Jellyfish on the French Riviera

Last month I visited Île Sainte-Marguerite and we noticed a few jellyfish bobbing in and out on the waves, and this morning I saw more jellyfish near Plage de Pirates in Juan les Pins so I figured it is high time for a friendly reminder about the annual jellyfish.

I often see them in summer around the bays of the Cap d’Antibes in huge swarms but usually in the off-limits rocky  coves and not at the main swimming beaches.

Each summer, these purple jellyfish ‘Pelagia Noctiluca’ arrive and inflict painful stings from their trailing tentacles on beachgoers, professional divers and boaties.

Jellyfish on the French Riviera - 'Pelagia Noctiluca’

Jellyfish on the French Riviera – ‘Pelagia Noctiluca’

Many Riviera beaches have jellyfish nets, but they are not entirely successful and if the jellyfish get through they are then trapped.

Here are my tips if you are swimming at the beaches on the French Riviera:

  • The Oceanographic Observatory of Villefranche-sur-Mer researches and maps jellyfish locations on the French Riviera. It takes less than 2 minutes to check if there have been any recent jellyfish sightings. On the map in the link, choose your region from the drop-box (e.g. Cannes). Red jellyfish icons are high-risk with recent sightings. The link is here:


  • If you are stung, do not rinse the sting with fresh water or alcohol. Use seawater.  Find medical assistance as soon as you can, and at main beaches there are usually ‘Secours’ personnel who can treat your sting.

Stay safe in the water!


2 upcoming traditional maritime festivals in Antibes

1. Fête de la Saint Pierre

Today, Friday 26 June is the first day of three days of celebrations for Fête de la Saint Pierre that runs until Sunday 28 June in Antibes.

Saint-Peter (Pierre) is the Patron Saint of fishermen, and he is honoured every year with processions through the streets, dualing competitions on pointus (traditional fishing boats), games, water sports displays, night parades with paper lanterns, regattas and music.

Fête de la Saint Pierre, Antibes (image: Ville d'Antibes Juan les Pins)

Fête de la Saint Pierre, Antibes (image: Ville d’Antibes Juan les Pins)

The locations of the festival – Plage de la Gravette on Antibes port, Antibes old town and Bastion St Jaume are accessible for families with baby buggies or wheelchairs.

For the programme itinerary click on the following link (in French):

2.  Fêtes de Notre Dame de Bon Port

Next week, another maritime-related festival also occurs in Antibes – Fêtes de Notre Dame de Bon Port from Thursday 02 July to Sunday 05 July.

Since the ninth century, barefoot sailors carry the virgin statue of Notre Dame de Bon Port (Antibes’ protector) to the Antibes cathedral on the first Thursday of July, then return it to the Garoupe chapel the following Sunday.

It is a unique sight to see the sailors dressed in their white and blue outfits walking barefoot to Antibes with the statue on their shoulders – it not an easy parade for the sailors as they descend via the chemin du Calvaire which is rocky and uneven – I’m amazed how they manage to do this barefoot!

Fêtes de Notre Dame du Bon Port, Antibes (image: maville)

Fêtes de Notre Dame du Bon Port, Antibes (image: maville)

If you are an early-riser (!) you may catch the parade either to or from the Garoupe chapel which is on the Cap d’Antibes – the best location for accessibility and views is to situate yourself along Plage de Ponteil (Salis beach) near Antibes which is flat and has lots of vantage points (automated pay public toilets are located by the carpark across from Hotel Josse) – for the festival programme (in French) click on the link for further details:

NOTE: To watch the processions, attend the masses at the Cathedral and enjoy the festivals is free of charge for the public.


Baby massage during school holidays with Optimumbébé

French summer school holidays are looming near so if you have a new baby (or one on the way and are interested in learning more), consider  a baby massage class with Optimumbébé that works with flexible schedules during school holidays.

Baby massage French Riviera with Optimumbébé (logo: Optimumbébé)

Baby massage French Riviera with Optimumbébé (logo: Optimumbébé)


Classes are run by Anna Bertin D’Armenia, an instructor of Parent and Baby massage.  She will accompany and reassure you. Her expertise is based on good communication and listening skills.


During the class, everything revolves around baby. He or she is your best teacher. You are the best student. Anna has created a nurturing experience where parents learn to trust their instinct, to read baby’s signs and to listen to his or her cries.

The massage is a tool used to communicate and strengthen the bond with baby. It’s a method developed by the International Association of Infant Massage.

The movements are a mix of Indian Masssage, Swedish Massage, Yoga and Reflexology.

It is neither a treatment nor a therapy and does not interfere with medical treatment.

Daddies are welcome.


Classes are held at your home in Beausoleil, and soon in Nice and Cagnes sur Mer.

Minimum 2 babies and 1 parent hostess for workshops at home.

Program of 5 group classes. €30 per class – held in either English or in French.

Individual classes?

Also possible.  Please contact Anna to discuss.

Flexible diary planning for this summer – Optimumbébé will

work around your school holiday

throughout July

Sign-up today

For more information and to sign-up, please email Anna on

You can also connect with her via:


Twitter: @optimumbebe

Visiobulle – A family-friendly boat trip

One of the main drawcards for visitors to the French Riviera is the proximity to the sea and beaches.

There are sheltered sandy beaches (Garoupe beach on the Cap d’Antibes), pebble beaches (Nice seafront) and wild, rugged coves for swimming (the Esterel coastline and Sentier Littoral walkways).

If you’re looking for a quick boat excursion and you’re visiting the French Riviera with children, I can recommend Visiobulle in Juan les Pins.

The Visiobulle is a glass-bottomed boat that cruises to the nearby Cap d’Antibes.  The cruise is just one-hour long so it was perfect for a short trip, especially if you have an active toddler (like I did at the time I boarded!).

Visiobulle, Juan les Pins

The Visiobulle berths at the Ponton Courbet on the seafront in Juan les Pins, and has many departures daily throughout warm months (departure times current as at June 2015):

April, May, June, September:  11am, 1.30pm, 3pm, 4.30pm

July and August:  9.25am **, 10.40am, 11.55am, 2.15pm, 3.30pm, 4.45pm, 6pm

Prices:  Adults €14, Children 2-11 years €7

**TIP: There is a reduced price for this 9.25am departure: Adults €12, Kids 2-11 years €6

Look for this ticket office (see photo below), you show up to the ticket office 15 minutes before each departure to purchase your tickets.  The boat operates every day except in bad weather and takes 58 passengers (and 2 crew) but it is very popular in high season especially the first departures each day.

Visiobulle ticket office (on the right-hand side), Ponton Courbet

The boat has shade covering so the seating is mostly covered for hot days.  There is plenty of seating.  There were families with baby strollers, and also a few passengers who were elderly or with restricted mobility and the crew were very helpful assisting them onboard.

The commentary is in French and English, but even though the crewmember had a microphone it was difficult to hear over the sounds of the engines so sit near the front of the boat if you really want to listen to the commentary.

The boat cruises to the nearby Cap d’Antibes past Port Gallice, plage des Ondes, Hotel du Cap Eden Roc and Pointe de l’Illette with the small lighthouse.  You will cruise past private villas unreachable to the public, and see the rocky landscape of the Cap d’Antibes coastal walkway.


The boat spends approximately 20-25 minutes in the Baie des Milliardaires, at which time they allow passengers to head downstairs to the glass-bottomed viewing windows.

The descent is via approximately 10 (steep) stairs with handrails. Wait a few minutes for the sand that is stirred up to settle.  It is not as extensive as a glass-bottom boat excursion in the tropics, but we saw various schools of fish, sea urchins, starfish, sea algaes and rock formations.  There are display posters in the viewing area alluding to what may be seen. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a clear photo of the viewing area as there were too many passengers onboard.


I noticed many families on board and my impressions were that children from toddler age to around 10-12 years were happily entertained, but teenagers were bored!

Access:   Arrive to Juan les Pins by car: The nearest pay carparking is a few minutes walk from the ferry on avenue l’Esterel.

Arrive to Juan les Pins by train:  Exit the train station, turn right and walk along avenue l’Esterel, then turn left onto avenue Amiral Courbet. Follow this road directly ahead to the seafront (about 400 metres), you will see a restaurant ‘La Terrasse’ and a kiosk selling fast food directly across the intersection. Ponton Courbet is located just to the right of these.

Arrive to Juan les Pins by bus:  Bus numbers 1 or 30 (Envibus) from Antibes, alight at stop ‘Ruban Bleu’ in Juan les Pins, cross the road and Ponton Courbet is 50 metres past the restaurant ‘La Jetee′.  Bus number 200, alight at stop ‘Regence’ and walk down avenue Amiral Courbet to the seafront.  Ponton Courbet is the jetty opposite the small roundabout.

Other Tips:

  • Don’t forget sunscreen, and also a warm top. We were on the boat on a hot sunny day, but once it was moving there was a strong breeze which was quite chilly.
  • For best viewing opportunities, sit on the left-hand side of the boat (as the boat is facing forward) to see the Juan les Pins coastline, then when the glass-bottom viewing area opens downstairs stay on the right-hand side of the boat as this is the side closest to the rocks that they cruise beside.
  • There is a toilet on board, but I would recommend using the automated accessible public toilet at the entrance of the Ponton Courbet prior to boarding.  The pay toilet is located in the silver cubicle by the motorbike stand, cost 50 centimes.
  • There are no refreshments sold on board so take your own food/drinks especially water.


The Lavender Route

One of my neighbour’s guests (British) asked me yesterday ‘Where can we see the lavender fields?’ so I thought it was high time I wrote a blog post about one of the most photographed regions in France – the Lavender Route or Routes de la Lavande.

While not geographically part of the French Riviera, you can be wandering the small villages of Provence that overlook hillsides and horizon-stretching plateaus covered in flowering lavender within 1.5 – 2 hours drive so it’s easy to include in an itinerary if you visit the French Riviera.

Of course, Grasse is well known for flowers and perfume but for the spectacular postcard-perfect photographs you lust after in travel magazines you really must head further to see it for yourself.


The plateau de Valensole - one of the best locations to see lavender fields in Provence

The plateau de Valensole – one of the best locations to see lavender fields in Provence

Best time to visit the lavender fields

The lavender starts blooming from early to mid June and is present until approximately mid-August when the lavender is harvested and many of the towns have festivals celebrating this fragrant purple flower.

However, there have been years when the harvest has moved forward due to weather conditions.

You’ll also likely see sunflowers, cornflowers and poppies blooming. Interestingly, lavender was still hand-cultivated by sickle right up until the first cutting machine was prototyped in the 1950’s.

For 2016, full bloom is expected to be late June around Apt/Plateau d’Albion, and early July around Sault.  Full bloom is optimal for photo opportunities!

Note:  I have written this blog post as an information source only, please do not email me directly to check whether your own individual travel plans coincide with the lavender harvest – I recommend you contact the Sault Tourist Office directly as they are very knowledgeable about current conditions each year of which fields are best to see lavender.

Where to find the lavender fields

The best locations to see the lavender fields are:

The Valensole plateau, particularly between Riez, Valensole and Forcalquier. At Riez, you can also see the remains of the 1st century AD Roman temple dedicated to Apollo and eat one of the best truffle dishes of the region, brouillade aux truffes, which is scrambled egg with truffle shavings.

Sault-en-Provence: Sault-en-Provence (Sault) is perched at 776 metres above sea level so you get a great panoramic view over lavender fields. Driving from Banon you’ll see many lavender fields if you the take D950 road to Sault. You can also drive from Sault along the D943 road and then D230 past Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt before going to Gordes or Roussillon and you will see many lavender fields along this route.

Simiane-la-Rotonde: A pretty village surrounded by lavender fields and with a medieval castle to visit.


Simiane la Rotonde

Simiane la Rotonde

Lavender itineraries

There are plenty of guided tours operating in this region, but I suggest self-drive as there is so much to see!

My recommended scenic route to take in some of the best sights of this area and the lavender fields would be: Lac de Sainte-Croix*, then Moustiers-St Marie, Puimoisson, Riez, Valensole, Forcalquier, Banon, Sault with side-trips to Simiane-la-Rotonde, Roussillon* and/or Gordes*. *Lac de Sainte-Croix is a beautiful turquoise lake at the western end of the Gorges du Verdon and you can swim, hire pedal boats or go kayaking. Roussillon and Gordes are both unique and pretty hilltop villages worth a visit.   For my customised Lavender Route map, visit my collection I curated on Wanderant:

For other itineraries to discover the lavender region, visit this website:

It is possible to drive and stop by the roadside for photos.

Lavender festivals

Most of the towns in the lavender-growing area host annual festivals to mark harvest time. You’ll find parades with flower-laden floats and artisans selling all types of lavender products including soaps, honey, pot pourri and essential oils. Here are some lavender festivals you can visit if you are in the area:

Dignes: Beginning of August, a 4-day Corso de la Lavande with all kinds of lavender produce for sale, flower floats, music, dancing and a truck that sprays the roads with lavender water!

Riez: Last fornight in July, Fête de Lavande

Sault: Around 14 and 15 August, cutting festival, flower floats, Fête de la Lavande

Valensole: Last fortnight in July, Fête de Lavande

Banon on the Lavender Route

Banon on the Lavender Route

Other things to see and do

As well as the yearly lavender festivals, there are plenty of other attractions and activities that aim to capitalise on the lavender industry including farm tours, visits to lavender distilleries and guided tours. Some suggestions are:

Coustellet: Musée de la Lavande (The Lavender Museum) showcases the process of harvesting and distilling lavender. They have a free audioguide (available in 5 languages) that highlights their collections of copper stills, Provençal costumes, perfume bottles, a giftshop and pleasant outdoor terrace. There is plenty of carparking, and the museum and public toilets are accessible for persons with reduced mobility. Reduced entrance fees for students, retirees and disabled visitors. Accompanied children under 15 years of age get free entry and an activity quiz.


Forcalquier: Jump onboard a hot air balloon for an aerial view over the lavender fields. You can reserve a flight via the Forcalquier Tourist Office.


Hot air ballooning near Forcalquier (The Lavender Route)

Hot air ballooning near Forcalquier (The Lavender Route)

Sault: The tourist office offers 7 guided tours on the theme of lavender

I highly recommend visiting this region.  The scenery is very picturesque and even if you dislike lavender you can visit for gastronomy, wine tasting, kayaking, cycling, hiking, rock climbing and horse riding. All of the Tourist Offices in the region have maps and lots of information, visit, and

I would love your feedback on my blog post!  Please share on Facebook or Twitter if you found it informative, thank you.

Image credits: Coeur du Luberon, Luberon Tourism, Fondecran, Tourism Alpes Haute Provence.




Fête de la Musique 2015 on the French Riviera

One of my favourite dates on the French calendar happens this week – Fête de la Musique!

Fête de la Musique is held on 21 June each year throughout France and is a huge success, and has continued to grow year after year.

Origins of Fête de la Musique

The concept originated with an American musician Joel Cohen who worked as a music programmer for France Musique (French National Radio). He wanted to initiate an all-day music event to celebrate the summer solstice.

In 1982, the then Director of Music and Dance at the French Ministry of Culture, Maurice Fleuret, recognised that one child out of every two in France played a musical instrument and he dreamed of a way to encourage people to take to the streets to make music and foster love of musical performance.


Fête de la Musique was born and made official by the French Minister of Culture and the first festival was held in Paris in 1982.

Today, it is celebrated in various forms (Make Music Day, World Music Day etc) in over 120 countries including Italy, Australia and the USA.

Criteria for Fête de la Musique

The festival aims to promote musical performance.

  • Amateur and professional musicians are encouraged to perform in public – on the street, at parks, beach venues, at town squares. Musicians range from teenage garage bands to professional opera singers – it’s a huge mix of music and talent!
  • All music genres are welcome.
  • All concerts must be free, and all performers must donate their time for free.

While there are some noise restrictions especially after hours, there is an unspoken tolerance for the performances in France on this day and I have yet to see any concerts or performances shut down by the police or removal of audio equipment.

Fête de la Musique 2015 events on the French Riviera

Each town has it’s own concerts and music performances. I don’t have an extensive list as many of the Tourist Offices aren’t particularly forthcoming with promotion and many musicians just show up on the streets, but here is a sample of some of the Fête de la Musique 2015 events happening this year along the French Riviera (all free concerts are on Sunday 21 June unless specified below):


5pm-midnight – DJ’s on the street at Happy Face bar, 13 rue Aubernon

6pm – Apéros and DJ at Café Milano, 2 rue de la Tourraque

6pm-7.30pm – Zumba Fun Party at Esplanade du Pré des Pêcheurs

9pm – Blah Blah (covers and rock band) with Woodstock Acoustic Project at Le Latinos Bar, boulevard d’Aguillon

For the full Antibes concert times and locations, download here


 9pm – Sultans of Strings (Dire Straits covers band) at Place Marinoni


Note : Cagnes sur Mer has events happening both days this weekend – Saturday 20 June and Sunday 21 June 2015

On Saturday 20 June 2015

8.30pm – Promenade en Fête Summer Set at Cagnes sur Mer waterfront. Including 3 DJ booths, 3 percussion zones (African, Brazilian, steel drums), a nautical show between 8.30pm-9pm, bouncy castles for kids, fireworks display at 10.15pm

On Sunday 21 June 2015

5pm – Jazz and classical concerts at Place de la Marine (Cros de Cagnes)

5pm – French songs and saxophones at Place Notre-Dame de Protection (Haut de Cagnes)

9pm-midnight – Pop rock with Route 2012 at Centre Ville – Place de Gaulle

9pm-midnight – Soul, blues and rock with Pearly Wax at Place du Château (Haut de Cagnes)


Fete de la Musique 2015 - Cagnes sur Mer

Fete de la Musique 2015 – Cagnes sur Mer


For Cannes concert times and locations, see the official programme at

Other Cannes events:

7pm-2.30am – Charly’s Bar in Le Suquet is hosting a 70’s night

8pm till late – Sun 7 Bar on rue Gerard Monod is hosting a street party with 8 DJ’s playing funk, deep house, hip hop, groove, techno

9pm – Le Carré d’Or on rue des Freres Pradignan is hosting a street party with 3 DJ’s

9.30pm – Le Friends Bar, DJ’s inside and out till late, 52 Rue Jean Jaures



6pm onwards – At Place des Pins, jazz, funk, pop, rock and blues bands with a coordinated multi-band jam session at 11pm.


10am-12.30pm – Avenue de Verdun : Sunny Swing (jazz)
6.30-7.30pm – Avenue de la Gare : Country Taps Line
7pm – midnight – Maison du Tourisme Vieux Port : Passion Western Country

8-11pm – Entré Théâtre de Mer : Borderline (variety)
8-11.30pm – Stèle Napoléon – Promenade du Vieux Port : Miss the bus (pop rock)
8pm – midnight – Vieux Port (à côté de Gigi) : Musical Events (swing jazz)


For Grasse concert times and locations, see here


7.30pm – Latin Summer Dance Party at Bijou Plage, boulevard du Littoral

See also the full programme for Antibes and JLP, download here


Place de Gaulle

10am-12h30 – Centre Musical Collois (instrumental/choral)

6-7pm – Reynald (French and international songs)

7-8pm – Les Divines

8-9.15pm – Martin Folly & Faab Palmer (reggae/funk/pop-rock)

Espace Rose de Mai

10.30-11am – Centre Musical Collois (guitars)

Rue Foch/Place du 8 mai

2pm-11.30pm – ‘Le Groove’ – DJ Phosphene et OPS


Placette de la Poste (rue Clemenceau)

6.15pm-8pm – White Rage (Pop-rock)

8.30pm-11.30pm – Jazz Octet (Jazz)

Place du Jeu de Paume

6-7pm – New Wabes (Pop-rock)

8-9pm – Anne et Antoine (Brazilian jazz)

9.15-11.30pm – Cosmocow (Blues/Funk/Pop-rock)

Jardin Public

6-7.30pm – Neeko Killa (Initiation DJ)

8pm-midnight – Concert DJ


6pm – Concert from music students at the Centre Cultural Municipal

From 7.30pm – Acoustic band ‘The Meeting’ and pop rock group ‘Hit Story’


Conservatoire Municipal

5-9pm – Classes from the Conservatoire de Musique de Menton including instrumental and vocal choirs

Place Loredan Larchey

4-6pm – Pourquoi pas nous

Jardin Elysée Reclus

7pm-1am – Menton c’est Vous ! Les Space Nurse

Salle Saint-Exupéry

9-1pm – Arts Paillettes 2000 (French and international songs and dance)

Esplanade Francis Palmero

8-8.30pm – Swaga Murda (dance soul hip hop), Brésil Cristar Dance (Brazilian dance), Samy

8.30-10.30pm – Sourires et Mélodies (French and international songs)

11pm-1am – New-Feel (French and international songs)

Basilique Saint-Michel

9-11pm Choir performance


7pm – Organ concert at Chapelle des Carmes

9pm – Raul Paz and Pulse concert at Port Hercule


9pm-midnight – At Parc du Château and place d’Eglise bands of various genres – rock, pop, jazz, reggae


For the programme for Mougins concerts see here (in French) :


Note : The main FDLM event will be held on Saturday 20 June 2015

8.55pm-midnight – Du Soleil et des Tubes held in central Nice and televised on France 2 with over 30 singers and musical acts



From 6-7pm, ‘Mostly Harmless’ and Italian pop group. From 7-8pm, an acoustic band. From 8pm, a covers band performing Coldplay songs.


6PM – Eglise du Vieux Village, Place Castillon (choral concert)

6-11pm – Esplanade Les Géolands
6.30-11pm – Avenue de Gaulle – Parking Gare (DJ Robert Romano)
6.30 – 11pm – Rue Alphonse Daudet (choral concert and groups : Infusion – F.A.R.O. – Nokious K)


From 5pm at port de la Figueirette


Note: Events are Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday 20 June

From 5.30pm – Place de la liberation (music until midnight – kids songs, acoustic band, jazz funk, DJs)

From 7pm, Hall du château-mairie (Christian Sciubba – guitare classique)

Sunday 21  June

From 2-6pm- Salle polyvalente – La Bigarade – Pont-du-Loup (Reggae band)


From 7pm-midnight, for Valbonne Sophia Antipolis concert times and locations see here:


Avenue du Tapis Vert : Les Musiciens Nantais (guinguette) de 10h00 à 13h00
Espace Massier (départ déambulations) : Fanfare La Lyre d’Argile de 10h00 à 12h30 et Ke Legal (samba) de 15h30 à 17h30
Place de l’Homme au Mouton : Sweating teeth (pop rock) de 14h30 à 17h00
Place de la Libération : Trio So’Watt (pop rock) de 17h30 à 20h00 et The Cotton Club (swing jazz) de 21h30 à minuit
Place Cavasse : Zumba Dance Party de 18h30 à 20h00
Avenue des Martyrs de la Résistance : Cicada Swing (jazz manouche) de 19h00 à 23h00
Place Lisnard : Musiques et danses portugaises de 20h30 à 22h00 et Camille BLT (variétés) de 22h00 à 23h30
Avenue du Stade : Camille BLT (variétés) de 20h30 à 22h00 et Musiques et danses portugaises de 22h00 à 23h30
Rue Ramié : Trio Sagonka (variété internationale) de 20h30 à 23h30


4-5.30pm – Youth orchestra at Theatre de Verdure

8-9pm – /Musical comedy at the Cour Volti

9pm-midnight – Grooup 21 Smiles at place Amelie Pollonnais


8pm – Hidden Bomb (pop rock) at Villeneuve Loubet village, as well as well Episode d’Azur (jazz) on rue des Mesures

9.30pm – Francois Arnaud Quartet (jazz) at Marina Baie des Anges

If you have found this blog  informative, please share on social media ! thank you

Free concerts this Saturday in Mouans-Sartoux

Le Monde est en Région is a day of world music and provincial French music that will be held in Mouans-Sartoux this weekend on Saturday 13 June 2015.

Le Monde est en Région, Saturday 13 June 2015, Mouans-Sartoux

Le Monde est en Région, Saturday 13 June 2015, Mouans-Sartoux

All concerts are free of charge and you can turn up without reservation.  They are held in the main square of Mouans-Sartoux and at the Château de Mouans-Sartoux.

Performances begin at midday and finish at 11pm.  One of the highlights will be a concert at 7.45pm at the Château by Massilia Sound System, an iconic Marsellaise reggae group.

For the programme with band profiles and times of performances click on this link: Lemondeenregion_programme_bd