Vote for the trees to line the Nice Tramway route!

Have your say on which trees are planted the length of the East-West tramway in Nice.   Around 2,500 trees will be planted beside the tramway line and in front of adjacent buildings and the public is being invited to submit their suggestion by 19 May 2015 on which trees to use.

How to vote

It’s free, quick and easy!  Go to tramway.nice.fr/arbres and click on the headings at the top:

La Concertation has an overview of where the trees will be planted.

Les Essences has descriptions and photos of the trees.

Je Vote is self-explanatory!

My vote goes to the pretty jacaranda and orchid trees!

Vote for which trees you think should line the route for the Nice Tramway (east-west) tramway.nice.fr/arbres

Vote for which trees you think should line the route for the Nice Tramway (east-west) tramway.nice.fr/arbres

May Day / Fête du Travail / Fête du Muguet

May 1st (May Day) is a bank holiday in France, officially known as ‘La Fête du Travail (National Labour Day)’ but also called ‘La Fête du Muguet (Lily of the Valley Day)’.

A brief history of May Day in France

The French observance of La Fête du Muguet can be attributed to Charles IX on May 1st, 1561.  While traveling with his mother, Catherine de Medici, to the Drôme, a Chevalier, Louis Girard, gave him a sprig of muguet as a symbol of luck.  Charles was so taken with this gesture that he offered it to all of the ladies of his court and decreed that from that day it would be the official flower of May Day.

muguet1

May 1st officially became a bank (public) holiday in France in 1919 after the 8-hour work day was adopted, and originally workers wore a red triangle symbolizing their rights, but it was replaced by the muguet.

From the early 20th century, it became tradition in France on this day to offer a few sprigs of muguet to loved ones, and it is also given as a general token of appreciation between close friends and family members.

There was also an old European tradition of “bals de muguet” or Lily-of-the-Valley dances; once a year, this was a rare occasion for young singles to meet without having to get their parents’ permission. The girls would dress in white and the boys would wear a sprig of muguet as a buttonhole.

In the few days preceding May 1st – and of course on the actual day – you can buy small sprigs of this white flower in florists and most supermarkets, for a few euros.

 

So, now when you see people carrying these small white flowers with cards saying ‘Je porte bonheur’, you know something about the tradition.

muguet2

Interesting fact about muguet

Don’t be fooled by the sweet-smelling scent of these pretty bell shaped flowers – muguet is poisonous.

Toxicity is the plant’s defense against animals eating its seeds. All parts of the plant—the stems, the leaves, the flowers and the berries—are extremely poisonous and close to 40 different cardiac glycosides have been found in the plant so far (strong compounds that affect cardiac rhythm).

But, unless you plan on brewing large quantities and ingesting it you should be fine with displaying a few sprigs in a vase – just keep it out of reach of small children.

Tips for Flying with Kids

This coming weekend sees the start of ‘Vacances Scolaire Printemps’ on the French Riviera – two weeks of school holidays which coincidentally precedes the month of May which also has four bank holidays.

So, to alleviate the stress of holiday travel for families, here’s Access Riviera’s 15 Tips for Flying with Kids:

Terminal 2 at Nice Airport (image: niceairport.net)

Terminal 2 at Nice Airport (image: niceairport.net)

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: http://www.parenting.com/article/fun-things-to-do-at-the-major-airports

For Nice Airport, read my post here

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!

 

 

Chinese tourism to the French Riviera

This past few months I have worked on projects for Chinese clients based in Beijing and Weihai, and it has inspired me to take on the challenge this year (as one of my many New Years Resolutions!) to learn Mandarin Chinese.

I have always had a strong interest in Asian countries and cultures, and managed to wing my way through beginners Japanese at tertiary level many moons ago.

I’m finding it very interesting to learn about Chinese culture and customs, but mastering the language is sure to be a long process because Chinese is tonal so pronouncing the syllables in different ways conveys different meanings. Learning to hear and pronounce these tones correctly is definitely proving to be a work in progress!   Though, I am quietly pleased that I can now count basic numbers, book a hotel room, order a taxi and say thank you when I do travel to China.

The upside is that unlike French language, Chinese does not have conjugations, tenses, gender or plurals of nouns.

Chinese tourism to France and the French Riviera

This blog post is Part One of a Chinese Tourism series into my research and analysis on the impact of Chinese tourism to the French Riviera (and France on a greater scale).

(image: brecorder)

(image: brecorder)

I have referenced business statistics, but as always all general opinions are my own and I take no responsibility for business decisions made from this blog post.

With an immense population, China is a continuously growing tourism market for France and Chinese visitors are the top spenders for outbound tourism. In 2014, Chinese tourists in France spent 1 billion euros – a huge impact for France’s economy and something all French companies should be considering in their marketing plans.

There has been bad publicity for France related to muggings of Chinese tourists (notably in Paris where there are notices in Mandarin to beware of pickpockets on the Metro), however France is getting back its reputation as a destination for romance, culture and luxury.

Chinese tourism to the French Riviera : Access RIviera

Chinese tourism to the French Riviera : Access RIviera

In recognising the increasing impact of Chinese tourism in this region, the Antibes Juan les Pins tourism office situated at the Palais des Congrès now employs a destination and marketing assistant who is fluent in Chinese and Cantonese.

Reasons why more Chinese are travelling to France and French territories

A generation ago, outbound travel for Chinese was greatly limited to the politically connected or elite due to Communist restrictions.

Localised travel is still dominant within China or Asia due to absence of language barriers, affordability and geographical proximity – but this is changing as more Chinese are travelling further globally due to increased disposable income.

For France and her territories this has been enhanced by the relaxation of Chinese travel regulations, including fast-track visas for France and visa-free initiatives for Tahiti and the Reunion Islands.

Why France?

France is one of the Top 10 global outbound destinations for Chinese tourists, and one of the premier destinations for Chinese tourists in Europe.

When they visit France they gravitate towards:

Chinese tourism and France : Access Riviera

Chinese tourism and France : Access Riviera

Tying in with this, event promoters are grabbing a slice of Chinese tourism by angling themes towards Chinese interests. One local example is the annual Fête du Citron that is held in Menton – this year’s theme was ‘Les Tribulations d’un Citron en Chine’ (The ordeals of a lemon in China).

France has a big pull on Chinese tourists for luxury brand shopping – think Louis Vuitton handbags, Cartier watches etc – which has attracted Chinese tourists due to the fact that it is cheaper to buy luxury brands overseas than in China where the government imposes a 50% tariff on these items domestically.

However, high-earning young Chinese tourists (25-35 years) are turning their backs on luxury brands as they become more knowledgeable about what is available on the internet and are looking to show their individualism by mixing high street with luxury brands.

Other reasons that influence Chinese visitors to France

The town of Montargis, south of Paris, has capitalized on a strong Chinese connection by installing plaques in French and Chinese throughout the town that tell the story of Chinese students who came to the town in the 1920’s and were revolutionary against Communist rule in their homeland.

There are also Chinese tourists who visit France for commemorative reasons. During World War I, there were nearly 80,000 Chinese in labour camps in France and Belgium working on the reconstruction of war-damaged areas. Under orders to clean up the battlefields, they were involved in mine clearing and transferal of dead soldiers to the new military cemeteries.

After the war they were gradually returned to China and by 1921 only 3,000 were left in France. Most of those who remained worked on the outskirts of Paris and were the founding fathers of what was to become Paris’s first Chinatown. In total around 7,900 labourers from China and Indo-China died in France in the years of World War I – mostly from enemy fire, disease, or exhaustion – and their bodies now rest in the French military cemeteries of the armies they served during the war.

Demographics of Chinese tourists visiting the French Riviera

Are you curious who exactly is coming from China?   There is no one profile for Chinese tourists. Two major segments are:

  •  The middle class: Who traditionally travel domestically or to nearby Asian destinations. When visiting Europe, they do so in organised tours that cover many countries in a short time (for example, 10 countries in 12 days). They stay in economy or mid-range hotels as the tour prices are tightly controlled by the tour operators.
  •  High-end tourists: Upper-middle class with high purchasing power; aged between 30-45 years. They don’t book organised tours and have a personalised or themed itinerary with less countries visited in Europe but in more depth. They often stay in 4 or 5 star hotels, and are less concerned about price as they seek a cultural experience.

The main travel period for Chinese tourists to France is between May and September, which coincides with summer holidays.

French Riviera (images: chinese-tourist.blogspot, Lonely Planet, Access Riviera)

French Riviera (images: chinese-tourist.blogspot, Lonely Planet, Access Riviera)

It is very important to understand that travelling abroad is an indication of social status, an opportunity for shopping and chance to discover new cultures.

How to attract more Chinese tourists

There are numerous outlets you can network and create connections to increase exposure for your business.

You do not need to be fluent in Chinese as there are many Chinese companies who are active on forums or business sites that have English and/or French-speaking employees or are looking for contacts across English and/or French-speaking industries.

In France, there is still a significant cultural rift in understanding Chinese culture. Unfortunately, advice is dished out by advisory groups such as the Chamber of Commerce for Tourism in Paris who advise that for visiting Chinese, a “simple smile and hello in their language will plainly please them.” Gaining trust and creating networks with the Chinese is much more complex than that.

 

(image: MarketingChina)

(image: MarketingChina)

5 Top Tips for French companies to succeed with Chinese tourists:

 It is crucial to understand:

  1.  The principles of Chinese purchasing behaviour
  2.  Sales and marketing tactics crucial to converting leads into sales (including using social media platforms in China to promote their business)
  3. How to respond to the Chinese customer’s perspective
  4. How to make payment easy and convenient, especially utilising mobile payment platforms (UnionPay is the most utilized Chinese method of payment – Galeries Lafayette has installed UnionPay, and on the Côte d’Azur Société Générale bank accepts UnionPay cards in their machines. There are just 7 hotels on the Côte d’Azur who have created merchant links with UnionPay so there is definitely scope for expansion http://www.unionpayintl.com/en/travel/nice/index.shtml    Alipay, part of the Alibaba Group launched by Jack Ma, is one of China’s largest mobile payment platforms and worth considering; there are 10 merchants using Alipay in Monaco including Monacair and Monte-Carlo SBM)
  5. China’s negotiation culture to close the sale – French businesses have a lot of work to do regarding customer service, paying attention to customers from point-of-entry to their store until they leave, after sale customer service (exchanges, refunds etc).

11 suggestions for platforms to network to get exposure for your company, or companies to follow via social media :

Ushi

 If you are active on LinkedIn or Google+, have you considered joining Ushi as well? Ushi is China’s version of these 2 platforms combined. Whilst predominantly a Chinese-language site, there are English-speaking groups to join and network with.

www.ushi.com

WeChat (微信)

WeChat is a free mobile app that offers text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, sharing of photographs and videos, and location sharing.

In 4 years since inception, WeChat membership has soared from 5 million users to around 600 million users (a third of these are outside China).

If you have a luxury French offering, Jing Daily has a superb report about utilizing WeChat to promote your luxury product/service http://jingdaily.com/downloads/luxury-on-wechat/

www.wechat.com

Weibo

 Weibo is China’s equivalent to both Twitter and Facebook. This massive Chinese micro-blogging site has more than 150 million active monthly users.

 

Weibo / France

Weibo / France

The Regional Tourism Committee of the Côte d’Azur (CRT French Riviera) has already run tourism campaigns on Weibo with 12 partners comprising games and contests to attract visitors.

Atout France has recognized Weibo is a major factor for Chinese tourism to France with media campaigns and destination advice.

Eurostar capitalized on the popularity of Weibo by targeting a social media campaign at Chinese tourists (specifically students), whereby students are invited to upload a 10-second video to Weibo about Paris. Ten finalists get professional help to turn their videos into 1-minute short films. The videos will be shown on www.eurostar-stories.com 活动详情, and on Weibo. Users of both sites are then asked to vote, and the winner will get free tickets on Eurostar.

www.weibo.com

Propeller TV

 Predominantly focused on UK-China news, French readers can access Propeller via SKY Channel 189. They have a fortnightly ‘Business World’ segment with valuable advice, and a fun ‘Passengers’ show with content from users related to travel.

www.propellertv.co.uk

Ctrip

Ctrip is the largest travel agency in China (141 million users); they have signed an agreement with Priceline last year so are forecasting 15-20% growth for outbound tourism – good news for France.

Their website is multi-lingual (Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish, Dutch, Russian included) so French Riviera hotels should get themselves listed on there to capitalise on the huge package tour market.

www.ctrip.com

Qunar (Qua)

 As China’s largest online travel search site, Qunar focuses on China domestic travel product however is expanding into more international destinations. Their greatest asset is a strong partnership with Baidu, China’s largest search engine (the equivalent of Google).

 www.qunar.com

 

Qunar / France

Qunar / France

European Federation of Chinese Tourism

Created in 2014, this is an umbrella association of Chinese tourist organizations of 16 European countries with more than 150 members. The goal is to coordinate and promote Chinese tourism in Europe, to represent the interests of Chinese tourists in Europe and to communicate with the EU and the Chinese government.

France/China Foundation  

 Created in 2012, the France China Foundation encourages the development of relationships between French and Chinese leaders, to stimulate their interest in the other country and to inspire them to set up joint projects.

www.francechinafoundation.org

China-Britain Business Council

 Superb UK-based initiative focused on British business links to China, however French-based companies can still sign up for their newsletter, follow their Twitter feed and watch their business webinars for valuable advice on doing business with China.

www.cbbc.org

 

(logo: China Britain Business Council)

(logo: China Britain Business Council)

Chinese newspapers

 For in-depth coverage of business, tech, general and travel news in China, head to www.onlinenewspapers.com/china for newspapers in English and Chinese.

Thoughtful China

 Shanghai-based bilingual Chinese and English talk show about building brands and doing business in Greater China.

The downsides of this site are there is no date stamp on their English interview content, and the news/press release content is outdated but there are some very useful interview insights and excellent resource interviews regarding social media and brand importance in China.

http://show.thoughtfulchina.com/en/Home/#page

What’s next?

Eventually, your business could branch into a website and mobile application in Chinese with rich visual images, films and testimonials from tourists. European hotels are adding Chinese food to their menus, including China Central Television (CCTV) as part of their in-room service, putting kettles and tea in rooms and partnering with UnionPay and Alipay. Chinese place value on quality products in shops that have official certificates in Mandarin, and signage in Mandarin. PR and social media promotion across Chinese social media is very important.

Sign up for my blog newsletter via https://accessriviera.wordpress.com, like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter for updates on ‘Part Two: Promoting 5 Key Areas for Chinese Tourism’ which will focus on French Riviera offerings in Wine Tourism, Cultural/Natural heritage, Romance, Shopping and Well being/Health.

If you would like further information regarding marketing your French Riviera company to Chinese tourists, or you are interested in participating in this guide, please contact me via accessriviera06@gmail.com

Crucial fact for China-France business negotiations

Interestingly, in my research I have found that many Chinese companies who deal with French businesses have commented that in business negotiations the Chinese company will often have a fluent French speaker present among them, but it is often a one-way initiative as the French businesses rarely have someone who speaks Chinese and always have a need for a translator.

Don’t expect fast moving negotiations as Chinese are well-known to take their time before finalising any deal, only to pick up the pace once the contract is finally signed.

If you have a company based on the French Riviera and require a Chinese translator or interpreter for documentation, business meetings etc, you can contact LC Traduction based in Monaco, or 1Word based in Nice.

Chinese investment in France

France is awakening to the huge economic benefit of creating links with China, and in turn Chinese investors and consortiums are putting their kuai/yuan behind French-based manufacturers, products, services and initiatives. Here’s a selection of Chinese investment in France:

Commerce / Retail

The French government is discussing partnerships with Alibaba which would include lowered entrance fees for French companies on Tmall (Alibaba’s e-commerce platform). Tmall’s turnover is around €25 billion euros and presents a big opportunity for many small and medium French companies to launch on the famous Tmall and access the Chinese market. Watch this space, discussions are continuing at snail’s pace…

 

France and Alibaba/Tmall in discussion

France and Alibaba/Tmall in discussion

Manufacturing/industry

In early 2014, Chinese group Dongfeng bought a 14 per cent stake in carmaker Peugeot.

Tourism

 Jin Jiang, one of China’s leading tourism operators, signed a deal in 2014 with Starwood’s French subsidiary Louvre Hotels Group to buy into their French budget hotels including around 820 hotels in France under brands such as Campanile, Kyriad and Golden Tulip. This deal will really drive package tours for Chinese outbound tourism.

More recently, the French government is selling a hefty 49.9 per cent stake in the Toulouse Blagnac Airport in southwestern France to a Chinese-led consortium made up of Shandong Hi-Speed Group and Friedmann Pacific Asset Management. The winning bid (which beat off French, Australian and Spanish bids) will contribute up to €308 million, and the Chinese buyers plan to double the amount of flights at the airport by introducing more point-to-point routes within Europe and Asia.

Vineyards

The Chinese are increasing their wine consumption year by year, and own around 100 châteaux in Bordeaux with roughly 80% of this wine being exported back to China where the price of a bottle is sold for 10 times the price of what you pay in France.

China now takes the title as the world’s largest red wine drinkers (Sacre Bleu! cry the French). The French shouldn’t be too concerned about Chinese buying every vineyard in Bordeaux – there are over 7500 wine producers active in the area.

(image: wineponder)

(image: wineponder)

An insight into Chinese culture and attitudes to Western travel

Understanding Chinese culture is key to expanding business operations into Chinese markets. My guest writer, has lived and worked in China, and shares his insights:

Chinese people and culture can appear at times impenetrable to an outsider however, having lived in China and worked alongside Chinese people I found they are some of the most humble and friendly people I’ve encountered in all my years of travelling.

As with all cultures, it’s important to understand how China’s history has dictated who they are as a people, but also the way we view them as outsiders.

Imagine growing up in China with closed borders during China’s infamous Communist Revolution under Chairman Mao. Followed by the rule of Deng Xiaoping who threw open the economic doors and is widely considered as the architect of socialist thinking. These polar opposite ways of living have shaped the Chinese people, and also helps explain why they are now finding their place in the world, business and in our society.

After first arriving to China, the cultural differences were plainly obvious and as with all amazing experiences in life I threw myself into them without hesitation. After all, to become friends with people we need to find out more about them!

Within the first few days I had learnt when handing out or receiving business cards and money, always do so with two hands and arguing or becoming visibly annoyed in public is a major sign of disrespect. Spitting in public was perfectly acceptable and if you are invited into someone’s house it is a sign of deep respect, just don’t come empty handed.

For me, what I found most incredible from the Chinese people who don’t appear to welcome interaction with Westerners, was what happened when I learnt a few words in Mandarin and made an effort. Suddenly I was greeted with widening smiles and a curiosity to either sell me something, practice their English, or tell me more about their country. Even in the larger cities of Beijing and Shanghai, it was easy to break down the barriers with simple greetings in Mandarin and a respect of their culture. The Chinese people are very traditional and they take friendships seriously, expecting the same in return, but this can be said for all relationships throughout the world.

I left China after a year with a deep respect for the country and people and to this day it is one of my favourite places on Planet Earth. Yes, the food can at times be questionable and the ‘herd’ mentality can take some getting used to (I imagine a population of 1.3 billion dictates this) but with a little effort and willingness to learn, I scratched below the surface of a country bursting with change.

Gan bei (meaning ‘dry the cup’)!

Biography

Iain Shiels, Freelance Writer at The Kiwi Has Landed

Iain Shiels, Freelance Writer at The Kiwi Has Landed

Iain Shiels is a Freelance Travel Writer and traveller who has explored over 90 countries   around the world. Originally from New Zealand and now based out of London, Iain travels whenever he can, documenting his adventures as he goes.

Website: www.thekiwihaslanded.com

Twitter: @kiwihaslanded

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kiwihaslanded

 

Summary

To conclude, it is imperative that tourism or travel-related companies on the French Riviera adapt their business model to the Chinese market. Some considerations are:

  •  Specific products and programs aimed at the Chinese market (themed tours, cultural experiences, destination advice and maps translated into Chinese)
  • Ease and convenience of shopping (Mandarin-speaking staff, payment by UnionPay, signage in Mandarin)
  • Online presence and mobile applications in Chinese (it is crucial to understand the difference between social media networks in China compared to the rest of the Western world)
  • WiFi hotspots in major tourist areas – Chinese tourists are high users of their mobiles to access internet information
  • Promotion of your company via Chinese forums, and specialised magazines in the tourism industry

CREDITS

This blog post could not have been possible without source information from:

Financial Times, Jing Daily, Eurostar, Travel China Guide, Beijing Today, Remembrance Trails, European Federation of Chinese Tourism, South China Morning Post, Ctrip, Qunar (Qua), Thoughtful China, World Tourism Organistion (UNWTO)

A huge thank you to Iain Shiels from The Kiwi Has Landed for his cultural insights for this blog post.

If you have any comments, I’d love to hear from you! Email accessriviera06@gmail.com or please share this blog on social media including Facebook and Twitter, where I will keep you posted for ‘Part Two: Promoting 5 Key Areas for Chinese Tourism’ that will be coming soon!

Thrive Within workshop on resolving conflict

The Mush Separator is a tool that Theresa Destrebecq, a certified Life and Wellness Coach from Thrive Within, teaches her clients to help them deconstruct both internal and external conflicts.

Thrive Within logo courtesy of www.thrivewithin.com

Thrive Within logo courtesy of http://www.thrivewithin.com

Through the use of this tool, one can see a situation from a different perspective, and defuse conflict more easily, or avoid it all together.

Theresa is hosting an informative workshop on using ‘The Mush Separator’, and if you have a French Riviera business this will be a valuable workshop to attend with your employees (or alone) to learn an excellent method to resolve conflict.

Individual attendees joining the workshop for tips and strategies to manage personal conflict will also find value in using the tool in their daily life.

This workshop is the first of many various coaching initiatives, however spaces are limited – register your interest today via the Facebook link below!

When: Thursday 23 April from 2pm-3.30pm

Where:  Valbonne (exact address will be given by Theresa at time of registration for this event via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/1726382040922213/

Find out more:

Theresa is also available for customised individual coaching, group sessions and corporate presentations to help your business thrive in a competitive market.  Benefits to clients can include:

  • Happiness!
  • A powerful vision for themselves
  • Reinvention of themselves
  • Increased Life Balance and Self-Care Practices
  • Improved Health and Wellness
  • Understanding of their “Blind Spots”
  • A Healthy Sense of Self
  • Improved Self-Confidence 
  • Improved Stress Resilience
  • Better Communication Skills and Relationships

Visit the Thrive Within website here for more information, and to easily subscribe to Theresa’s newsletter; email subscriptions will receive a FREE guide to a BOLD move.

Email Theresa:  theresa@thrivewithin.com

Twitter:  @2thrivewithin

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/thrivewithin

LinkedIn:  http://fr.linkedin.com/in/theresadestrebecq

Disclaimer:  This blog post is not a sponsored/paid promotion.

 

 

Counting down to FlipKey’s Twitter Chat ! Nice will be in the spotlight

Mark your calendars as we are counting down to FlipKey’s Twitter Chat where myself and co-hosts will be chatting about awesome spring getaway destinations – including Nice!

Now that winter is on the way out, tune in to hear insider tips and local knowledge on the top attractions to see, expert companies to use and things to do.

gI_62630_FlipKey-by-TripAdvisor-Logo

When:  Tuesday 14 April

What time:  Midday EST – which equates to 6pm French local time

How to follow: No RSVP required, just use the hashtag #FKSpringVaca and join the conversation!

The travel chat will be hosted by travel giant FlipKey, and local co-hosts include myself, Best of Nice blog and the wonderful Chrissie at Riviera Grapevine.

Brand participants include Viator and AirfareWatchdog.

For more information about FlipKey’s favourite locations, check out their travel guides here: https://www.flipkey.com/travel-guides/

For a more interactive experience, check out FlipKey’s virtual tours to experience 15 destinations on-the-ground including Nice: https://www.flipkey.com/virtual-tours/

Thank you to these local French Riviera companies that are collaborating with Access Riviera to highlight the best of Nice and the Riviera region!

RCCHlogo         Riviera Classic Car Hire

Twitter:  @rivieraclassic

 

 

 

 

 

 

SunlightPropertieslogo  Sunlight Properties

Twitter: @SunlightHello

 

ExperiencetheFRlogo           Experience the French Riviera

Twitter: @ExperienceFR

 

 

 

 

 

 

ATasteofNicelogo        A Taste of Nice Food Tours

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/ATasteOfNice

 

 

 

 

 

Nice Cycle Tours – Facebook: www.facebook.com/NiceCycletours

 

 

The most photographed (and controversial) fountain on the French Riviera

Have you ever wondered what the most photographed fountain is on the French Riviera?

I have, so I set out to uncover which fountain is the most photographed in this region and it seems there are quite a few contenders that make the cut.

The winner though is far from a noble and gracious fountain with an unexciting past; quite the opposite – this marble and bronze masterpiece crafted in 1956 by Alfred Auguste Janniot has stirred up debate with Niçois residents since its inception.

The magnificent Fontaine du Soleil (The Sun Fountain) or Apollo’s Fountain as it is known locally, sits on the edge of Place Massena in Nice and has quite a controversial past.

About the Fontaine du Soleil

The fountain was unveiled in 1956 to a less-than-warm reception in Nice.  It seems that Apollo’s job was to carry the sun across the sky pulled by a chariot drawn by 4 horses – however, the Nice fountain didn’t have a chariot and the 4 horses were miniature statues atop his head.  Not off to a good start with the locals.

Fontaine du Soleil (The Sun Fountain), Nice

Fontaine du Soleil (The Sun Fountain), Nice

The bad news didn’t stop there.

Apparently, Apollo’s ‘manhood’ was deemed immoral and too large by some conservative Nice citizens, so the sculptor took to his glory to resize things.   This still proved to be inadequate to appease a local Catholic women’s league who gathered enough support to have Apollo (in all his nude splendour) and his naked bronze deities removed in the 1970’s.

Apollo was shipped off to a nearby location where he was less likely to offend anyone, and the 5 bronze statues representing Earth, Mars, Mercury, Saturn and Venus started to gather dust in a water treatment plant.

Many years later, a reporter was at the water purification plant and was intrigued by the statues.  Huge public interest followed and after a €90,000 facelift Apollo was reinstated in 2011 on his fountain to watch over Nice.

Where to find the Fontaine du Soleil

The fountain is centrally located on the edge of Place Massena and Vieux Nice.  It is easily found and the ground surface is flat and paved (baby stroller and wheelchair-friendly), and it is near to the tramway and main Nice bus hub.  Other nearby attractions are the Promenade du Peillon green area and children’s playground, MAMAC art gallery, Vieux Nice and Promenade des Anglais.

Here are 6 of the other most photographed fountains on the French Riviera:

The fountain at Casino de Monte-Carlo / Bulb fountain in Saint-Paul-de-Vence / Water fountain jets at Place Massena

The fountain at Casino de Monte-Carlo / Bulb fountain in Saint-Paul-de-Vence / Water fountain jets at Place Massena

 

Fontaine Clemenceau in Vieil Antibes / Fountain of the Sèvres garden at Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild / Florentine fountain at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Fontaine Clemenceau in Vieil Antibes / Fountain of the Sèvres garden at Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild / Florentine fountain at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Image credits:  Casino de Monte-Carlo (geolocation), Place Massena (Homeaway), Fontaine Clemenceau (Wikimedia). All other images Access Riviera