Monaco Yacht Show 2015 Supplier List

Monaco Yacht Show 2015 starts today and runs until Saturday 26 September 2015 at the busy Port Hercules.  As with many Riviera events I’m often asked for company recommendations.

monaco_bay-tomvano

Due to these requests, I have curated a list of companies that Access Riviera recommends if you need additional services during or after the show.

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post. None of these companies have paid to appear on this list; I’m not a sales person for any of them or a booking agent – I’m recommending them because they have high standards of service and/or products.  If you use them, please mention you saw them on Access Riviera !

Accommodation

For luxury villas, apartment rentals, hotels – get in touch with Experience the French Riviera

For holiday apartment rentals across the French Riviera, contact Sunlight Properties.  Their website also has useful city guides and tourist information.

Airport Transfers

Dan Shuttle Drivers – bilingual French-English airport transfers

Riviera Transfer – bilingual French-English airport transfers

Catering

Customised catering menus for private events including on board yachts, get in touch with Adams & Adams

(image: Adams & Adams)

(image: Adams & Adams)

For superb bespoke catering, contact Bridie Roberts

Drone photographer / Aerial services

For luxury film production and drone helicopter videos, contact Jocelyn Passeron (Yacht Photographer)

For aerial photos and videos, contact MLV Drone to discuss.

Entertainment

DJ Seven a.k.a Cyril can elevate your party with soul, funk, disco, house, hip hop

Little Soul Club play an acoustic mix of Soul, Motown, Blues and Pop music. With their own unique style they have performed in countries such as Italy, Greece, Morocco, France and the UK.  Entertaining at parties and events with songs by great artists such as Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Amy Winehouse and George Ezra, to name but a few.

The Little Soul Club www.thelittlesoulclub.com (image: Irina Sladkevich)

The Little Soul Club http://www.thelittlesoulclub.com (image: Irina Sladkevich)

Florist

Beautiful floral arrangements for on board yachts, or private and corporate events contact Tasha at Azur Flowers

Food and Wine

Bisous de la baie des Anges retail gourmet products including foie gras, Norwegian salmon, caviar. Based in Juan les Pins they offer free delivery in the region; phone contactable only +33 04 93 61 35 48 (French language)

Luxury food and wine products including truffles, champagne, chocolate, condiments, confectionery – available for provisioning, and retailing beautifully presented gourmet gifts (Gusto Boxes) contact Maison del Gusto

(image: Maison del Gusto)

(image: Maison del Gusto)

Graphic Design

For logos and website branding, contact Javiera Ramirez

Outstanding graphic design, photo enhancements, and illustration contact Holy Banana

Hair and Beauty

If you’re looking for a professional beautician for on board yachts, or villa visits contact Natalie Williams (mobile beautician) offering eyelash extensions, manicures, pedicures, waxing and spray tans.

Mobile beautician French Riviera - Natalie Williams www.estheticiennemobile.com

Mobile beautician French Riviera – Natalie Williams http://www.estheticiennemobile.com

Looking for a mobile hairdresser?  Book an appointment with Kellee MacDonald (mobile hairdresser, 15+ years experience)

If you require a make up artist, Nice-based make up artists Irina Awad or Alana Gage can help you.

Interiors

Contact Boutsen Design for bespoke decoration including fine glassware, chinaware, linen

Media consultancy

If you require local press releases or yachting-related copy writing, email Rebecca to discuss accessriviera06@gmail.com

Photographers

For destination images, events and portraits, contact Abbie at French Riviera Wedding Photographer

For yachting photography and events, contact Jocelyn Passeron (Yacht Photographer)

ellicha

For events, fashion and product photography, contact Justin Gage from Justin Gage Photo Studio

For events, fashion, music and portraits, contact Naneen Rossi from Naneen Photography

Sightseeing / Tours

Ferrari and Lamborghini driver experiences, book with Liven Up

Themed walking tours in Monaco including Belle Epoque, modern art, culinary discoveries contact Monaco Walks

For Harley Davidson and scooter rental, book via Riviera Touring

Scooter and Harley Davidson hire French Riviera - Riviera Touring (image: TripAdvisor)

Scooter and Harley Davidson hire French Riviera – Riviera Touring (image: TripAdvisor)

Join a wine tour to local vineyards with Riviera Wine Tours – customised group tours also available by request

Specialised transport

Classic car hire including a Mustang, Morgan 4/4, Triumph T3 with Riviera Classic Car Hire

Helicopter transfers with Heli Air Monaco

Sport, health and wellness

If you’re looking for a made to measure massage at your home, yacht or hotel, Roel and Joël from Blue Tree Massage will bring you unique moments of relaxation with an ambiance and spa service.

Blue Tree Massage - bespoke massage French Riviera

Blue Tree Massage – bespoke massage French Riviera

Osteopath treatments via recommended osteopaths – English Osteopath or Riviera Osteo

For homeopathic and naturopathy consultations, contact Julia at Vie for Vitality

Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture on board yachts or villa visits, contact Filipa Rodrigo

Yoga sessions including on board yachts, book via Revitalize

Yoga sessions French Riviera (image: revitalize.fr)

Yoga sessions French Riviera (image: revitalize.fr)

Yacht charter

Yacht charter specialists for French Riviera including Monaco, Cannes and St Tropez, contact Bespoke Yacht Charter

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Upcoming Food Festivals on the French Riviera

France is famous for producing some of the best food in the world, whether you prefer the tables of haute cuisine where the top chefs are national celebrities, or the no-nonsense traditional dishes served up in bistros across the country.

The cooking is as varied as the landscape and differs greatly between regions – here on the Côte d’Azur, the proximity to Italy results in a recurring use of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, tomatoes, seafood and Mediterranean produce such as olives, aubergines and peppers.

(image: istrianchef)

(image: istrianchef)

Wonderful and flavourful produce is found at every town market, but those small family-run restaurants where you can eat for less than €15 are becoming more rare though there are hidden dining gems everywhere.

French people love food – ask a local for their restaurant recommendations, or opinions about the best boucherie or boulangerie and they will fiercely explain their views.  Meal times here are a leisurely experience to be enjoyed not rushed and unsurprisingly one of the best things about living here is the number of annual food festivals!

Food festivals celebrate anything and everything gastronomic – bread, chocolate, cheese, chestnuts, harvest season fruits and vegetables, olives and olive oil, pastries….if you consume it, there’s a date in the calendar for it!

Here are details about two upcoming Food Festivals on the French Riviera which should satisfy anyone keen on cuisine :

  1.  Les Etoiles de Mougins – 18,19, 20 September, Mougins

My pick for a foodie event is the brilliant Les Etoiles de Mougins. Celebrating its 10th year, this festival of gastronomy is jam-packed with cooking demonstrations, market stalls and culinary workshops.  There are so many top chefs that attend each year (many awarded with Michelin status) that budding sous chefs and gastronomic wannabes (like myself!) are left speechless.

Les Etoiles de Mougins - 18, 19, 20 September 2015

Les Etoiles de Mougins – 18, 19, 20 September 2015

Enjoy chocolate and ice sculpture displays, cocktail making demonstrations, food trucks and chef competitions. Parents will be pleased to know there is a garderie (nursery) at the festival so you can browse the festival stalls to your heart’s content while the kids are looked after.

Entry to Les Etoiles de Mougins is free, however the culinary workshops cost €20 per person.

How to get there

Car parking is notoriously difficult in Mougins – I recommend if you’re driving to take Exit 42 on the A8 motorway and park at one of the satellite locations that are all serviced by regular free shuttles during the festival. Some of these locations are EcoParc and Mougins School.  This map should help regarding parking:

Car parking - Les Etoiles de Mougins

Car parking – Les Etoiles de Mougins

Mougins doesn’t have a train station, however you can take a train to Mouans-Sartoux and there will be free shuttles between the station and festival.

Travelling by bus your options are restricted due to timetables, however bus lines 24 and 30 with Palm Bus travel from Cannes train station, and lines 600, 630 and 650 also travel to Mougins.

Mougins is a perched village so the town surfaces are paved but there are areas of difficult access – if you have reduced mobility and need specific advice about accessibility in Mougins please email me at accessriviera06@gmail.com

http://www.lesetoilesdemougins.com/

 2.  Fête de la Gastronomie – 26 September, Cagnes-sur-Mer

As part of a nationwide programme that is held the last weekend in September, Cagnes-sur-Mer is participating with market stalls, degustations and cooking displays all held at place de Gaulle in central Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Fête de la Gastronomie (image: Mme Bon Plan)

Fête de la Gastronomie (image: Mme Bon Plan)

From 10am-6pm you can watch table decorating displays, listen to chef seminars and eat your way around a number of artisan stalls.

A number of restaurants in centre ville, Cros de Cagnes and Haut de Cagnes are participating in a ‘Fête de la Gastronomie’ menu for a special price of €20 (excluding drinks) to festival goers – my insider tip is that the wonderful Hôtel Château Le Cagnard in Haut de Cagnes is offering this special deal. They don’t mention it on their own website, however the hotel and restaurant is a stunning location for a meal with a retractable roof and outlook over the coast and village.

How to get there

Place de Gaulle is centrally located and there is lots of car parking in the centre of town.  Free car parks are at Stade Pierre Sauvaigo – du Souvenir – Pagnol – Pompidou – Ecole Daudet.

By train, the Cagnes-sur-Mer train station is just 5 minutes from central Cagnes.  The station is named Gare de Cagnes-sur-Mer; don’t get off at Cros de Cagnes which is the neighbouring stop. The train station has an accessible toilet inside the ticket area, and elevator access to the platforms.

If travelling by bus, these are your options that all travel to either centre ville or the train station:

Bus 49 La Gaude-Cagnes train station – timetable link here http://www.lignesdazur.com/horaires_ligne/?rub_code=6&keywordsLine=&lign_id=1080

Bus 200 Nice-Cannes line, Bus 217 Nice-Villeneuve Loubet, Bus 400 Nice-Vence and Bus 500 Nice-Grasse – all timetables are downloadable at this link Buses to Cagnes-sur-Mer

www.cagnes-sur-mer.fr

Bon appetit!

Roman Day (Journee Romain) – Sun 20 Sept – LA TURBIE

If you have children that are remotely interested in history, mark the date of Sunday 20 September 2015 into your family calendar as  La Turbie is hosting the 3rd Journée Romain (Roman Day) as part of the European Heritage Days.

This all day event (10am-6pm) situated at the Trophée d’Auguste is free for spectators and a fantastic journey back in time to the days of Roman gladiators  and  legionnaires.

(images:: Ville de La Turbie)

(images:: Ville de La Turbie)

A brief history

The Trophée  d’Auguste (Trophy of Augustus) was built in 6 BC in honor of Octavian Augustus. This Roman Emperor, Caesar’s adopted son, had brought under the domination of Rome 45 tribes of the Alps who refused to submit.

Despite the numerous destructions which it has suffered over the centuries, the building was partially renovated in the early 20th century, and still impresses with its dimensions – the monument is 35 metres square and the statue of Augustus lies 49 metres above the ground!   There are superb views of Monaco and the coast from the gardens.

(image: Wikipedia)

(image: Wikipedia)

It  was classified as a National Monument in 1865 and is one of the wonders of the architectural heritage of the Alpes Maritimes.  The Trophée  is the first step in the tourist route that follows  ‘Via Julia Augusta’, which runs through nine Italian and French historical sites, from Ventimiglia to La Turbie.

Schedule

10am, 1pm and 5pm:  At Trophée d’Auguste workshops such as coin forging, pottery, armoury, archery, archaeology excavation, Roman games. Legionnaire’s camp. There will also be a food vendor offering Roman-style snacks from midday.

11am and 3pm:  From the Trophée to the middle of town there will be a parade of legionnaires in Roman costume and re-enactments of combat.

4.30pm: At Trophée d’Auguste, gladiator combat re-enactments.  Afterwards, the public are invited for a friendly lesson at the gladiator school.

There is free access to the monument museum on this day.

Where:  Trophée d’Auguste, avenue Prince Albert 1er de Monaco, 06320 La Turbie.  Entrances via rue Comte de Cessole and Cours Albert 1er de Monaco

How to get there:

By car:  If driving on the A8 motorway, from Nice direction take Exit 57 ‘La Turbie’ and follow the signs to La Turbie. From Italy, take Exit 58 ‘Roquebrune Cap Martin’ and follow the D2564 for 4.5 km to La Turbie.  There is  free parking at place Neuve, parking  de la Piscine and place de la Crémallière.

By bus:  From Nice, take line T66, and Zest line 11 from Monaco Office de Tourisme.

Transport for persons with reduced mobility: CARF, through MOBIZEST, operates a public transport service available to persons holding a disability card of rating 80%, a European parking card or card category 3 / persons accredited by the Accessibility Committee. For more information: 0800 740 538 (Freephone)

Here is a teaser video of what to expect from Legio VI Ferrata who host the legionnaires camp:

Weblinks:

Gladiator re-enactments:  Acta-Archeo www.acta-archeo.com

Legionnaire’s camp:  Legio VI Ferrata http://www.legio6.com/

Bus timetable from Nice (T66 Pont Michel):  http://www.lignesdazur.com/horaires_ligne/index.asp?rub_code=6&lign_id=1179

Bus timetable from Monaco (11 Monte Carlo Casino/Office de Tourisme – La Turbie Mairie): http://www.zestbus.fr/Pratique/Lignes-et-horaires/11-La-Turbie-Mairie-Le-Devens-Eglise-Beau-Soleil-Monte-Carlo-Casino

National Monuments: http://la-turbie.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/

Via Julia Augusta: http://www.comune.ventimiglia.it/servizi/Menu/dinamica.aspx?idArea=20988&idCat=21006&ID=21006

European Heritage Days / Journées Européennes du Patrimoine

Every year in France there is a fantastic initiative called the European Heritage Days (Les Journées Européennes du Patrimoine) where residents and tourists have the opportunity to access many historical, cultural and architectural sites for no or heavily reduced entrance fees.

This year the days are held on the weekend of Saturday 19 September and Sunday 20 September 2015 and over 17,000 monuments throughout France will host events and special openings.

Here are some of the participants in 2015 across the French Riviera:

Antibes

  • Archaeology Museum, Fort Carré, Jardin Thuret, Musée de la Carte Postale, Picasso Museum
Fort Carré, Antibes (image: beyond.fr)

Fort Carré, Antibes (image: beyond.fr)

Cagnes-sur-Mer

  • Château Grimaldi, Musée Renoir
Musée Renoir, Cagnes-sur-Mer

Musée Renoir, Cagnes-sur-Mer

Cannes

  • Forrtified monastery of Abbaye de Lérins (Ile Saint-Honorat), Chapelle Bellini, La Malmaison art centre, Moulin Forville, Musée de la Castre (Le Suquet), Musée de la Mer (Ile St-Marguerite)

Lucéram

  • Église Saint Marguerite

Nice

  • MAMAC art gallery,  Musée National Chagall
Musée National Chagall (image: kfntravelguide)

Musée National Chagall (image: kfntravelguide)

Vallauris

  • Musée Magnelli

TRANSPORT

In conjunction with the Heritage Days, various transport companies in the French Riviera region are offering free or reduced tickets for travel exclusively on Saturday 19 September including:

Free travel all day in Monaco on the routes with CAM www.cam.mc

Free travel all day in Grasse on the routes with Sillages www.sillages.eu

€1 unlimited bus travel all day in Antibes on Envibus routes www.envibus.fr

€1,50 unlimited bus travel all day in Cannes with Palm Bus www.palmbus.fr

Free travel all day in Saint Raphael on the routes with Agglobus www.agglobus-cavem.com

€5 unlimited travel train tickets on the TER network for travel on Saturday 19 September only on the French Riviera coast. For example, a return ticket Juan les Pins to Monaco is approximately €15, or a ZOU! daily pass is usually €15 until 30 September so make use of this great deal!

LIST OF PARTICIPATING LOCATIONS / SITES

The official programme is available on http://journeesdupatrimoine.culturecommunication.gouv.fr/ (Click on ‘Télécharger les Programmes’ then choose ‘Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur’)

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FREE family-friendly events – 12-13 September

Things aren’t quietening down on the French Riviera yet just because the temperature has dropped a few degrees.  If you’re like me and aren’t keen to welcome autumn yet, then join in on one (or more) of my family-friendly suggestions – all with free entry – this coming weekend:

Carros

12 and 13 Sep: Festival Roulez Carros! will have dancers, musicians, acrobats, jugglers, mime artists, clowns and marionette shows. The weekend’s schedule (in French) is here: Festival Roulez Carros! 2015 schedule

(images: Forum Carros)

(images: Forum Carros)

La Colle-sur-Loup

13 Sep: 10am-7pm – La Colle Autrefois is a traditional festival that will plunge visitors back in time to the 1900’s with demonstrations and market stalls by craftspeople, folk music, dance, theatre, traditional games, a photo booth for costumes from yesteryear and more. Recommended if your kids enjoy history and discovery.  www.lacollesurloup-tourisme.com

Le Broc

12 Sep: 10am-6pm – Festi-Lujeu is a fun day with lots of free activities – wooden games, traditional games, balloon sculptors, sumo, face painting, inflatable castles, dedicated play area especially for little ones with ball pit, see saws, playhouse, colouring in station and Playdoh. Schedule (in French) at this link: http://www.mairie-lebroc.fr/festi-lujeu-7eme-edition/

Saint Paul de Vence

12 and 13 Sep: Various times – 2nd Festival de la Montagne takes visitors on an outdoor adventure with films about mountaineering, demonstrations of zip lining, rappelling, highline (with the French longline and World highline champion, Nathan Paulin), an abseiling wall, mountain rescue demonstration, raffle draw at 6pm and a suspended acrobatic dance performance at 7pm.  Schedule download is here: Festival de la Montagne flyer

(images: St Paul de Vence Tourism)

(images: St Paul de Vence Tourism)

Théoule sur Mer

13 Sep:  10am onwards – Tournament of Provençal jousting. A fun display at the port of jousting on purpose built boats.

Villeneuve Loubet

13 Sep: 11am-6pm – Nothing else this coming weekend will get a look-in (from my 4-year old’s perspective who is car mad!) except the Classic Auto Moto Retro Show held at place du Gaulle in the village followed by a car parade to the Marina Baie des Anges. More information at www.villeneuveloubet.fr

 

Top 15 French Riviera viewpoints for amazing photos

Today’s post is my second attempt at joining the ‘All About France’ monthly blog link-up hosted by Lou Messugo (my first attempt was a rookie fail, I forgot to add my link!).

School returned from the summer holidays this week and with la rentrée out of the way what a great excuse to share some of my favourite locations throughout the French Riviera (and a handful in the Var) that are more than deserving of glory on Instagram..

I hope you enjoy reading about my Top 15 French Riviera viewpoints for amazing photos:

  1. Les Moulins de Paillas near Ramatuelle

Situated at an altitude of 325 metres, these old windmills are located on the D89 road at the top of the village of Ramatuelle towards Gassin.

Mills were built in Ramatuelle from the 16th century to grind wheat for flour, and five mills originally stood in this area – one mill was restored in 2002, two are ruins only, two are on private land.

The location gives excellent views of Pampelonne to the east, the Gulf of St Tropez to the north and La Croix Valmer in the south. In fine weather, it’s possible to see the Îles du Levant and Port Cros.

Les Moulins de Paillas near Ramatuelle

Les Moulins de Paillas near Ramatuelle

If you would like to visit, Ramatuelle Tourist Office gives guided tours by appointment, or you can visit for free on Saturday or Sunday mornings between 10.30am-12.30pm from April-October. Other mills in this area are Moulin à vent de Verdagne and Moulin Brulat.

  1. Mont Vinaigre and Cap Roux in the Esterels

The highest peak in the Esterels (614 metres), Mont Vinaigre is on a grande randonnée (GR) track so you must follow the red and white trail markings. The hike to the summit takes around one hour with wide views to the bay of Cannes. There is a vehicle barrier part way along where the trail changes to stones so baby strollers aren’t advisable.

Closer to the sea, the 3.5 hour hike to Cap Roux is doable with older kids (the paths require sturdy footwear but aren’t steep or dangerous) and an orientation map at the summit details main peaks and points of interest. On descent, the red rock of Saint-Barthélemy has a great view over the sea and afterwards I recommend a swim at nearby Calanque Maubois which is reached via stairs from the main road.

I’d suggest avoiding these hikes in summer (especially weekends) as they are very popular and parking is an issue. Also, when there is hot weather and mistral winds the paths may be closed due to fire risks; you can check in advance at this website: http://statique.sigvar.org/frontblocks/risques/index.php

Cap Roux and nearby calanque

Cap Roux and nearby calanque

  1. San Peyre in Mandelieu-la-Napoule

The volcanic cone of San Peyre overlooking Mandelieu-la-Napoule offers a medium-grade uphill walk through shaded forest path of the Parc du San Peyre, onto a paved walkway.

There are a handful of steps so it is not wholly wheelchair-accessible to the summit, however the park has picnic tables and flat walking areas for travellers with reduced mobility near to the carpark area.

The path to the summit isn’t steep – our eldest son managed to walk up most of the way with us when he was a toddler, however do be warned the path is not fenced and there are some steep rock cliffs.

The walk to the summit from the carpark itself takes just 10 minutes uphill leading to some small fenced chapel ruins, and an orientation table in the old donjon (keep) with views to Cannes, Tanneron, the Lérins Islands, Théoule sur Mer and of course over Mandelieu, the port and the Château de la Napoule.

My son (2 years old in this photo) walking to the summit of San Peyre / view to Cannes / Château de la Napoule

My son (2 years old in this photo) walking to the summit of San Peyre / view to Cannes / Château de la Napoule

  1. Musée de la Castre watchtower in Cannes

The summit of Le Suquet (including the small wall rim reached by stairs near the church) give great panoramas over Cannes and to the Lérins Islands and Esterels, however the best view on a clear day is from the watchtower at the Musée de la Castre.

Great views from the top of Le Suquet (Cannes Old Town)

Great views from the top of Le Suquet (Cannes Old Town)

  1. Chapelle de la Garoupe in Antibes

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve walked up the rocky, santon-lined chemin du Calvaire to the terrace in front at Chapelle de la Garoupe (also known as Église Notre Dame de la Garoupe / Chapelle Notre Dame de Bon Port).

If you don’t fancy the walk up, there is a sealed public road (the surface is fine for baby strollers and wheelchairs but be warned there are no pavements) that leads to the church. Recognising the site’s potential they are building a caféteria; in the meantime there are plenty of snack kiosks at plage Salis for an ice cream or cold drink afterwards.

You can’t access the lighthouse there, however the church is decorated inside with ex-votos giving thanks from sailors and worshippers for protection from shipwrecks, weather, and disease. The church is also the starting point for the annual Fête de Notre Dame du Bon Port parade that you can read about here.

The reason I trudge those rocky steps is the view is lovely at the top – from under the umbrella pines your line of sight reaches from Golfe Juan to Juan les Pins to Antibes and beyond, and plane spotters would love it here as it sits on the coastal flight path. Take some cheese and wine and enjoy the view at sun set.

chemin du Calvaire is the rocky, santon-lined path to Chapelle Garoupe

chemin du Calvaire is the rocky, santon-lined path to Chapelle Garoupe

  1. Gourdon

Gourdon, a medieval village built at the summit of a cliff above the Gorges du Loup, is reached via a drive along some hair-raising roads fringing waterfalls and treacherous drops. Outdoor enthusiasts love the area with hiking (including the chemin du Paradis track), paragliding and canyoning popular.

The village is deemed one of the ‘Plus Beaux Villages de France’ and it features on most tour itineraries in the region – partially for the shops selling souvenirs such as perfume bottles, honey and gingerbread, but mostly for the outstanding views that reach from nearby Pont-du-Loup below at the mouth of the Gorges, to the Esterels and Nice.

One of the highlights of Gourdon is the Château de Gourdon and its underrated gardens. The gardens include an Apothecary Garden devoted to medicinal plants used in the 17th century, and the main terrace area was designed by Le Notre who also designed the gardens at Versailles. Sadly, the Château and gardens can no longer be visited unless by prior arrangement in groups of 10 (it housed a Historical Museum and Art Museum that are both now closed).

Birds-eye views from Gourdon

Birds-eye views from Gourdon

If you want to linger in the village for lunch, head to La Taverne Provençal at place de l’Eglise – the coq au vin is delicious and the view from the terrace is worth it.

  1. Colline du Château and Mont Boron in Nice

It’s a tie for top viewpoint in Nice – the easily accessed Colline du Château (Castle Hill) or forested (and less busy) Mont Boron.

One of Nice’s major tourist spots, Colline du Château (Castle Hill) is my ‘go-to’ place in Nice to take any visitors. Reached via steps from rue du Château or rue Ste-Claire, an elevator next to Tour Bellanda (small fee payable) or the petit tourist train, there is actually no castle there however there is a playground, snack kiosks and numerous vantage points for superb views of Nice Old Town, the seafront and Nice Port.

views from Colline du Château (Castle Hill) in Nice

views from Colline du Château (Castle Hill) in Nice

Mont Boron, further east, is set in a national park forest with paths interspersed with fitness equipment, pine trees and picnic tables. Offering a shady respite on warm days, the views are more wide-reaching than Castle Hill and spread across Nice, Villefranche-sur-Mer and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula.

Many of the paths are paved, and while the ground surface is hard dirt and rocky in many places it is still manageable with a sturdy baby stroller or wheelchair. Take a picnic with you as there are no shops or restaurants and the toilet facilities near to the carpark midway to the summit are often locked!

You can also wander around the outside of Fort Alban fortress, though you can’t go in unless you’re part of a guided group.

To drive to Mont Boron from Nice Port, follow boulevard Carnot uphill and near the top turn left at the traffic lights by Carrefour Market into boulevard du Mont Boron. Drive along for 200 metres before turning right into route Forestiere du Mont Boron – this road is very narrow where the houses are but continue on and it leads to the top. If you don’t have transport bus 14 leaves from place Garibadi in Nice; get off at stop ‘chemin du Fort’ which is near the picnic tables.

Check out this drone video (by Drone in Nice) that provides the best aspect of the panorama from Mont Boron and Fort Alban:

  1. Villa Ephussi de Rothschild in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

One of the French Riviera’s top attractions, this glorious villa is a testament to the eclectic collections of Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild that include antique furniture, china and art.

The pink-hued villa occupies prime real estate on the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula which affords it amazing views from the villa and expansive gardens to Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu-sur-Mer and as far as Monaco.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

If you visit Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in conjunction with either Villa Kérylos at Beaulieu-sur-Mer or the Jardin Exotique at Eze you can receive a reduced entrance price – ask at the ticket offices. For a detailed explanation, read my tourist tips for visiting Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild.

  1. Jardin Exotique in Eze

The crowning glory of Eze is this unexpected garden planted at the top of this perched village (429 metres). The garden is filled with cacti, succulents, agaves and various warm-climate plants and offers one of the best panoramas over the tiled roofs along the whole coast, with Corsica being visible on clear days.

Due to the nature of the village, accessibility for baby strollers and people with reduced mobility is quite restricted.

Kids get free entry to the garden, and my tip for one of the best times of the year to visit Eze is late July when Eze hosts the annual Eze d’Antan Festival, a medieval celebration with a falconry display and stalls with craftspeople making pottery, jewellery and weapons worthy of any knight or crusader. The festival also holds a medieval banquet if you fancy sharing barrels of wine and eating platefuls of spit-cooked meat until your belly is full.

While the Jardin has the highest views, some other Eze locations that are just as superb for photo opportunities are the Château de la Chèvre d’Or, the chemin Nietzsche walking trail that leads from Eze village to Eze-sur-Mer and Château Eza, particularly from the terrace.

Eze

Eze

  1. The Moyenne Corniche (N7) and Grande Corniche (D2564) roads

While the Basse Corniche (low) weaves from Nice to Menton via the coastal towns, the real views are found along the Moyenne (middle) and Grande (high) Corniches.

Immortalised in Hitchcock’s 1954 classic film ‘To Catch a Thief’, these roads have hair-raising bends and more than one vertiginous view of the sea, Riviera towns and stunning real estate.

The Moyenne and Grande Corniche roads / 'To Catch a Thief'

The Moyenne and Grande Corniche roads / ‘To Catch a Thief’

Still popular as film locations, it was along this stretch that Princess Grace of Monaco met her untimely death in 1982 when the car she was driving with Princess Stephanie swerved off the N53 leading from the Grande Corniche to the Moyenne Corniche.

The actual bend of the road where the accident occurred has a simple stone marker – if you are a fan of Grace she was much revered in Monaco and there are 2 statues of her there (one near the Forum by Larvotto; the other at the memorial Princess Grace Rose Garden in Fontvieille), her tomb is found at the Monaco Cathédral plus the Direction du Tourisme & des Congrès (2 boulevard des Moulins, 98000 Monaco) has maps for a free 5.5 kilometre walking trail that covers 25 spots in Monaco that were significant to Grace with accompanying photos – ask them for the ‘Parcours Princesse Grace’.

  1. Monaco / Monte-Carlo

I had difficulty pinpointing the best view in a principality shadowed by high-rise buildings and towering hotels because there are ample locations for spectacular vistas. However, if I whittle down to a handful that I feel cover the awe-factor, here are a few suggestions:

  • The rooftop of the Oceanographic Museum (Musée Océanographique de Monaco) for good views and there is a terrace restaurant, play area for kids and a turtle enclosure to keep the little ones amused.
  • La Chaumière restaurant terrace (next to the Jardin Exotique) for views across to Port Hercules and the Palais Princier.
  • L’Horizon Deck on the top floor of Hotel Fairmont Monte-Carlo is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner but I think it’s best for a sundowner when you can enjoy a glass of champagne.
Great views from La Chaumiere and L'Horizon Deck

Great views from La Chaumiere and L’Horizon Deck

  1. Vista Palace Hotel in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

The exterior façade is stuck in a time warp and the interior décor of the hotel is ‘80’s chi-chi and chintzy (thank goodness for the current renovations and revamp until December this year) however the Vista Palace precariously jolting out of the cliffside has one of the best locations for unobstructed views over Cap Martin and Monte-Carlo.

The pool area and Restaurant Vistaero have great views, and if you want to bag one of the best room panoramas in the hotel ask for a Corner Suite with a Monte-Carlo view.

views from Vista Palace Hotel

views from Vista Palace Hotel

  1. Auberge de la Madone in Peillon

Far from flamboyant, this traditional hotel-cum-restaurant serves tasty Nissart dishes (the kitchen is run by Milo and his sons, one of whom trained under top chef Alain Ducasse) but I’m recommending it as a getaway for a romantic lunch or dinner and it gets top points for close proximity to Nice, easy car parking, a lovely outdoor dining terrace with flower-filled urns and an unbeatable view of Peillon village.

Auberge de a Madone, Peillon

Auberge de a Madone, Peillon

  1. Castle ruins in Sainte-Agnès

Sainte-Agnès is 20 minutes’ drive from Menton and at an altitude of 800 metres above sea level it is the highest coastal village in Europe. From the top of the village, you can follow a steep path to the castle ruins and a medieval garden where there are excellent views of the mountains, the bay of Menton and Italy.

Sainte Agnès, the highest coastal village in Europe has superb views from the castle ruins and medieval garden

Sainte Agnès, the highest coastal village in Europe has superb views from the castle ruins and medieval garden

The village does not throb with tourists as you would expect being so close to Menton and the Italian border so it makes a nice trip for families, and if you have children aged 5 years and older the Tourist Office has a treasure hunt they can follow and find 15 clues throughout the village (ask for the ‘Jeu de Pistes’).

One of the town’s attractions is the Fort de la Ligne Maginot that was built in the 1930’s to protect the bay of Menton. This series of concrete bunkers can be visited where you can see machinery, communications equipment and barracks where 350 men were stationed – recommended for anyone interested in military history but check opening hours before visiting as the hours fluctuate seasonally.

  1. Couvent des Franciscains (Franciscan Monastery) in Saorge

Listed as a Historical Monument in France, the Franciscan Monastery located at Saorge in the Roya Valley has passed through centuries of use as a monastery, military quarters and a hospital.

Today, it is used as a retreat for artists and writers and is open for public visits (check opening hours as they close during the day).

Monastère de Saorge

Monastère de Saorge

Other places of interest to visit in Saorge include La Madone del Poggia, and Église St-Sauveur with a colourful interior. If you love churches, make the detour to La Brigue to see Notre Dame des Fontaines – enjoy a picnic on the riverbank then enter this small off-the-tourist-circuit church where you’ll be overwhelmed by the incredibly detailed frescoes on the walls and ceilings, some of the best in southern France.

If you would like to find more of France’s ‘Plus Beaux Villages’ click here: http://www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/

Have you visited any of these locations? Do you have any other recommended viewpoints in the region? Please comment and share this post on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you!

Image Credits: Access Riviera, TripAdvisor, Trover, Flickr, Voyages a Deux, Cycols, Active French Riviera, Decidela, Hotels.com

Lou Messugo

 

 

Free kids sports day – Sat 5 Sept – ANTIBES

This coming weekend on Saturday 5 September is the return of the yearly Fête Jeunesse Sport in Antibes, a great day of discovery for kids of various sports available individually or as teams in the Antibes-Juan les Pins district.

Fête Jeunesse Sport, Antibes

Fête Jeunesse Sport, Antibes

The day offers a chance for kids to test sports and determine if they are keen to continue for a season.

There will be a number of free activities such as accrobranche, pony rides, bouncy castles, and abseiling.  Other businesses that represent dance, choirs, music and theatre will also attend to inform families of their programs.

Local sports clubs and associations will be on hand to provide advice for:

  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Diving
  • Football
  • Gymnastics
  • Hiking
  • Hockey
  • Martial arts
  • Pétanque
  • Roller skating
  • Rugby
  • Sailing
  • Scouts
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Trampolining
  • Triathlon
  • Volleyball
  • Water skiing
  • Yoga

What: Fête Jeunesse Sport

When:  Saturday 5 September from 10am-6pm

Where: Fort Carré, Antibes

FREE entry