Christmas Markets on the French Riviera 2014 (Marchés de Noel)

I love Christmas markets.

Drinking mulled wine, eating gingerbread and cute cookies dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar, the smell of chestnuts roasting, the fairy lights and all the festive add-ons that make me realise a Northern Hemisphere Christmas isn’t so bad.

Cannes Xmas market (image:

Cannes Xmas market (image:

French Christmas markets don’t have the stellar reputation of the German, Czech or Austrian markets but they still pack a punch with entertainment, useful (and tacky) festive shopping and decorations to fuel your Yuletide celebrations.

Here is my list of the Christmas Markets for the French Riviera in 2014:

(this alphabetical list is not exhaustive, more dates will be announced closer to December!)


13 Dec: Opening of Xmas entertainment with a concert at 5.30pm at Place de Gaulle from students at the Conservatoire de Musique d’Antibes. 20Dec: Lantern parade departing from Place de Gaulle at 5pm, followed by a light show on the remparts at 6pm retracing 2000 years of the history of Antibes. 13Dec-04Jan: Xmas markets at Place de Gaulle and Place Nationale including fairground rides, Père Noels mailbox, kids workshops, an appearance from Père Noel on 22Dec.  01Jan: New Years Day swim at Salis beach


26Dec-03Jan: Xmas markets

If you fancy a white Christmas, head to Auron (image:

If you fancy a white Christmas, head to Auron (image:

Beaulieu sur Mer

22-23Dec: Theatre and musical comedy shows. 26Dec-01Jan: Ice skating rink


28Nov: Light parade 28Nov-24Dec: Xmas market, pony rides


07Dec: Xmas market


01Dec: Music and illumination of lights for Advent calendar of shutters on rue Saint Sébastien. 20Dec-03Jan Xmas market, pony rides, kids workshops, Père Noel arrives by horse and cart on the 23rd Dec


13Dec: Xmas market


14Dec: Xmas market and visit by Père Noel

Cagnes sur Mer

13-21Dec: Xmas market, mini iceskating show on 13Dec, kids craft workshops in an igloo at place de Gaulle. 20-21Dec: Marché aux santons.

(image: cagnes.maville)

(image: cagnes.maville)


28Nov-04Jan: Xmas markets, ice skating rink from 06Dec. 31Dec: New Years fireworks

Cannes La Bocca

17-26Dec: Xmas market, wishing tree, photos with Père Noel

Cap d’Ail

20Dec: Horse & cart parade, street decorations, tastings of socca & mulled wine


20-23Dec: Xmas markets, marionette show


14Dec: Xmas market


07Dec: Xmas market, magic show, bouncy castle


20Dec: Xmas market


13Dec: Xmas market


20-21Dec: Xmas market

Golfe Juan / Vallauris

20Dec: Xmas parade from Vallauris to Golfe Juan. Kids workshops on 20-21Dec


06Dec-04Jan : Xmas market

Xmas decorations in Grasse (image: Google)

Xmas decorations in Grasse (image: Google)

Juan les Pins

21 Dec: Père Noel arrives by waterski at 10.30am, followed by a trip on the petit train to Antibes at 11.30am. 01Jan – Viennese concert at the Palais des Congrès 11am-4pm and fireworks at 6.30pm in the bay of Juan les Pins.

La Bollène-Vésubie

14Dec: Xmas market, visit from Père Noel

La Colle sur Loup

14Dec : Xmas market (other Xmas animatinos until 24Dec)

La Gaude

12-14Dec: Xmas markets, post a letter to Père Noel, Xmas shows, kids construction site

La Roquette-sur-Var

13Dec: Xmas market, Xmas songs, roasted chestnuts

La Trinité

29-30Nov : Xmas market

La Turbie

28-30Nov : Xmas market

Le Broc 

06-07Dec : Xmas market, decorate Xmas trees, mulled wine

Le Rouret

07Dec: Xmas market

Le Tignet

14Dec : Xmas market, mini farm, pony rides

Les Adrets-de-l’Estérel

Xmas dates to be advised


14Dec: Xmas market, hot chocolate and mulled wine

Mandelieu-La Napoule

06Dec: Xmas market, Xmas stories, pony rides, Père Noels mailbox


06Dec-04Jan: Xmas displays through the town with a circus theme. Programme here:


05Dec-04Jan: Xmas market

Monaco Xmas market (image: Flickr)

Monaco Xmas market (image: Flickr)

Mouans Sartoux

14Nov-24Dec: Santon fair. Also, 06Dec: Lights festival and paper lantern parade on 06Dec followed by free hot chocolate & bonbons; Xmas market 07Dec


06Dec: Creche display, Xmas carols and lights, post a letter to Pere Noel. 13-14Dec: Xmas market and lantern parade


06Dec-04Jan: Xmas markets, bouncy castles, ice-skating rink, ferris wheel. Also, Luna Park Nice will be open these exact dates as well.

Xmas festivities in Nice (image: Nice Tourisme)

Xmas festivities in Nice (image: Nice Tourisme)


14Dec: Xmas market, lantern parade, 13 desserts, Père Noel


30Nov: Xmas market


22-24Dec: Xmas market

Roquefort Les Pins

14Dec: Xmas market, facepainting, mini farm, cooking workshop, magic and circus displays, horse and cart rides, bouncy castle, lantern parade ending with hot chocolate


01Dec: Crèche aux santons. 06Dec : Competition for Xmas decorated doors in the town. 19Dec: Xmas concert. 20Dec : Xmas market and mulled wine. 22Dec: Xmas cinema


20-25Dec: Xmas markets

St Laurent du Var

20-24Dec : Xmas market

St Jean Cap Ferret

07Dec: Xmas concert. 19Dec-06Jan : Xmas market, kids craft workshops, horse and cart rides, yeti hunt, Xmas stories

St Martin Vesubie

13/20/21Dec: Xmas market

St Paul de Vence

17Dec: Marionnette show. 19-21 Dec : Xmas market


13Dec: Xmas market


14Dec: Xmas market


24Dec: Xmas feast and gifts for small children (There is a cost for this)

Tende in winter (image: Panaramio)

Tende in winter (image: Panaramio)


29Nov-04Jan: Creche decorations & display, santon displays


29-30Nov: Xmas markets, bouncy castle, pony rides

Tourrettes sur Loup

13Dec: Xmas concert (there is a cost for this). 14Dec: Xmas market, treasure hunt in the village


24Dec : Torch descent by ESF ski school on the pistes. 28Dec: Truffle market. 01Jan: Fireworks

Valbonne / Sophia Antipolis

16-18Dec: Kids workshop & fireworks. 20-24Dec: Xmas market, kids workshops, mini farm, photos with Père Noel

Valbonne Xmas market (image: Tourisme Valbonne)

Valbonne Xmas market (image: Tourisme Valbonne)


20Dec-04Jan : Xmas market

Villeneuve Loubet

06Dec: Xmas show. 14Dec: Xmas market & concert. 20Dec: Xmas workshop (festive treats) and Xmas stories

Please share this list on Facebook or Twitter. thanks!




15 Must-Know Tips for Flying with Kids

Christmas is getting closer, and many families will be spending time at airports and travelling on airplanes.

Flying with kids puts sheer dread into many people, but at the end of the day all other passengers will go about their business and the world will keep turning. Try to remain calm and don’t take any passenger comments to heart.

Terminal 2 at Nice Airport (image:

Terminal 2 at Nice Airport (image:

We have taken a few flights over the past 4 years ranging from 2-hour trips to see family, to 24-hour long-haul missions from Europe to New Zealand via the Middle East and Asia.

Flying with little ones can be stressful, but it is manageable so I have curated a list of ‘15 Must-Know Tips for Flying with Kids’:

1.  Extra seat

When checking in, ask if you it’s possible to get a spare seat next to you if the flight is not full (it will be free of charge). This is really helpful to have this extra space for toys, blankets and stretching out at sleep time.

2.  Blankets and pillows

Take your own small blanket and/or pillow. Airplane blankets (even the ones they use for the baby bassinets) are often scratchy and aircraft cabins can be cold.

Check the dimensions and weight limit of airplane bassinets and take your own baby blanket

3. Board last, not first

Most airlines allow families to board after first and business class passengers so it gives you ample time to settle in but I actually prefer being the last one on the plane.

It doesn’t take too long to stow your bags and the less time on the plane the less chance of restless children sitting there waiting for everyone else to stow their luggage

4.  Location is everything

My preference when flying with a baby/toddler is to sit near the back of the plane, and in an aisle seat.

If you’re lucky enough to have spare seats next to you, then it can pay off to put your toddler in the window seat so they can look out at the ground crew, baggage handlers, scenery etc.

Being near the back gives you better access to the toilets and baby change table, and cabin crew are usually closer.

5. Cabin crew are there if you need them

Many parents feel intimidated about bothering cabin crew. If you need a toilet break or to stretch your legs, don’t be afraid to ask cabin crew.

They’re not babysitters, but they can watch your sleeping child for a few minutes or entertain your toddler while you have a quick break.

6. Strollers, car seats, cots

Double check with your airline about baby strollers, car seats and travel cots as you may have to check these in. Many airlines offer loan strollers for use inside the airport, and you should be aware that you usually have to check your own stroller at the departure gate.

I have lost 2 strollers that have been gate checked and never arrived at my transit destination – if you have particularly expensive baby equipment, always put it in checked luggage.

If you have a baby, consider a baby wrap or front pack carrier so you have free hands.

Use your baby carrier to free up your hands

Use your baby carrier to free up your hands

7. Take-off and Landing

Little ears can’t equalize the difference in air pressure on take-off or landing, so when you’re flying and hear kids cry at these times this is why – their ears are hurting.

For babies, breast or bottle feed on take-off or landing or offer a pacifier.

For toddlers, sucking on squeezy compotes or drinking water can help.

I’ve been naughty in the past and even given my son lollipops to suck on descent.

One thing I will mention is that if you use a pacifier, invest in a pacifier clip – I have seen countless babies drop their pacifier under seats mid-takeoff and parents left unable to scramble to find it.

8. Entertainment

Most babies sleep on flights, but for older kids don’t rely on inflight entertainment.

Many airlines hand out kid-sized headphones but I purchased my son his own pair so I know they are padded adequately and he is excited about them.

Be considerate to other passengers and try to take some noise-less fun toys. There is nothing worse than settling in for a long-haul flight and hearing nursery rhymes playing over and over again.

Many airlines offer kids activity packs with colouring pages and small pencils.

I also like to buy a few cheap new toys and wrap them in lots of layers so my son can unwrap them. It keeps him busy, and when he was a baby he played with the curling ribbon, coloured paper etc.

My top suggestions for tried-and-tested toys for long-haul flights for toddlers are:

– Magnadoodles

– Sticker books and small reading books with educational aspects

– Small extendabe mini rulers (the type you can buy at €1 shops). My son spent a long time measuring everything within his seat reach, and it also kept him occupied in airport terminals.

– Mini padlocks with different keys to try and unlock

– Crayola Color Wonder markers

– Finger puppets

Some of my top suggestions for entertaining kids on planes

Some of my top suggestions for entertaining kids on planes

Toys that haven’t been successful on flights: Lego (the pieces drop and get lost under seats), magnetic games (if you lose a piece it’s game over), toy cars (too noisy!)

Some toys I wouldn’t even consider: Playdoh, dice games, anything battery-operated

9. Quick change bag

If you’re travelling with a baby, have a ‘grab bag’ that contains baby wipes, nappy cream, a couple of nappies and hand sanitiser.

If you need to change your child’s nappy, grab this small pack and go.

Aircraft toilets are small and you don’t really want to put things down.

Don’t change your baby’s nappy on the seats – it’s gross and makes other passengers uncomfortable.

10. Clothing

Airplane temperatures can be chilly so dress your little one in layers so if your destination is warm you can adjust their temperature quickly.

If you have a baby or toddler, dress them in their pyjamas at ‘night time’ on long-haul flights so you are creating an environment as close to sleep conditions as possible.

In your cabin bag, take a few changes of clothes for your bub and at least a change of top for yourself in case of any vomiting or other accidents – it does happen! I’ll never forget a man who had his baby vomit on him half an hour into a 12-hour flight and he spent the entire flight trying to get rid of the smell from his clothes.

11. Food and drinks

Make sure you keep everyone hydrated as flying can be dehydrating. Pay particular attention to this if you’re breastfeeding.

Take lots of snacks for your toddlers (especially in the case of delays) but avoid lollies or sweet-laden treats.

Raisins and dried fruit may seem great but they do drop on the floor, and they tend to have a laxative effect.

I like to take apples, bananas, vege sticks, popcorn, mini muesli bars, bread sticks, crackers, small sandwiches.

Muesli bars are great for snacks on flights

Muesli bars are great for snacks on flights

Bear in mind the 100ml liquid rule.

If you have to ask cabin crew to heat bottles specify how hot you need it.

Also, be aware of customs regulations for different countries as some foods that seem normal to you aren’t permitted, for example, fresh fruit is not permitted into Australia without an import permit.

12. Airport facilities

Make the most of burning off your child’s energy by letting them walk as much as possible and play at airport play areas. This article has great information about global airports:

13. Flying is overwhelming for little ones

Avoid travelling when you have just started toilet training your toddler!

Travelling can be overwhelming to a toddler, and combined with the big stages of toilet training as well as lengthy waiting periods in security and immigration lines it’s an accident (excuse the pun) waiting to happen.

Also, my son found airplane toilets quite scary when flushing as they are super-loud – explain to your child what is about to happen, little imaginations create scenarios that they might get sucked away!

Visiting an airport for the first time is an assault on the senses so explain to your child each step of travelling – going through security they have to put their favourite taggy/cuddly through the security scanning machine but they will get it back, lights being turned off inside the cabin for take-off, waiting for luggage at the baggage carousel etc

14. Book optimum flight times for your child’s routine

My personal preference for short-haul flights is to depart in the morning because my son is rested and usually excited about a plane trip. For long-haul flights, we try and book the first sector to coincide with late evening flights so it syncs with his natural sleep pattern.

15. Medication

Many parents ask me about using sleep-inducing medication on small children for long flights.

I’m personally not a fan myself as I believe you should be able to manage sleep and routines enough for a maximum of one day’s travelling on an airplane, however I don’t begrudge anyone who uses medication.

There are plenty of prescribed and homeopathic options.

If you do choose to medicate your child, consult your physician and PRE-TEST the medication prior to any flights – you don’t want a nasty reaction to a new medication inflight.

Have you found these tips helpful? I’d love to hear your comments. Please share this article on Facebook or retweet on Twitter. Thank you!



Promenade Le Corbusier : Coastal walk Roquebrune-Monaco

I walk regularly with friends, and this week we chose to walk the Promenade Le Corbusier coastal pathway from Roquebrune-Cap-Martin to Monaco with views of the mountains and sea on the Menton side, and Monaco’s skyline on the other side.

the Promenade Le Corbusier pathway

the Promenade Le Corbusier pathway

We walked to Monaco, passing by the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel and the tennis courts of the Monte Carlo Country Club (the venue for the Monte-Carlo Masters) stopping for a well-deserved coffee on the seafront in the sunshine.

Roquebrune Cap-Martin

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin is divided into two areas; old Roquebrune with its medieval village, and the coastal resort of Cap Martin.

Old Roquebrune and its meandering streets are clustered around the castle – Château de Roquebrune-Cap-Martin – the oldest feudal castle remaining in France. The castle was built in the 10th century to ward off the Saracens, and later remodelled by the Grimaldis.

I’ve been intending to visit the Château de Roquebrune-Cap-Martin which offers panoramic views, so I think I’ll return to write a review about that.

An interesting local tradition in Roquebrune dates back over 5 centuries – every year on 05 August there is an afternoon procession where six scenes of the Passion of the Christ are re-enacted. The Roquebrunois believe their prayers saved them from a plague that ravaged this region in the 13th century, and in return vowed to make an annual procession through the village with locals playing the parts of Romans, Christ, Virgin Mary and baby Gabriel.

Roquebrune's annual festival on 05 August (image: MentonMaVille)

Roquebrune’s annual festival on 05 August (image: MentonMaVille)

The Promenade Le Corbusier pathway

The promenade is named after Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, bettter known as Le Corbusier, the Swiss-born French resident famed for his architecture and design.

If you’re a design fanatic like me, you’ll be familiar with his work including the hotly-debated concept of the Cité Radieuse housing complex in Marseille, and his chairs especially the LC4 chaise lounger. Sadly, Corbusier drowned off the Roquebrune coast in the 1960’s and he is buried in the cemetery at Roquebrune beside his wife.

Le Corbusier's famous chaise lounger

Le Corbusier’s famous chaise lounger

Here is my review of this lovely coastal walk which I completely recently with friends.

We started our walk on Promenade du Cap-Martin, outside the Hotel Victoria. There is a pebbly beach here, cafeterias, tabac selling newspapers/magazines/cigarettes, boulangerie and small supermarket.


The initial 15-minute section of the walk along Avenue Winston Churchill beside the sea is paved, and mostly flat so you can do this walk if you have a baby stroller/buggy, or are wheelchair-bound. Here are some photos of the ground surface:




After this, the pathway includes many steps so is inaccessible for persons with reduced mobility.

The views are lovely of the ocean, coastal rocks and Monaco skyline.


There are also a couple of steel cantilevered bridges which are quite intimidating for people who may have vertigo.

There are lots of bench seats along the route to sit and relax. Take some water and snacks as there is nowhere to stop for refreshments along the route.

the Promenade Le Corbusier pathway

the Promenade Le Corbusier pathway

One way from Roquebrune-Carnoles to Monaco took us around 1.5 hours at a leisurely to medium pace.

If you enjoy this walk, you will also enjoy similar coastal pathways in the region at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Cap d’Antibes (Sentier du Littoral).

How to get there

By car

We had issues with our GPS and got lost above Larvotto in Monaco! Be wary of using GPS around Monaco due to the high-rise buildings. From Nice direction, we exited the A8 highway at Sortie La Turbie / Roquebrune, then we should have taken the D2564 Grande Corniche then the D52 down to the seafront.

By train

If you choose to start your walk at our departure point, the nearest train station is Carnolès. The Roquebrune-Cap-Martin train station is closer to the Monaco end and about halfway along the route we took.

By bus

If you get tired after walking one way, Zest Buses run between Monaco and Menton via Roquebrune/Carnolès. They cost €1,50 one way, you can buy a ticket from the bus driver. Line 18 timetable is here: Zest-Ligne18-500×300-web .

If you want to visit the Château in Roquebrune or the cemetery, Zest Bus number 21 goes from Carnolès train station, and will save you the hike up the hill. The route map / timetable for bus 21 is here: Zest-Ligne21-300×300-web

Other tips:

There are many places along the pathway with steps down the rock faces to the waterline, but be wary of swimming. The sea here can be extremely volatile.

If you want to detour from the coastal pathway, you can take the Massolin pathway and walk up to the old village. Some Roquebrune attractions include the Château, the cemetery with Le Corbusier’s grave, Coco Chanel’s villa ‘La Pausa’ and the ancient olive tree L’Olivier Millenaire.

view from Château de Roquebrune (image: Pinterest)

view from Château de Roquebrune (image: Pinterest)

Many people visit this area looking for Le Corbusier’s tiny beach cabanon where he spent his summers. I heard it is difficult to find his cabanon from the coastal pathway and not sign-posted. The best option is to book a guided tour through the Roquebrune-Cap-Martin Tourist Office, tours run twice-weekly on Tuesday and Friday mornings. To read more about the cabanon, there is a detailed article here:

Le Corbusier's cabanon - his small beach retreat in Roquebrune

Le Corbusier’s cabanon – his small beach retreat in Roquebrune

I will definitely be back to do this walk another day.  Highly recommended.

What’s in a name?

Often when I walk around this region, I’m curious about the origin of the names of the houses and villas I wander past.

Some are obvious – named after holiday destinations or family references – but others are more ambiguous.

Are they named after favourite periods in the villa owners life, songs, religious icons, boats, past or current lovers, pets?

Here are some of the villa names in my local area:

local villa names

local villa names

Do you have any villa or house names that make you curious about their origin?

Trumped by an expert : Wheels on the beach

Every now and then I come across a blog that is super-informative, entertaining and basically everything I wish my blog would be (HA!).

I get blog envy occasionally, but I’m more than happy to share great posts and content from other people if it fits my vision for my own blog.

image: Access Riviera

image: Access Riviera

Recently, Sanna Kalmari, a Finnish blogger contacted me on Twitter with her fab blog about travelling across the world with an electric wheelchair.

While I set up this blog to fill a gap and help others with information about accessibility on the French Riviera, as an able-bodied person I can only give so much insight, and Sanna’s brilliant blog article about visiting Nice in a wheelchair is a true hands-on experience.

image: Access Riviera

image: Access Riviera

I’m happy to admit that I have been trumped by an expert !

Well done Sanna, and thank you for letting me share your blog article about Nice.  You can read it here

You can follow Sanna’s English blog at and she is also on Facebook

If  you speak Finnish, you can follow her on Twitter @Palmuasema

Beaujolais Nouveau Day!

Beaujolais Nouveau Day is marked in France on the third Thursday in November with fireworks, music, festivals and of course, wine tasting.

(image: Lyoncentrale)

(image: Lyoncentrale)

Today is the celebration of a year of work on the part of producers of Beaujolais wine which comes from the heart of the Rhône-Alpes region, in east-central France.

Under French law, the wine is released at 12:01 a.m, just weeks after the wine’s grapes have been harvested.

This fresh and fruity red wine is the result of a quick fermentation process that ends up with a tasty, clean wine that is enjoyed by people the world over.

some of last years Beaujolais vintage

some of last years Beaujolais vintage

Today is your chance to taste this year’s vintage which is celebrated throughout France in bars, restaurants, markets, and at home.

Most supermarkets will have promotions for Beaujolais Nouveau with most bottles being budget-friendly and averaging from €4-€5 per bottle.

Some recommendations for places to go for Beaujolais Nouveau wine tastings today are :


Les Gabileria Wine Cave & Art Gallery, 30 avenue Robert Soleau, from 7pm


Le Comptoir des Vins, 13 boulevard de la République, evening

Juan les Pins

AC Ambassadeur Hotel, 50-52 chemin des Sables, from 7pm

News Caffe, ground level at Palais des Congrès, tapas and wine from 7pm


Saveurs & Anthocyanes, 10 rue Gioffredo

Saveurs & Anthocyanes cave à vin / wine bar, Nice (image: S&A website)

Saveurs & Anthocyanes cave à vin / wine bar, Nice (image: S&A website)


Figurines and model-making show – 29 and 30 November 2014

The association La Compagnie des Trolls is organising a regional exposition – FIMAJE 2014 – for figurines, scale models and games.

What does FIMAJE mean?

FIMAJE is an acronym composed of the letters FI (Figurines), MA (Maquettes) and JE (Jeux).

What can I see at the show

The show will be attended by illustrators, sculptors, painters and other experts in model-making.

The weekend will include:

  • Board game competitions including cards, fantasy games
  • Role play and costuming
  • Displays of miniature figurines


  • Figurine competitions
  • Historical reconstructions and war games


  • Animations and workshops including zombie make-up
  • An appearance by R2D2 courtesy of sculptor Patrick Poggioli
  • Onsite ‘La Taverne du Troll’ for refreshments

(image: LaCompaniedesTrolls)

Fans of fantasy, science fiction, Star Wars, miniature model-making (planes, cars, motorbikes, helicopters, military figures etc), Lord of the Rings, and sculptures will enjoy this show.

How to get there

The show is at Espaces du Fort Carre, on avenue du 11 Novembre in Antibes.

Antibes train station is an easy 10-minute walk from the venue.

Car parking is within 300 metres from the venue.

Or bus 13 with Envibus travels between Antibes port and a stop near the venue at regular intervals, approximately every 15 minutes.

What:  Salon Figurine et Maquette – FIMAJE 2014

When:  29 and 30 November 2014

Where:  Espaces du Fort Carre, avenue du 11 November, Antibes

Hours:  Open 10am-6pm both days

Cost:  €2 for adults, free entry for children less than 15 years*

(*all children must be accompanied by an adult)


La Companie des Trolls


Patrick Poggioli (R2D2 sculptor)

Comic Strips Cafe, Antibes