Why Torcche could potentially be the next game changer in social mobile apps

Social networking apps number in the thousands and it’s a challenge working out which ones are worth downloading to try out…until you hear about a new app called Torcche.

Torcche I believe is more substance than hype, and if you’re keen on meeting others who share the same interests as you around the globe, you’ll quickly recognize this is going to be one of the hottest apps that could be soon catapulted into the mainstream.

torcche.com - Earmarked for mainstream download for social mobile apps

torcche.com – Earmarked for mainstream download for social mobile apps

Social apps and tech

Traditionally, you’d meet people face-to-face and especially for travelers, your options were limited to forging bonds with those who shared your flight, tour bus, hostel or even campsite.

Connecting with friends and other like-minded people is much easier today with a wide variety of technology and an abundance of social/ travel apps already out there such as Outbound, unPaved, and Tripr.

Torcche takes things up a notch and aims to take the hassle out of real-time communication – whether you’re planning to meet up with friends for a meal, on a solitary road trip, or even looking for weekend partying buddies to go out with.

About Torcche

Torcche is a mobile location-based social platform where you can communicate and meet up with your friends around the world in real-time.

In a world where everyone is busy and scattered in different places, their instant friend finder allows you to see who is nearby at all times, and you can create insightful real-time location posts called “Torcches” for others around the world to follow your experiences in real-time and see the cool places you’re at.

Best of all, Torcche is a free iPhone (iOS) app compatible with the latest iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, with the Android version already in development.

Torcche is set to not only help people connect with old friends, but to connect with new buddies and travelers around the world.

I predict it will become an essential app for travelers, especially backpackers or solo travelers who are looking for like-minded individuals to share experiences with wherever they may roam. Torcche will also hold value for all genders, ages and interests as fresh content is created by the users. It’s easy to join (email or Facebook) and is simple and quick to use which is great as it’s not overloaded with confusing features or add-ons.

Features

Free app

Torcche is free to download so you’ll have more dollars in your back pocket to get out there to explore and enjoy life!

User-friendly

Torcche is extremely user-friendly. It’s easy to join (no lengthy registration or verification process), simple to understand (saves you the hassle of learning the ropes about features) and it’s quick to use (meaning you make connections and find the cool stuff instantly).

Easy registration, free to download, simple to use (torcche.com)

Easy registration, free to download, simple to use (torcche.com)

Torcche Map  

Torcche makes it easy for you to meet up with friends nearby and keep up with friends around the world.

See your friends on the move and allow others to know what you’re up to.

Discover new places you never knew existed and meet new people with similar interests as you. With Torcche, the entire world is literally at your fingertips on your phone.

Put a Torcche  

Add a Torcche which is a super simple way to post a status update and/or upload a picture or video (up to 10 seconds) to share what you’re up to.

Allow others to follow your global footprint and make use of the optional feature to share on Facebook or Twitter.

Whether you’re checking out a new restaurant in your area or traveling to distant exotic places, you can let others know what they’re missing out on back at home.

Post a 'Torcche' so other users can see what you're up to (torcche.com)

Post a ‘Torcche’ so other users can see what you’re up to (torcche.com)

Global Explorer  

A quick and easy way to find your friends as well as meet new people around the world.

Custom News Feed

Personalized news feed provides updates on your friends and other up-to-the-second news.

Convenient Messaging

Easily message your nearby friends or groups to stay in touch through Torcche’s innovative platform at any time.

Convenient messaging to keep in touch (torcche.com)

Convenient messaging to keep in touch (torcche.com)

Secure Privacy

Torcche understands your privacy is paramount.

Make use of customizable settings that allow you to control how much personal information you want to share with your friends and the people around you completely confined within the Torcche app.

Even if your settings are ‘Private’ – you can still browse the Torcche Map and find other users who choose to be ‘Public” with their ‘Public’ settings manually switched on.

Secure privacy for all users (torcche.com)

Secure privacy for all users (torcche.com)

What’s next?

Download the app today! It’s completely free and compatible with current versions of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

Download here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/torcche/id1014850260?ls=1&mt=8

Check out their website: http://www.torcche.com/

‘Like’ Torcche on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Torcche/848355771884371?

‘Follow’ Torcche on Twitter: @torcche or https://twitter.com/torcche

I’d love to hear your feedback about Torcche!  What do you find the best feature?  Any suggestions to make Torcche better?  Thank you for sharing Torcche on social media.

Disclaimer:  I collaborate with Torcche for PR and marketing and this blog post is my personal opinion regarding the user experience of this app.

Thanks to Perfectly Provence!

I’m thrilled to be invited to be a contributor to Perfectly Provence, a digital magazine for locals and visitors alike, with content collected from the region’s top regional writers.

Focused exclusively on Provence, Perfectly Provence includes targeted regional content for both tourists and for those who have chosen the area for their permanent home.

I’ll be joining regular bloggers and feature writers active in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region including the lovely Chrissie at Riviera Grapevine, Phoebe Thomas from Lou Messugo, and Elizabeth Gabay MW for everything wine-related.

Access Riviera will be a contributor for Perfectly Provence http://perfectlyprovence.co/

Access Riviera will be a contributor for Perfectly Provence http://perfectlyprovence.co/

You can visit the Perfectly Provence website here: http://perfectlyprovence.co/

‘Like’ them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PerfectlyProvence

‘Follow’ them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PerfProvence

(They are also on other social media platforms Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube – details on their website)

Read my bio here: http://perfectlyprovence.co/author/rebecca-whitlocke/

Top 3 things to do in Cannes outside Festival time

Access Riviera

Cannes has a love/hate relationship with the huge influx of visitors that the annual congrès events and Cannes Film Festival bring to this popular destination.

Bars crammed with people, traffic jams and a visible presence of the charming motorbike cops can overwhelm visitors – but Cannes remains one of my top French Riviera destinations for people-watching.

I’ve had coffee at Le Cirque on rue Hoche, bought Italian leather boots at the Cannes Shopping Festival discounted from €149 to €30 (!), visited Jean-Luc Pelé on rue Meynadier for tasty macarons and walked the length of the Croisette so many times I deserve my own star on the Allée des Étoiles.

If you want to discover the side of Cannes that I love and venture beyond the seafront offerings of the Croisette, here are my recommendations for the ‘Top 3 things to do in Cannes outside Festival time’:

1.   Marché Forville

Marché Forville is definitely…

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Cannes Summer Programme 2015

Cannes has many summer events and festivals happening so if you are in town as a tourist or you are a local looking to find out what’s happening in one place – read on!

(images:  I-cannes, cannes.com, presseagence, idmedia)

(images: I-cannes, cannes.com, presseagence, idmedia)

From classical concerts to dance parties on the beach, traditional festivals to trendy art exhibitions there is something for all interests and budgets.

My top 5 picks for free Cannes events:

  • Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique (free fireworks displays – various dates)
  • Cine-Quartier (free open-air cinema screenings – various dates and locations)
  • Anniversaire de la Libération de Cannes (WWI commemoration with military parade,  ball and fireworks – 24 August)
  • Pages a la Plage (book lending library at Plage Macé – until the end of August.  Note: €10 refundable bond/caution must be given to borrow books)
  • Night market at Cannes Vieux Port (Thursday evenings)

The full programme is viewable here:  http://fr.calameo.com/read/003153773ddce970f6b5a?authid=qHX5UBPofCVL

 

 

How to survive summer on the French Riviera with kids

Say what you will about the French Riviera in the summer. Sure, there are traffic jams, crowded public transport, longer queues at attractions, sweatier tourists, and pricier airfares, but there’s also ice-cream on the seafront, dining al fresco in village squares, open-air concerts and firework displays in the warm evenings, and most important, no school for eight weeks.

If you are visiting the French Riviera with children, it’s a great time to bond as a family and experience first-hand history, art, traditional festivals and nature; and develop a real appreciation for French culture.

However, travelling with children is a whole different ballgame to travelling solo or as a couple and it’s vital to plan ahead so your Riviera trip is more incroyable than catastrophe.

How to survive summer on the French Riviera with kids

How to survive summer on the French Riviera with kids

Here are Access Riviera’s tips for how to survive summer on the French Riviera with kids:

Make the journey fun

For flights, I print out a map of the world and put stickers on from the origin to destination and little ones can follow the flight path and circle each ‘stopover’ when you arrive – it builds anticipation and if they have their own ‘map’ they feel involved in the process.

Keep any train or bus tickets for their ‘travel bag’ so you can invent games later on.

iSpy sheets are good for killing time – here are few free downloads I made for my eldest son when he was aged around 2 years and they helped keep him occupied when we had to travel, visit busy supermarkets etc.  They are customised for things you are likely to see while travelling in France and FREE!  You can download them here: iSpy  iSpysupermarket  iSpynature

A great family-friendly destination

The French Riviera is an excellent family-friendly destination, and while it’s easy to blow your budget at theme parks and attractions, it is also a viable destination on a small budget.

Plan outings at the beach, evening strolls around hilltop villages when many of the historical buildings are lit up and look spectacular, and mix up the transport you use if you can – trains, buses, ferries, petit train (the little tourist trains) may seem boring to you but kids love transport!.

Le petit train can be great for kids (image: trainstouristiquedenice)

Le petit train can be great for kids (image: trainstouristiquedenice)

There are some excellent national parks in the region that are perfect for biking and hiking, and you can find an overview of many of the Riviera’s playgrounds here Playgrounds on the French Riviera.

Bear in mind the length of guided tours especially in summer as little ones can get hot and bored quickly.

Visit websites such as http://www.cotedazur-en-fetes.com/ for information and dates of local events.

Don’t cram too much into one day

Consider your child/children’s normal routine and try to stick to similar times for meals, naps, bedtime.

It can be hard with many summer events on the French Riviera starting late in the evening so choose one or two events where you can stretch to a late night, but don’t try to cram too much into one day or you’ll find you’re left with overtired and grumpy kids which will quickly make your holiday stressful.

Research family discounts

Tourist offices are a wealth of knowledge and can advise about entry discounts for groups or families.

Search on the internet and social media for family passes, ‘2-for-1’ deals or last-minute specials.

Here are 5 useful links for French Riviera family discounts:

  1. Family discounts for TER trains: http://www.sncf.com/en/discounts/family-children and http://www.ter.sncf.com/paca/loisirs/promos-bons-plans
  2. Regional discounts with Lignes D’Azur buses where you can use your bus ticket to get discounts across the French Riviera http://www.lignesdazur.com/presentation/?rub_code=1010
  3. Cote d’Azur Card – includes sightseeing, activities, shopping discounts. Available in 3 or 6-day validities. Generally, you will get value out of this card if you use it at least once a day. https://www.cotedazur-card.com/
(image: cotedazurcard)

(image: cotedazurcard)

  4. Groupon – web-based discount site for accommodation and activities. Site is in French; you will need to search ‘France’ then ‘Sud-Est & Corse’ to find discounts applicable for the French Riviera. www.groupon.fr

5.  La Fourchette – Dining discounts; site is in French. Search by town/city, e.g. Nice, Cannes, Antibes. They often have specials such as ‘20% off your total bill’, ‘Buy 1 main meal, get one free’ or ‘Kids dine free’ so it pays to have a quick look before you eat out on the French Riviera. www.lafourchette.com

Teach your kids basic French

Kids learn languages much easier than adults. Teach your child a few basic French phrases – it’s amazing how responsive wait staff or shop assistants are to a small child saying ‘Merci’.

We love the free French lessons at Monde des Titounis in our house as they are short duration and fun (it’s aimed at preschool kids with animated vocabulary lessons).

Make use of Google Translate and apps such as Duolingo.

Be flexible about meal choices

France is not particularly well known for specific children’s menus – you will see A LOT of frites (French fries), basic pasta and chicken nuggets on kids menus here.

Many restaurants will however split menu costs from the a la carte menu for a smaller portion size so don’t hesitate to ask, and it pays to take along a few snacks to restaurants in case your child completely turns their nose up at what is on offer.

Also, a trip to the French Riviera is an opportunity to try new foods that they may not be familiar with – I know 3-year olds who love escargot cooked in butter and garlic, marinated artichokes and steak tartare so try to be flexible about what is on offer and what they are used to at home.

Escargot anyone?

Escargot anyone?

For vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free travellers and people with food allergies or intolerances you may find dining in France is a bit trickier but do some research online first and you’ll find plenty of other travellers who have ‘been done and done that’ so are more than happy to recommend restaurants.

Consider your accommodation carefully

Holiday rentals are ideal for families travelling with small children, because you can cook some of your own meals and unpack and spread out. Most holiday rentals on the French Riviera have excellent proximity to beaches or towns so you are never far away from supermarkets and essential shops.

French campsites are generally in scenic locations and have good facilities such as swimming pools, games rooms, restaurants though try to book ahead especially in peak season.

French campsites usually have good facilities (image: Camping Green Park, Cagnes sur Mer)

French campsites usually have good facilities (image: Camping Green Park, Cagnes sur Mer)

Also, explore the idea of staying in themed accommodation that will intrigue little ones – you can stay in a yurt (Mongolian tent), treehouse, tepee, castle, restored chapel or old mill so think outside the box if your budget and patience for research allows it.

Stay safe

Sometimes travel can make you complacent about basic safety. Ensure your holiday accommodation is safe for your family (e.g. cleaning chemicals locked away, electrical cables out of reach of little fingers, smoke alarms installed etc) and don’t hesitate to ask the landlord in advance what safety precautions they have in place for families.

It can be extremely tempting to leave doors and windows open all night at your hotel/B&B/apartment/villa but exercise caution as burglars do prey on the fact there is warm weather and they are experts and can be in and out before you blink (and sometimes even striking when you are on site!).

The French Riviera climate can be scorching in summer, so drink plenty of water and always wear sun cream and a hat. Occasionally, jellyfish are present on the beaches here and it takes 2-minutes to check local jellyfish reports, more details can be found here Jellyfish on the French Riviera

I morally ummed and ahhed about including this next piece of advice, and while I think every tourist office along the Riviera coast (and certainly every town mayor) would state otherwise, I believe it’s important to honestly inform tourists of potential hazards or dangers.

As with every destination, there are some undesirable people you’ll come across on your travels and the French Riviera is no exception. Don’t be surprised to see homeless people, tramps and gypsies especially at areas of high pedestrian traffic and where money is transacted frequently (they sit outside supermarkets, beside ATM machines, outside banks, at bus terminals etc).

I’ll put it out there and state that 9 out of 10 times homeless people and drunks here on the Riviera are harmless – unlike experiences in other countries, here in France they usually do not verbally abuse you if you don’t give them money or follow you down the street. However, exercise caution in all circumstances.

Families should be cautious around gypsies as they are renown for pickpocketing people with baby strollers and/or lots of luggage – be extra alert if you travel on the train or bus as families often stand in the doorways (as it’s convenient for getting your stroller on/off) and this is when many pickpocketing incidents happen at the stops when the change of people getting on and off the train/bus creates a diversion.

Encourage your child to collect souvenirs

Finding inexpensive souvenirs can be fun when you’re travelling – encourage your child to find souvenirs when you’re visiting towns and cities. Some popular souvenirs for the French Riviera are postcards, pretty soaps, keyrings, santons.

Visiting a vide grenier (car boot sale/flea market) or local antiques market can unearth some fantastic retro toys such as tin cars, comic books or vintage airplanes.

French markets are great for finding vintage toys

French markets are great for finding vintage toys

Diaries and photographs

Older children may enjoy keeping a travel diary and writing about highlights of their day, and you can always buy them a disposable camera or two so they can take their own pictures of the trip.

Allow your kids to enjoy the simple pleasures

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of having a full itinerary and seeing everything in a tourist hotspot, but you’ll find some of the best experiences will be when you slow down and go with the flow.

Stop for an ice cream or gelato. Grab some take-out pizza and sit on the beach watching the sunset. Let your kids play at the park, interacting with local children. Stroll along the harbourside quays and chat to the fishermen. Pause for a while to watch locals play petanque.

Stop to watch the locals play petanque (boules)

Stop to watch the locals play petanque (boules)

Most of all, enjoy your summer holiday on the French Riviera and spending time together.

Do you have other  family travel tips to share?  I’d love your feedback. Please share this post on Facebook or Twitter.

Nuits Carrées – 03-04 July 2015

We are fortunate to have access to so many varied music events and festivals on the French Riviera and after the grand events for Jazz à Juan, Fête de la Musique, Nice Jazz Festival, and Festival Nuits de Sud (whew!) my next local recommendation would be for Nuits Carrées.

Nuits Carrées 2015

Nuits Carrées 2015

Since it’s inception, Nuits Carrées is one of my favourite weekends of music for various reasons including:

  • Entry price – no huge entry fee, it costs just 10€ for one evening (via presales, or €12 at the entrance gate). A low price doesn’t mean a dip in music quality either – the range and duration of artists is top level.
  • Location – amazing setting at the amphithêatre at Fort Carré in Antibes
  • Eco-responsible – they make efforts for a sustainable and eco-friendly approach to music events
  • Accessible to all – people of all levels of mobility can come here; the venue entrance, refreshments area and toilets are wheelchair-friendly. The amphithêatre itself has graduated steps but you can still find a place to view the acts.
  • Music – the 2015 line-up is strong on hip-hop, but usually there is a good cross-section of musical tastes including electro, hip-hop, funk, jazz.  It’s an aural rollercoaster and I love it.
festival crowd, Nuits Carrées

festival crowd, Nuits Carrées

Nuits Carrées is an eco-festival of sorts; you purchase a reusable ‘eco cup’ when you arrive and refill it through the evening to recycle at the end.  No discarded styrofoam cups or aluminium cans littering the ground here.

edit

You will appreciate that the toilets are eco-friendly; instead of those horrible smelly Portaloos with chemicals that are regular features at music festivals. The toilets are constructed of chip-board and there are buckets of sawdust – yes, sawdust – to tip into the bowl afterwards.  No odour and much more pleasant.  If you have reduced mobility there is a wheelchair-accessible toilet with ramp.

This year the festival billing includes huge French hip-hop group IAM, soul/funk/jazz group John Milk, pop/electro artist Sage and American hip-hop MC Oddisee.

Would you like to be here enjoying music at this festival as the sun sets?

WHAT:  Nuits Carrées

WHEN:  Friday 03 July and Saturday  04 July, doors open from 7pm until late

WHERE:  Amphithêatre at Fort Carré, avenue du 11 novembre, 06600 Antibes

How to get there:

By car:  There are two free public carparks nearby the festival entrance, though limited carpark spaces.

By train:  Antibes train station is less than 10 minutes walking distance to the festival.  Exit the train station, and at the traffic lights just outside the station walk downhill on the road to the left, then follow the footpath to the left all the way past the port to Fort Carré.

By bus:  From Cannes or Nice directions, take bus 200 and there is a stop in Antibes near the Antibes train station, then you can cross the railway overbridge and walk to the festival from the train station. From Cannes, get off the 200 bus at the Pôle d’echanges bus terminal beside the Antibes train station. From Nice, the 200 stop is ‘Passerelle’ outside Hotel Le Collier. Get off the bus here and cross the road to Antibes train station, follow the directions above from the train station.

NOTE:  The festival finishes at 2.30am each night and public transport will not be running at that time, so you will have to make other arrangements to get back home (or to your accommodation if you are a tourist).

images

My tips:  Take a small torch for later in the evening, the toilets have flood lighting in the general area but it is dim.  Take cash for the bar and restaurant.

Visit the official festival website for details on where to purchase tickets and the line-up for both nights www.nuitscarrees.com