One year on from Nice

One year ago today, I was at Fondation Lenval, the Children’s Hospital in Nice, with my youngest son who was admitted for observation (and possible surgery).  We had been in the kids ward for a few days when my sister phoned me from abroad on 14 July and asked if we were OK.

I told her we were at Lenval and the phone went silent; she had just seen the breaking news of the attack on the Promenade des Anglais – an event that was completely unrelated to our own hospital stay but happened merely 150 metres from where we currently were.

Usually, my own family is watching Fête Nationale fireworks so my relief at knowing they were elsewhere at the fireworks in Juan les Pins was replaced with concern and sadness for those in Nice.

I had listened to the fireworks and fell asleep; within 30 minutes, a large squad of riot police was gathered outside our hospital room in the street below.  As a writer with connections to many global media contacts, it would have been easy for me to take photos and a video for a ‘Breaking News’ segment and have my 5-minutes of recognition with global media.  But, very quickly, I could tell that something serious had happened.

I turned on the TV and sat stunned as news reports updated the scene.  A nurse came into our room and began checking all the equipment we weren’t using; we shared a conversation and she simply said we had priority of care but she needed to be sure they could come to our room if needed to get extra equipment as they weren’t certain of the number of admissions yet.

My heart dropped as I looked at my own son sleeping, blissfully unaware of what was unfolding around him.

Our hospital room was many floors above the emergency arrivals entrance, and over the next few hours I felt immense sadness as I watched and listened to the stream of ambulances arriving at Lenval, knowing that each one had children inside.

As a parent, you have a strong sense of protection for your own children so to see emergency vehicles in great numbers and understand that someone else’s child is innocently injured and there is nothing you can do, it is a very cruel situation and heart-breaking.

I cried and hoped the children had their families with them. Sadly the truth was not so black-and-white, 44 patients arrived within 2 hours; 32 of those were children.

The next morning when my son had his scheduled X-rays, the waiting room was filled with injured children – broken limbs, head injuries and more.  I was shocked, angry and sad.  How could someone do something like this and target families out celebrating France’s largest national day?  I spoke with an 8-year old boy who was hit by the truck and flung with such force into a rubbish bin it broke both his legs and fractured his skull, he told me he was happy to be alive so he can go skateboarding again.

Later that day in the hospital playroom, there were young children in there who were non-communicative and numb; shocked into silence.  I wanted to give them all a big hug.

We checked out of Lenval the following day and as we left, a large number of media and TV crews were outside and presenting live feeds and coverage.   French media were very respectful; British media not so and some were effectively standing in the entrance ways to get interviews from people coming and going.  They were disrespectful and sadly showed the ugly face of media.

At the time we left Lenval, there were still 10 children who were being treated and had not been identified.   Lenval Hospital staff had worked tirelessly, doctors and nurses had arrived voluntarily from 14 July and psychologists were on hand to counsel families.

Even though we were not immediately involved, in the days after the attack I suffered from nightmares – I was trying to stop the truck in Nice and it turned out the guy just lost control rather than pre-meditated everything, I took the boys to summer fireworks and lost them in the crowd….

In the days following the attack in Nice, it would have been extremely easy for me to write a blog article about Nice to capitalise on all the internet traffic.   I noticed many articles on social media doing just that –  ‘Why Nice is still great’ and ‘Top 10 Reasons to Still Visit Nice’, but it seemed too raw to me and I felt a sense of guilt at being unharmed, a sense of sadness for the victims and their families and a sense of anger towards the attacker.

The attack in Nice injured almost 500 people and resulted in 86 deaths, including 10 children.

I will write a blog post in the future about why Nice is still great, but it won’t be today.   Today is for commemoration and solidarity for the victims and their families.

I will leave you with my personal Facebook status in the days afterwards when I was asked to do a radio interview and a beautiful video of Nice filmed and edited by Fabien Ecochard:

I feel immense sadness for these families and intense anger at the cruelty of this mans actions whether influenced by others or not.
Part of me doesn’t want to do this interview because I know they will ask me about the man and I think this evil bastard has had enough attention already. He was born on this planet like you and I – void of hatred and open to the joys of the world – yet somewhere in this 31-year old’s life he decided that harming innocent people was the best option.
But I feel a huge debt to these families who have lost loved ones and a city which is hurting.
I have the chance to speak about the Nice that they love and live in, a city that mixes not divides cultures, a place filled with amazing museums and little alleyways with kind people selling things that light up your senses such as homemade soap, fresh herbs and hand rolled pasta.
It’s the place to find a vintage postcard, a good glass of rosé and the best hot socca.
If you have ever sat on those blue chairs on the Prom and watched the world go by, you understand why Its ‘Nissa La Bella’. If you’ve ever had a Fenocchio ice cream on a hot day, you get it. If you’ve ever arrived at Nice Airport or walked up Castle Hill and seen that turquoise sea from above, you know the feeling.
It’s where memories should be created for a lifetime, not destroyed in an instant.
I shall share the Nice I know and hope I don’t cry!


UPDATE: Fête Nationale fireworks on the French Riviera

On 14 July 2017, it will be a national bank holiday however the usual Fête Nationale (Bastille Day) fireworks and celebrations on the French Riviera will be replaced by a day of commemoration and memory for the victims of last years attack on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.


To honour the memory of the victims and show the support of Antibes-Juan les Pins, a ceremony of remembrance will be held at 11am on Friday 14 July at Place des Martyrs de la Résistance, beside the carousel in Old Town Antibes.

Jazz à Juan will now also commence on Saturday 15 July.

The fireworks for Fête Nationale will now be at 10.30pm on Saturday 15 July in the bay of Juan les Pins, as well as 10pm on Sunday 16 July off Salis and Ponteil beaches in Antibes.


The Fête Nationale ceremony organised by the Municipality of Vallauris-Golfe Juan will be held on Friday 14 July at the Monument aux Morts at 10.30am in Golfe Juan and 11.45am in Vallauris.  This will be followed by a tribute to the victims of the 14 July 2016 attack in Nice.

The fireworks for Fête Nationale will now be at 10pm on Monday 17 July in the bay of Golfe Juan.


This year, Nice is organising a day of tribute on 14 July to the victims, to the dedication of the public health, relief and security services, but also to the heroes, witnesses and anonymous victims and their families.  The programme is:

9am-8pm:  Participative tribute, quai des Etats-Unis

4.30pm:  Parade at Place Massena and municipal tribute

9pm:  Concert by the Philarmonic Orchestra of Nice at Promenade du Peillon

10.34pm  A minutes silence will be observed

NOTE:  There will be no changes to any Fête Nationale events already scheduled for 13 or 15 July.  The events on 14 July for Cannes, St Paul de Vence, Roquebrune Cap Martin and Valbonne remain unchanged.



Secret French Riviera : Hidden Spots Worth A Visit

This month, for my contribution to All About France blog link-up hosted by Lou Messugo, I’m sharing a few secrets about the French Riviera.

When you live somewhere, you are privy to local tips and things that you learn about your home town or region that tourists perhaps don’t see or aren’t aware of.

Yes, TripAdvisor and tourist offices can be great sources of information but if you want to find where the tastiest food is, the most uncrowded attractions or coolest activities at a great price, then ask a local.   Whenever I travel, I like to see where the locals eat, where they shop and where they party (!) because this is often where the hidden gems are!

Here are some of my Secret French Riviera suggestions:

Top chefs under the radar

One of the nicest things about living in France is the fact you can find a top chef in a humble setting and people are either unaware of their ‘fame’ or don’t make a fuss.

There are ex-chefs who run restaurants at camping sites, high-profile chefs who grill fish in summer at beachside kiosks before skipping back to the galleys of top kitchens and chefs who own orchards and vineyards far off the tourist path.

One of my great finds here is My French Burger, which is often parked at  Zone Industrielle Des Terriers near Decathlon and Animalis in Antibes.  The owner is Grégory Leriche, previously a top pastry chef at Lenôtre who has always dreamed of having his own food truck making burgers from scratch with homemade mayonnaise, ketchup and bread buns.  Of course, he sells his patisseries which I would sell my soul for.  If you’re nice, ask him to show you his photo album with photos of A-list stars he has taught to cook.

Grég’s chalkboard with Paul Bocuse’s quote

There are other great chefs in many other dining establishments across the Côte d’Azur.  Most tourists are familiar with the Michelin or Gault Millau guides for restaurant suggestions, but are you aware of the ‘Maître Restaurateur’ title or ‘Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France’?

The title of Maître Restaurateur is the only title awarded in France by the state for professional catering whereby the chef themselves (not the restaurant) is audited by an independent body on 30 criteria.  This includes signalling when recipes are home made, freshness of products, service quality and decoration.  The title is valid for 4 years, after which the chef must be reaudited so the standards remain high.

To see the list of Maître Restaurateurs for the French Riviera (06 Alpes Maritimes), visit

maitre restaurateurs

Maître Restaurateurs are worth finding for fine chefs

Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (better known as MOF) is a prestigious award in France according by category of trades where the competitors are judged on technical skills, innovation, respect for traditions, speed and other criteria and awarded points.  The categories are diverse – some of the categories include clockmaking, cabinetmaking and silkscreen printing.  For hospitality, competitors can excel in butchery, pastry making, chocolate making and more.  Some of the famous winners are Paul Bocuse, Roger Vergé and Joël Robuchon.

Famous locations mostly unknown by tourists

Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoléon I) has left a number of locations to visit on the French Riviera including Cannes (he camped at 15 Rue des Belges near Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Voyage church) and in Nice (6 rue Bonaparte was the residence of Napoléon in 1794 where he discussed plans with his generals and Palais Hongran de Fiana, a complex of holiday rental apartments beside Ma Nolans Irish pub is where he slept briefly after the building was confiscated in the late 18th century; look for the commemorative plaque on the façade).

6 rue Bonaparte in Nice

The town of Mougins has many famous locations including homes where Christian Dior and Yves St Laurent lived.  Edith Piaf stayed at La Gatounière in 1963, and Jean Cocteau, Man Ray and Pablo Picasso drifted in and out of the town.  Artist Maurice Gottlob was the communal rural policeman.

mougins history

Mougins has many famous locations visited by writers, film stars, artists and politicians

Picasso has a lot of history with Mougins; Villa Vaste Horizon (previously Hotel Vaste Horizon) is the town’s cultural centre today, but back in the 1930’s Picasso arrived with his bags.  He painted the walls in his room, only to be told to cover over his work with white paint the next day by the hotel owner.  He used to dine at Place de Mougins which used to be Le Feu Follet.  Most famously, he lived near Chapelle Notre Dame de Vie (1 Rue Eglise) at his estate, L’Antre du Minotaure (the Minotaur’s Lair).  The chapel garden has a tomb that was built for the Guinness family.

vaste horizon mougins

Pablo Picasso at Hotel Vaste Horizon in Mougins (© Lee Miller Archives, England 2015. All rights reserved. ©Succession Picasso/DACS, 2015).

You don’t need to go far to see the wide influence on the French Riviera credited to the monks from the Lérins Islands.  Running a functioning monastery and vineyard (as well as a gift/liqueur shop) on Île St-Honorat today,  the Lérins monks are due some credit for the town of Valbonne in its modern incarnation.

Augustin of Grimaldi, Bishop of Grasse and abbot of Lerins decided in the 16th-century to rebuild a town (wiped out from drought, barbaric invasions and the Black Plague) on the land beside the Abbey of Valbonne; the town layout of Valbonne is unique on the French Riviera in that it follows a Roman plan with a central street and perpendicular streets around a central square, now Place des Arcades.  There is also a private estate nearby, Domaine de la Sylviane, where this former stone Monastery built by the Lérins monks still produces olive oil under the label ‘Domaine de la Sylviane’.

la sylviane valbonne

Domaine de la Sylviane near to Valbonne is a former Monastery built by the Lérins monks

Other locations that exist thanks to the Lérins monks include Hostellerie Jérôme that is a wonderful restaurant in La Turbie set in the old presbytery of the Lérins Abbey, and Domaine de La Royrie, an olive grove in Grasse that was planted by the monks in the 15th-century and offers tours of the estate and tastings of their AOC Nice olive oil.

Swimming spots tourists don’t often visit

The French Riviera has some great beaches ranging from family-friendly options to full-service beach clubs for a day of lounging and soaking up the sun.

However, some of the most beautiful swimming locations are not found at beaches, especially in the height of summer.  You don’t have to venture too far from the coast to enjoy some really stunning river, waterfall and lake swimming spots.

Some great places for a refreshing dip in warm months are:

The Gorges du Loup & Rives du Loup:  Less than 40 minutes from the coast, Pont-du-Loup is a small hamlet best known for its aqueduct ruins and Confiserie Florian candy factory.  However, it’s a great base for escaping from the summer heat; the best pools are 2 kilometres upstream along the D3 road and you can find places to jump from or sunbathe on large rocks.  This area is popular for canyoning trips, so choose from a number of professional guiding companies if you fancy climbing and sliding into pools.

Gorges du Loup

The Parc Departmental Rives du Loup has some great river spots that are quite shallow so ideal for small kids.  For families, Ludiparc near La Colle sur Loup, has access to the river with a pebble beach as well as tonnes of fun activities and a mini water park.

La Brague:  Between Biot and Valbonne, the Brague River has shaded forest trails next to refreshing water where you can dip your toes in on hot days, including this small pool where I snapped this photo of two of my favourite people skipping stones.  I find there can be issues with mosquitoes, so take insect repellant!  We park at Sophia Antipolis near La Veirière, a few minutes from the Air France headquarters.  A map of river walks along the Brague is here:

Parc de la Brague has forest paths beside the River Brague

The Siagne River & Lac St Cassien: Head to Chapelle St Cassien de Bois, find a park and walk from there.  The Siagne River has lots of current-free sections with some small cascades.  Lac St Cassien is excellent for families with lots of watersports equipment for hire such as pedalos, inflatable climbing frames, kayaks.  Lots of picnic spots and some good restaurants.

La Clue d’Aiglun, Pont de la Cerise, Riou de Pierrefeu and Clue du Riolan:  About 1.5 hours from Nice, the Esteron River is a stunning colour and you can find perfectly tranquil sections of river with jade and turquoise plunge pools amidst white rocks, caves, lush ferns and medieval bridges.

From the village of Sigale, Aiglun is 7 kilometres west. Park in the village, find the canyoning sign, and follow the canyon return path for 1 kilometre down to a series of pools, about 200 metres upstream of the road bridge. You can also access the river directly from a narrow path from the road bridge, 1.5 kilometres beneath the village, and you’ll find there are pools under the bridge, too.  Riou de Pierrefeu is great for families and Clue du Riolan is popular with canyoning enthusiasts.

Gorges du Cagnes (Gorges du Riou):  Rocks, waterfalls, moss – it’s the French Riviera’s secret swimming hole fantasy near to Vence.  Beware: The path is not well marked and there are loads of signs saying ‘rock fall’ and similar so watch for loose rocks, the stairs are not fenced and the pool is not deep enough for diving!  Other than that, it is so quiet you’ll probably have the place to yourself.

Riou swimming spot near Vence

Gorges de Pennafort:  We discovered this little gem with many swimming holes a few years ago and the bonus is that the journey is just over 1 hour from Antibes.  The best part is its proximity to some great wineries and a good restaurant across the road at Hostellerie des Gorges de Pennafort.  You can find out more about the area around Gorges de Pennafort here

The Gorges de Pennafort are a great place for a cooling swim on a hot day

The Gorges du Verdon:  One of the most beautiful regions in France and only a few hours drive from the French Riviera, there are many zones perfect for kayaking, pedalos and swimming.  The most crowded lake is Lac St Croix, but there are other excellent places including Lac de Castillon.

Gorges du Verdon are a must-see in France

Do you have any secret places you like on the French Riviera?  If you liked this post, make sure you join my mailing list to get updates to your inbox – simply add your email address on the right-hand side of the home page.  Feel free to share this post!

Lou Messugo


Joutes Provençales at Vieux Port in Cannes

Hosted at Vieux Port in Cannes, this summer families can enjoy free events that demonstrate the old tradition of provençale joutes.

Cannes : History of the Joutes Provençales

Joutes provençales originate from the Egyptian era; fishermen from the French Riviera originally set up a ladder on their boats and over time it has become a true festival with nautical combats and dives, practised in Provence.

The city of Cannes acquired two jousting boats in 1949, suitably named Le Sainte-Marguerite and Le Saint-Honorat, but with a lack of jousters the boats remained in storage from 2004.  After the election of David Lisnard to the position of Mayor, he relaunched this Cannois tradition in 2014 to support local culture and encourage visitors to Cannes.

Today, the sport is hotly contested by 16 joutes provençales companies from the Var and Côte d’Azur including Cannes, Théoule, Agay, Fréjus, La Ciotat and Saint-Raphael with the ‘rules’ being that opponents stand on a boat and try to send their opponent into the water using a wooden spear (opponents wear a wooden breastplate to protect them).

joutes provencales

The Joutes Provençales hosted at Vieux Port in Cannes

One opponent is the ‘jouster’ who stands on a raised platform called a teinteine; the other team member ensures the jouster does not catch the spear.  Contestants must place their left food forward of a white line on the platform, otherwise if their right foot crosses the line at the time of joust they are disqualified.

quai st pierre events

Come to Quai St Pierre to watch the Joutes provençales in summer

When are the ‘Joutes Provençales’ in Cannes?

Starting from tomorrow (18 June) and running until 18 August, Cannes will host 5 Joutes Provençales events on various Friday nights and all-day selected Sundays.

One of the monks from Ile Saint-Honorat joins the nautical jousting

Organized by the Mayor of Cannes David Lisnard, in collaboration with L’association des Jeunes Jouteurs suquetans and CCI Nice Côte d’Azur, all are welcome to Quai Saint Pierre to enjoy this traditional activity.  The 2017 Joutes Provençales programme is:

  • Sunday 18 June 2017 from 9am to 6pm (Round 1 of the Var-Côte d’Azur championship to qualify for the French championship staged in Istres, L’Estaque, Agay and Martigues this summer)
  • Friday 23 June 2017 from 7pm to 11pm (Challenge of the Rotary Club Cannes Pays de Lérins tournament sponsored by Rotary)
  • Sunday 23 July 2017 from 9am to 6pm (Another round of the Var-Côte d’Azur championship)
  • Friday 04 August 2017 from 7pm to 11pm (‘Tournoi de la St Sauveur’, in the presence of various teams of the region)
  • Friday 18 August 2017 from 7pm to 11pm (Challenge Le Mashou)


  • Watch a video of the Joutes Provençales in Cannes here (video:  CannesWebTV):




Fête de la Musique 2017 – Wednesday 21 June

One of my favourite days in France – Fête de la Musique – is a family-friendly day to discover different music genres and new musicians.

Held on the same date every year, 21st June, all across France you can find free public concerts from emerging and established musicians, singers and bands.

Here are some of the Fête de la Musique 2017 concerts for the French Riviera:

Antibes / Juan les Pins

Antibes is usually very good for Fête de la Musique!   Here is the official schedule from the Tourist Office for public concerts:

Aside from this programme, other happenings in Antibes & Juan les Pins for Fête de la Musique 2017:

  • JP the Barber Shop will have classic pop rock from 2pm (21 Rue Général d’Andréossy, 06600 Antibes)
  • Blue Note will have DJ Debector with accompaniment from Pastor from 7pm
  • Blah Blah is performing at Le Latino’s from 7.30pm
  • Happy Face will have DJ Flim till late.

Fete de la Musique 2017 in Antibes with Blue Note

Beaulieu sur Mer

From 9pm, Serpico will perform at Place Marinoni.


Various music from 6.30pm-11.30pm at Place de Gaulle, Place des Arcades, Jardin Frédéric Mistral.

Cagnes sur Mer / Cros-de-Cagnes / Haut-de-Cagnes

From 5pm, at Place de la Marine in Cros-de-Cagnes there will be a concert from the Conservatoire municipal de Musique.

From 8.30pm, centre-ville / Place de Gaulle will host a variety of genres : Skyveul (Pop-Rock Blues), DJ Foxxer,  DJ Lucas Carrera.

From 9pm, Place du Château in Haut-de-Cagnes will have a concert by New Voltage.

Place du Château


From 2pm, Kiosque des Allées has various music.

From 6pm, Jardin Médiathèque Noailles will host Ensemble El Encuentro (Argentine music and dance) and Prince & Jeff Trio (Blues & jazz occidental)

A historic venue in Le Suquet, the Moulin Forville, will host an evening of singing, poem recitals and animations organised by ArtLive, le Moulin Forville and the Association Les Mots d’Azur.  Held from 6.30pm to 10pm in the gardens of the Moulin. Cost €7.

Plage Belle Plage (Boulevard du Midi Jean Hibert, 06400 Cannes) will have deep house and electro DJ’s from 6.30pm :  DJ Jerome Foster, DJ Cyril VaLone, DJ Uncle Jim’s.
Place de l’étang from 8pm: Blue Cocktail – International cover songs.
Place du marché in Cannes La Bocca from 8pm: Spoon performing pop folk ‘n’ roll.
Port Canto from 8pm: Concert from the Regional Orchestra of Cannes PACA

Golfe Juan / Vallauris

At Espace Grand Jean from 2pm-6pm, there will performances from the music school and karaoke.  From 8pm, there will be a salsa show.

The Fete de la Musique festivities continue on Friday and Saturday in Golfe Juan, more info here:


Grasse will have many locations set up with concerts at various times from 2pm till late including Cour d’honneur de la Mairie, Garden of Villa Fragonard, Scène Place aux Aires, Scène Cours Honoré CRESP, Scène Évêché, Scène Jeu de Ballon.

Night owls can stay out for the DJ set’s till midnight at Place du Petit Puy, Scène Cours Honoré CRESP and Cour d’honneur du MIP.

La Colle sur Loup

The locations for the public concerts will be the jardin public, Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs, Place du 8 mai (rue Foch), Place de Gaulle and Placette de la Poste.

La Colle sur Loup (image: Tourist Office)


From 7pm to 9pm at Place Ésterel Gallery, Marine (a semi-finalist from The Voice Kids), will sing a few songs followed by a concert from students of the Diamond School Compagnie singing soul, jazz and funk.


The Conservatoire de Musique de Menton will perform choral and orchestral concerts at the Mairie from 5.30pm.

From 9pm-11pm, Basilique Saint-Michel will host choral concerts.

Basilique Saint-Michel (image: mapio)

Esplanade Francis Palmero will have French and international cover songs by Sourires et Mélodies from 9pm-11.30pm

Monaco / Monte-Carlo

In La Condamine, there will be various free concerts throughout the day on rue Caroline, Place du Marché and at Square Gastaud.

Place des Moulins will have free music from 12pm-1pm and 6pm-8pm, Rose des Vents at Larvotto has free music from 12pm-7pm

From 9pm, the main event is a free concert with ‘Junior’ and ‘ Deluxe’ at Port Hercule.

Fete de la Musique Monaco 2017


Various public concerts held from 6.30pm till late at the Parc du Chateau, the lavoir, Hotel de Ville and Place de l’église.


The public music school will have a recital at L’église Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur from 7.30pm.

From 8pm, Eco Parc will host the Orchestra Europa with covers of popular music from Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, Adele and more!


Bmvr Bibliothèque Louis Nucéra (2 Place Yves Klein) DJ and live music from 3pm-4pm
Homme5 (8 avenue Malausséna) from 5pm-7pm
Place Pierre Gautier from 6pm-midnight

Le Petit Conservatoire De Pessicart (178, Avenue De Pessicart) : From 6.30pm, the Petit Conservatoire de Pessicart under the direction of Magali Pika de Coster, 7.30pm Gérard, 8pm Bluesberry, 9pm Blacklisted

Restaurant Le Choucas (Place Vieille Nice) from 8pm, pop rock concert for Syndrom & Torrancesv2
Parc Chambrun from 8pm-10pm

Parc Chambrun (image: freeriders)

Jardin du Musée des Beaux Arts (Jules Chéret – 33, avenue des Baumettes), Concert from 8pm-11pm from Philarmonic Orchestra of Nice (limited seating 400 places only)
Saint Laurent du Var
There will be a ‘white party’ at Square Bènes from 6pm-midnight; white attire compulsory!  Concert and meal costs €10
Saint Paul de Vence
Concerts from 6pm-midnight, the programme is here:  Fete de la Musique St Paul de Vence 2017
Near to l’Hôtel de ville from 7pm Fete de la Musique will open….From 7.30pm-10.30pm Jazz’Bonne Festival ( Big Band then at 10.30pm All Groove and July Tuvi DJ.
Place des Arcades from 7pm-1am: Nom-name, Con2mime , Tchapakan et Pandore Orchestra.

Place des Arcades in Valbonne (image: kiechle)

From 6pm-midnight, six stages will be located in Vence with over 40 groups/performers Grand-Jardin, Place Clemenceau, Place Godeau, Place Frêne, Place Maréchal Juin and Cour de la Prévôté.
Villeneuve Loubet
From 7pm-midnight, various genres will perform jazz, electro and pop.
If you are a musician, band or singer and want to be included on this free list please send me an email to be added with details of your genre, French Riviera town and time of concert. 


Top family-friendly ideas to entertain kids on a French Riviera Yacht Charter — French Riviera Luxury

The French Riviera is the most glamorous stretch of coastline in the world, and as such, is probably not the first place that comes to mind when planning a family yacht charter. Yet there’s actually so much great stuff to do with kids on the Cote d’Azur that you’ll struggle to fit it all in […]

via Things to do with Children on your French Riviera Yacht Charter — French Riviera Luxury

The Best Places to Spot Dolphins, Whales and Turtles in the Mediterranean 

Discover the Mediterranean hot spots for dolphin and whale watching. Find out where you can see turtles swimming in the wild and maybe even join them. 

Nature lovers will enjoy a Mediterranean yacht charter for the stunning scenery, but during the summer season there is the unexpected bonus of some spectacular marine life. We’ve selected the best places for you to spot dolphins, whales and turtles in the wild this summer.

wildlife viewing yacht charter

Seeing marine wildlife on yacht charter is an unmissable experience!


Dolphins are not only the most Intelligent and sociable cetaceans in the Mediterranean, but they are also the easiest to find. Their penchant for jumping and playing will delight kids and adults alike.

Italy is a wonderful place to spot dolphins, with the highest concentration of them in the Ligurian Sea, the east coast of Sicily and the Gulf of Taranto in the Ionian Sea. The latter is one of the best “feeding grounds” in the world where the dolphins breed well and enjoy chasing boats.

They can also be spotted from the deck of a Sardinia yacht charter in the Golfo Aranci, close to the glamorous Costa Smeralda.

dolphin spotting Mediterranean

The Gulf of Taranto in the Ionian Sea is a great place for dolphin spotting in the Mediterranean

Spain is another great place for dolphin-watching, particularly in the Balearic Islands where they swim alongside boats and can be seen in coastal coves. Species found in Mallorca include the common dolphin, Risso’s dolphin (easily recognised by its unusual scratched, scarred skin), the bottlenose dolphin, and the white-sided dolphin.

dolphins yacht charter

Risso Dolphins seen on yacht charter

The bottlenose dolphin is a common sight in the Aegean Sea and justifiably popular since it is one of the most acrobatic and playful dolphins in Europe. The large (up to 4 metres) grey animals will happily frolic in the bow wave of your yacht, following or diving underneath the boat. The striped dolphin is the most prevalent type of dolphin and particularly at home in deep water. It gets its name from black stripe along its body and is very gregarious, swimming in large groups and making frequent leaps out of the water.

Dolphins can generally be found everywhere in the Mediterranean from the French Riviera to Turkey, but it’s important to note that you should wait for them to come to you. The boat motor should be switched off or maintained in neutral and you shouldn’t stay with them for longer than 30 minutes at a time. It’s also important not to feed them or try to touch them.

dolphins spain

Bottlenose dolphins are one of the most playful dolphin species and love to ride bow waves


The Mediterranean is not typically considered a whale watching hot spot, so you might be surprised to learn that there are eight different species of whale. The most famous of these include pilot whales, sperm whales and even killer whales.

whales mediterranean

Pilot whales are a wonderful experience to be seen in the Mediterranean

The Strait of Gibraltar and the coast of Tarifa are ideal places to seek long-finned pilot whales on your next Balearic yacht charter. It is also the best place to see killer whales, a beloved family favourite recognisable to everyone. Killer whales chase the fishing boats around Tarifa in search of tuna throughout the summer, and they are spotted in the Strait in late August as the tuna starts to migrate back across the Atlantic.

whale watching Mediterranean

The coast of Tarifa is an excellent vantage point to view killer whales (orca)

Spain is one of the best places in Europe to see cetaceans in the wild, but to see the most diverse selection, head to the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean where 30 species can be found in waters that reach depths of 2,500 metres. Tenerife is the best spot to see sperm whales because the deep sea is abundant in their favourite snack, giant squid.

Elsewhere, you can spot the 20m fin whale in the Ligurian Sea between the Italian Riviera and Corsica in the summer. The fin whale is the second largest animal that has ever lived on our planet (after the blue whale), so it is a real privilege to see them up close. They can also be spotted in the Peloponnese in Greece and elsewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean where as many as 2,000 of these whales live on a diet of krill (tiny shrimp). A top tip is to look for pilot whales, which can be distinguished by a visible, black, balloon-shaped head. These whales often swim near to much larger species, and if you see one there’s a strong chance you’ll also see much larger whales nearby.

To summarise, these are the main hot spots for whales in the Mediterranean:

  • Strait of Gibraltar
  • Andalucian Coast, Spain
  • Ligurian Sea, Italy/Corsica
  • Peloponnese, Greece
whale watching europe

Whale watching can be done on yacht charter in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain, Greece, Turkey and Italy/Corsica


Turtle conservation is big news in the Mediterranean where rampant tourist development and net-fishing still threaten populations. The best places to find sea turtles is off the coasts of Greece and Turkey where they have lived for millions of years and are contemporaries of the earliest dinosaurs.

Iztuzu Beach in South-west Turkey is a narrow strip of sand separating the Dalyan River from the Mediterranean. It has been aptly named “Turtle Beach” since it is one of the main breeding grounds for loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) and has been protected for almost 30 years as a response to continued attempts to develop tourist resorts on the beach. The landscape of a river delta meeting the sea amid the mountains is worth visiting alone but the turtles make it all the more special.

loggerhead sea turtles turkey

Iztuzu Beach in Turkey is aptly named ‘Turtle Beach’ as it is a breeding ground for loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta)

The Kaptan June Turtle Sea Turtle Conservation Foundation has a done a great job of creating an eco-tourist attraction that is educational and interesting for travellers of all ages. It provides a safe summertime nesting ground for the hatchlings to make their moonlit journey to the sea guided by the glimmering reflection of the stars on the water. At one end of the bay, there is a sanctuary for injured turtles. Further along the coast, you may find yourself swimming amongst turtles in shallow waters like Oludeniz lagoon near Fethiye.

turtles greece turkey

Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) can be seen in yacht charter destinations Greece and Turkey

The same species of loggerheads can be spotted in Zakynthos, Greece. The turtles have large heads with a horny beak that is thicker than other sea turtles and are a golden brown colour. Most of the turtles are located across the bay of Laganas, which extends from the end of Cape Vassilikos to the end of Keri Cape. Turtles swim in the shallow water of the bay and you can watch from a boat. The best chance to see them is during June and July when they breed, but since they swim underwater and emerge at intervals of 2-45 minutes, luck plays a part in how many you’ll see.