40 minutes.

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While the popularity of the Hard Rock brand has dwindled over the past few decades, Hard Rock Café in Nice is a good option for families as there’s lots of neon and cool stuff to look at and plenty of room for large groups.

Other than some epic music industry memorabilia at their Nice restaurant such as James Brown’s suit, a drum kit from Guns n Roses and Michael Jackson’s fedora from Smooth Criminal etc, every year they host a family-friendly Halloween party.

They’ll be throwing a ‘Harry Potter’ Halloween party on Saturday 30th October from 9.30am to midday with American buffet breakfast, decorations from the School of Magic, and fun activities with potions and spells.

Details:

Hard Rock Café Nice ‘L’ecole des Sorciers’ Halloween 2021

Saturday 30th October from 9.30am to midday

Kids:  2 years and under are free. 10 years and younger are €14.95 each

Adults:  €19.95 each

Note:  You need a pass sanitaire to access the venue.  You must pre-purchase your tickets in advance for the Hard Rock Café Halloween event; from memory the booking portal adds a €1 fee to each ticket.  Buy your ticket here: https://shop.link2ticket.nl/S/Event/A1hXcUMFelpAVg/A1hXcUMFd1hKUA

CitizenKid is hosting a treasure hunt from Hotel Splendid in Nice on Saturday 30th October, split into 2 versions suitable for kids aged 3 to 6 years and 7 to 12 years.  The theme of the 1-hour treasure hunt is to interview shop owners to find out who caused the disappearance of a student from the Monster Academy.  Kids cost €11 each / accompanying adults €9 each.  Reservation is mandatory as you have to choose a session.  Book here: https://www.citizenkid.com/evenement/halloween-2021-enquete-academie-des-monstres-a1063437

Parc Phoenix has free entry for children in costume aged under 12 on Sunday 31st October.  Join the Halloween activities from 10am to 4pm. https://www.parc-phoenix.org/évènement/grand-escape-game-dhalloween/?instance_id=112

Villeneuve Loubet

Villeneuve Loubet tourism office is hosting a one-hour Halloween treasure hunt on both Saturday 30th October and Sunday 31st October in Villeuneuve Loubet Village.  Clues are adapted for 5-7 years and 8-12 years.

Details:

Villeneuve Loubet ‘Jeu Famille’ Halloween 2021

Saturday 30th October and Sunday 31st October (you must prebook to reserve a time).

Families:  €10 for 4-5 people, or €7 for 1 adult + 1 child

Tickets: Reservations are necessary, phone 04 92 02 66 16

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Teenagers often get left out of the loop at Halloween, but they can still get involved.  Hitech 2 Move in Villeneuve Loubet is hosting a Twilight gaming night on Saturday 30th October from 7pm to 10pm.  More info is available on via their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Hitech2Move

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Halloween Workshops

If you’re looking for Halloween ateliers during school holidays, take a look at:

Halloween decorations and kids costumes on the French Riviera

I’ve become more conscious of waste during yearly events, so I’ve really tried to cut down on buying single-use plastic accessories and individually-wrapped candy for our kids.  So, they are allowed to choose a few bon bons so they can join the fun with other kids, but mostly we repurpose or make costumes.

On the Cote d’Azur, there’s plenty of stores such as Carrefour, MaxiBazaar, Destock, GiFi, La Foir’ Fouille and Maximart that sell Halloween decor and items such as trick or treat bags, skeletons, tridents, cauldrons etc, however it’s great to see parents reconsider their purchases long-term and try and make their own costumes or use recycled items for Halloween decorations/outfits.

If you want to make your own eco-friendly Halloween decorations and costumes A Clean Bee has some nice ideas.  For other DIY Halloween costumes, check out Pinterest, Good Housekeeping and Instagram.  There’s also loads of cool ideas for healthy Halloween snacks on Pinterest and Instagram if you feel like your kids might overdose on sugary treats.

For carving pumpkins on the Côte d’Azur, try your luck at Grand Frais, Nice Carrefour TNL or LIDL.

If you found this blog post helpful, please share it!  Thank you!  

2021 Club Vivanova Luxury Lifestyle Charity Gala Dinner

The 7th Edition Club Vivanova Luxury Lifestyle Charity Gala Dinner will be hosted on Saturday 13th November in Monaco. Organisers are encouraging people to give back and contribute to charity at the glitzy gala that offers a fun-filled evening of fine food and entertainment.

Photo: Ekaterina Kurilovich Photography

The gala event enables distinguished business leaders from across the globe, Club Vivanova members, and VIP partners to enjoy a fantastic night out with a purpose.

This year’s gala event will be held at the Fairmont Monte Carlo. The event will kick-off at 7pm with a Champagne cocktail reception, followed by a four-course gourmet dinner courtesy of the Meilleur Ouvriers de France paired with premium international wines.

Photo: Ekaterina Kurilovich Photography

Entertainment will include an haute couture fashion show and live music courtesy of The Brotherockers. Rounding-out the event will be a charity auction and contemporary art exhibition with an after-party that kicks off at 11pm in the ballroom.

Photo: Ekaterina Kurilovich Photography

We only achieve great things in life by giving back and our annual gala is organised to appreciate the best things in life whilst offering attendees the chance to donate to worthy, local and life-changing charities. The complete funds donated during our charity auction are split equally between our charities, offering a transparent way to donate to helping children, our planet and those in need.” Bradley Mitton – Club Vivanova Founder.

Bradley Mitton, Club Vivanova Founder

Event Details

2021 Club Vivanova Luxury Lifestyle Charity Gala Dinner.

Saturday 13th November 2021, 7pm.

Fairmont Monte Carlo, Salle d’Or Ballroom.

A green pass for the event will mean standing cocktail and dancing will be permitted.

Tickets for this year’s event start at €200 per person.

Preferred accommodation rates are available online at the gala website.

Dress code is black tie.

The 2021 gala takes place at the Fairmont Monte-Carlo.

To view the auction catalogue click on the link below:

Tickets and VIP table booking link: https://www.clubvivanova-luxurygala.com/tickets

Watch the promotional trailer of last year’s gala event, courtesy of Bogali Concept:

https://youtu.be/1UJpp19tQ5s

For more information, visit the official website: https://www.clubvivanova-luxurygala.com

Your Monaco

Your Monaco is a useful site for visitors to Monaco, especially regarding transport and public amenities.

The site has interactive maps to help you find:

  • Access points to the Monaco train station
  • Public elevators
  • Bus stops & bus ticket machines
  • Electric bike stations & the Mobee electric vehicle stations
  • Public carparks, including PMR parking
  • On street parking
  • Bike parking
  • Taxis

There’s also information about public beaches, walking trails, where to walk your dog, children’s playgrounds, cultural attractions such as art galleries, traffic updates, the location of defibrillators in Monaco and information about recycling and energy.

The site is available in English, French and Italian.

Bookmark the Your Monaco website for your next visit to Monaco: https://yourmonaco.mc

Fire Risk Map for the Var forests

Each day in summer until the end of September, the Département of the Var publishes daily updates before 7pm for the next day regarding fire risks in the region.

This information is particularly useful if you are planning to hike, go mountain biking or picnic in the forests or coastal zones as the Var and Côte d’Azur regions are sometimes placed on alerts for fire danger if there are extended dry periods. As we have seen in past years, high temperatures and Mistral winds can push the fires across large areas of forest.

Sadly there are also fires that start from fireworks, open fires or careless people throwing their cigarette butts into nature so be vigilant!

The Fire Risk Alert Map

The Fire Risk Alert Map indicates four levels of risk from green to red. The map is clickable and gives the rules of access and fire risk updates for the 9 Var massif areas. The western Alpes Maritimes is also included.

Where you can find the current Fire Risk Alert Map:

  • There is also an app for these updates which also gives you the possibility to launch a fire alert with precise coordinates; the app is available for iOs and Android – search for “Prévention incendie“.

The National Park of Port Cros has its own alerts which you can see here: http://www.portcros-parcnational.fr/en

For more information about access to the massif forests of the Var, go here: http://www.var.gouv.fr/acces-aux-massifs-forestiers-du-var-a2898.html

What to do if you see a forest fire

If you witness a forest fire, you can call 18 or 112. Or if you have the Prévention Incendie app you can signal a forest fire with GPS coordinates inside the app or there are DFCI grids which are used by civil security.

Antibes walking tour with Via Nissa

On Saturday 12th June, I had the great pleasure to join a walking tour of Antibes. I already know a lot about Antibes’ history including the buildings, museums, art and attractions so I was interested to join this tour and learn more.

Demand for the tour was incredible; the tour was 10x oversubscribed proving Antibes’ popularity with tourists and residents. So, I felt very fortunate to have a spot for the morning tour.

The tour was hosted by Via Nissa. Based in Nice, their team is comprised of historians, linguists and archaeologists who have specialist knowledge about archaeology, art, history, culture and language.

Our small group of 15 met in Antibes opposite Port Vauban with an estimated tour duration from 10am to 11.45am / midday. Prior to the tour, all communication with Via Nissa’s representative had been prompt and helpful.

The tour was conducted in French with English translation; participants could access the French commentary via an easy-to-use hands-free tour guide system and headphones that Via Nissa supplied. Note: The English commentary was via the Uniti app so participants needed to download the app in advance, register to use the app and have mobile Wifi. Participants used their own headphones if using the English commentary option.

Our walking tour of Antibes with Via Nissa

After initial introductions, we met the tour host (French language) – Alain Bottero, who is the archivist for Antibes. Alain has a vast experience as a conservateur and archivist in Antibes and the Alpes Maritimes, so his knowledge of Roman antiquities, archaeology, religious art and the history of Provence and Nice is impressive. Taking care of the English language translation on the day was Evgenia Mokhireva; Evgenia was the person who I dealt with leading up to the tour day and she was helpful, efficient and friendly.

Via Nissa : Antibes Tour Highlights

Even though I have lived in this region for many years, I still find that Antibes is a beautifully picturesque town to explore. As we walked around the Old Town, you stroll beside historic buildings, pass the Cours Massena local market selling Provençal goods and through paved back streets.

It is a ‘touristy’ town with a large expat and yachting community, yet there are parts of French lifestyle and culture here that are distinctly Antiboise – for example, the Safranier district have a quirky traditional ‘boules carrées’ competition each year on July 14 where they play boules in the local streets with square boules.

Some of the tour highlights included the Chapelle Saint Bernardin, the column at Place Nationale, Porte de l’Orme, the old wash house, the commune of Safranier, the city remparts, the Picasso Museum and more.

Chapelle Saint Bernardin

This is a spectacular small chapel in Old Town, tucked in off Rue du Docteur Rostan – most tourists would probably pass it by without knowing it was there!

Bernardin Albizeschi was born in the 14th-century in Tuscany, Italy, and entered the Miners brotherhood. He was ordained a priest in September 1404 and spent more than 25 years preaching in Italy, playing a great part in the religious revival of the early 15th-century. He died in Aquila in 1444 and was canonised in 1450 by Pope Nicolas V.

In the 15th-century, the activity of the White Penitent Brotherhood was strong. With their riches they built this chapel.

Features of Chapelle Saint Bernardin:

The Gothic facade on Rue du Docteur Rostan: On the side you can see the hooded penitents. Above the door is the representation of Lucifer’s head. The devil, as the Chimera, the king of serpents and the winged dragon has a tail, sharp claws and a menacing stare. He reigns over 3 worlds: underground, on earth and in the air and can only be vanquished by Saints. The dragon convulses and roars at the foot of the cross and is vanquished by saints and angels.

The altar: The centrally positioned altar features a 16th-century fresco portraying the Apostles table. The baroque twisted columns are decorated with flowers and gold leaf. You can see 3 Saints: Saint Roch, Saint Sebastian (patron Saints of Antibes) and Saint Bernardin of Siena.

The vaulted room: This room has a climate-controlled storage that contains Antoine Aundi’s painting entitled “The descent from the cross”.

The side door entrance: The chapel was built on Roman ruins and the solid walnut side door leading to Rue Saint Bernardin dates from March 1581; you can see the inscription in my photo below.

My favourite feature of this small chapel is the beautiful trompe l’oeil and star-studded ceiling. The trompe l’oeil has 4 evangelists around the outside: Saint Mathew (the angel representing Genesis (origin) of man), Saint John (the eagle, his evangelism starts with celestial mystery), Saint Mark (the lion who roars in the desert) and Saint Luc (the bull who symbolises the sacrificed priest and sacrificed cow). In the middle, the Virgin Mary with Christ and Saint Bernardin between them with Latin inscriptions about God and hope in virtue.

The column at Place Nationale

Napoleon, returning from the Island of Elba, landed in nearby Golfe Juan on March 1, 1815; the gates of the city of Antibes were closed to him, it was bombarded and associated with the Bourbon. Louis XVIII moved by the heroism of the city of Antibes took 90,000 Francs from his personal funds intended to repair the damage, and on March 20, 1816 he raised the city to the rank of the good cities of the kingdom “Fidei servandae exemplum 1815”. 

In gratitude, the city of Antibes erected this column to Louis XVIII. It’s made of Carrara marble and cost the sum of 5748 Francs.

Its pedestal is covered with four marble slabs, on each side: 
– the inscription of the ordinance of King Louis XVIII 
– the arms of France 
– the arms of the city of Antibes
– the inscription of the King “the conduct of the city of Antibes will never leave my memory.”

Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the photos I had of the column but you can see it clearly at Place Nationale directly in front of the Musée Peynet.

Porte de l’Orme

The Porte de l’Orme and its towers is one of the best preserved parts of Antibes. Throughout the Middle Ages, the walls were maintained until they were reinforced by the Grimaldi lords in the late 16th-century. It was the first line of defence for the castle, now known at the Picasso Museum. The Porte de l’Orme has been historically listed since 1939 and along with the towers and walls it defines the old city limits.

The old lavoir (wash house)

Tucked in behind Rue de la Tourraque, the old lavoir (wash house) was one of three local wash houses where town residents came to wash their clothes. Of course, it was a meeting place too so no doubt there was some gossiping that went on! If you look closely at the walls surrounding the wash house there are small sculptures set into the stone work – angels, faces, hands – these were made by Ho Lui, a local sculptor who has an atelier on Rue James Close.

The commune libre de Safranier (the free commune of Safranier)

Safranier is a picturesque district in old town with flower-filled streets – lots of tourists head here to take Instagram photos particularly on rue du Bas Castelet and rue du Haut Castelet. Villa Fontaine is situated in Safranier where they have an artists in residence programme, and Cretan writer Nikos Kazantzaki used to live in this district (he was famous for writing Zorbas the Greek and ‘The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel’ which was his poem based on Homer’s Odyssey) – you can see a commemorative seat dedicated to him in Safranier with a famous motto from the Zorbas film: “I hope nothing, I fear nothing, I am free”.

Antibes remparts

The remparts stretch from the port in Antibes to Bastion Saint-Andre near Salis beach. The Bastion was built in 1698 by Vauban, it consists of two vaulted brick galleries surmounted by a vast paved terrace.  Historically listed in 1930, below is the Archaeology Museum that has a collection begun in the 15th-century, with 150 exhibits including ceramics, vases and mosaics, some dating back more than 2000 years.

In 1979, there was a collapse of the seabed off the coast of Nice which was simultaneous with the collapse of a dike at the Nice port end. The result was two mini tsunamis which hit the coastline; including at Salis beach in Antibes. The remparts remained undamaged.

Picasso Museum

The Picasso Museum is one of the popular attractions of Antibes. Originally the ancient Château Grimaldi, it is now the first museum dedicated to Picasso. The collection, originally composed of paintings, drawings and ceramics left by the artist, also houses artwork from many other artists including Germaine Richier, Joan Miró, Nicolas de Staël, Hans Hartung and Yves Klein.

Beside the Picasso Museum, you can see the beautiful Antibes Cathedral.

Fort Carré & Port Vauban

No visit to Antibes would be complete without wondering about the history of Fort Carré across from the town. The star-shaped fort is a historic monument and was one of the first fortified strongholds to be built in the Renaissance under the orders of the King of France, Henri II. It was used to guard the nearby border with the County of Nice and to defend the town of Antibes. Today, you can visit the fort by guided tours that can be arranged through the Antibes tourist office and it is open to the public during the Journées du Patrimoine (we didn’t visit Fort Carré on this particular tour, however there is a great view from the fortress ramparts over Port Vauban and across to old town Antibes).

One of the most surprising things I learned recently about Antibes was there used to be a sea plane base at Port Vauban in the 1920’s. Alain our tour guide knew about this of course – L’Aéronavale used to fly between Antibes and Corsica, passengers were so used to travelling by boat that flying was viewed as reckless. Putting the seaplanes into the water at Port Vauban wasn’t easy – they were transported on trolleys to the wharf where a crane lifted them into the water. You can see in the vintage photos below the seaplanes and cranes opposite Fort Carré, as well as the hangars that used to house them. This hangar area is now where the Antibes ferris wheel at Pré des Pêcheurs is located.

About Via Nissa

Based in Nice, France, Via Nissa, specialises in organising in-depth experiences for seasoned travellers, the local foreign community and their visitors: those who want to be in the Côte d’Azur not as a detached observer, but as hands-on participants seeking uncommon access. They also curate historical tours, taking their visitors beyond the spaces allocated to tourists, into a world typically available only to insiders. Their sixth-sense experiences take you back to the world of the Provence many recall from the movies… scenes of long leisurely lunches, fine wines and stimulating conversations.

www.vianissa.com

Disclaimer: I was not sponsored to join this tour, nor am I an affiliate partner or salesperson for Via Nissa. This review is my own unbiased and honest account of the tour that I experienced. I highly recommend Via Nissa if you want a tour that immerses you in the history and culture of a destination.

Best family-friendly walks with kids on the Côte d’Azur

One of the nicest things about living on the French Riviera is the amount of walking trails you can discover with your family. There’s plenty of trails that are perfect for all ages throughout the year.

The French Riviera has an incredible amount of history, so you can combine exercise with learning about places, people and the natural environment.

The main challenge I have as a parent is finding in-depth and accurate information in English. Typical information that I find comes in handy for planning:

  • What type of facilities are on or near the trail – are there picnic tables, toilets, water sources, observation points, bird watching huts, cafes or snack kiosks, rental suppliers for sports gear (e.g. at beaches, in the mountains).

 

 

  • Seasonal considerations – which months are the best for each trail. Some tracks are closed in summer due to fire risk, or are difficult to access in winter due to icy/snowy conditions.  Is there shade or is the entire trail in full sun?   Are there strong winds?

 

  • Safety aspects – are there potential dangers on the path such as wild animals or difficult terrain? We have definitely done hiking paths where I’d consider it too treacherous to take young children due to lack of fencing, steep drops or slippery rocks.  In general, the department pathways here are well maintained; coastal paths are closed in bad weather or if there’s rockfalls.  Other things to consider are fire risks in the forest zones in summer, and hunting season where you need to be aware of dates and hunt locations.

 

  • Age appropriateness and accessibility for families – when you have kids of different ages it’s useful to know if a walking trail is more suited to young kids/teens/all ages. A typical question I am asked often is ‘Can you take a baby stroller?’

  • Clear directions about car parking and start/finish point for the routes
  • Hike duration and level of ability needed for each walk – this region has everything from flat town promenades to difficult rock-strewn hinterland tracks. When you have kids you need to know these details.

  • General information and fun facts – I always like to know what art, wildlife or nature highlights you can expect to see in the area, as the kids get more excited if they know they have an opportunity to see a cool sculpture, specific animals or flowers. Also, fun facts about history come in handy such as details about château, fossils, knights, ancient trade routes, shipwrecks, ruins, military fortresses or prehistoric discoveries.

30 of the best child-friendly walking trails on the French Riviera

Generally, we prefer nature trails that have good views, easy walking with a maximum duration of 2 hours and a mix of scenery and points of interest. The last thing you want is to arrive somewhere and have your kids start to complain they’re bored or tired and want to head back to the car with the picnic goodies and day bags.

Since our boys were babies / toddlers, we have completed at least 100 regional walks that include a mix of urban strolls, coastal trails, mountain hikes or nature walks in forests, beside rivers or through gorges. So, we have tried and tested a lot of different options!

I will be writing a Five-Part Series that will showcase 30 of the best family-friendly walks on the French Riviera. In the series I’ll include useful tips and information about walks that are suitable for all types of outings whether you’re looking for a gentle town circuit suited to taking a baby stroller, or a scenic trek covering varying altitude and terrain.

My first post will be published next week so stay tuned!

The Show Must Go On: Club Vivanova Luxury Lifestyle Gala

Club Vivanova’s Luxury Lifestyle Gala will be held on Saturday 12th December from 1pm to 7pm.

The Club Vivanova Luxury Lifestyle Gala has updated their event timing to Saturday 12th December from 1pm to 7pm.

To ensure a positive, successful, well-attended and elegant gala and in consideration to local restrictions, they have opted for an early start at 1pm.

The agenda will not change, they will host their full event with a Champagne aperitif, four-course gourmet menu, premium wines, Aston Martin DBX launch, live entertainment, fashion show and their charity auction.
It’s going to be an exceptional day out!

Bradley Mitton and Club Vivanova are committed with the Fairmont Monte Carlo to make this one of the most memorable events of the year!
Their gala will be showcased with a personal welcome from Xavier Rugeroni, Regional Vice President and General Manager Fairmont Monte Carlo.

For the benefit of Chances for Children and The Animal Fund

1pm Champagne Aperitif

7pm Carriages


More agenda information at www.clubvivanova-luxurygala.com

Les Plus Beaux Villages de France – The Most Beautiful Villages Of France

In 1982 an independent association was created to list France’s most beautiful villages and promote picturesque French villages of quality heritage.

Today, the list for ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages de France’ includes 159 locations with strict criteria to be designated one of the chosen few from over 30,000 communes:

  • there must be some rural character with no more than 2,000 inhabitants
  • they must have two national heritage sites
  • there must be an on-site evaluation and
  • the application must have mass support from the town council.
Gordes is one of the Luberon’s most popular hilltop villages (Photo: Pixabay)

One of the major principles of the association is the protection of historical and cultural heritage. Labelled villages must show a real strategy to preserve and promote their heritage.

Naturally, this means there’s no great rush for the towns to implement modern conveniences that international tourists usually demand such as internet cafés or multiplex cinemas and shopping malls. Instead, you’ll find local markets, historic monuments and traditional festivals.

Roussillon is best known for its ochre quarries and red cliffs, but the town itself is colourful too! (Photo: French Moments)

Many of the villages are located off the beaten track so they are a great base for exploring rural France.

I had the pleasure of contributing my opinion about Gassin, a town in the Var department, in a blog post about the most beautiful villages in France curated by Phoebe Thomas. Phoebe runs a gite on the Côte d’Azur called Lou Messugo and she is a great source of travel advice for visitors to this region!

Gassin was a Moorish stronghold and occupies an elevated position overlooking vineyards and the gulf of Saint-Tropez (Photo: E Bertrand)

While this year has been a rollercoaster for travel planning, take a look at the roundup of suggestions from travel bloggers on which villages are worth visiting in the future. You can read Phoebe’s post here: https://loumessugo.com/plus-beaux-villages-france/?unapproved=18576&moderation-hash=29e2bfc96773fd323eccda168f5e801d#comment-18576

Monaco’s new port in Ventimiglia

Spectacular scenery, luxe amenities, legendary casinos and a lavish lifestyle have long been Monaco’s drawing cards. In addition, the prestigious principality on the Mediterranean Sea is also known as a premier destination for the world’s most luxurious superyachts. The city-state is home to the legendary port of Monaco, Port Hercules, Port Fontvieille, as well as a new port in Ventimiglia and the soon-to-be-completed Mareterra. Read on to learn more about the ports of Monaco.

A guide to the ports of Monaco

Port Hercules

Thousands of international yacht owners and industry executives make it a point to attend the annual Monaco Yacht Show, the world’s premier superyacht exhibition at Port Hercules, the largest port of Monaco. More than 100 superyachts are featured, along with some 600 vendors throughout 42,000 square metres of exhibition space.

For those arriving by yacht, whether for the show or as part of a luxury Mediterranean yacht charter, sailing into this famed Monaco port is an event in itself.

The port, just west of the new Mareterra (formerly Portier Cove) marina is one of the few deepwater ports on the French Riviera and serves as the gateway for yachts to the principality. The natural bay is at the foot of the majestic Rock of Monaco, which towers 62-metres above the sea and is the ancestral monolith of the princes of Monaco. Improvements to the port in recent years include a new sea wall, offering protection from eastern swells and providing the perfect berthing location for large pleasure craft.

Further south is the modern harbour of Port Fontvieille, which was built from reclaimed land in 1966. The Monaco port has berthing space for some 160 vessels up to 30-metres in length and with a maximum draft of three-meters

Port Fontvieille

Port Fontvieille offers a selection of amenities, including restaurants and shops, while its location is within striking distance of Monaco’s famed attractions. Adding extra convenience, this port of Monaco is also just a stone’s throw away from the Monaco heliport.

Monaco port Ventimiglia

Meanwhile, with the increasing lure of luxury sailing, Monaco has recently expanded its ability to host yachts with the opening of the port in Ventimiglia, just 79 nautical miles (15 to 20 minutes) from its sister marinas at the ports of Herculesand Fontvielle.

From Cala Del Forte Ventimiglia, yacht owners and guests will have easy and exclusive access to Monaco, where they are welcome to enjoy all that the principality has to offer.

The port in Ventimiglia hailed the arrival on Oct. 15 of the much-loved sailing yacht TUIGA, the flagship of the Yacht Club of Monaco. The marina’s official inauguration is scheduled for mid-2021, when construction work on land is completed. Meanwhile the waterfront is open, and the state-of-the-art marina is already taking berth reservations.

A new port at Mareterra

Additional berthing space will also be available at Monaco’s future marina at Mareterra, a a port made possible by an ambitious eco-friendly $2.3 billion land reclamation project. The luxury development is scheduled for completion in 2025.

The new marina will be able to accommodate more than a dozen vessels of up to 18-metres, and will feature a host of restaurants and shops, ensuring plenty of opportunities for lively and entertaining outings. Overall, the 6-hectare eco-development will encompass luxury residences, expansive gardens, a promenade and recreational space.

Cruising to the welcoming ports of Monaco, whether it be Monaco’s port in Ventimiglia, Port Fontvieille, or famed Port Hercules is always a grand event.

Photo credits: All photos M. Penoty, except Cala del Forte photo from Ports de Monaco/Cala del Forte.

Eden Mill Gin Experience at BrewDog Nice : Enjoy After-Work Cocktails with Club Vivanova

In 2007 in North East Scotland, BrewDog came howling into the world. The launch of BrewDog Nice in 2019 was the brand’s 91st bar.

Image: BrewDog Nice

On Wednesday 5th August, Club Vivanova will host a special Eden Mill Gin Experience at BrewDog Nice.

The BrewDog team will create a selection of cocktails using the Eden Mill Original, Golf and Hop gins served with a selection of home-made appetisers and snacks.

Eden Mill Golf Gin will be just one of the selected gins at the Club Vivanova event at BrewDog Nice. (Image: NOTHS)

A perfect end to the day!

Date/time: Wednesday 5th August from 7pm to 9pm.

Location: BrewDog Nice, 4 Avenue des Phocéens, 06300 Nice.

Cost: Tickets will cost €30 per person and will include an Eden Mill Gin cocktail experience with hot and cold shared platters of BrewDog appetisers from 7pm to 9pm. (But you can stay and keep on partying for as long as you like).

You can book your ticket here: https://www.clubvivanova.com/events/05aug2020

ABOUT CLUB VIVANOVA

Club Vivanova offer three membership platforms; individual, corporate and platinum with international promotional and networking benefits plus complimentary VIP tickets to exclusive member-only events in Monaco and across Europe and a selection of premium wines delivered to your door. Find out more at their website http://www.clubvivanova.com

COMPETITION : Squibbles Giveaway

After a few months in confinement it’s great that my kids aren’t going bananas at home. We’ve powered through arts and crafts, dress-up dinner parties and finished every puzzle and board game within reach.

Just in time for summer I have two copies to give away of ‘Squibbles’.

Squibbles by Jay Stansfield

Wittily illustrated by UK-based creative artist Jay Stansfield and printed in Italy, Squibbles is just the remedy for enjoying sunny creative days.

Why we like Squibbles

• Squibbles is a fun, coloring book and journal packed with zany creatures, monsters, mermaids and doodles.

• The illustrations aren’t gender specific, so boys and girls will enjoy the book.

• The book is a soft cover but it’s super sturdy. My kids have dropped it, rolled it up and frisbee’d it (sorry Jay!) to each other and the pages or cover haven’t ripped at all.

My sons gave Squibbles a test drive and both gave it a thumbs up!

“ I like this colouring book because you can use your imagination to design what you want” – Lucas, 9 years

“ Squibbles is fun! I like all the drawings and I can use my own colours to make it look cool.” – Josh, 4 years

TO WIN a copy of Squibbles is as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1) ‘Like’ the Facebook page for Access Riviera : https://m.facebook.com/accessriviera/

2) ‘Like’ the Facebook page for Jay Stansfield : https://m.facebook.com/jaystansfieldmusic/

3) Leave a comment on Access Riviera’s Facebook page (or this blog post) telling me why you want to win Squibbles.

I have two copies to give away. The closing date is midday on Saturday June 27.

This competition is strictly for entries based in France. Winners will be chosen and contacted afterwards.

Squibbles by Jay Stansfield is also available to buy here: https://squibblesbook.myportfolio.com

2020 Club Vivanova Luxury Lifestyle Gala Postponement to Saturday 14th November 2020

Club Vivanova Charity Gala Postponement : Saturday 14th November 2020

In light of the current situation, Club Vivanova and the Fairmont Monte Carlo have decided that it would be in the best interests of their partners, members, guests and the event itself to postpone the Sixth Edition 2020 Luxury Lifestyle Charity Gala to Saturday 14th November 2020.

Club Vivanova’s annual charity gala night has been moved to Saturday 14th November 2020

All purchased partnerships, tickets and room bookings will be automatically transferred to this new date.

Event Information: www.clubvivanova-luxurygala.com

They expect that by this date, the event business will be back to normal and guests will all once again be able to celebrate the best things in life together!

Club Vivanova thanks their esteemed guests, the Fairmont Monte Carlo and their gala partners for the on-going support.

80+ Lockdown Activities For Kids

No one was prepared for France to close schools until May 11th.  Families have been tasked with home schooling and finding activities to do for kids at home.

The most challenging aspect we’re finding is maintaining social interaction and stimulation for our sons, while keeping on top of homework and our own day-to-day work.

My Big List of Activities, Games & Ideas for Kids in Lockdown

Children are isolated from their school friends and many are now away from structured classroom learning and social support from peers.  I know that the social and economic impact on many families will be significant, so I’ve tried to include as many free activities as possible in my list.

There is a mix of activities – some require access to devices and internet; others are old-fashioned traditional fun.

Also, there may be people who are running low on art materials, stationery, paper and other craft equipment so I’ve included ideas for creativity and learning where you can use what you may already have at home, or reuse/recycle packaging.

My list of lockdown resources includes games, crafts, fitness lessons and educational classroom lessons.

Some people are single parents, some have large spacious gardens and others are living in apartments,  some people do not have extended family networks here, some parents are feeling the increased burden of family responsibilities.  We are all coping in our own ways and will all look back on this time differently – as surreal, challenging, bonding or stressful.

The most important thing to remember is to look after your family’s physical and mental wellbeing.  That may mean allowing extra screen time occasionally, letting your kids set up a parkour course in the living room or giving in to a session of ‘The Floor Is Lava’.

I hope that by writing up this list I’ll give you some material in one place that will give you hope that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, whether that is one week or one month away.

Now, is the time to improvise, get silly, have fun – whatever you need to do to get through with some semblance of sanity!

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list because otherwise I’d have 5000 pages of content 🙂  I have looked into each resource listed here to check they are age-appropriate and not dodgy sites.  Here’s my list of resources to help entertain, educate or make things a bit more fun for your kids:

ART, CRAFT & DESIGN

BDnf is a fun French program where primary and secondary aged children can design their own comic book.  Bande dessinées (BDs) are popular in France, so it’s a good way for kids to create their own story and learn about design elements.  The download is available for Windows, MAC, iOS and Android.  Find out more information here:  BDnf, la fabrique à BD

With BDnf, children can design their own comic book.

Dinosaur obsession rules in our house with my youngest son!  Busy Bee Kids Crafts has great dinosaur activities for kids including colouring pages, dot-to-dot challenges and mazes.  They also have other craft ideas on the site too.  The dinosaur activities are best suited for children up to 7 years.  The link to their dinosaur-themed activities is here.

Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas is a great Facebook group with so many excellent ideas for arts and crafts, making things from recycled items and more!  Lots of inspiration for kids of all ages. Join the Facebook group here:  Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas 

Hello, Wonderful has a great list of ’50 easy indoor activities’ using materials you’re likely to already have at home such as toilet rolls, straws or pillows.  Suitable for toddler age upwards.  Find the activities here:  50 Plus Easy Indoor Activities by Hello, Wonderful

Scouts UK has a cool page called ‘The Great Indoors’ with lots of ideas for indoor activities.  Even better, at the bottom of the page you can click on ‘Find more activities’ to go to a gigantic list of fun ideas for all ages.  Find the ideas here:  The Great Indoors

Sparketh is offering 30-days free membership to their online art portal.  Children aged 6-18 can enjoy up to 1000 art tutorials for free ranging from animal drawing classes to manga lessons, painting classes, portrait lessons, cartoon drawing and more. The filter function is useful whereby you can search for lessons based on ability level, duration and even materials. e.g beginner, 10 minute lesson, ink drawing.  Click on this link for the Sparketh Art Courses.

Sparketh has a great selection of online art classes for children 6-18 years of age.

The Art of Dr. Seuss is a reference site for the history of the artist and digital collections of the Dr Seuss portfolio.  A good website for older kids interested in the crazy illustrations of Dr. Seuss!  I also checked out another recommended Dr. Seuss website, Seussville, but found this somewhat disappointing as it only has 3 games and is mostly just links to buy the Dr. Seuss books.  However, Seussville has a great gallery of the characters. Learn about The Art of Dr. Seuss here.

For beginner and intermediate level artists, kids can look at the Thrive Art School on YouTube.  Beginner tutorials include how to draw tropical fish, parrots and castles. Intermediate tutorials include how to draw an octopus, a water lily and sailing ship. Video instruction is found here:  Thrive Art School free art lessons

BAKING & COOKING

My kids have always enjoyed baking and helping out in the kitchen – measuring, tasting and stirring things!  Here’s a few easy recipes to try during confinement.  My youngest son is obsessed with baking, so all of these recipes are suitable for toddler age upwards (always supervised by an adult).

BBC Good Food is a great resource for easy recipes for kids.  Over 65 child-friendly recipes including rice paper wraps, simple iced biscuits, homemade fish fingers and easy banana pancakes.  BBC Good Food Kids Cooking

Jamie Oliver is a good resource website to get kids cooking.  The instructions are easy to follow and recipes don’t usually need lots of ingredients or fancy equipment.  Recipe suggestions include everything from snacks to family meals. Get kids cooking with Jamie Oliver.

Little chefs can try their hand at making cookies and cupcakes, thanks to easy recipes from Nicolas Baygourry, the Pastry Chef at Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo.  Get the recipes here:  Nicolas Baygourry’s Cookies & Cupcakes Recipes

Making cookies and cupcakes is relatively simple, even for young children. Follow Nicolas’ recipes to make your own sweet treats.

Raddish usually delivers monthly cooking kits, however they have set up a website section for families who want free online cooking classes. Recipes include guacamole, blueberry pancakes and gluten-free cinnamon buns.  Get cooking here with Raddish Kids.

My kids love pizza!  Local French Riviera blogger Your Guardian Chef has easy pizza recipes for kids to make at home.  Use your imagination for toppings!   Your Guardian Chef’s Child-Friendly Pizza Recipes

EBOOKS

Audible has an amazing selection of audio books that you can listen to for free and stream them on desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet.  Titles include collections for Little Listeners up to Teens.  Popular themes are included such as Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter, Little Red Riding Hood, Dr Seuss, Alice in Wonderland, Beatrix Potter. Most of the audio books are narrated in English, however there’s a small selection available in Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese.  Listen to the books here:  Audible Stories: Free Audiobooks

Audible has a great selection of free audio books to stream with collections for all ages from Little Listeners to Teens.

FNAC has a large catalogue of children’s ebooks available for free download.  Titles include classics such as ‘Oliver Twist’ and ‘The Jungle Book’, through to French animated stories, novels and fantasy.  The selection covers all ages from kindergarten to teens.  See FNAC’s book list here:  FNAC Livre Jeunesse Ebook gratuit

Funbrain has pages of resources for ages 3 to 13.  While the website has games and videos, I’ve included it here as an online reading resource with book titles including ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’, ‘Stink and The Great Guinea Pig Express’ and more.  Find the online books for kids here:  Funbrain Books

For a range of ebooks that suit ages 3-11 years, visit Oxford Owl‘s library.  You have to set up an account first to access the downloads.  Titles include ‘The Frog Prince and other tales’, ‘Downhill Racers’ and ‘Treasure Island’.  Register here for Oxford Owl.

Oxford Owl has a free ebook library with books for kids aged 3-11 years.

Celebrities are jumping on the reading train and lending their faces and voices to narrating children’s books with Storyline Online.  Titles include ‘A Bad Case of Stripes’ read by Lord of the Rings actor Sean Astin, ‘The Hula Hoopin’ Queen’ read by Oprah Winfrey, and ‘Arnie the Doughnut’ read by Chris O’Dowd.  Suitable for ages 5 upwards, find the library here:  Storyline Online

ENVIRONMENT & NATURE

Blue Marine Foundation has a whole section of educational activities including a marine conservation app, underwater quiz, a ‘get drastic with plastic’ work sheet and a geography challenge.  Click on the link to find the info: BLUE Digital Education

Explore.org have a number of live cam feeds for children that are interested in wildlife, nature and the environment.  Live web cams feature African wildlife, birds, cats, rainforest cameras in Central America, jellyfish, seals, orcas, penguins and polar bears.  Watch the planet’s wildlife here:  Explore Wildlife Webcams

Explore.org has lots of live cams for wildlife, including this one watching birds feeding in Panama.

If you’ve ever wanted to see the aurora, Lights over Lapland and Explore.org have Northern Lights webcams and Aurora virtual tours set up so you can sky gaze from wherever you are in the world.  See the aurora here:  Lights over Lapland Virtual Tours and Explore’s Aurora Borealis webcam

NASA Climate Kids has games, videos and activities so kids can learn more about plants, the weather, water and energy.  Best suited for kids from primary school age up to teens. Visit their page here:  NASA Climate Kids Earth Science Page

National Geographic Kids is a wonderful resource with games, fun facts and videos about nature and wildlife.  Best suited for kids from primary school age up to 12.  Explore the resources here:  National Geographic Kids – Animal World

National Geographic Kids has free online games for kids

Switch Zoo is a really cool resource for learning about wildlife and habitats – we love it!  Also available as an app which has bigger animations and more selection of animals.  I recommend the ‘Build a Biome’ section for younger kids as it’s a short duration and great for teaching younger kids about animals, plants and different climates for habitats.  There’s also other cool features such as making new animals by switching animal bodies, sorting animals by what food they eat and memory games.  The only downside is the pop-up ads on the online website, but if you can look beyond those then Switch Zoo gets a thumbs up in our house!

Switch Zoo get a thumbs up in our house for fun interactive activities based on wildlife and their habitats.

FRENCH & ENGLISH CLASSROOM RESOURCES

While most schools have given children homework to see them through the confinement, here’s a few additional sites to refer to if you need them.

Arcademic has tons of online games to improve skills and knowledge with language, maths and geography. While it has a lot of US-based content, there’s enough to keep any child aged 5-11 years engaged and interesting in learning via games.  Arcademic Online Skill Builders 

BBC Bitesize is aimed at students following the UK curriculum, so is best suited for those families who want to keep up English language and UK lessons.  It has a ton of free online lessons covering ages 3 to 16+ and every subject you could think of such as maths, English, language learning, music, geography, history, physical education, art, design and science.  New lessons are added daily.  Get the daily lesson plans here:  BBC Bitesize : Homeschooling

BBC Bitesize has daily lessons for homeschooling covering ages 3 to 16+ and a variety of subjects.

Editions Rosace has released a free 48-page cahier d’activitiés (PDF download) for children aged 3-6 years that covers handwriting, maths, drawing etc.  French language.  Download here:  Editions Rosace Cahier Activitiés Maternelle

Editions Rosace has a free 48-page PDF download for maternelle age.

Fiche Maternelle is an educational resource aimed at maternelle-aged children, with the occasional work sheet for CP age.  There are plenty of free downloadable work sheets that cover handwriting practice for the alphabet and numbers, basic maths, phonics and science.  All sheets are in French language.  The best aspect of the work sheets is that they are visually fun, so younger kids stay engaged.  Download the free work sheets here:  Fiche Maternelle learning pages

Fiche Maternelle has lots of free French language work sheets for maths, writing and phonics aimed at maternelle age.

KidooLand is a well-known company on the French Riviera for their English and French play groups, as well as their holiday programmes.  Refer to their Facebook page for regular activity ideas and fun workshops that include song, dance, crafts and fitness.  KidooLand on Facebook

Ma Médiathèque has a large database of digital French learning resources available via the ToutApprendre app including over 100,000 classroom exercises for primary age upwards, language learning, gaming, first aid tutorials and pedagogic lessons for kids aged 4-12.  Download the Toutapprendre.com app on the AppStore or Google Play.

Outschool offers live online classes for youth aged 3-18 years.  Classes cost $USD5 upwards and cover subjects such as maths, health and wellness, science and nature, coding and tech and more.  The search functionality is excellent, so you can filter down to your own needs such as age, one-time classes or a short course, subject or duration.  You need internet access to join the classes. Check it out here: Outschool Online Classes

Papa Positive is a popular website with educational activities for children covering a range of topics.  The site has everything from origami tutorials to colouring pages, links to learning resources and suggestions for home play and development.  French language.  Get the Papa Positive archives and activity links here.

Aimed at ages 3 to 15, Scholastic has launched a learn-at-home site with 20 days+ of video learning and hands-on projects to keep kids active and thinking.  Topics include life science, nature, communication skills, gaming and technology.  All lessons are in English language.  Find the remote lessons here:  Scholastic Learn At Home

For preschool age to 8 years, Starfall is targeted at an American audience (therefore in English language).  It’s a useful website to help teach kids to read, learn basic maths concepts and have fun with songs and holiday-themed lessons.  It doesn’t have tons of resources, but it’s bright and colourful so particularly good for younger kids with short attention spans.  Find Starfall’s Online Learning here.

Starfall is a colourful website to help teach kids to read, and learn basic maths.

SplashLearn is a maths tool for ages 3 to 10 years.  Based on an American curriculum, kids can practise their maths skills for geometry, addition, multiplication, algebra and more via exciting game challenges.  SplashLearn can be accessed by parents registering an account for free. 

Turtle Diary is another American site with activities for kids aged 3-10 years.  Interactive games in English language and hundreds of downloadable work sheets cover world knowledge, word games, maths, social studies, animals, science, puzzles.  Fun challenges include sorting recycling, money games, geography quizzes.  The downside is the online site has a few pop-up ads, but nothing too annoying to stop using the site.  Get the Turtle Diary Online Learning here.

Turtle Diary has free English language games and work sheets to educate and entertain kids learning at home.

Worksheetfun has lots of printable sheets for kids to practise maths, handwriting, phonics, spelling, pattern recognition and more.  I find these are most suited to younger kids at preschool and kindergarten age.  All in English language, find the sheets here:  Worksheetfun FREE printable worksheets

GEOGRAPHY, CULTURE & HISTORY

For free online history resources, turn to BBC History for Kids (their Hands on History and History for Kids section have information about Romans, Vikings, archaeology and world history), History for Kids has cool stuff about the Middle Ages, Egypt and Ancient Greece, and

Google Arts & Culture has always been a winner in my books.  Travel around the world and visit museums and landmarks such as the British Museum in London, Palais of Versailles in France, Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Taj Mahal in India and the Colosseum in Rome.  Explore here with Google Arts & Culture.

Seterra is a huge site with all sorts of free geography quizzes covering topics such as capital cities, islands, latitudes and longitudes, countries and the solar system.  Best suited to age range of older primary school kids and upwards. Get the link here; Seterra is also available as apps:  Seterra Geography: Free Maps & Quiz Games

Street Art with Google is a glimpse into street art with audio descriptions for global cities, and over 5000 examples of graffiti and street art around the world from Portugal to Argentina, France to the United States.  More suited to teenagers than younger children. See Google’s Street Art gallery.

Street Art with Google is a brilliant look at graffiti and street art at over 5000 global locations

Children can test their geography knowledge with World Geography Games, a free online site with quizzes relating to continents, world capitals, world flags, seas, mountain ranges and more.  Test yourself here:  World Geography Games : Online Geography Quizzes

YouVisit has a virtual tour that is narrated and offers a cool experience for visiting Machu Picchu while based at home.  Visit one of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage sites here:  YouVisit Virtual Tour of Machu Picchu 

Take a virtual tour of Machu Picchu from home thanks to YouVisit.

HEALTH & FITNESS

Captain Fantastic is hosting daily online fitness classes each morning, followed by dancing and singing in the afternoons.  Tune in here:  Captain Fantastic online children’s fitness & entertainment

We have been loving Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube!  Jamie has fun themed yoga sessions that are suitable for toddler age upwards.  Themes include Pokémon, Harry Potter, Frozen, Minecraft, Spiderman, Trolls and more.  Check out Cosmic Kids Yoga here.

Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube is a fun channel with themed yoga tutorials.

I know everyone has been raving about Joe Wick’s fitness classes, however Get Kids Moving is so much cooler!  Created by Glenn Higgins, the YouTube videos combine exercise with superhero moves.  If you’ve got THAT child who wants to sleep in their superhero outfit, this is the one to tune into!  Who doesn’t want to do a fun fitness class with Jedi training, the Avengers, Fortnite or Spiderman?  Workouts average 5-10 minutes so are great for short attention spans.  Check the sessions out here:  Get Kids Moving:  Free Kids Workouts

GoNoodle is a combination dance and exercise YouTube channel, however they incorporate so many movements into each video that I’m listing it under the Health & Fitness category.  Fun and contemporary, it’s a great way to get toddler age to older primary school kids up and moving.  Get moving here with GoNoodle.

For relaxation and mindfulness meditation for kids, YouTube has lots of fantastic resources ranging from short guided meditation sessions to marathon 8-hour videos with soothing music to encourage children to relax or sleep.  Try New Horizon’s Guided Mindfulness Meditation for Kids, or 321 Relaxing who post soothing music with underwater scenes of fish and coral reefs.

MISCELLANEOUS RESOURCES

Kids who love puzzles can jump onto the Lovatt’s Puzzles website where there are online puzzles such as Sudoku, word searches and crosswords.

Oceanco has a series of online puzzles to solve including some of their latest yacht fleet.  Challenge your family here:  Oceanco Fleet Puzzles

PBS Kids has a lot of online games for kids ranging from pure fun games to educational challenges that involve concepts for science, nature, maths, emotional skills and language learning.  Here’s the link:  PBS Kids Games

The RNLI has a good database of education resources with colouring pages, interactive quizzes and posters that teach kids about water safety and lifeboat rescue.  Suited for youth aged 3-18 years.  Head here for the downloads:  RNLI Youth Education

RNLI has a dedicated youth education section with activities based around water safety and learning about lifeboats/sea rescue.

Comedian, actor, writer and Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams has a whole host of free fun activities on his website, The World of David Walliams.  The free downloadable activity sheets are all inspired by his books.  Check them out here:  The World of David Walliams Activities & Resources

Unicef’s Distance Learning Solutions has a big list of educational resources for language learning, history, STEM subjects, earth sciences and digital storybooks. Check it out here:  Unicef Distance Learning Solutions

If you have a child who always asks ‘But, why?’, then Wonderopolis is the website for you!   Aiming to spark curiosity in children, the site is aimed at kids of all ages.  They have a ‘Wonder of the Day’ and kids can ask questions that get answered around various topics such as science, arts and culture, maths, technology and social studies.  Join the world of wonders here:  Wonderopolis

Wonderopolis is the ideal website for the curious child who always ask ‘But, why?’

PERFORMING ARTS

If you have older children who are interested in music, Berklee Online has a collection of free music resources including 12 sample lessons that cover everything from guitar ensemble techniques to film scoring, music theory and vocal production. You can also get free mini lessons and handbooks with theory about songwriting, music publishing and more.  You have to create an account to access the free resources:  Berklee Online Free Music Resources 

Berklee Online has free music resources including sample lessons and handbooks for music theory.

Funky Moves offers online dance classes for kids, teens and families for just £5 per class. Classes are run via Zoom so you need an internet connection.  Kids classes have different sessions for children aged 2-12 years.  Teens classes are hip hop only.  More information is here:  Funky Moves Online Dance Classes

Buddy magicians will love ‘Harry Potter: A History of Magic‘ based on the British Library exhibition from 2017.  It’s available through Google Arts & Culture and features manuscripts and drawings by J.K Rowling, illustrations by Jim Kay from the Harry Potter series and sections about subjects taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry such as Potions, Alchemy, Charms and Care of Magical Creatures.  Explore Harry Potter’s online exhibition here.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic is available online via Google Arts & Culture.

The Haschak Sisters are four teen sisters who are hugely popular with 7.8 million subscribers on their YouTube channel.  They sing and break down dance steps in their videos.  Tune in if you have a tween/teen daughter who likes pop music:  Haschak Sisters 

Kidz Bop is a YouTube channel by kids for kids with fun dance tutorials.  Easy to follow for both genders and dance along to, most of the videos are 5 minutes or less in duration so kids don’t get bored.  Dance along here:  Kidz Bop 

Theatre fans can get active with Official London Theatre who are hosting #WestEndWarmUp every Monday and Wednesday, led by West End performers.  Follow them on Instagram to see the west end moves:  Official London Theatre : WestEndWarmUp

Strictly Come Dancing star Oti Mabuse has uploaded themed dance classes for kids on her YouTube channel.  Classes are better suited to older primary kids as the duration is 25 minutes-plus for most lessons.  Themes include Frozen, Trolls, The Greatest Showman and Moana. Get your groove on here:  Oti Mabuse Kids Dance

TeachRock is one of those cool sites that you wish was around when you were a kid!  They have free files for all age groups covering music history and music exploration for subjects such as The Beatles, the birth of rock, hip hop and more.  Rock out here: TeachRock Distance Learning

TeachRock is a modern site with free music resources for distance learning.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Primary and secondary school children who are interested in coding and computer science, can get free virtual coding sessions via Amazon Future Engineer.  My 9-year old loves the simple instructions for the Hour of Code: Dance Party (make sure your child watches the short instruction videos first that explain how to set the codes).  Go to Amazon Future Engineer’s free online coding for kids.

Amazon Future Engineer has free online coding programmes – your child can set a code to teach a cat to disco!

But Why is a child-friendly podcast where inquisitive kids can send in a question to be answered.  Previous questions (just the type of questions that every parent has heard before) have been “Why do baby teeth fall out?” and “Are llamas ticklish?”.  Listen in on Apple Podcasts.

The Cosmic Shambles Network creates digital content, podcasts and fun stuff exploring science concepts, art, music and more.  If your child has a curious mind, check out their ‘Stay at Home Festival’ that can be viewed on their website or see it on YouTube. More details here:  The Stay At Home Festival by Cosmic Shambles

Sydney Krawiec is a US-based youth services librarian who has created a digital Harry Potters Escape Room, inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.  The game can be played individually or as a group with puzzles to solve to get out of the room; best suited to older primary aged children to early teens.  Here is the link to Hogwarts Digital Escape Room.

NASA Space Play has games and crafts where kids can learn more about Earth, the Sun and the solar system.

National Geographic Kids has easy science experiments for kids to try at home – how about a colour explosion using food colouring, milk and dishwashing liquid?  Get the instructions here:  Easy Science Experiment for Kids

Science Kids has fun experiments, games, quizzes and facts about science and technology.  The science experiments are simple and use items you may already have at home.  The quizzes are aimed at primary school age.  Recommended for toddler age to early teens (all experiments should be done with adult supervision).  Science Kids: Online Science Experiments

Science Kids is an awesome site with easy experiements, quizzes and fun facts.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

While I don’t intend to give professional advice about special education, many students with special needs are now facing new challenges with schools being closed, routine changes due to isolation and no accessibility to teacher aides.  Here are a few recommended resources and tools; however customised learning is recommended dependent on your child’s individual needs.

Flamingo Chicks offers free online inclusive classes for children with special needs to explore dance and movement with their peers.  They also have sensory activities and suggestions for play at home.  Find their virtual classes on YouTube or at this link: Flamingo Chicks at home

LetterSchool is offering a free trial for their literacy programme.  It encourages letter recognition by tapping and tracing colourful animations.  See the site here:  LetterSchool 

SoundingBoard is only available from the AppStore, however it’s a free app (with in-app purchases).  This app is aimed at children who are unable to speak (or have limited speech), persons on the autism spectrum and adults with special needs. This augmentive and alternative communication (AAC) app has preloaded boards; you can also customise symbol boards with your own messages; users press on the images to prompt a verbal message.  Go to the AppStore link for SoundingBoard here. 

SoundingBoard is an app designed to help non-verbal people communicate using preloaded boards.

Teach.com has a detailed list of digital resources for students with autism.  English language only.  Find the list here:  Digital Resources for Students with Autism 

Text-to-speech (TTS) is an assistive technology that may help special needs students learning at home, because it reads digital text aloud.  Here’s some links where you can go to activate features like this on your desktop or smartphone:

For Android, text-to-speech needs to be activated under Settings.  The steps are here:  Android text-to-speech

For Chromebook accessibility features such as text-to-speech, go to Settings:  Turn on Chromebook Accessibility Features

For Windows 10,  under ‘Control Panel’ then ‘Ease of Access’:  More about Windows 10 Accessibility Features.

For voice control, vision and hearing accessibility for MAC and iPhone, iPad, iTouch, refer here:  Accessibility Support Apple

It’s taken me hours of research to create this list and check each individual link – I would love it if you could please leave a comment if you found this useful, and please share this post with your family and friends!   Thank you for supporting my blog.

Club Vivanova turns luxury into charity for Chances for Children

On Saturday 6th June, Club Vivanova, a Monaco-based leading business networking and premium gourmet wine club, will host their 6th annual Luxury Lifestyle Charity Gala Dinner at the Fairmont Monte Carlo.

This epic event – “Turning Luxury Into Charity” – brings together more than 400 international guests, all to help raise funds for worthy causes. This year, funds will be split between the Chances for Children (C4C) Foundation and The Animal Fund (TAF).

Charitable causes

Chances for Children has been one of the event’s beneficiary charities since 2017. Founded in 2011, the Monaco and UK-registered charity cares for abandoned children in a dedicated orphanage in Kampala (Uganda). Here the children have access to parental care, a balanced diet, education, and healthcare. Gabrielle Crump, President of Chances For Children has been humbled by the generosity seen from Gala attendees over the last few years and notes how:

“The ongoing support that Club Vivanova offers Chances for Children is priceless. As our charity grows, so do the running costs and the annual Club Vivanova Charity Gala raises vital finances that support and to help to pay for quality education, maintenance and the support of a growing number of sponsored children. The club’s members now sponsor six children in the Chances for Children Foundation family all-year round. We truly value this partnership which goes from strength to strength – and as a grass roots charity, donors can rest assured that every Euro donated goes directly to the children.”

Listed in Monaco, France and the UK, The Animal Fund is a non-profit marine conservation association dedicated to protecting and saving dolphins and whales from pollution, maltreatment and overfishing.

A distinguished event

The glittering fundraising event attracts distinguished international business leaders from across the world, Club Vivanova members, and VIP Partners who will all enjoy a beautifully prepared gourmet meal in addition to live entertainment by ‘High On Heels’, a Haute Couture fashion show, a Contemporary Art Exhibition, a charity auction, and Champagne and Vodka after party, offering a fantastic social night with a purpose.

The event kicks-off at 7 p.m. with a Premier Cru Champagne Aperitif, followed by a welcome speech at 8 p.m.

Monaco based digital marketing agency, Relevance, is a sponsor of the charitable gala evening.

“We are delighted to once again support the annual Luxury Lifestyle Charity Gala Dinner,” Rumble Romagnoli, CEO of Relevance said. “This fabulous annual event raises funds for a number of charities, including Chances for Children, a cause that remains very dear to our hearts. We have supported this charity for some four years, offering a wide range of digital marketing support to ensure this fantastic charity can help more young orphaned children in Uganda, by providing critical parental care, education, healthcare, and more.”

Bradley Mitton – Club Vivanova Founder

“We only achieve great things in life by giving back and our Sixth Edition Luxury Lifestyle Charity Gala is organised annually to appreciate the best things in life, whilst offering attendees the chance to donate; raising important and life-changing funding for the Chances for Children Foundation and The Animal Fund and we need your support.”

Ticket details

There are still tickets available for this year’s event.  Tickets are €200 per person, €300 for VIP tickets, or €2,800 for a gala partner table for 10. Tickets can be purchased online at clubvivanova-luxurygala.com

For a video presentation of the Luxury Lifestyle Charity Gala Dinner, see below:

Press Contact

To find out more information about Chances for Children or the 2020 Club Vivanova Luxury Lifestyle Gala Dinner, or for additional images, contact : muriel@relevance.digital or telephone +377 99 90 73 52

Please note:  The event was originally advertised as being scheduled for Saturday, April 4; Saturday, June 6 is the new postponed date. All purchased partnerships, tickets and room package bookings from the original date are automatically transferred to the new date.  Club Vivanova thanks all their guests, the Fairmont Monte Carlo and their gala partners for the on-going support.

Train information update for the Côte d’Azur

As part of the COVID-19 pandemic, SNCF may have to adapt its train schedules from Monday, March 16, 2020.

Information on the next day’s trains is available every day at 5 p.m on all of their information channels:

  • Via the website TER SUD Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
  • On the ‘SNCF Assistant’ app
  • For your TER journeys in the region, phone TER on 0800 11 40 23 (Free call: Monday to Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m; service in French language)
  • For your other trips including outside the region: 0805 90 36 35 (Free call from a landline; service in French language)
  • On the Twitter account @TERSUD_SNCF (Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday and public holidays from 12 noon to 8 p.m.)

Ticket Changes / Postponements / Refunds

If you want to exchange your tickets or postpone your trip due to the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, SNCF is allowing passengers to take advantage of free exchange and reimbursement costs for all TGV INOUI, Intercités, OUIGO and TER trains in correspondence running until April 30.

Your request for a free exchange or refund can be made:

  • Up until the departure of your INOUI and Intercités TGV train
  • Until 1h30 before the departure of your OUIGO

Passengers can carry out these procedures on all the usual sales channels (including the website oui.sncf and SNCF approved online agencies).

Reinforced cleaning and sanitation measures for all trains 

If you would like to find out the measures that are taken for cleaning of the trains, please refer here (in French): https://www.sncf.com/fr/offres-voyageurs/voyager-en-train/coronavirus-nos-mesures-exceptionnelles

I’m expecting more transportation updates in the near future so will update any information as much as I can.