Activities – SAINT -LAURENT-DU-VAR (Fête du Terroir, Saturday 31 August 2013)

I like living in France because they hold many festivals celebrating music, national icons, food, wine, local traditions etc

There is always something to attend, and I like learning about the food here and also history.

On Saturday 31 August, the Tourism Office in St-Laurent du Var is holding the 27th Fête du Terroir at the Parc Layet (the park facing the Town Hall/Mairie).

This is a free event (accessible for baby buggies/strollers, and/or wheelchair users) and is held from 10am-7pm. Here are some of the attractions, though unfortunately I could not source exact timings:

– French celebrities Eve Angeli from television show 80’s to today will MC (at 5pm), and Candice Pascal from the French show ‘Dance with the Stars’ who will give dance demonstrations.
– Sales of regional food products including fruit, vegetables, breads, cheeses
– Dance demonstrations of folk dancing, Boogie Woogie and Bachata
– Workshops on bread-making, butter-churning and cheese-making
– Workshops on sculptures of fruit and vegetables
– Workshops of arts, crafts, seed-planting for children
– Goat milking
– Painting and sculpture exhibition
– Inflatable castle for children
– Carousel for children
– Horse and cart rides for children (may be some cost)
– Mini farm with chickens, goats, sheep, rabbits, ducks

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mini farm

– Treasure hunt* in Parc Layet (*note: for children 7-11 years old, all children must be accompanied and reservations at the Tourism Office until 30 August).
– Onsite restaurant run by the local Lions Club

If you are traveling to St-Laurent du Var via train or the bus number 200, the park is approximately 15 minutes walk from the St-Laurent du Var train station stop. Or you can take bus number 51 (Lignes Azur) from the train station, dismount at stop ‘Rives d’Or’ and it is a 5-minute walk from there. If you are driving, there are ample parking areas around the park and Tourism Office (including designated disabled parking outside the Town Hall and Tourisme Office using the blue disc).

What: Fête du Terroir
Where: Parc Layet, St-Laurent du Var
When: Saturday 31 August, 10am-7pm

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Activities – MANDELIEU (San Peyre summit walk)

Most people are familiar with Mandelieu La Napoule for the beautiful Château de la Napoule on the waterfront, however there is a less visited nearby landmark which is also family-friendly – and a free activity too.

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Château de la Napoule

The nearby volcanic cone of San Peyre offers a medium-grade uphill walk through shaded forest path, onto a paved walkway.

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There are a handful of steps so it is not wholly wheelchair-accessible, however the carpark area has picnic tables and flat walking areas for travellers with reduced mobility. There are no toilet facilities in this park which is a downside.

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The walk itself takes just 10 minutes uphill leading to some small fenced chapel ruins, and an orientation table in the old donjon (keep) with views across to Cannes, Tanneron, the Lérins Islands, Mandelieu and Théoule.

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Our toddler son managed to walk up most of the way, however do be warned the path is not fenced and there are steep rock cliffs.

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Now, here is the part where the Tourist Office map leads you astray; this Conseil General website (map below) is confusing.

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If you visit San Peyre from the coast road (the D6098) coming from Cannes La Bocca past the Château on your left, you then turn left at the next intersection and then you must turn right at the next roundabout. The Tourist Office map above and other websites tell you this road is boulevard du Bon Puits – THIS IS NOT CORRECT! This road is called avenue Jacques Soustelle; it then changes to boulevard du Bon Puits further up. At the roundabout the sign says ‘avenue Jacques Soustelle’, so that’s my tip, don’t even bother to look for signage for boulevard du Bon Puits at this roundabout junction as you will not find it.

Follow avenue Jacques Soustelle up the hill to the traffic lights and turn right at the traffic lights into boulevard de la Ginesta (continuing to the left). This leads onto chemin du San Peyre (also not on the Tourist Office maps!) which has the small carpark under the trees. The summit path starts 100 metres to the right up the tarmaced hill.

Enjoy!

General information – Tourisme et Handicap sites

I am currently reviewing the information given on the website http://www.handitourismepaca.fr regarding wheelchair-friendly accessibility in the French Riviera region.

This website also covers Provence and Sud Alpes regions, and provides tourism information for wheelchair-bound travellers, and hearing and sight-impaired travellers by the Comité Regional de Tourisme Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

The website has good information regarding transport sectors and accessible beaches, however I have run a few searches and found that it is lacking in information regarding restaurants (none viewed across the entire Riviera region), suggested outdoor itineraries (only 6 suggested walks across the region) and leisure activities (only 3 activities displayed in searches in the region for wheelchair-bound travellers in Antibes, Cannes and St-Maxime).

The website is in French only so I have emailed the Regional Committee to enquire about an English equivalent and if not I will be translating it for them and suggesting other accessible options obtained during my own research via my blog.

Will keep you posted on progress!

An update on greener living…

August and everything after

The month of August is going well so far regarding my pledge from 01 August to try to live more sustainably.

Small steps to healthier living

The natural cleaning products I have been trialling have replaced synthetic commercial brands and I have noticed it is more cost-effective.

We are making a big effort on reducing packaging waste via individual biscuit wrappers etc and in the warm weather our son is preferring to eat chilled fruit anyway. I am also purchasing a ‘bento-type’ kids lunchbox from www.yumboxlunch.com which looks great for lunches and snacks and helps us continue to shun using plastic wrap.

We have delivered 3 large sacks to the charity shop of preloved clothes, toys and books so someone else can reuse our unwanted goods.

My next project is finding a decent homemade muesli bar recipe as our son loves muesli bars but I’m resisting the store-bought ones due to the individual wrappers! My last attempt at homemade muesli bars was a fail as they didn’t stick together well so if any readers could suggest a fail-proof low-sugar recipe I would be grateful.

What are the measures you take with your family for healthier living?

Activities – BIOT – SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS – VALBONNE (River walk in the Parc de la Brague)

The ‘La Brague’ park covers 630 hectares to the north and west of Sophia Antipolis, Antibes, Biot and Valbonne.

There are numerous walking tracks that follow the Brague River valley (maps can be obtained from the Biot or Valbonne tourist offices) and the full oneway journey between Biot and Valbonne can take 3 hours. There is a bus (Ligne 10) that runs between Valbonne and Biot if you decide to walk oneway – timetables are found at www.envibus.fr

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small cascade

As with hiking in most forested areas, sturdy shoes are recommended. Because the tracks follow the river there can often be muddy areas and there is a lot of leaf cover and numerous tree roots across the pathways. However, we found an easy walk between the ‘La Veirière’ carpark and ‘Les Tamarins’ carpark and our 2-year old walked beside us with ease.

The path is a mixture of gravel,  changing to dirt tracks beside the river.  It is a lovely walk with ample shade from the trees and lots of stone bridges, old mill ruins, waterholes and small cascades to see.

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Here are the directions from Antibes for this walk (duration 30 minutes oneway):

1. From the route de Grasse road (D35) you head up the hill towards Mougins/Valmasque turn-off.  As you drive up the hill, don’t turn left to the Valmasque but go straight ahead onto the route du Parc (D103).  Follow this road until you reach the Carrefour des Bouillides (roundabout).

2. At this roundabout, turn right onto the route des Dolines. Follow this road until the next roundabout where you take the road on the left (D198) – the route des Crêtes. Follow this road up the hill and round the bend 500 metres; at the next roundabout follow to the left still on the D198 road. You will see the brown sign for ‘Parc Départemental de la Brague’ indicating the correct direction.  You will know you are on the correct road as you will drive past the Air France headquarters on the left after 200 metres.

3. At the next junction keep following left onto the D604 road (route des Macarons). Keep to this road for a few minutes and you will see a gravel carpark on the right-hand side with ‘Domaine de la Veirière’ signpost.  You can park here and from the carpark walk past the picnic tables following the gravel path to the left which leads you on an easy decline 10-minutes walk down to the river.

4. From the river, you can turn left for a short 5-minute detour to the Pont de la Veirière (bridge) and some small waterfalls and waterholes. Or take the right-hand pathway beside the river and walk towards Biot stopping at Les Tamarins.

This walk is easy, it’s manageable for families with children from toddler age up. Not accessible with baby buggies/strollers however due to the dirt tracks sometimes becoming muddy.

There are a variety of trees and plants to discover, and on our walk today we saw fish, spiders, various birds, dragonflies, frogs, butterflies and horses grazing behind fences beside the river.

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Highly recommended.