200th Anniversary of Napoléon’s Landing

Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoléon I) was a charismatic and ambitious leader who was exiled to the Italian island of Elba in 1814 after the Treaty of Fontainebleu.

He escaped Elba and landed at the beach in Golfe Juan on the French Riviera with 1200 men at 3pm on 01 March 1815, announcing before his troops:

L’aigle, aux couleurs nationales, volera de clocher en clocher, jusqu’aux tours de Notre-Dame

(The Eagle, the national colors, will fly from steeple to steeple, up to the towers of Notre Dame)

Monument at Golfe Juan port marking Napoléon's place of landing / Column bust on Ave de la Liberté, Golfe Juan

Monument at Golfe Juan port marking Napoléon’s place of landing / Column bust on Ave de la Liberté, Golfe Juan

It would have been much easier to have landed at the valley of the Rhône Valley where his march to Paris would have been faster, but he was wary of royalists in the Rhône area so chose an inland route from Golfe Juan through the Alps.

After he left Golfe Juan he continued through the Riviera towns of Cannes (he camped at 15 Rue des Belges near Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Voyage church), Le Cannet, Mougins, Mouans Sartoux and Grasse.

Napoléon plaque in Cannes

Napoléon plaque in Cannes

Crossing through Provence to Sisteron he made his way to Laffrey where he was met by royal guards sent by King Louis XVIII to arrest him, but instead they supported him.

From Grenoble, he continued to Paris where he arrived at the Tuileries Palace on 20 March 1815.

He briefly returned to power during his Hundred Days campaign, but after a crushing defeat at the Battle of Waterloo he abdicated the throne and was exiled to the island of St Helena where he died at the age of 51.

200th anniversary / Bicentennial celebrations on the French Riviera in 2015

The French Riviera will commemorate the 200th anniversary of Napoléon’s arrival in this region with numerous events.

In particular, an unmissable weekend will be held Saturday 28 February and Sunday 01 March in Golfe Juan with military bands, a soldier’s camp, horse displays, fireworks and a historical re-enactment of Napoléon’s landing.

Scenes from previous years of the historical re-enactment of Napoléon's landing at Golfe Juan beach

Scenes from previous years of the historical re-enactment of Napoléon’s landing at Golfe Juan beach

The historical re-enactment is the main draw card to be held on plage du Soleil, a 5-minute walk from Golfe Juan train station. Please note, there is no public toilet and no elevator at this train station so if you are arriving from Antibes/Biot/Cagnes-sur-Mer/Nice/Monaco direction be prepared for some stairs.

Most of the events are free of charge to the public, excluding the cavalry display and historical re-enactment. Tickets can be purchased from the Office du Tourisme at Golfe Juan port.

For the 2015 programme of events for Golfe Juan, click  this link here flyer_debraquement_napoleon_golfe-juan_2015

(Note: If you miss the major 2015 commemorations, the re-enactment of Napoleons landing is an annual event in Golfe Juan).

Grasse will also hold many events including guided walks through the town and displays from Imperial Guard lancers.

For the 2015 programme of events for Grasse and surrounds, click this link here programme_bicentenaire_napoleon_2015_grasse

The Route Napoléon

Today, tourists can drive the Route Napoléon (RN 85 road), a 325km stretch between Golfe Juan and Grenoble that is a scenic route following Napoléon’s great journey.

The route is marked by statues of the French Imperial Eagle along the way, and crosses beautiful countryside in the Alpes-Maritimes, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Haute Alpes and Isère departments.

For a bilingual map (French and English) of the Route Napoleon, click this link here RouteNapoleon

Start point of the Route Napoléon (ave de la Gare, Golfe Juan) / French Imperial Eagle along the route

Start point of the Route Napoléon (ave de la Gare, Golfe Juan) / French Imperial Eagle along the route

Other Napoleonic places of interest on the French Riviera


Napoléon moved to the French Riviera with his family in 1794, and was responsible for the defense of the coast. When Robespierre fell, Napoléon was briefly imprisoned in Fort Carré that overlooks Port Vauban.

Napoléon was briefly imprisoned at Fort Carré, Antibes

Napoléon was briefly imprisoned at Fort Carré, Antibes


Musée Masséna (Villa Masséna) on rue de France has the Arnott / Cannes wax death mask of Napoléon.

Number 6 rue Bonaparte was the residence of Napoléon in 1794 where he discussed plans with his generals. A plaque marks the building.

Napoléon stayed here at 6 rue Bonaparte, Nice

Napoléon stayed here at 6 rue Bonaparte, Nice

Number 2 rue Saint-Françoise de Paule (now Palais Hongran de Fiana, a complex of holiday rental apartments beside Ma Nolans Irish pub) is where Napoléon slept briefly after the building was confiscated in the late 18th century. Look for the commemorative plaque on the façade. If you’re interested to rent an apartment for a holiday, visit their website www.palais-hongran.com (I’m in no way a salesperson for them, though I’d say most guests are completely unaware that Napoléon once slept in this building!).

Place Masséna, one of Nice’s main squares, is named in honour of André Masséna who was one of the Marshals of the Empire created by Napoléon.

Pont Napoléon III is easily recognisable as the bridge with the urns and cycle paths crossing the Var River near Nice Airport. It was renovated for the 150th anniversary of Nice’s attachment to France.

Pont Napoléon III, Nice

Pont Napoléon III, Nice

Have you found my blog post on Napoléon informative? please share on Facebook or Twitter! Thank you!

Sources: Wikipedia, www.route-napoleon.com

Images: Wikipedia, freeriders-overblog, comtedenice.com


Thank you ! to all my blog readers xx

A big thank you to all the regular readers and occasional visitors to my blog!

(image: 9thletterpress.com)

(image: 9thletterpress.com)

I’ve been busy with some major travel projects  (my paid ones!) since 2015 began, so I’m the first to admit my blog has been neglected these past 2 months.

So, a big thank you to the just under 3,000 visitors who have stopped by to read my blog since the beginning of 2015 (with 4,660 page views).

What began as a small idea has grown to over 50,000 global views  since inception – small fry numbers compared to the colossal travel bloggers who roam the globe but I’m pleased I’ve gained readers from hard work, scheduling and no paid advertising 🙂

My top readers by nationality to date are from :

1.  France

2. UK

3. USA

4. Australia

5. Italy

And I have a solo visitor from Chile who is appreciated in equal measure 🙂

My top 10 posts by views are:

1.  Types of French restaurants

2.  Airport buses on the French Riviera

3. Fireworks in Juan les Pins and Antibes 2014

4. French social customs, etiquette and idiosyncrasies

5. Playgrounds on the French Riviera

6. Villa Nellcôte

7. French gardening vocabulary 

8. Cannes Film Festival on a budget

9. Visiting Villefranche-sur-Mer

10. Rainy day activities

Merci beaucoup!

Disabled car parking in France


I am able-bodied but I never park in designated disabled car park spaces because I understand the challenges people face that may need closer access to shops, services and facilities in towns or cities.

Having limited access to parking can present barriers to those who have walking difficulty, use a wheelchair or have impaired vision (high kerbs, poorly designed and located street furniture).

Today, I saw a delivery truck take up a disabled parking spot for a few minutes while he unloaded his truck.  No one else needed the space at that time, but that’s not the point.  The spaces have a purpose and are clearly marked as designated spaces.

I often see blatant abuse of these spaces by drivers dashing into pharmacies or bakeries, picking up their children from school or unloading goods from delivery trucks.

(image: flickr)

(image: flickr)

So, I thought I would write a more detailed blog post for tourists who may visit the French Riviera and are struggling to find information in English on the rules and regulations for disabled parking.

I hope you find my post informative, any feedback is welcome and appreciated.

The EU Blue Parking Card

European Member States have a common parking card for people with reduced mobility – the EU Blue Parking Card (or disc). It looks like this (click on link): EUbadgeE

If you are visiting from the United Kingdom you are also entitled to use your UK Blue Badge when in France.

In 1978, the ECMT (European Conference of Ministers  of Transport) agreed that all Member Countries of the ECMT would grant the same parking concessions to people with disabilities as they offered their own nationals.   In 1999, this also extended to 7 non-EU Associated Countries being Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand and United States.

This means that disabled motorists from all ECMT Member and Associate countries are now entitled to the same parking concessions as nationals in all ECMT Countries.

The only condition is the display of a badge showing the international wheelchair symbol and the motorists name.

List of countries where their own disability parking badges can be used in France

Australia **



Canada **


Czech Republic




France (of course!)





Ireland (Republic of)


Japan **





Mexico **


New Zealand **






South Korea **




United Kingdom

United States **

** Special note for non-EU Associated Countries:  Your countries parking card must have a ‘wheelchair’ logo and your name clearly displayed on the car dashboard.  There is a risk of being verbalized by the police who are not always familiar with foreign parking cards, as there are so many different ones from one country to another. If this happens, you can challenge the ‘infringement’ by making it clear that your country is an associate member of ECMT (‘CEMT’ in French) and by citing ‘Resolution n°97/4’.

For ECMT countries, you can print this French translation to accompany your parking badge (click on link) notice_france

(image: flickrhivemind)

(image: flickrhivemind)

Disabled parking rules in France

On roads and in car parks, parking places reserved for disabled people are marked with a wheelchair symbol.

Parking on roads – Do not park on roads where waiting is prohibited.
You may park beyond the time limit on roads where parking is free but restricted by time. Check locally to establish what the concession is.
Except for Paris where any vehicle with a parking badge can park for free on roads, you must pay to park on roads where payment is required.
Do not drive or park in pedestrian zones.

Parking in car parks – Car parks do not generally offer concessions to vehicles displaying a disabled person’s parking card.

Disabled parking at Nice Airport

Persons with disabilities and reduced mobility : You can park  on levels P2 or P5 (4 days minimum), show your disability card to a cashier when you return and enjoy P8 long term car park fees (subject to availability).

Locations of disabled parking spaces (handicap stationnement)

For specifics of disabled parking on the French Riviera, search on http://parking.handicap.fr by entering a town into the search box. A sample search for Nice is here: http://parking.handicap.fr/places-de-parking.php?sel_sch_city=Nice

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School holiday ideas on the French Riviera

School holidays begin this Friday, and if your child/children is not enrolled in the local centre (holiday activity programme) it can be tricky to think of ideas to entertain them for two weeks.

There are big events happening during these school holidays (Nice Carnival, Fête du Citron and Fête du Mimosa), but if you are looking for something low cost or close to home here are some suggestions for any school holiday break during the year.  Note:  It is still considered to be low season here at the moment, so please check opening hours of each attraction before you go.

1.  For a list of ‘Playgrounds on the French Riviera’ read my blog post here

2.  For suggestions for ‘Rainy Day activities’ if the weather turns to custard, read here

2.  For some suggestions for ‘Outdoor activities and theme parks’, read below:


– 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.


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

Arbre et Aventure, Caille (image: CATourism)

Arbre et Aventure, Caille (image: CATourism)


– 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.


– Make a daytrip out to the Lérins Islands

– 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)


– 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.  Departs from the pontoon Courbet on the waterfront in Juan les Pins. Read more here

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.


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


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


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

Kids quad and motorbike hire at Buggy Cross Mougins (image: buggycross.fr)

Kids quad and motorbike hire at Buggy Cross Mougins (image: buggycross.fr)

Centre Hippique de Mougins (next to Ecoparc) has pony rides for kids.  From 2 years of age, kids can have a 30-minute pony ride (no reservation needed).  Older kids can have pony lessons or stages during holidays that include horse riding plus tuition about horse care and grooming.


– 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 is excellent value with bird lagoon, greenhouse with plants and animals, small aquarium, playground, snack kiosk. Entrance also includes entry to the adjoining Museum of Asiatic Arts.  Car parking is free for visits of under 2 hours.

Parc Phoenix, Nice (map courtesy of Parc Phoenix)

Parc Phoenix, Nice (map courtesy of Parc Phoenix)


– 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


– 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


– 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

Parc Alpha Loup in the Mercantour

Parc Alpha Loup in the Mercantour


– 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


– 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


– 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


– 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


– 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

Free museum entry for Nice residents

If you’re lucky enough to reside in Nice or one of the 49 communes of greater Nice (Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur) you are entitled to the pass ‘Pass Musées de Nice” that gives you free access to 14 of the city’s municipal museums and galleries.

Pass Musées de Nice - free entrance for Niçois and residents of the communes of Métropole Nice

Pass Musées de Nice – free entrance for Niçois and residents of the communes of Métropole Nice

To obtain one you need to show:

1)  A valid passport or national identity card and

2)  Verification of your address (dated less than 3 months)

Take your 2 verifications to the reception at any museum or municipal gallery where you will be issued a pass. The pass is valid for all residents over 18 years of age, and is valid for 3 years.  (Children and under 18 years of age are free anyway).

The list of the 49 communes can be found here: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9tropole_Nice_C%C3%B4te_d’Azur

Communes of Métropole Nice Côte d'Azur

Communes of Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur

If you read one article about the Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival), read this one

The town of Menton, located on the France-Italian border, has one of the highest allocations of sunshine hours in France and it is this climate that supports the growth of tangerines, oranges and one of the symbols of the town – lemons.

In celebration of these citrus fruits and their importance to Menton, each February an annual festival – the Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival) is held.

This year the Fête du Citron is from Saturday 14 February – Wednesday 04 March 2015, and not to be out shadowed by another prominent festival happening along on the French Riviera at the same time, the Fête du Citron promotes unique events based around lemons and all the citrusy fruits they can muster.

Fête du Citron 2015 (poster copyright feteductiron.com)

Fête du Citron 2015 (poster copyright feteductiron.com)

The significance of lemons to Menton

In the late 19th century, a group of hoteliers, suggested to the city council that there should be a parade in the town to provide entertainment for locals and visitors as it was very fashionable at that time to spend winters on the French Riviera.

A parade was initiated in 1896 (a shadow of the festival as it exists today), and in 1925 the concept of including lemons in the festival was suggested to give it a local colour as Menton was the number one lemon-growing region in Europe.

The festival was a huge success, and has continued to grow year after year.

Attractions of the festival

Every year, a theme is chosen – 2015’s theme is ‘Les Tribulations d’un Citron en Chine’ (The tribulations of a lemon in China).

The choice of the theme originated from Jules Vernes 1879 adventure novel ‘The Tribulations of a Chinaman in China’, and it a brilliant strategic option to attract more Chinese tourists to the region. France is one of the premier destinations for Chinese tourists in Europe, and more Chinese are travelling outside of China due to increased disposable income and relaxation of travel regulations, including fast-track visas for France.

Chinese visitors are the top spenders for outbound tourism, and when they visit France they love themes – art, museums, wine discovery and life in France so a citrus-based festival is excellent for tourism promotion and attraction (On another note, I will be writing an editorial about the Fête du Citron and Chinese tourism to France for Ctrip, the largest travel agency in China).

Here are some photos of displays from previous years:

Fête du Citron, Menton (image: Access Riviera)

Fête du Citron, Menton (image: Access Riviera)

The festival has parades with lights and lanterns, decorated floats in the evening and the central park Jardins Biovès has an exhibition of large sculptures made of citrus fruits decorated in the annual theme.

The Jardins Biovès also has stalls selling citrus-themed products – vintage postcards with photographs of lemons, Provençal table linen adorned with orange groves, citrus produce including curds, limoncello, marmalades….anything and everything that can be made of citrus is there!

This is a great event if you live in the region or are visiting – I think the entry fee for the sculpture display is very reasonable, it’s quite unique to see towering citrus sculptures.

Menton has many restaurants in close proximity to the action so it’s possible to visit for a few hours and combine a visit to the Fête du Citron with lunch or dinner. Other attractions in Menton include the Jean Cocteau Museum, Musée de Préhistorie and also the Via Julia Augusta route (an important Roman trade route) which you can find out about here www.viajuliaaugusta.com

And if you’re wondering what happens to the tonnes of fruit at the end of the festival, it is offered up for sale so you can whip up your own versions of ‘tarte au citron’.

Where to buy tickets for Fête du Citron

Tickets can be pre-purchased online at www.fete-du-citron.com or at the Menton Tourist Office, 8 avenue Boyer, 06500 Menton.

Or you can buy tickets for the sculpture display only at Jardins Biovès entrance.

Fête du Citron, Menton (image: Access Riviera)

Fête du Citron, Menton (image: Access Riviera)

Ticket prices

Adult tickets cost €10 for the citrus sculpture display at Jardins Biovès, and between €10 – €25 for the parades. Note: If you pre-purchase online, you will receive a discount on these prices.

Children 6-14 years cost €5 for the citrus sculpture display at Jardins Biovès, and between €8 – €10 for the parades. Note: if you pre-purchase online, you will receive a discount on these prices.

Children under 6 years are free of charge.

Information for persons with reduced mobility

The festival has free entrance for persons with reduced mobility with disability cards and their accompanying person (free entrance applies only to the garden display and for the parades but without seating. You are entitled to reduced prices for a seat in the stands; accompanying companions must pay full price for a seat in the stands).

For persons with reduced mobility there is a footbridge and stairs separating half of the garden sculpture display at Jardins Biovès – however, if you are in a wheelchair you can exit at the bottom of the stairs and re-enter at the other side where the exhibition begins again (there is a gate with attendant).

If you are attending the parades, there is a designated wheelchair area on Place Saint-Roch.


The central train station of Menton is called ‘Gare du Menton’, and is just 200 metres from the main garden sculpture display.  Do not alight at the station ‘Gare du Menton Garavan’ which is the next station heading towards Vintimille (Ventimiglia) in Italy.

If you are driving, Menton is located at Exit number 59 on the A8 highway. There is a designated free car park just off the highway at the beginning of the industrial area (Intermarché Shopping Car Park) with free shuttle buses running to the festival.   Town car parking was ample last time we visited with no major traffic jams from the highway, though there were some street restrictions and detours around the central garden however all detours are well-signposted.

For the duration of the festival, hotels in Menton are offering special packages including accommodation, breakfast, seated tickets for one parade, unlimited entry to Jardins Biovès and more. Participants include Hôtel Ibis Styles and Hôtel Napoléon. To see the deals, head to the website www.hotelmenton.fr

More details of the festival programme can be found on the official website www.fete-du-citron.com or download the free app on iTunes or Google Play (app is in French language only).

   (YouTube video courtesy of VilledeMenton)



Nice Carnival 2015 – Must-read tips

The Carnaval de Nice 2015 (Nice Carnival) is from Friday 13 February – Sunday 01 March 2015 and is one of the biggest events on the French Riviera.

Over 1 million visitors are expected in Nice, with around 600,000 spectators attending the parades making it one of the largest and most popular carnivals in the world alongside Rio and Venice.

History of the event

Traditionally, the ‘Carnaval’ consisted of masked balls and food fights in the streets of Vieux Nice until the eighteenth century.

During major military and political turmoil caused by the French Revolution and the First Napoleanic Empire, festivities were put on hold.

In 1830, the first parade was held where carriages/floats were marched past the King and Queen and set the tone for the future of the carnival.

What happens every year

Every year, a theme is chosen – 2015’s theme is ‘King of Music – and the creation of the parade floats takes months of work and uses modern technology, textiles and sculpture with floats reaching gravity-defying heights.

Nice Carnival 2015 theme 'King of Music'

Nice Carnival 2015 theme ‘King of Music’

Here are some photos of parades from previous years :

Nice Carnival (photo credits:  Office du Tourisme & des Congrès de Nice)

Nice Carnival (photo credits: Office du Tourisme & des Congrès de Nice)

There is also a competition each year where the ‘Reine du Carnaval’ (Carnival Queen) is chosen from 9 candidates via internet voting, and she is elected to represent the carnival.

This year there are many exciting events (and some new attractions) for Nice Carnival including a carnival run, a special lunch at the foot of the ferris wheel prepared by Nice chefs, a winter swim followed by a socca party and Lou Queernaval (the first gay parade on the French Riviera). More details of the festival programme can be found on the official carnival website www.nicecarnaval.com

I highly recommend this event if you live in the region or are visiting.

On a smaller scale, local towns and villages on the French Riviera have themed carnivals so if you can’t visit Nice then you can always attend local events. It’s a nice touch that every year, schools also have carnival celebrations for the children with mask-decorating and carnival days with fancy dress.

Where to buy tickets

Tickets can be pre-purchased online at www.nicecarnaval.com and you print an e-ticket. Saves time having to collect tickets!

Or you can buy tickets at the waterfront Tourism Office (Office du Tourism et des Congrès) at 5 promenade des Anglais in Nice (there are various other ticket booths located near the parade route for pre-parade sales but as this is a popular event you will be battling lots of people and congestion pre-parade).

Ticket prices

Adult tickets cost €35 for entrance to 2 parades (excluding Saturdays).  Or individual parades cost €10 for standing, €25 for seated admission.

Children under 6 years are free of charge when standing, or if seated on a paying adult’s lap.

Kids 6-12 years – $5 for standing, €10 for seats.

Note:  There is FREE ENTRANCE for all spectators for these events listed below:

Friday 13 February from 8.30pm for the opening of the Carnival

Sunday 15 February at 2.30pm parade

Friday 27 February for Lou Queernaval

01 March from 8.30pm for the Burning of the King float and fireworks at Place Massena.

Spectators are encouraged to wear fancy dress, but it is not compulsory

Information for persons with reduced mobility

There are discounted rates for persons with reduced mobility and their accompanying person.

Tickets cost €5 in area with chair on ground, or €10 for a spot in a designated wheelchair viewing area with raised level.

The designated wheelchair viewing area will be located on promenade des Anglais opposite Jardin Albert 1er.

The nearest car parking (with disabled spaces) to this designated area is on rue des Congrès.

All of these discounted rates must be booked via Nice Tourist Office, their email resa.carnaval@otcnice.com  If you speak English and need assistance reserving these tickets please email me on accessriviera06@gmail.com and I can help you.

Nice Carnival (photo credits: Office du Tourisme & des Congrès de Nice)

Nice Carnival (photo credits: Office du Tourisme & des Congrès de Nice)


Parade routes will be closed 2 hours prior to each parade. Bear this in mind when arriving to the parade by car. Road congestion is busy, I recommend public transport (train/bus).

Many Nice hotels offer special ‘Carnival’ accommodation packages that include accommodation, breakfast and parade tickets. Some participating hotels are Novotel Nice Centre, Les Cigales and Windsor. View accommodation rates online at http://www.nicetourisme.com/nos-offres-thematiques (you must search ‘offres spéciales)

Happy Carnival!  Here’s to the ‘King of Music!