WHERE CAN I WATCH THE FOOTBALL?

What do you think is the most popular question I am asked by tourists (especially British) visiting the Cote d’Azur?

‘What time does the nearest supermarket close?’ or maybe

‘What is the best way to get to Monaco?’ or perhaps

‘What is the bus number from Nice Airport to Antibes?’

NO.  None of these – the most popular question I am posed is:

‘Where can I watch the football?’.

There are numerous local bars on the Cote d’Azur that screen sport (notably the betting chain PMU) however they mostly screen horse racing and if there is football (soccer, not American football) it will 9 out of 10 times only be screened if it is a global competition such as the World Cup, a European competition or there is a French team participating (or sometimes an Italian team).

Your best bet for having English commentary is to head to an English/Irish pub, often the French bars have French commentary.  Also, English/Irish pubs have UK beers on tap and they will often serve food such as English breakfasts with eggs/sausages/beans, and Steak and Guinness pie.  As much as I love French food, you won’t find a Steak and Guinness pie at any French pub.  Fact.

So, football fans here is my list of pubs or bars where you are likely to find a football match screened on the French Riviera (especially English Premier League, Champions League, World Cup matches).

You’re welcome 🙂

ANTIBES

Le Blue Lady:  Very family-friendly atmosphere they have a toy-box to keep little ones entertained during the day, also very popular with ex-pats and yacht crew.  Pool table, multiple TV screens for big matches of football and rugby, regular live music. Accessible ground-floor toilets.

The Hop Store:  Busy pub in summer with lots of outdoor tables.  One of the cheapest pints in town (5€).  Toilets located up a couple of steps but otherwise main pub is ground-level and accessible.  Two large TV screens inside for big matches.  Popular with yacht crew and local patrons.

The Quays:  Irish-themed pub, live music regularly.  Multiple TV screens so you won’t miss out on a good seat for the matches.  Accessible toilets.

CANNES

Ma Nolans:  Close to the Croisette and Palais des Festivals, Ma’s is a chain of Irish-themed pubs here, live music, quiz nights, English breakfasts, football and rugby matches screened live.

Morrisons Irish pub:  Irish, of course, and serving Guinness, Kilkenny and Murphy’s Red. Regularly has live music.  Main pub is ground-level and accessible, however this pub does get extremely busy and the toilets aren’t accessible if you have restricted mobility as they are upstairs.

The Quays:  Located on the old port, a popular place to watch the football.

The Station Tavern:  Located across from the Cannes train station, it’s popular with locals and Anglophones.  Pool table and 2 big screen TV’s for football matches.  They offer daily drinks specials.  Can lean towards seediness late in the evening, but OK for football and karaoke.

GOLFE JUAN

Parry’s Pub:  Nearby to the train station, serves Guinness and screens the big football matches.

JUAN LES PINS

Le Crystal:  Whilst it’s more of a cocktail bar than sports bar, this is your best bet other than a PMU for coverage of the football, however commentary can’t be guaranteed as Le Crystal often plays music in the background for patrons.  My recommendation is to go to nearby Antibes instead.

MANDELIEU – LA NAPOULE

O’Sullivans:  Irish-themed pub, live music, themed parties, Beach BBQ daily in summer.  Screens English football including Champions League matches, and big match rugby (Top 14, Bledisloe, TriNations).

MONACO

Ship and Castle:  By the port in Fontvielle, screens all the matches and offers typical English pub food such as fish and chips.

Stars n Bars:  Family-friendly bar/restaurant with lots of sporting memorabilia and arcade games.

NICE

Ma Nolan’s (at Nice Port):  Popular with locals and yacht crew alike, friendly atmosphere and multiple TV screens screening football.  Good pub food menu. Designated disabled access toilet (also has a baby changing table).

Ma Nolan’s (Vieux Nice):  Outdoor tables and friendly bar staff.  Guaranteed to screen most of the football matches as well as rugby.  Toilets located downstairs so not accessible for travelers with reduced mobility.

Waynes:  Very busy bar screening football, rugby, cricket, golf, tennis etc.  Live music every night.  Drinks specials and popular with the backpacking crowd.

VILLEFRANCHE-SUR-MER

Gaga’s Bar:  Small bar in the Old Town, beers on tap and sporting memorabilia on the walls.  Drop in first to double-check they will screen English football as often have French, Italian and other European matches on.

If you have any more recommendations, please email me accessriviera06@gmail.com

Types of French restaurants

Confusion about types of French restaurants

Bistrot.  Crêperie.  Salon de Thé.  Restaurant.

The list goes on.

Frankly, it can be confusing in France when you are hungry and have no idea what the difference is between the types of restaurants.

Where to eat to experience a typical French meal

One of the most common questions I am asked is:

“Where can we eat to experience a typical French meal?”. 

As you will read below, a ‘typical’ French meal covers a broad range of eating establishments and types of food!

My (very) simple guide to the different types of French restaurants and eateries:

Auberge (also auberge de campagne; auberge du terroir):  Usually attached to a rural B&B or hotel and serves traditional regional food with local ingredients.  Generally courses are served ‘table d’hôte’ with limited options.

Bar:  Self-explanatory.  It’s all about the drinks, and rarely serving full meals.

‘Bar à vins’ is a wine bar (sometimes serving food for lunch or dinner).

‘Bar à huîtres’ is an oyster bar.

Notably, my first drinks order in beginner French was for ‘une grande poisson’ (a large fish) instead of ‘une grande pression’ (a large draught beer).

Bistro:  Serves moderately priced light meals.  Often has tables on the footpath.

Boucherie:  A butcher.  They sell and prepare fresh meats such as poultry, steak, lamb

Boulangerie:  A bakery.  They usually sell baguettes, croissants and a small range of sweet goods.

Brasserie:  The closest thing to a pub restaurant.  Serves full meals, coffee and drinks usually from morning until late at night.

Buvette:  Also known as a ‘buffet’ or ‘snack’, they sell pizza by-the-slice, paninis, baguette sandwiches and drinks.

Café (Cafétéria):  Very confusing as a ‘café’ is a coffee in French….they obviously serve coffee, but also serve basic snacks such as toasted sandwiches.

A ‘cafétéria’ is a self-serve restaurant where you see the food and choose it before ordering.  ‘Flunch’ is a major cafétéria chain.

Charcuterie:  Similar to a butcher (boucherie) but selling cured meats (sausages, ham etc) and other deli-type goods such as pâte and marinated vegetables.

Chocolatier:  A shop that’s hard to resist when you walk past, they sell confectionary made from chocolate.  If you buy a chocolate gift for a French person, buy it from a chocolatier instead of a supermarket as they are expert artisans.

Confiserie:  A candy shop.

Crêperies:  You are certain to encounter a crêperie serving crêpes (thin pancakes, sweet and made with wheat flour) and galettes (savoury and made with buckwheat flour).

Popular toppings in France include Nutella, citron/sucre (lemon and sugar), and Grand Marnier.

Fromagerie: A cheese shop.

Halles: Market

Pâtisserie:  A type of cake shop specialising in sweets and tarts (they don’t sell bread) such as meringues, fruit tarts and macarons.

Relais Routier:  A highway café or truckstop serving quick meals.

Restaurants:  All restaurant hours are posted on the front doors.  Most restaurants always offer at least one fixed-price set menu (formule, or menu â prix fixe) which generally costs much less than ordering ‘a la carte’ (individually off the menu) but will have limited options.

Drinks including wine, bottled water and coffee are always additional cost unless it says ‘boisson comprise’ and they will tell you what drink is included (e.g. a beer).

It is perfectly acceptable to ask for tap water for the table instead of purchasing still or sparkling water.

Salon de Thé:  Serves a range of teas, and usually offers cakes, quiches and tarts.

Traiteur:  The closest thing to a delicatessen.  They offer catering and ready-meals, and deli-type goods such as marinated olives, tapenades, seafood and salads.

Bon Appetit!

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     Accommodation throughout France

Accommodation throughout France

Activities – SAINT LAURENT DU VAR (Fête du terroir)

A family day is being held this Saturday 01 September in St-Laurent du Var between 10am-7pm.

Locations: Parc Layet, avenue du 11 novembre and place de la Résistance.

Cost:  Free entry

Attractions include:

  • Treasure hunt in Parc Layet for children aged 7-11 years (reservations made in advance at the Office du Tourisme)
  • Mini farm with chickens, goats, sheep, rabbits
  • Carousel
  • Horse and cart rides
  • Chocolate making lesson
  • Cheese making lesson
  • Cooking demonstrations by ‘Top Chef’ and ‘Masterchef’ contestants
  • Dance demonstrations
  • Sales of local products
  • Painting and sculpture exhibits
  • Onsite restaurant with drinks and Niçoises specialities

    More information is at www.saintlaurentduvar.fr/sites/default/files/Flyer%20Terroir%202012.pdf

General information – NICE (Free WiFi)

If you are traveling to Nice until January 2013 you can be advised that the city has recently jumped onboard development and technology and they now offer 3 free-of-charge WiFi hotspots in the central city.

Whether using a mobile phone, iPad or laptop you activate your WiFi connection, search for the ‘Orange’ server and connect – it is easy and quick to use.  Between 8am-10pm users can access the internet for 30-minute periods, and there is no limit to how many times you can use it so you can reconnect as often as you like.

The 3 hotspot locations are at :

  • Place du Palais de Justice
  • Cours Saleya
  • Jardin Albert 1er
     

 

If the community trials of the free internet get good feedback, more hotspots are likely to be added around the city including locations at Place Garibaldi and Place Massena.

 

I believe this is a good initiative for Nice city, and it won’t take competition away from existing internet cafes that also offer printing, scanning, fax services and phonecard sales.

Activities – ANTIBES (La Ferme du Far West)

La Ferme du Far West is one of the theme parks that make up the big Marineland complex.  You can buy a stand-alone ticket for just the farm, or buy a pass to combine it with entrance to the adjacent parks Aquasplash, Marineland and/or Adventure Golf.

The entire site is flat and reasonably well-paved (aside from a few potholes) so it is easily accessible for families with baby buggies/strollers, or travelers with reduced mobility.

We visited with our 21-month old son and there were not many activities for children this age.  It is more suitable for children aged 4 years or older as some of the attractions/rides have a minimum age (e.g. ‘Playmobil’ playroom children must be 3 years and older; inflatable slides 4 years and older etc).

The park has farm animals to pet including goats, rabbits, sheep and ponies.  There are various rides suited to our son’s age with adult supervision (Wild West train, ride-on galloping ponies).

Wild West train

There is a restaurant onsite selling sandwiches, French fries and icecreams but the park doesn’t have picnic tables so it is not suited if you are planning to take a picnic yourself and stay for the day.

Upsides:

Our son enjoying the hands-on animal experiences – petting the goats and rabbits, watching roosters wandering around freely, looking at horses, cows, llamas, geese, guinea pigs.

farm animals

There is a playground so if your child gets bored with the rides you can let them run around there.

If all else fails, buy an icecream.

Downsides:

If you park your car in the big Marineland carparking area, it costs an additional 7€ for parking fees on top of park entrance fees.  The only machines to pay for parking are situated by the carpark exit.

Maintenance for the park should be a better standard – there were large potholes filled with water, refreshment machines selling cold drinks were out of order, the gold mine exhibit had lightbulbs not working, ride-on toys out of order.  For the entry price you pay, they should be upgrading or at least maintaining attractions.

The children’s playground onsite has no shelter from the sun so make sure you have lots of sunscreen and a hat for your children.  My recommendation is the park installs a sun-shade over the playground.

The ‘Magic River’ ride is closed for La Ferme patrons until mid-September as they allow access in summertime for people at the adjoining Aquasplash water complex.

The pony rides (3 years and older with adult supervision) are free for your first ride; additional rides cost 2€ each (something you will not find mentioned on their website).

Ride-on mechanical horses, wagons etc are coin-operated and around 2€ per ride.

The entrance price for the park is 13€ per adult, 10€ for children from 3 years upwards and free for under 3 years.  A fairer price based on the restricted number of attractions would be 8€ per adult and 6€ per child.

Overall it is an OK theme park to spend a few hours experiencing a few rides and the farm animals close-up, but it is not somewhere to spend a whole day.

Activities – TOURRETTES-SUR-LOUP (Cormettes Farm)

Situated in the foothills of the Alps at an altitude of 800 metres, La Ferme des Courmettes raises a herd of 80 alpine-chamoisée goats and produces organic goats cheese.  The fromagerie adheres to European standards and the cheese and milk are regularly analysed by veterinarians of the Alpes-Maritimes.

In July 2011, they were awarded 2 gold medals and a silver medal for some of their cheeses from the fromagers of the Alpes-Maritimes.  They offer aromatic chèvre (with Provençe herbs, pepper or pesto), fromage frais and Tomme de chèvre.

The farm offers guided tours, cheese-tasting and cheese-making sessions (they also welcome groups) and they are open every day from morning to noon, and again in the afternoons.  The cheese is sold onsite, and is also found in local eateries in Tourrettes sur Loup including Auberge de Tourrettes (11 route de Grasse), and Le Bistrot Clovis (21 impasse de la Grand-Rue).

Travel tip:  Bus numbers 94 and 400 travel from Nice but you must change at Vence, then take another bus (number 510) from Vence to Tourrettes-sur-Loup so I advise that you travel via car due to the location of the farm.

Address:  Route des Courmettes, 06140 Tourrettes sur Loup.  Reservations can be made via Bruno Gabelier on email gabelierb@aol.com

Activities – SAINT JEAN CAP FERRAT (Les Azuriales 2012)

Les Azuriales is an annual summer opera festival located in the beautiful gardens of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, and features small-scale opera productions, recitals and soloist’s concerts.  They encourage operatic talent by holding singing competitions and masterclasses and awarding scholarships to help young artists who show outstanding talent.

Last weekend saw Puccini’s opera Tosca held in the villa grounds, and this coming Friday (24 August) is a performance of Mozart’s 1791 Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) with singing and spoken dialogue, and the option for dinner or a glass of champagne afterwards.

The villa and grounds are spectacular (see photo below) as are the performances.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Friday 24 August – Die Zauberflote, from 8pm at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, St Jean Cap Ferrat

Travel tip:  The villa is located 10 kilometres from Nice and Monaco.  I would recommending traveling to this concert by car due to reduced schedules of buses and trains in the late evening when the concerts finish.  There is free carparking in front of the villa.  If you are arriving from the A8 motorway, exit to the Base Corniche (N98), and the villa is signposted for Beaulieu.
GPS Co-ordinates: latitude 43°6945937 – longitude 7°3292327