October school holidays run from today until Sunday 4 November on the Côte d’Azur and it’s a time to sample some of the autumn activities in the region.
There are lots of school holiday options for kids that aren’t attending the centre de loisirs/centre aérés or booked on stages for holidays – I’ve written this post to highlight some of the free or low-cost activities for families with kids of all ages on the French Riviera. Have a safe and enjoyable Toussaint vacances!
Saturday 20 October and Sunday 21 October
JUAN LES PINS: The 4th edition of Village des Sciences et de l’Innovation is being held all weekend at the Palais des Congrès in Juan les Pins. The event has more than 60 stands with games, educational activities and demonstrations. If your children are interested in robots, tech, planets and science this is the place to go! Entry is free of charge all weekend. Opening hours are 1pm-7pm on Saturday, and 10am-6pm on Sunday. See the programme here: Village des Sciences et de l’Innovation 2018 Juan les Pins
MOUANS-SARTOUX: The RE-PLAY festival is being held at Gymnase René Friard in Mouans Sartoux and is a great option if your kids are into video gaming, cosplay or computers with retro games on display, competitions and workshops. Entry is free for children under 10 years of age (limit of 2 kids per family), all others entry is €5. The festival is open from 10am to 7pm all weekend.
Wednesday 24 October
CAGNES-SUR-MER: Perfect for small children around 3-4 years of age, ‘Le grenier magique de Lili’ is a theatre show of 50 minutes duration with songs and magic. It will be held at the Centre Culturel, 28 avenue de Verdun in Cagnes-sur-Mer at 3pm. Tickets cost €5 each and can be pre-purchased from the Tourism Office on boulevard Maréchal Juin.
Saturday 27 October and Sunday 28 October
FRÉJUS : The Festival International de l’Air is a kite festival and is a great place to go where kids can watch over 100 kites in flight, as well as join in on free workshops. The festival is hosted at Base Nature François Léotard (1196 Boulevard de la Mer, 83600 Fréjus) with free parking there. Entry to the festival is free of charge, and opening hours are 10am-6pm on Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday.
Until 28 October
NICE: The 3rd edition of Quinzaine des Théâtres is presenting a number of musicals, comedies, dances and recitals that coincide with Toussaint school holidays. As well as a diverse programme, it gives local residents the chance to discover 21 theatres and venues in and near Nice. Some of the family-friendly shows on offer include:
- Beauty and the Beast (suitable for kids 7 years and upwards, duration 1 hour, cost €6) and Même pas peur! (for kids 5 years and upwards, duration 1 hour, cost €6) at the Théâtre Bellecour
- La Fôret Magique, a show with magic and songs (suitable for kids 5 years and up, duration 50 mins, cost €5-7) at Théâte de la Cité
- Les Contes du Maneki-Neko is a show based on traditional Japanese stories (suitable for kids 6 years and up, duration 50 mins, cost €6) at Théâtre de la Semeuse.
The full programme for Quinzaine des Théâtres 2018 is here: Programme Quinzaine des Théâtres 2018
Tuesday 30 October and Wednesday 31 October
NICE: Espace Magnan is hosting the Fête du Cinéma d’Animation over 2 days with films suitable for children 3 years upwards. Most films for younger ages average around 45 minutes duration, while films for older kids are around 1 hour -1.5 hours in length. Tickets cost €6 – €7 each depending on sessions and can be pre-purchased via Espace Magnan’s website. You can see the festival programme here: Fête du Cinéma d’Animation 2018 programme
Halloween on the French Riviera
Halloween, recognised on 31st October, hasn’t always been traditionally observed in France but it is very popular now. Schools host Halloween parties and local towns are getting more ‘into the spirit (pun intended)’ by giving out bon bons to children and putting up decorations.
As Halloween falls during Toussaint school holidays, there are plenty of activities happening. The following day Toussaint (All Saints Day) is a bank holiday and a day where lives of deceased relatives are remembered.
Halloween costumes & decorations : French Riviera
There are many stores on the French Riviera that sell ready-made Halloween costumes and accessories, or for DIY inspiration you can look on Pinterest or Good Housekeeping that have loads of fun and inexpensive ideas.
If you’re looking for Halloween costumes for kids, spooky decorations and party items, the best places to go on the French Riviera are :
- The €1 and €2 stores – Maxi Bazaar, Maximart and Destock – which always stock things such as tridents, plastic cauldrons and skeletons, and trick-or-treat buckets.
- La Foir’Fouille in Antibes, Grasse and Mandelieu
- GiFi in Antibes (near Decathlon), Callian, Cannes La Bocca, Fréjus, Grasse, Menton
- IdéaFête in Villeneuve Loubet, Nice St Isidore or Mougins
- Fêter et Recevoir in Cannes La Bocca and Nice
Trick or treating in neighbourhoods on the French Riviera is not as popular as other countries, with children mostly going around village shops or towns.
Some family-friendly Halloween 2018 activities this year on the French Riviera are:
- Valbonne village is very popular for trick or treating from afternoon onwards.
- Hard Rock Café in Nice hosts Halloween events each year. This year, on both Saturday 27 October and Sunday 28 October between 9.30am-midday they welcome families for a Halloween-themed breakfast, kids workshop and magic show. Reservation is necessary; cost is €16 each child under 10 years of age, free for under 2 years of age, €19 for adults. Email them to book: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Espace Magnan in Nice has a special screening of ‘Mary et la fleur de la sorcière‘ at 2pm. Suitable for kids 8 years up, children can go in costume and participate in a colouring-in competition to win cinema tickets. Cost: €6 per child
- Parc Alpha Loup has Halloween celebrations running all through school holidays until 4 November. Any children under 12 years of age who come in Halloween costume get free entry – a hat doesn’t justify free entry, you must dress up with some effort! Note: The Alpha Loup website address given on all posters now redirects to Pure Montagne (the rebranded regional site for Côte d’Azur mountain activities and tourist sites).
- Vesubia Mountain Park is having a Halloween night party on Friday 2 November that includes abseiling by black light (essentially glow-in-the-dark!) Entry is reduced to half price for kids under 12 years that come in costume. More info is here: Vesubia Mountain Park Halloween 2018
Until 3 November
CANNES: P’tits Cannes à You is a family-friendly festival aimed at kids 3-13 years and comprises a programme of marionette shows, creative workshops, dance, theatre and music. The programme includes things such as a screening of Paddington 2 on October 22 and 25, a marionette show on October 24 suitable for kids from 2 years upwards and regular storytelling sessions for toddlers. Find the full schedule here: P’tits Cannes à You 2018 programme
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