Eat and drink – ANTIBES (Le Cameo)

This weekend is the Antibes Déantibulation festival whereby the streets, alleyways and squares of Antibes old town are filled with trapeze artists, buskers, comedians and performance artists.  We ventured out on Saturday to experience a Brazilian percussion band, and a 2-person trampolining act dressed as the Blue Brothers.  Antibes old town was busy with locals and tourists alike all eager to experience their own slice of free theatre and music.

After wandering around we wanted to stop for a refreshment (but not wait an eternity for service) so we stopped for a drink at Le Cameo Hotel, an unassuming bar/hotel situated at Place Nationale.  The ‘Cameo’ as it is known locally is a basic hotel but I am not sure of the exact hotel standard – our reason for stopping here was it was not busy (usually I would take this to NOT be a good sign of a remarkable eating establishment) therefore we could possibly be served quickly and avoid the throngs of people surging every bar/café in Antibes old town; and it offered a shady restful place on a hot day.

Within minutes of seating, we were approached by a friendly waiter who took our drinks orders and returned promptly with our drinks and a bowl of table crackers.  He was friendly and pulled funny faces with my son.  Friends joined us later and received the same warm service from various bar staff.  We did not eat here but drink prices were good for Antibes.  The toilets were on the ground floor, very clean and accessible for strollers/buggies, and wheelchairs.

A worthwhile bar/caféteria to visit if you want somewhere fuss-free, shaded from the hot sun and close enough to people watch without being part of the action.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES / THEME PARKS on the French Riviera

The great weather on the French Riviera means it is the perfect destination for families, and with it’s proximity to both the sea and the mountains there is never a shortage of outdoor activities to participate in.

See also my ‘PLAYGROUNDS on the French Riviera’  and ‘Sightseeing’ sections.

Here are some suggestions for family activities outdoors (including the must-see theme park attractions):

ANTIBES

– Marineland, located just off the RN7 main road, is the largest marine themepark in Europe with aquariums, killer whales, dolphins, sharks, penguins, sea lions and more. ‘Meet the animal’ experiences on offer for additional cost.  Lots of restaurants onsite.  Wheelchair accessible park.  Their website often has discount specials for entrance, and combinations with the other adjoining theme parks www.marineland.fr

Kids Island, located just off the RN7 main road, has farm animals, pony rides, inflatable play equipment, a lazy river ride, sheriff’s saloon, mini Wild West train ride and more.  Snack kiosks onsite.  Wheelchair accessible park.  Entry is free for children under 3 years, however it is more suitable for children 4 years and older due to the age restriction on some of the attractions.  www.marineland.fr

Aquasplash, another one of the parks adjoining the Marineland complex, is self-explanatory – a water-filled funpark perfect for those hot days!  Slides, pools, Pirate Island, whirlpools. Snack kiosks onsite. www.marineland.fr

– Adventure Golf, the remaining park at the Marineland complex, has 3 mini-golf courses for varying levels. www.marineland.fr

Antibesland, just across from Marineland is open during summer, with funfair stalls, fairground rides, a big ferris wheel and snack kiosks.

CAILLE

Arbre et Aventure – Experience an adventure course set in the forest, 7 different levels with one child course suitable for ages 5 years and older. Suspended bridges, rope ladders and a 470-metre zip-line.  Arbre et Aventure, Télésèige de La Moulière, 06750 Caille. Hours and tariffs can be found at www.arbreetaventure.fr

CAGNES SUR MER

– The waterfront promenade is wide and flat.  Hire rollerblades at the Hippodrome end of the promenade or a family cycle and burn off some energy, then sit in a restaurant eating lunch and enjoying the view.

CANNES

– Make a daytrip out to the Lérins Islands – refer to Sightseeing section for more information.

– Camp Trappeur is an adventure park with climbing nets in the trees, a rockclimbing wall, buggy cross hire, pony rides (during school holidays), chill-out lounge and tipis for private events.  Minimum age for climbing nets is 5 years of age. www.okwide.fr

Lounge (image: Camp Trappeur)

Lounge (image: Camp Trappeur)

JUAN LES PINS

– Visiobulle is a glass-bottomed boat that travels to the nearby Cap d’Antibes and the ‘Bay of Millionaires’ past the mansions, Eden Roc hotel and rocky outcrops of the Cap.  Quite pricey for what it is but an excursion option none the less. Departs from the pontoon Courbet opposite the Office du Tourisme on the waterfront in Juan les Pins.  www.visiobulle.com

Cap d'Antibes scenery on the Visiobulle boat trip

Cap d’Antibes scenery on the Visiobulle boat trip

Karting Juan les Pins is located underground on the Promenade du Soleil (just next to Sun7 Caféteria), it’s open late in summer and children from 5 years upwards can drive mini-karts around a track manned by safety supervisors.

LE BAR SUR LOUP

Refer to ‘PLAYGROUNDS‘ blog post for Ludiparc details.  Also, Funkart (located at Plateau de la Sarrée, route de Gourdon, 06620 Le Bar sur Loup) is the only go-kart track in the region equipped with adult and children’s tracks. Restaurant onsite.  www.fun-karting.com

MENTON

Koaland is a theme park for children with carousel, mini-golf, amusement rides, inflatable castles, located at 5 avenue de la Madone, 06500 Menton www.parckoaland.fr

MOUGINS

Buggy Cross de Mougins (909 chemin du Fond de Currault, 06250 Mougins) has mini motorbikes and quad bikes for children 4 years and older to hire. Snack kiosks with tables and swing playset onsite.  www.buggycross.fr

NICE

– Departing from Nice and chugging through the villages set high above Nice towards Dignes-les-Bains, the Train des Pignes covers 151 kilometres with great scenery of valleys, mountains and villages and lots of tunnels to thrill the kids!   Recommended to stop off at one of the villages (my pick is Entreveux), enjoy lunch then take a later train back www.trainprovence.com

Parc Phoenix (refer to Sightseeing section).

SAINT CÉZAIRE SUR SIAGNE

– Grotto caves 15 kilometres from Grasse with stalactites. There is snack shop and souvenir shop onsite.  Not wheelchair accessible.  Recommended to telephone and check it is definitely open as we have shown up during opening hours previously and it has been closed with no explanation online or onsite. For hours, entry prices and more information visit www.lesgrottesdesaintcezaire.com

SAINT JEANNET

– A small farm 7 kilometres from Vence that arranges on-demand farm visits where you can sample homemade preserves, meet the animals (donkeys, ducks, rabbits and more) and pick vegetables in the organic garden. Graine and Ficelle, 670 chemin des Collets, 06640 Saint-Jeannet. Bookings via http://www.french-riviera-mag.com/outings/website-graine-ficelle_1096.htm

SAINT MARTIN VÉSUBIE

– Located in the Mercantour mountains, Parc Alpha Loup lets you discover about wolves in their natural habitat.  Parking, accessible toilets, picnic tables, snack kiosk, educational theatre onsite.  There are many rocky and uneven pathways so it is not particulary suited to pushchairs or wheelchairs if you choose to do a forest walk.  Chalet d’Accueil du Boréon, RD89, 06450 St Martin Vesubie  www.alpha-loup.com

SOSPEL

– Walking trails on the farm, and occasional pony rides. 2€ per person entry fee. Wheelchair and buggy/stroller accessible.  Reservation necessary. At Association MIR – Ferme Pedagogique, Quartier Sainte-Marie. Telephone +33 (0)4 93 04 20 89

VALBERG

– Take the family on an adventure course set in the forest, 3 different levels from ages 3 years and older.  Suspended bridges, zip-lines, rope ladders, nets and more.  At Espace Valberg Adventure and Télésiège pieton.  More information, hours and tariffs at www.valberg.com

VALDEBLORE

– Situated just over an hour’s drive from Nice, Valdeblore is a ski resort that offers many summer activities also.  Enjoy mini-golf, a luge and 5 different courses of forest adventure set in the trees, from ages 3 years and older.  Open June-September.  At Colmiane Forest, Sem des Cimes du Mercantour, La Colmiane, 06420 Valdeblore.  Hours and all prices at www.colmiane.com

La Ferme du Mercantour – Spend a day with the kids partaking in horse and cart rides, meeting farm animals (see donkeys, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, geese and more), pony rides, and sample the fresh farm produce.  La ferme du Mercantour, La Roche, Quartier de Collet, 06420 Valdeblore www.lafermedumercantour.com

VENCE

– Refer to ‘Saint Jeannet’ above.  Also, there is La Ferme du Col de Vence (La Cavetière, route de Coursegoules, 06140 Vence), an educational farm situated at the Col de Vence only 10 kilometres from Vence, where kids can go horse riding, take a horse-and-cart ride, meet farm animals, collect honey and eggs, and walk on bush trails (note: there are rocky paths so leave the pushchair behind if you go trail walking).  More information and prices are at http://www.lacavetiere.com/home.htm

VILLENEUVE LOUBET

– Canyon Forest is an adventure playground set in the trees with rope bridges, zip-lines, climbing equipment.  Picnic tables onsite, snack kiosk, river frontage, it is a wheelchair accessible site however there is a 2.5km path to get to the park site from the carpark, and please note the adventure courses aren’t wheelchair accessible as they are elevated in the trees. Located at Canyon Forest, 26, route de Grasse, Parc de Rives de Loup, 06270 Villeneuve-Loubet. Open February-November.  Reservations necessary; see hours and prices at www.canyonforest.com

LabyFolies for ages 4 years and older (at 2559, RD 2085 – 06270 Villeneuve-Loubet) has a labyrinth maze, pedal karts, luge in the trees, water catapults, inflatable slides and trampolines.  Picnic tables onsite, snack kiosk. Wheelchair accessible park.  www.lelabyrinthedelaventure.com

Pitchoun Forest is a great site with a climbing adventure course for smaller children, ages 3 years and older (same address as LabyFolies above).  Snack kiosk onsite. Wheelchair accessible park.  For more information visit the park’s website at www.azur-labyrinthe.com/pitchoun_forest.htm

Les Bois du Lutins, (same address as LabyFolies and Pitchoun Forest) is suited for younger children from 2 years and older.  You will find inflatable play equipment, climbing nets, luge, tunnels, snack kiosk and picnic tables onsite, baby changing facilities, wheelchair accessible park.  www.leboisdeslutins.com

Eat and drink – CANNES

Children are welcome in restaurants, cafés and bars, however not all restaurants will provide special facilities for families such as high chairs.  Most restaurants do not offer children’s meals (the range may be limited for children to fries, chicken nuggets and similar) but those that do specifically offer children’s menus have fixed-price menus at reduced prices.

Cannes is a hot spot for tourists.  Attracted to Cannes by the sophistication, glamour and shopping it can be difficult to eat at a restaurant satisfying different tastebuds and ages at a reasonable price.  Prices in Cannes can be exorbitant, and service inconsistent.  For a family-friendly restaurant that has a good menu with realistic prices, try L’Avion, 4 Rue Jean De Riouffe, 06400 Cannes (Telephone: 04 92 99 09 19).  Fish, pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and if the kids get bored you can invent a story about the real-life aircraft that makes up part of the decor.  Reservations recommended as it can get busy.

I am reluctant to give away details of one of my favourite places to eat in Cannes as I don’t want it to become crowded!  No matter when I visit, morning, afternoon, various days of the week, I never wait more than 10 minutes to receive fresh, tasty (and well-priced) food.  My usual order is an excellent-sized plate of salad with crisp lettuce, shavings of parmesan cheese, juicy olives, coppa ham and corn – all for the princely sum of €6,50, an absolute bargain in Cannes.  Whilst the surroundings are not Cannes-glamourous or lush, the small damage on the wallet justifies a repeat visit.  This is a snack kiosk, located beside Le Grand Cafe (the opposite side to McDonalds across from the port).  The kiosk sells salads, baguettes and a range of drinks and there are tables on the square so you can eat at leisure while the kids watch the men playing boules nearby.

What To Do on a Rainy Day on the French Riviera

Last Sunday we planned to take our son to the Cannes Film Festival.  The weather forecast was for rain, but undeterred we packed our umbrellas, coats and rain cover for the baby stroller.

We walked along the Croisette and took tourist photos of the red carpet and billboards hyping the latest movie premieres, though sadly there were no celebrity stars to be seen.

The rain did come, so we sheltered at a kiosk on the promenade drinking espresso while our son slept soundly under his rain cover.

Rain is rare on the French Riviera, however on those few days when the outdoors are wet and grey there are plenty of indoor family activities to keep everyone entertained.

Here are some suggestions for rainy day activities:

ANTIBES

  • Take the family bowling at Bowling d’Antibes, 1er ave Nova Antipolis, 06600 Antibes.
  • Indoor soft play centre – Royal Kids – with climbing equipment, slides, ball pits, electric cars (additional charge), cafeteria selling hot and cold drinks, snacks.  Wheelchair and baby stroller accessible premises, free car parking outside or accessible via bus from Antibes. Read my review of Royal Kids here www.royalkids.fr
  • Y’a Un Croco dans l’Atélier is located near the main playgrounds in Antibes Old Town and offer arts and crafts workshops for 4 years upwards. Possible to drop-in during school holidays without reservation. €10 for a 1-hr workshop including instruction and materials, or half-day and fll-day rates.
  • Try the Junior Ceramic Artist Workshop with Céramic Créa, 94 boulevard Beau Rivage Prolongé, 06600 Antibes.  From age 5, children are introduced to ceramics and decorative techniques, and can decorate their own piece (the ceramics are fired and ready for collection 8 days later).  2.5 hour workshops including a snack break.  More information is at www.ceramic-crea.com
  • Visit the Comic Strips Cafe near the Antibes cinema, 3 avenue du 24 Août, Antibes – lots of colourful comics, and figurines.  www.comic-strips-cafe.com
  • Have fun at Laser Quest Antibes (172 avenue Weisweiller, near to Royal Kids and Quick/McDonalds roundabout).
  • Tip Top Kids have a Ludothèque indoor play corner suitable for 0-4 years and various activities and workshops for ages 1-7 years including music, baby gym, kids yoga and Montessori workshops.

BIOT

  • While away a few hours at the Musée national Fernand Léger, chemin du Val de Pome, 06410 Biot.  Permanent art exhibitions, boutique and cafeteria onsite.  Wheelchair accessible and disabled toilet facilties.  http://www.musees-nationaux-alpesmaritimes.fr/fleger/

CAGNES-SUR-MER / HAUT-DE-CAGNES

  • For 6 years and older, free guided tour and chance to create your own fragrance (reservations essential).  Atelier des Parfums, 43 chemin des Presses, 06800 Cagnes sur Mer.
  • Visit the Château Grimaldi with its Musée d’Olivier and Suzy Solidor art collection
  • Go to the Cap’Cinéma cinema at the Polygone shopping complex (for English language movies, look for those labelled ‘VO’ which means Version Originale).

CANNES/CANNES LA BOCCA

  • There is an indoor soft play centre/playground at Fun City Cannes La Bocca (refer to Activities – Playgrounds blog post).
  •  Take the family bowling at Cannes Bowling, 189 ave Frances Tonner, Cannes La Bocca.
  • For ages 8 years and older, practise laser shooting individually or in teams at Laser Quest Cannes, 28 avenue des Arlucs, 06150 Cannes La Bocca.  Venue also has snack vending machines and air hockey table.  www.lqcannes.com
  • Kids cooking classes are available at Ecole Lenôtre Cannes, 63 rue d’Antibes, 06400 Cannes.  Choose from ‘Cuisine’ or ‘Patisserie’.  Ages 8 years and older.  www.lenotre.com
  •  Junior cooking classes at Les Apprentis Gourmets are held regularly on Wednesdays.  Suitable for ages 6-12 years. A one-hour session creating 3 sweet or savoury dishes costs €32, pricing subject to change.  www.lesapprentisgourmets.fr

GRASSE:

  • Design your own fragrance in Grasse, the Mecca of perfume.  Workshops available where you learn about composing a perfume, then create your own unique fragrance to take home with you, with the perfume formula and a diploma.  Note: Children must be accompanied by an adult.  More information at www.molinard.com
  • Cooking classes for kids aged 3 years and upwards at Candyplaychoco.  They have themed classes through the year (Easter, Halloween etc) and also host birthday parties.

JUAN LES PINS:

  • Indoor arcade Luna Park with arcade games, air hockey, Daytona car and motorbike race games, dance games.  More suited for school age children.  12 boulevard Edouard Baudoin (situated on bus route from Antibes (Envibus route 1), there is a bus stop outside the arcade named ‘Luna Park’).

MONACO/MONTE CARLO:

  • Plan a visit to this art and craft workshop for ceramic painting, mosaics, clay model-making, jewellery-making with beads, and a cuddly toy factory – Les Artistes du Soleil, 16-18 boulevard de la Republique, 06240 Beausoleil.
  • Probably the most popular rainy day activity, don’t exclude a visit to the Monaco Oceangraphic Museum (avenue Saint Martin, MC 98000 Monaco) for fear of crowds, it has over 6000 species of fish, corals and other sealife in aquariums, a natural history display and various temporary exhibitions.  Take the elevator to the roof-top cafeteria, pull out your umbrella and go outside for the best panoramic view over Monaco.  Entrance fee payable.  www.oceano.mc
  • NiBOX, an indoor amusement and attraction space with billiards, 10-pin bowling, arcade games including driving games and air hockey, mini football. www.nibox.mc

MOUGINS:

NICE:

  • Take your time browsing contemporary art at the free Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Nice (MAMAC), Promenade des Arts, 06364 Nice.
  • Take the family bowling at Bowling Nice Acropolis, 5 Esplanade Kennedy, 06300 Nice.
  • Experience a parent and child cooking class with Aude Bertaux – taylor-made recipes that are fun and easy.  Make something tasty and sit in the garden afterwards to savour it. Saturday classes for 3-6 years; Wednesday classes for 6-12 years.  At Cuisine sur Cours, 75 avenue A. Borriglione, 06100 Nice. www.cuisinesurcours.com
  • Make your own holiday scrapbook or mosaic – there are plenty of arts and crafts pieces for sale at L’arret Creation, 7 rue de Russie, 06000 Nice.
  • Create clay objects that can be fired and taken home at a pottery workshop for ages 3 and older.  Ateliers de Magali, 26 rue Bonaparte, 06300 Nice
  • Musée de la Curiosité – 39 rue Beaumont 06300 Nice, is a curiosity museum with displays of magic and rare and unusual objects. There is a Tarzan room, ‘haunted’ living area, optical illusions, vintage dolls and toys, automated brass band. Open Wed-Sun 2pm-7pm, and also bank holidays and every day during school holidays. Onsite restaurant with formules available (entrance + meal). Wheelchair and pushchair accessible. Admission fee payable. www.museedelacuriosite.com
  • Confiserie Florian sweet factory at Nice port offers free guided tours every day of the year including Sundays and bank holidays from 9am-12pm and 2pm-6pm, and free tastings. Watch them creating jams, sweets and chocolates (They also have another factory in Tourrettes sur Loup). www.confiserieflorian.co.uk

TOURRETTES SUR LOUP:  

  • The second Confiserie Florian sweet factory, offers free guided tours in 5 languages and also cooking classes at their location in Tourrettes (surcharge applies). Reservations for the cooking classes can be booked via  creatyvesculi@aol.com or Telephone : +33 (0)4 92 11 06 94.  Their Tourettes address is Le Pont du Loup, 06140 Tourettes-sur-Loup.

SAINT LAURENT DU VAR:

SAINT PAUL DE VENCE:

  • Browse some contemporary art in an architecturally-interesting building with landscaped grounds – there are enough sculptures, paintings, drawings, graphic art to keep the family interested at Fondation Maeght, 623 chemin des Gardettes, 06570 St-Paul de Vence.  Entrance fee payable.

VENCE:

  • Y’a Un Croco dans l’Atélier offer arts and crafts workshops for 4 years upwards. Possible to drop-in during school holidays without reservation. €10 for a 1-hr workshop including instruction and materials, or half-day and fll-day rates.

VILLENEUVE LOUBET:

  • HiTech2Move is an indoor play concept with lighted dance mats, climbing wall, throwing wall, interactive cycle game, kickboxing game and lighted floor mats.  It is located next to Atlas and Fly home décor stores.  Open Wed afternoons, and Sat/Suns and all days during school holidays.  €12 per child, suitable for ages 6 years and up.  www.hitech-2move.com

Need more inspiration?  ‘Like’ my page on Facebook www.facebook.com/accessriviera or follow me on Twitter @accessriviera

PLAYGROUNDS on the French Riviera

The French Riviera offers lots of options for playground fun.

Here are a few options for places to take your kids to burn off that excess energy.

I have included mostly free options (if there is an entrance fee I have specified where relevant).

This list is current as at January 2016, for any corrections or additions I welcome your feedback:

ANTIBES

– There are 2 public playgrounds in Antibes old town on rue Republique, beside the carousel and main post office (La Poste).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CANNES

– Palais area, boulevard de Croisette (near to the public beach where the Petit Train departs from):  Children’s entertainment area including carousel, funfair stalls, snack kiosks. Public toilets are nearby on the beachside of the Croisette.

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

CANNES LA BOCCA

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

GOLFE JUAN

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

JUAN LES PINS

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

– Another carousel is on avenue Guy de Maupassant on the Juan les Pins promenade beside Le Ruban Bleu restaurant, and just along from the carousel toward Sun7 cafeteria there are go-karts and trampolines in summer.

– There is a public playground/park at Jardin Pauline (corner of rue Pauline and boulevard Raymond Poincaré)

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

LA COLLE SUR LOUP

– Ludiparc, 1401 route du Pont de Pierre, 06480 Le Colle sur Loup: Park set on 4.8 hectares with trees and river frontage, playground equipment, climbing frames, trampolines, inflatable castles, mini-golf, ping-pong tables, restaurant onsite for snacks, carparking onsite, Wifi connection, baby changing table.  Entrance fee payable €4 (free for children under 3 years) www.ludiparc.fr  Note:  The terrace and toilet facilities are not wheelchair accessible.

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

MONACO/MONTE CARLO

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

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

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

– Another great spot to take the kids and escape the bustle of Monaco, is the free Japanese Garden on avenue Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo – a real oasis of serenity with   waterfalls, stone bridges and Zen gardens.

MOUANS SARTOUX

-Playground at the Château

MOUGINS

– Free entry playground at Ecoparc Mougins, on chemin de Fontaine de Currault. Accessible eco-toilet onsite at the playground, climbing frames, swings, rope course, playhouse, balancing beams. The ground surface is made of recycled car tyres so is soft and rubbery, and the play area has seating and lots of trees for shade. Nearby at the Ecoparc centre is a cafeteria that sells cold drinks and icecreams.

NICE

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

– Parc Phoenix (see separate post under Sightseeing – Nice).

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

-Parc Carol de Roumanie with water sprinklers and play equipment

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

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

ParcCasteldesdeuxrois2

Parc du Castel des Deux Rois, Nice

OPIO

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

Parc de Loisirs, Opio (playground Opio)

Parc de Loisirs, Opio (playground Opio)

Parc de Loisirs, Opio (playground Opio)

Parc de Loisirs, Opio (playground Opio)

ST TROPEZ

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

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

VALBONNE/SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS:

– Playground in Valbonne village on route du Plascassier next to the Skate park.

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

VILLEFRANCHE-SUR-MER

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

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

public playground by Darse port

public playground by Darse port

NOTE:  I have seen and tested all of the playgrounds listed above so the comments are my honest opinion of each play area.  For a map and more details of other playgrounds in the region, Nice Matin has a great interactive map with location pins that you can find here: Playgrounds on the Côte d’Azur

 

Eat and drink – ANTIBES

Sometimes all you want when you are hungry is to find an old favourite – a restaurant where you can order your favourite dish and know that the quality will be consistently good and the service great.   For me, one of those restaurants is La Cave Provençale at 7 rue Aubernon.  You could easily walk by La Cave Provençale and not blink an eye; there is nothing outstanding about the façade or decor, and the location is on a busy through-road which does not allow for meandering strolling.  However, what brings me back to La Cave Provençale is my ‘favourite dish’ the ‘Gourmand’ salad – a delicious, fresh mix of rocket, coppa, jambon cru, roquefort, roasted pinenuts, olives and mini toasts with lightly melted chevre cheese, mmmmm!  The salad is a decent-sized portion, tastes fresh and is priced well for Antibes.  Service is friendly and prompt even when tables are full.  When I visited last week on a hot day (with friends and two children under 18 months of age) the waiter bought chilled water for the children, and put out the sun awning to avoid sunburn for the children.  The menu offers burgers, salads, pastas and the like.  Downside is there is no high chair for families to use. The toilet is accessible for those with reduced mobility.

Eat and drink – JUAN LES PINS

People-watching in the sunshine!   what a lovely way to end an afternoon of strolling the promenade in Juan les Pins.  One of the best places to people-watch in Juan les Pins is at Le Crystal, a busy café/bar on the intersection of Avenue Georges Gallice and opposite the Eden Casino.  The tables are often busy, the waiters are prompt and friendly bringing complimentary snacks (mini pizza bites, tapenade and toasts) and the cocktail selection is excellent.  There are non-alcoholic cocktails to thrill the children with their traffic-light colours and decorations including paper butterflies and sparklers.  Food is served including ice-creams, sushi and more traditional snacks such as croque monsieur (toasted ham and cheese sandwich).  They have TV screens inside showing music videos and often football (though I wouldn’t recommend it specifically as a sports bar), and in the evenings there is normally music playing and it becomes more lively.   This café/bar is stroller-friendly and wheelchair-accessible, though the toilets are accessed via a narrow doorway so you can’t take your entire stroller or wheelchair into the toilet area.