French Riviera Beaches

French Riviera has a mixture of public or private beaches, sandy beaches, rocky coves and pebble beaches so there really is something for everyone.

As well as a huge variety of beaches to suit all ages and preferences, there’s a few helpful tips I can share that may help you on your next visit.

The Côte d’Azur is known for sunny days and a rather glam image of sun loungers, crisp glasses of beachside rosé and long lunches.  This is partially true as not everyone can spend 2 weeks hiring beach loungers and drinking Champagne in St Tropez!

Pampelonne’s beach clubs are changing from 2019 onwards (pic: Shutterstock)

Municipal beaches

For visitors to the French Riviera, one of the best tips I can share is to look for ‘plages en régie communale’ (or municipale).  These are beaches managed by the town that offer equipment for rent at reduced prices than what the private beaches offer; the downside is you won’t have access to that wonderful beach service where a server brings you food and ice cold buckets of drinks  🙂

In Cannes, Plage Zamenhoff on the Croisette is a municipal beach.  It’s located next to the Square du Mai 1945 park at the Port Canto end of Cannes.

You can rent beach chairs, umbrellas etc and of course there are lifeguards (from 01 Jul-31 Aug) a first aid post, lockers, shower and toilet facilities.  BYO Sandwiches and non-alcoholic drinks are accepted.

© Radio France – Laurent Vareille

Hours:  Saturday 15 June to Sunday 15 September, open 7 days a week from 8.30am to 6.30pm.

Price:  A full day chair rental is €8.

Also in Cannes, Plage Macé is a public beach and situated right near the Palais des Festivals.  There are public toilets nearby as well as plenty of snack kiosks and food options.

Plage Richelieu in Juan les Pins is one of the municipal beaches in the Antibes/Juan les Pins area.  This sandy beach is accessed via the Pinède Gould (where the Jazz à Juan Festival is held), on the end of Juan les Pins closest to the Provençal and Hotel Belles Rives.  

The water is relatively shallow so fine for families with kids (the bonus is the local playground is just across the road) and nearby are hire options for water sports. 

Plage Richelieu has 118 loungers for hire, plus there are 6 loungers reserved for people with disabilities and their accompanying carer.

Tip:  Look for the yellow and green sign, and the blue and white beach umbrellas.

On the Cap d’Antibes, La Garoupe is the other municipal beach in the Antibes/Juan les Pins area.  A lovely setting for a day at the beach, this small beach area is a great place and the coastal walkway is fantastic.

There are a few great beach restaurants here including the popular spots Plage Keller and Plage Joseph, plus Le Rocher snack kiosk is right by the loungers.  There are 78 loungers for rent, plus 3 for people with disabilities and their carer.

Plage La Garoupe has loungers for rent for €11 per day.

Hours for both beaches:  Saturday 01 June to Sunday 15 September, open 7 days a week from 10am to 7pm

Price:  €10 for walk-ups / €11 pre-booked online.  There is a limit of 2 loungers per online booking.

For these two beaches, you can just arrive on the day and try your luck with the sun loungers though be warned that it is very busy in summer and they only allocate a limited number of loungers for walk-up customers, plus the locals are there early!

It’s best to pay in advance and reserve your loungers for these 2 public beaches on the Antibes Juan les Pins tourism website. Note:  You can’t reserve the loungers online for people with mobility problems.  For all other loungers, I’ve included the link to book because it’s not particularly clear to tourists how to do it.  Go to https://ticketing.antibesjuanlespins.com/ and click on ‘Plages en Regie’ and follow the instructions.

Beach updates

Juan les Pins and Golfe Juan:  You may notice there is a fresh crop of new beach restaurants which came about from a law regulation for zoning of public beaches.  I’m yet to try them all out, so feel free to comment if you have any you recommend!   Sadly, some of the older establishments have been demolished such as Moorea and Tetou.

Monaco:  Visitors to Monaco usually stop by Plage Larvotto at some stage.  However, from October 2019 until June 2021, Larvotto beach will be closed for a multi-million euro redevelopment which will include new shaded areas, a bike pathway to the new Anse du Portier district and a children’s playground.  Larvotto beach will temporarily open in summer next year (July and August 2020) with restaurants and shops set to reopen in 2021.

Saint-Tropez : The infamous beach scene at Pampelonne has also been reworked this summer. There are now 23 beach clubs (previously 27) with 5 new ones opening.  All 23 clubs have to be collapsible set-ups; so think those flat-pack, IKEA-style designs to meet the coastal laws.

The concessions extend to 2030 therefore the new clubs have a commitment to stay.  Gone will be some historic spots – Key West, Bagatelle, Plage les Jumeaux (sad for families!), Eden Plage, Pago Pago, Manoah, Shellona, Maison Bianca and Tabou.

Three of the new beach clubs are run by upmarket hotels La Reserve, Byblos and Hotel de Paris, one is run by Christopher Artis and the other is Loulou Beach (a collaboration between the owners of Hotel Ermitage and Loulou restaurant in Paris).  This map below from St Tropez House shows the line-up:


Looking for more information about French Riviera beaches?  Take a look at some of these resources below:

 

 

 

Anjuna Beach at Eze

 

  • Crab in the Air travel blog includes their pick of 7 top French Riviera beaches which has a mix of busy spots such as Larvotto in Monaco and off-the-tourist track locations such as the Esterel beach.

 

  • For information about accessible beaches on the French Riviera and throughout France, refer to the Handiplage site.   Plage Salis and Plage le Ponteil in Antibes have onsite staff in summer months to assist people with motor, visual, intellectual or auditory problems.  There are accessible toilets, showers and adapted equipment for water access.  Plage le Ponteil also offers a transmitting bracelet for beach goers with hearing difficulties.

 

  • Plages.tv is one of my favourite resources to find out more about beaches in France including the Alpes-Maritimes region – the site has useful advice such as photos, maps, parking, recreation, facilities.   Visit their website here:  Plages.tv

What do you think of these beach suggestions?  What is your favourite beach on the French Riviera and why? 

 

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Children’s Book Review: My Very First Animals Book

I’ve read a number of notable books over the past year – mostly about the French Riviera and its history – but today I’m teaming up with two tough critics aged 3 years and 8 years of age to review the Usborne book title, ‘My Very First Animals Book’.

Reading a book with your children is excellent for literacy development but most importantly it’s a great bonding activity, something that can’t be replicated by plonking your children in front of a screen. We try and read each night and I’d much prefer my boys spend their time reading a book than watching TV or sitting on their iPad, however reality isn’t always cohesive to parenting 🙂   

The great thing about Usborne Books is older kids think it’s cool to read to their younger siblings because the books are FUN to read, so kids don’t think it’s a geeky thing to do.

My Very First Animals : Usborne

My Very First Animals is written by Alice James and illustrated by Lee Cosgrove with animal expert Dr Owen Lewis adding to the creation of a fantastic book filled with colourful illustrations and facts about the animal world.

A key feature of this book is that each section is spread across two pages, meaning it’s easy to grasp the concepts and simple to understand.   Sections include:

A place to live highlighting the various homes where animals live in

Wings and feathers with facts about birds

Deadly weapons with information about the different ways that animals defend themselves or hunt for food

Hot or cold shows children the various geographic environments animals exist such as the desert or Arctic

Sending messages gives facts about the sounds and smells animals use to communicate such as dolphin clicks, skunks spraying or birds singing

Animal journeys shows how animals move around to find food, better climates or to lay their eggs

My son’s favourite bits in this Usborne book were :

My favourite part is the Growing Up section which has drawings about animals as they get older – Lucas, 8 years

I like the Patterns page with the colours animals use to hide, and I like the map where you learn where animals come from in the world – Josh, 3 years

Why we love Usborne Books?

We’ve purchased many Usborne Books over the years and have always found them to be great quality with durable card-like pages and easy to clean surfaces.  Here’s a breakdown why we love them:

  • The prices are reasonable for the quality and content.
  • As a parent, I particularly love their range for ages between preschool and primary school because the illustrations are always excellent and the text is educational without being mind-numbingly overpacked with facts!
  • The books encourage little readers to explore words, vocabulary and conversation via fun elements such as textures to touch, questions, quizzes about how things work or spot the difference challenges.
  • For older kids, the books have the right amount of educational snippets that boost literacy and questioning the world around them – in fact, my 8-year old recalls amazing facts about the world, particularly animals a lot!

Additionally, I’d like to mention that Usborne’s ‘That’s not my….’ series and their ‘Lift-the-Flap‘ books are super sturdy and long-lasting compared to many brands.  The flaps are hard-wearing – we have tried and tested many ‘lift the flap’ books in our household and to be honest with many books on the market the quality is lacking. It’s disappointing to buy a book and the flaps are opened and closed a few times then rip or fall off (or is that just in our household!).  Pretty embarrassing if you give a book as a gift for a kids birthday and it disintegrates.  So, keep that in mind if you’re looking to buy or gift a ‘lift the flap’ book to purchase one that can withstand constant repetitive opening and closing like the Usborne ones can!

Usborne books are a hit in our house!

I’m happy to recommend the Usborne range as our books have survived grubby toddler fingers, being used as construction bases for figurine action play, book battles being dropped from bunk beds and various other tests that my active boys have unknowingly put them through.

Disclaimer:  Access Riviera was gifted the Usborne book ‘My Very First Animals Book’, however all opinions are my own.  Thank you to Carys’ Little Bookshop for providing such a fun book!

Carys Little Bookshop is an independent Usborne organiser and has plenty of age-specific books for babies, toddlers and older kids so get in touch with her if you’re on the French Riviera or in France and looking for gift ideas or to boost your own child/ren’s library.  You can ‘Like’ her page on Facebook here, or ‘Follow’ her updates on Instagram at www.instagram.com/carys_little_bookshop

Notre-Dame de Paris : Point Zero, Gargoyles and Wine

What a sad day yesterday to watch the news last night and see the beautiful Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral on fire.

We sat in shock watching one of France’s iconic monuments in flames and felt sadness for the loss of history and an impressive example of Gothic architecture.

I’ve watched news footage of the spire and roof collapsing many times in the past 24 hours and it’s still incredible to think a legacy of French history has been partially damaged overnight.

Rather than share a video of the fire, I thought I’d share a few lesser known facts about the historic landmark best known as Notre-Dame de Paris:

Point Zero

If you visit Notre-Dame, on the Parvis (square) at the entrance you can see a compass star set into the paving stones.

It’s not particularly famous (considering the millions of tourists who visit the Île de la Cité to see Notre-Dame each year!) and it’s not very noticeable.  However, this small marker stone is very important to Paris and France.

Engraved in the circular stone are the words:  POINT – ZERO – DES ROUTES – DE FRANCE

Point Zero Paris outside Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral

What does this mean?  This stands for ‘Point Zero’ or Kilometre Zero, which is a particular location (often found in the capital city) from which distances are traditionally measured.

The most famous Point Zero/Kilometre Zero relic worldwide is Millarium Aureum (Golden Milestone) which was erected by Emperor Augustus in the central Forum in Rome.  All distances in the Roman Empire were measured relative to this monument and it is where the phrase ‘all roads lead to Rome’ is believed to have originated.

The metal octagonal plate seen at Notre-Dame today was laid in 1924. It marks the official centre of Paris and  signifies the exact spot from which all distances throughout France are measured from Paris, including GPS French systems.  Notre-Dame’s function as a central hub plays an important historical role in French transport, politics and Parisian administration.

So, indeed, Notre-Dame de Paris is regarded as the true heart of Paris and this respect for one of France’s greatest landmarks is evident.

Notre-Dame de Paris’ Gargoyles

The stone gargoyles located on the exterior of the cathedral have been the subject of many tourist photos!

These fantastic beasts at Notre-Dame de Paris are very famous, appearing in postcards, films and tourism promotions.

Gargoyle at sunset at Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris (photo: Dominique Lacaze)

Although the cathedral construction began in the 12th-century, these gargoyles weren’t added until the 19th-century and were sculpted to look as though they had originated in the Middle Ages.

Gargoyles were thought to ward off bad spirits and remind church-goers of the evil that the church could protect them from.

Interestingly, you won’t see all gargoyles with a closed mouth – they are placed on the rooftops and sides of churches to prevent water erosion and their open mouths function as rain spouts.

Interesting Fact:   Completely unrelated to Notre-Dame, the Chapelle de Bethléem (Bethlehem Chapel) which is located in Saint-Jean-de-Boiseau in France was renovated between 1993 and 1995.  At this time, the stone mason decided to add gargoyles from pop culture so you’ll find a few crazy additions to the stone work including Gizmo and a gremlin from the Gremlins movie and an alien from Aliens.

Gizmo from the Gremlins, interesting stone sculpture at a French church (photo: Vebests, Flickr)

A Temple of Reason – and wine!

After Catholicism was banned in 1792 during the French Revolution, Notre-Dame de Paris was turned into a Temple of Reason in 1793.

A Temple of Reason was a place to spread the ideas of a new atheistic belief system, the Cult of Reason.

Notably, there are a few ‘cult-like’ symbols found on pillars along the side aisles where the chapels are located.  Don’t get too excited that you’ve spotted some secret Da Vinci Code – the artisans who helped build the cathedral engraved their own symbols into the stone work putting the cathedral coffers to the test by ensuring they were rightfully paid for each item they laid.  Think of it as an ancient invoicing system before online banking was invented!

Interesting Fact:  By the 18th-century, limestone and gypsum mining was the main industrial activity in Paris.  Most of Paris’ monuments and churches are made from local stone and experts can trace the stone used in structures to a specific quarry.  For example, the statues at Notre-Dame all came from the limestone under Hospital Cochin in the 5th arrondissement.  The quarry pits of Paris are now subterranean, with miles of underground tunnels and sewer galleries which can be visited on various tours.

Sorry it’s not the Da Vinci Code – just an ancient payment system at the Notre-Dame! (photo: Corey Frye)

Anyhow during the Revolution, the cathedral spire was destroyed, as well, the 28 statues of the horizontal freize of the Kings of Judah above the Notre-Dame portal were decapitated by French revolutionaries who believed they represented the kings of France.  The cathedral then ended up as a warehouse for wine!

The Kings Gallery at Notre-Dame (image: Geni)

In the late 1970’s, 21 of these statue heads were found buried in a wall at a mansion courtyard in Paris and are now displayed at Musée Cluny (National Museum of the Middle Ages).

Notre-Dame’s historic link with wine continues – tomorrow, 17 April, Sotheby’s in London will auction limited-edition cases of Château Mouton Rothschild wine with proceeds going toward the rebuilding of Notre-Dame de Paris and the restoration of the Royal Apartments and Trianon Gardens at the Palace of Versailles.

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new about the Notre-Dame de Paris!  Please share it if you found it interesting. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amber Lounge Monaco 2019 : Unlock The Excitement

Amber Lounge Monaco’s events are the highlight of the social calendar during the legendary Monaco Grand Prix.

In 2019, Amber Lounge will host VIP race viewing and celebrity yachts, a one-of-a-kind F1™ Driver Fashion Show, fine dining, live Charity Auction, and three nights of euphoric after parties with unforgettable live entertainment.

The most exhilarating experience into the glamour and excitement of Formula 1’s most anticipated Grand Prix.

“Every Formula 1 driver has Amber Lounge on speed dial after a race; it’s the only place to celebrate with friends and team members.” – Kimi Räikkönen, Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Driver

A World of VIP Parties during Monaco Grand Prix

Plunge deep into the heart of Formula 1 and discover Amber Lounge, where a world of glamour and luxury awaits. Made in Monaco, for over 15 years Amber Lounge has affirmed its infamous reputation as the most vibrant, sexy, star-studded party with great networking opportunities. The original and most exclusive Grand Prix parties that will take your breath away.

Friday 24 May :  Fashion & U*NITE / White Ice Theme

Kick off the Monaco Grand Prix weekend in style with the innovative clubbing concept U*NITE. Combining the prestigious Amber Lounge Fashion Show featuring F1 drivers, charity auctions, gourmet dining and Fashion After Party.

Guests are encouraged to dress to impress as Amber Lounge brings a white/ice theme for the first time! Step into another world in the Arctic Lounge hosted by Arctic Blue Gin where Ice Queens will serve the new Finnish beverage, which was Spirit of the Year 2018.

Sigma, world-renown popular UK act will spin an iconic DJ set at the Amber Lounge Monaco Fashion Show After Party, Friday May 24th.   Sigma have received two Brit Award nominations, landed two Platinum records and attracted over 300 million YouTube views.

They are best known for their infectious tunes from collaborations with top music personalities including their huge dance/pop tune Nobody to Love hit No.1 in 15 countries, while Changing (their catchy collaboration with Paloma Faith), Higher (with Labrinth) and Coming Home (featuring Rita Ora) are played in households across the globe.

Having entertained crowds of up to 100,000 at Glastonbury Festival, Creamfields, Amnesia Ibiza, V Festival and Sziget, Amber Lounge guests can expect an ultra-high energy performance from Sigma on the Friday night.

sigma amber lounge

Sigma is bringing their popular tunes to Amber Lounge Monaco 2019

Saturday 25 May

A brand new concept will be announced in the near future!

Sunday 26 May :  Monaco Grand Prix After Party

The F1™ driver post-race party is the most anticipated night of the weekend where F1 drivers and teams gather for celebrations after the Monaco Grand Prix weekend with iconic live acts, DJ’s and unlimited Champagne.

Experience live headline performances by an iconic international artist and spectacular feature acts.

Previous live acts have included:  Chris Willis, Justin Jesso, Sigala, Jason Derulo, Labrinth, Taio Cruz, Sugarbabes, Pixie Lott, John Newman, Flawless, Pete Tong, Gary Barlow, Big Ali, Nikki Belle.

“An amazing race, an amazing night, at Amber Lounge of course. Where else?” -Daniel Ricciardo, Renault Sport F1 Driver

Amber Lounge Charity Fashion Show

I have attended the Amber Lounge Charity Fashion Show on the Friday night for the past few years as a press guest, and it has always been an amazing time!

amber lounge charity fashion show

Amber Lounge Charity Fashion Show

Amber Lounge’s ground-breaking charity auction at the Fashion Show has raised more than USD 5 million for charitable organisations and it’s the only event in the world to feature Formula 1 drivers on the catwalk.

Sir Jackie Stewart, H.S.H. Albert II Prince of Monaco, and Sonia Irvine attend the Amber Lounge Fashion Monaco 2017 at Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel on May 26, 2017 in Monaco.
Photo: Dave Benett

Past Amber Lounge F1 models : Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, and Valtteri Bottas.

amber lounge drivers fashion show

Amber Lounge – F1 Drivers on the catwalk

This year, award-winning Canadian designer Christopher Bates will be dressing the Formula 1 drivers, as international models will showcase Ladyship swimwear by Lady Victoria Hervey. Amber Lounge Monaco Fashion Show has been chosen as the European launch of the designer, model and socialite’s new collection.

christopher bates Brands that Amber Lounge has worked with : Jimmy Choo, Ted Baker, Hervé Léger, Missoni, Crisoni, Melissa Odabash, Julien Macdonald, Vionett and Osman.

The Fashion Show is combined with exquisite dining and the famous Amber Lounge after party, all at the same venue for the U*NITE package for an all-inclusive world-class event.

Amber Lounge Table Packages

Where else during Monaco Grand Prix can you experience VIP hospitality that gives you the opportunity to relax, watch, listen, dance and party with the stars?  Amber Lounge Table Packages include:

Ultimate Weekend Package

The most desirable, tailor made weekend package. Enquire for more details.

Methusalem Tables

Simply THE best tables in the house with dance floor position. Tables receive unrivalled service as well as a three course dinner, followed by a 6L Methusalem bottle of Champagne and 3L Jeroboam bottles of premium Vodka throughout the whole night.

Jeroboam Tables

Located in a prime position and surrounded by celebrities and VIPs, guests are served with a 3L Jeroboam bottle of Champagne and unlimited bottle service throughout the night.

VIP Tables

Are well positioned and served with unlimited bottle service including premium Champagne throughout the night.

Classic Tables

Include unlimited bottle service with house Champagne and all other drinks throughout the evening.

Shared Tables

Reserved seating on a shared table in Dining followed by the club which includes unlimited bottle service throughout the whole night.

Individual Passes

Gives access to all areas in the club, open bar including house Champagne and free seating on the chill-out terrace.

Amber Lounge Monaco interior

Amber Lounge Celebrity Yacht

Monaco Grand Prix would not be complete without a luxury yacht experience and Amber Lounge offers trackside yachts which offer unrivalled race viewing and F1 driver appearances. Mix business and pleasure while enjoying exceptional hospitality and dining with free-flowing Champagne and premium spirits.

On Saturday watch the hair-raising F1 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying play out on the tight, twisting Circuit de Monaco.

Then on Sunday, be trackside in the centre of the euphoric atmosphere that the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix has become famous for – an incredible adrenalin rush as the F1 cars speed by at lightning speed just metres away through the challenging street circuit!

amber lounge yacht

Experience the thrill of watching the Monaco Grand Prix trackside on a luxury yacht with Amber Lounge

Previous F1 Driver Appearances:  Sergio Perez, Nico Hülkenberg, Romain Grosjean, Carlos Sainz, Stoffel Vandoorne, David Coulthard, Mika Häkkinen, Eddie Irvine, Marcus Ericsson, Esteban Ocon, Felipe Massa amongst others.

Previous Guests:  Pamela Anderson, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Labrinth, Gareth Bale, Pixie Lott, John Newman, Casey Stoner, Taio Cruz, Rachel Hunter, Pete Tong, DJ Sigala, Lindsay Lohan.

  • Amber Lounge’s VIP 2-day Package includes:
    -Saturday & Sunday race viewing
    -Trackside mooring with the view of the giant TV screen and on-board screens
    -F1 driver appearances, exclusive interviews & autograph signing
    -Luxurious tender transfers
    -Continental breakfast
    -Mouth-watering gourmet buffet lunch
    -Afternoon Tea
    -All-day open bar including unlimited Champagne
    -VIP gift bags with official team merchandise
    -Program and earplugs
    -DJ

KEY INFORMATION

DATES: 24th, 25th, 26th May 2019

TIMES:

Friday Fashion show: 18:30 – 20:30; After Party: 23:00 – 4:00
Saturday After Party: 23:00 – 4:00
Sunday After Party: 23:00 – 5:00

VENUE: Amber Lounge, Sea Club, Le Méridien Beach Plaza, 22, Avenue Princesse Grâce, 98000 Monaco

MORE INFORMATION AND BOOKINGS:

www.amber-lounge.com/monaco 
Bookings: monaco@amber-lounge.com or call +33607934625 

ABOUT AMBER LOUNGE

Amber Lounge was founded by Sonia Irvine, who has worked in F1 for two decades. Sonia is regarded as a pioneer of F1 nightlife experiences and continues to create the most sought-after events on the F1 calendar.

The Amber Lounge experience consists of Formula 1 race viewing hospitality options as well as post-race afterparties, dining, charity, fashion and tailor-made events throughout the year. In 2019 it will take place in Monaco, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. http://amber-lounge.com/index.php/tickets/

AMBER LOUNGE 2019/ 2020 EVENT SCHEDULE :

Monaco 24/25/26 May 2019

Singapore 21/22 September 2019

Abu Dhabi November 30/1 December 2019

SPONSORS & PARTNERS

GLOBEAIR – Official Private Jet Partner of Amber Lounge Monaco
ARCTIC BLUE GIN – Official Gin Partner of Amber Lounge Monaco & Singapore
CUVÉE SENSORIUM – Official Methusalem Champagne Partner of Amber Lounge and Amber Lounge Hospitality Monaco 2019
CHRISTOPHER BATES – Male Designer for Amber Lounge Monaco
INMANN – Official Hairstylist of Amber Lounge Monaco
GLOBAL HAIR & MAKEUP – Official makeup of Amber Lounge Monaco
LADYSHIP – Official Swimwear Designer for Amber Lounge Monaco
FIJI WATER – Official Still Water of Amber Lounge Monaco & Abu Dhabi
SPARKLING VAN
Q YACHTS – Official e-tender of Amber Hospitality

Video & Photo Credits:  Amber Lounge / Christopher Bates (Maxime Thibodeau / Rai Allen)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Access Riviera named in list of Top 100 French Blogs in 2019

It’s always nice to be recognised for the time and effort I put into my blog and it’s a nice way to welcome January with the news that my blog is included in Feedspot’s list of ‘Top 100 French Blogs, Websites and Newsletters in 2019’.

top french travel blog

Access Riviera makes Feedspot’s list of ‘Top 100 French Blogs to follow in 2019’

How did I end up on this Top 100 list?

Feedspot uses search and social metrics to scan thousands of top French blogs to compile their list (which is updated weekly) and the list includes travel, lifestyle, culture, fashion, history, language and food blogs.

The blogs are ranked based on the following criteria:

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review

Little old Access Riviera is placed at number 79, see the full list of Top 100 French Blogs 2019 here 🙂

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More in store for 2019

I’ve learned a lot since I started my blog – what works and what doesn’t regarding good content and reaching out to an audience.

This year, I’m hoping to create more long-form blog posts !

Here are 6 of my most popular blog posts to date:

Promenade Le Corbusier

Top 15 French Riviera viewpoints

Ventimiglia : Day trip from France

Why visit Villefranche-sur-Mer

Villa Nellcote : A palatial mansion with a lengthy past

Heritage trail in Juan les Pins

Thank you for your support and following Access Riviera!

 

 

 

350K visitors! THANK YOU!

This Christmas, I’m planning on having a relaxed family Christmas in France, however my blog has recently passed 350,000 visitors so that is cause for celebration!

Firstly, the biggest support comes from my family, without them I wouldn’t be able to dedicate so much time to keeping my blog running and updated with fresh content. They have been understanding beyond words with my snippets of history while out and about, trawling off information about festivals (while we are there!) and random moments of inspiration.

For my readers and followers, THANK YOU to everyone who has subscribed, liked, followed, commented or shared my blog posts because I see every interaction and you are very much appreciated!

travel french riviera

Access Riviera is a blog about the French Riviera covering travel, lifestyle, events and more

What started as a part-time blog (I hear all the bloggers laugh!) has resonated with readers in 149 countries and snowballed into a juggernaut.

I’ve learned more about the history, places and people on the French Riviera than I ever thought possible – and I’m still learning.   There are so many topics to cover that I’ve merely scratched the surface.

I’ve answered every email I’ve received via my blog; lovely messages from people from all over the world that I’ve helped you with travel ideas, planning for yachting events, transport, accommodation, recommendations for restaurants and more.  The most special ones are the emails saying I’ve helped them with advice for their dream trip to the French Riviera.

Naturally, advice for families and/or people who have restricted mobility are at the core of what I write about and I always maintain to write honestly and factually.

I hope you continue to follow my blog in 2019 and beyond, you never know what I’ll write about next…..

THANK YOU!

 

5 cool ideas for Christmas holidays on the French Riviera

With the start of Christmas school holidays, we’re counting down to Christmas with a whole range of family-friendly activities or places to visit during school holidays.

If you’re thinking two weeks is a looooong time to keep your kids entertained, then take a look below for my 5 suggestions for Christmas holidays on the French Riviera which will see you past gift unwrapping, the 13 desserts and wondering where to find those photo booths to get portraits with Santa in your Christmas jumpers. 🙂

Crazy Fact:  Today, I learned for the first time about Père Fouettard.  Ever heard of him?  Well, he is known as ‘Slapping Santa / Santa Spanker / Father Whipper’ in various forms in France and apparently accompanied Saint Nicholas who distributed gifts to children who are good and Père Fouettard bought a whip with him to spank naughty kids.  I thought it was part hilarious and part disturbing!  There is also a version in Holland, Germany and Austria.   I can’t believe I’ve lived here so long and never heard of this crazy tradition, though I think if I get desperate I’ll be introducing Père Fouettard to my boys 🙂

Here’s 5 ideas for things to see and do during Vacances de Noël 2018:

1. Get creative at BRICKLIVE Monaco

After a show at the Saatchi Gallery in London last year, BRICKLIVE is coming to Monaco.  From 22 December until 6 January at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, families can enjoy a fun atmosphere and get creative with an interactive event.

Though not officially part of LEGO®Group, the show will have a ton of colourful bricks for kids of all ages to play with.

bricklive monaco

BRICKLIVE is coming to Monaco, head there during Christmas school holidays 2018 (image: Pinterest)

There will be huge brick pits filled with 250,000 bricks, race ramps where you can build your own car and challenge friends, themed build zones such as a LEGO®Friends area with a Monaco build map, Christmas decorations, Minecraft zone, dance zone and a 10-metre graffiti wall to plant your vertical creations onto.  Special features are five life-sized wildlife statues in the ‘Animal Paradise’ zone including an elephant made of 271,000 bricks, and a dedicated zone for Star Wars.

Bricklive Monaco opening hours:  Open every day from 10am to 6pm until 6 January (except Christmas Day and New Years Day).

Cost:  Adults €20 / Kids under 12 are €16 each / Under 3 years are free.

Buy tickets hereTickets for Bricklive Monaco

Watch the video below to see what to expect (video courtesy of Bricklive Monaco):

2. Visit the French Riviera Christmas Markets

Visiting the Marchés de Noël is one of the nicest things to do during Christmas school holidays.  You’ll find stands selling handicrafts and food, theme park rides such as ferris wheels and mini rollercoasters as well as pop-up ice skating rinks.

Don’t miss visiting the Antibes, Cannes, Nice, Monaco or Valbonne markets as they all offer a different atmosphere and attractions.

I was too busy to write up my usual Christmas market blog post this year, but I’m sharing some links where you can find lists for the various Christmas Markets below:

Antibes Christmas market is spread over 3 zones in old town Antibes including Pre des Pecheurs, Place Nationale and Place de Gaulle (photo: Access Riviera)

3. See the nativity crèches in Lucéram

Lucéram isn’t one of the best known villages on the French Riviera, but it’s worth visiting during Christmas because the entire town is decorated in a nativity scene wonderland.

For two decades, locals participate in the annual ‘Circuit des Crèches de Lucéram’ by creating individual crèches during festive season with nativity displays dotted around the upper and lower village.  You don’t have to look far to find one – there are around 500 in place with a map provided by the Lucéram tourist office and they are free to visit.

The crèches and santons are literally placed everywhere including doorways, window sills, shop counters and the village lavoirs (communal wash houses).

If you want to see nativity cribs on the French Riviera, then Lucéram is THE place to go – it’s the ultimate showcase for nativity scenes and don’t think you’ll be bored from a repetition of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus or the Three Wise Men because Lucéram’s offering has all sort of characters from French life including bakers, iron mongers, priests, farmers and animals!

creches luceram

Circuit des Creches in Lucéram (image: Simone Laurent)

This season’s ‘Circuit des Crèches’ runs until 6 January, with special animations on certain days.

If you’ve never visited Lucéram before there are a number of things to see and do outside of Christmas season such as painted chapels including Notre-Dame de Boncoeur, Le Musée de la Crèche as well as walking and mountain biking trails at nearby Peïra Cava. The best option to get to Luceram is by car as the bus schedules are infrequent; driving time is approximately 40 minutes from Nice or Monaco via l’Escarène.

Watch the video below (by Drone de Regard / Lucéram RP):

4. Chill out in the mountains

The French Riviera is known as a place of sea, sand and sunshine but there is plenty happening in the mountains during Christmas school holidays.

Saint-Martin-Vésubie has an ice skating rink, concerts, Christmas films, storytelling sessions for children – even Père Noel arriving by zip line on Christmas Eve! You can find the 2018 programme of activities here:  St-Martin-Vésubie Noel animations

Ever seen Santa arrive by zip line? Well, it happens on the French Riviera! (image: Tourism Office St Martin Vésubie)

Valberg has a range of activities happening over Christmas holidays including fireworks on Christmas Day, a free treasure hunt for kids on 26 December, the famous torchlight descent by the ski school on the 28th December and a New Years Eve party with DJ, snow bar and laser show.  Find out more here about Valberg’s Christmas programme.

valberg christmas

Families can join in on a free treasure hunt for candy at Valberg during Christmas school holidays (image: Valberg tourism)

Auron has a Christmas market as well as free storytelling sessions including Pinocchio from 26 to 28 December.  See the dates and times here:  Auron Christmas 2018

noel auron

Auron is hosting Festival du Contes de Noël during Christmas 2018 (image: Auron tourism)

The Vesúbia Mountain Park hosts Ciné’Eau which are fun cinema screenings where viewers float on swim rings in their pool heated to 32 degrees.  You can also choose to sit on a chair poolside if you prefer not to get your feet wet!

Fancy a winter cinema screening while floating in a heated pool? It’s possible on the Côte d’Azur!

The films will be screened on Friday 28 December from 4.30pm.  Films on offer are :

4.30pm  Coco (a Disney film that’s appropriate for kids)

7pm      Jumanji  (suitable for older kids)

9.30pm The Shallows (rated PG13 but it is a shark/thriller movie so expect a modern-day Jaws with some gory scenes and bad language)

Reservation is necessary as there are limited places each session.  Kids under 6 years have to share a swim ring with a parent, and of course as per public pools in France you need the obligatory dinky swim cap and appropriate swimsuit.  I’d estimate a guess that all 3 films will be in French language.  Find out more information here about the Ciné’Eau sessions.

Any time of the year, Vesúbia Mountain Park is a very cool attraction to entertain children with climbing walls and nets (minimum age is 5 years), an indoor canyoning zone (minimum age is 10 years and height 1.3metres) and more!  Check out their website here:  Vésubia Mountain Park

5. Soar sky high over Monaco

Did you know every year you can take a helicopter mini tour over Monaco for a special price at Christmas?  That’s right, the friendly team at Heli Air Monaco offer ‘Baptèmes de l’air Père Noel’ each festive season.

It’s a super cool way to treat your children/nieces/nephews and while it is a splurge for some it’s actually a very good deal for such an amazing experience flying over the iconic buildings and coastline of Monaco!

monaco helicopter tour

Helicopter flights at Christmas with Heli Air Monaco (image: Get Your Guide)

This year, you can take a 5-minute scenic helicopter flight with Heli Air Monaco from 1 December to 6 January for just €35 per person.

Note:  All passengers must take their passports AND for each passenger under 18 years of age you must fill in a parental permission form.

To take advantage of this offer you book and pay in advance online – simply choose your preferred date and time slot when you book via the link.  Click here for the official Heli Air Monaco Santa Flight booking link; at the question ‘How did you know about first flight Santa Claus?’ please tick the last box and type ‘Access Riviera blog’.  Disclaimer:  I don’t get any commission for you mentioning my blog, but it’s good for Heli Air Monaco to know that you found out where to book here on Access Riviera!

For a teaser of what to expect, you can watch the video below of my heli tour during Monaco Yacht Show 2018:

https://piknu.com/m/1890514818755251203_3859215050

Thanks for reading my Christmas blog post!  I’m happy to say I’ll be finishing 2018 by reaching over 350,000 views recently so I appreciate every visitor.  Please share this post on social media or comment if you found it helpful.

Thank you and have a Merry Christmas!