Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

I would like to take the opportunity before the last hurrah of the festive holidays to say thank you to all my fans, followers and clients for a great 2016.

2016 has been a year of new connections and interesting work projects mixed with a dose of laughter, tears and trials from my family including a few bouts of chicken pox and kids illness that comes part and parcel of being a parent.

To all the followers, likers, sharers of anything ‘Access Riviera’ without your clicks and shares my blog is nothing worth getting up for so please do keep following in 2017!  I have also (finally!) stepped into the Instagram-a-sphere, so if you fancy checking out some of my photos from the French Riviera and other travel pics of mine please drop by to say hi www.instagram.com/ariviera06   

Last but not least, to my family – thank you for your support of my work deadlines this year, my typing in the quiet of the night and general unpredictable nature and bad jokes – I love you all.

I want to wish all of you a safe and enjoyable New Years Eve whether you are staying in for the night or planning on fuelling your next hangover.   Happy New Year, Joyeux Réveillon and see you in 2017!

Becks

new-year-1

 

 

New Years Eve on the French Riviera

Here in France, New Years Eve (31 December) is celebrated with a feast – le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre – with similar food to what is eaten on Christmas Day including oysters, smoked salmon, goose, turkey or hen, foie gras, and of course, a glass (or bottle) or two of champagne.  At midnight, you kiss under the mistletoe (a custom which is usually done at Christmas in other cultures) and give best wishes to your friends and family for the coming year.

If you are in France for New Years Eve many restaurants have special menus, themed dances and entertainment – it’s a good time to enjoy the night on a dinner date as the chefs are all trying to outdo each other with the best Saint-Sylvestre menus, though as expected the price of a New Years Eve menu is high.

New Year’s Day (le jour de l’an) is a bank holiday in France, and is traditionally a day of family celebration with a large lunch, often with seafood of various kinds.  January also signals time to send best wishes for the New Year, which is usually done when you hand out Christmas cards in the USA, UK, Australia or New Zealand.

New Year / Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre Festive Menus:

Le Menu Saint-Sylvestre or Le Menu Réveillon is for New Years Eve

Le Menu Jour de l’An is for New Years Day

Things to do with kids on New Years Eve on the French Riviera

When you’re a parent, you often forgo celebrating New Years with parties and a late night.  Whether you have a newborn, toddlers or teens it can be lovely to celebrate New Years with kids.   Here are some suggestions for a family-friendly New Years Eve with children on the French Riviera:

  1.  If your kids are old enough to stay up late, head to the free fireworks displays on New Years Eve.  Cannes will host a free fireworks display in the Baie de Cannes.  Park up at Palm Beach or find a spot to watch along the Croisette.  The Cannes Film Festival celebrates 70 years in 2017, so the theme for this year’s New Years Eve fireworks is ‘Cannes fête le cinéma’.  Music starts at 11pm, followed by the fireworks display at midnight.
Free fireworks display in Cannes for New Years Eve

Free fireworks display in Cannes for New Years Eve

Juan les Pins has a free fireworks display on New Years Day (01 January 2017), the display is in the bay of Juan les Pins and starts at 6.30pm

Sadly, the free fireworks display in Monaco is not happening this year however the Christmas market and ice skating rink will be open until 2 a.m on New Years Eve.

2. Dress up at home and have a party!   Head to craft stores such as Cultura in Mandelieu, La Grand Récre in Antibes or one of the regional Maxi Bazaars and buy some party hats, noisemakers and decorations to host your own New Years party.   Get out the Singstar or Wii Music and enjoy karaoke, making songs and dancing.

3.  Missing New Years Eve cocktails with friends?  Make alcohol-free mocktails with your kids complete with drinks umbrellas from the Maxi Bazaar or Carrefour.   Here are some easy mocktail recipes:

Strawberry Lemonade Floats

Whizz a small handful of strawberries in a blender, add strawberry puree to a glass with a few scoops of vanilla icecream then fill the glass with lemonade.  Garnish with a retro straw and chopped strawberry.

Non-alcoholic Sangria

Half-fill a jug with ice and fill it three-quarters with ginger ale or sparkling water.  Add orange slices, fresh kiwi, strawberries, cranberries and a sliced lime.   Store in the fridge.  Decorate glasses with sliced fruit and party umbrellas.

Berry berry happy

Add frozen berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries etc) to a jug and top up with berry juice.  Add 750ml of sparkling grape juice or sparkling water.  Finish with crushed ice.  Garnish glasses with sprigs of mint and curly party straws.

images

4.  Watch movies and New Year celebrations around the world.  With the time difference, your kids can watch TV coverage here in France of the fireworks in New Zealand, Australia or Hong Kong then head to bed well before midnight.  Streaming video giant Netflix helps parents out by creating countdowns with movie characters that you can use well before midnight (genius idea meaning you can put the kids to bed early and perhaps enjoy a glass of bubbly!).  Featured shows this year include Puffin Rock, Luna Petunia, Beat Bugs, All Hail King Julien, Skylanders Academy and Trollhunters.

5.   Head to the mountains – Val d’Allos has a torchlight descent and fireworks on New Years Eve, Valdeblore has free horse and cart rides for families and fireworks, Valberg has a DJ party and laser show from 5.30pm-8pm and Auron has a New Years Eve party (best for adults as it starts at 10pm, entry fee applies).

New Years / Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre Menus on the French Riviera

For parents who are fortunate to have a babysitter for New Years Eve, here are some of the restaurants you can head to for festive menus:

ANTIBES

L’Arazur (previously Le Broc en Bouche) on the corner site on rue des Palmiers has both New Years Eve and New Years Day menus you can view here:  

Le Albert 1er, a local seafood restaurant, has a New Years Eve menu for €98.  Their website has been down for a day so check back at http://www.restaurant-albert-1er.com/

Le Brulot, an old favourite for pasta in the Old Town, has a menu for €49; bookings via www.brulot.fr

Restaurant Le Figuier de Saint-Espirit has both a New Years Eve and a New Years Day menu which you can find at http://www.restaurant-figuier-saint-esprit.com

patio-table-17-6747BIOT

Les Terraillers has a New Years Eve menu; note: you must give a deposit of €80 to secure your reservation. Menu copy is found here at the link Les Terraillers

CANNES

JW Marriott Cannes has New Years Eve menus available to see here:  http://www.marriott.fr/hotelwebsites/us/n/ncejw/ncejw_pdf/JW_Cannes_F_B_NewYearMenu2017.pdf

For a dinner worthy of another mortgage, head to La Palme d’Or at Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez.  Bar L’Amiral is also hosting a New Years soirée.  You can see the New Years Eve menu here:  https://cannesmartinez.grand.hyatt.com/fr/hotel/news-and-events/events/Fetes-de-fin-d-annee-a-cannes.html

737x415xgrand-hyatt-cannes-hotel-martinez-la-palme-dor-seating-1280x720-jpg-pagespeed-ic-ns5qd3wp4t

Le Bistro Gourmand has a New Years Eve menu; to see here:  http://www.bistrotgourmandcannes.fr/menus-carte/

Le Relais de Semailles has New Years Eve and New Years Day menus which you can see here:  http://www.lerelaisdessemailles.com/menus-des-f%C3%AAtes

The Majestic Barriere has New Years Eve packages which include accommodation and/or meals www.hotels-barriere.com

Mantel, now known as Table 22, has the same menu for New Years Eve and New Years Day which you can see here: http://www.restaurantmantel.com/images/pdf/Menu-des-fetes-2016.pdf

EZE

Chef Patrick Raingeard welcomes diners to Cap Estel for a special New Years Eve menu.  You can see the menu here:  http://www.capestel.com/media/original/menu-reveillon-nouvel-an-2016.pdf

GRASSE

Jacques Chibois at La Bastide Saint Antoine will cook up a gorgeous menu for New Years which includes caviar, blue lobster and truffles.  Have a splurge, you can see the menu here:  http://www.jacques-chibois.com/restaurant/nossoirees.html

LA COLLE SUR LOUP

Chef Alain Llorca has both New Years Eve and New Years Day festive menus available at www.alainllorca.com

5510JUAN LES PINS

AC Hotel Ambassadeur has a New Years Eve dinner; see the menu here:  http://www.marriott.fr/hotelwebsites/us/j/jlpar/jlpar_pdf/AC%20Ambassadeur_New%20Year%20Menu_HWS.PDF

La Passagère at the Hotel Belle Rives has a perfume-themed New Years Eve ‘Diner du Réveillon’ menu (and also a New Years Day menu) http://www.bellesrives.com/site/uploaded/ckeditor/files/Fetes%20de%20fin%20d’ann%C3%A9e%20au%20Belles%20Rives.pdf

la%20passagere%20-%20470x390%20px

Hotel Juana has a special New Years Eve dinner and After Party as well as New Years Day menu.  http://www.bellesrives.com/site/uploaded/ckeditor/files/AFFICHE%20MENU%20-%20FFA%20JU%20-%20septembre%202016.pdf

LE CANNET

Chef Bruno Oger has a New Years Eve menu for Villa Archange available to see here:  http://www.bruno-oger.com/media/original/548b07bb582ce/villa-31-decembre.pdf

MONACO / MONTE-CARLO

Joël Robuchon at Hotel Metropole has a New Years Eve menu; see here for more info:  http://metropole.com/actu/2010/12/09/happy_menus_fr/

Sporting Monte-Carlo has a dinner with show by Italian operatic trio, Il Volo. Details are found here:  https://www.montecarlolive.com/news-en/reveillon-du-nouvel-an-a-la-salle-des-etoiles/

The Buddha-Bar Monte-Carlo has a New Years Eve dinner with DJ; watch a video below of last year’s celebrations and find out more info here of this year’s evening:  https://www.buddhabarmontecarlo.com/actualites-evenements-en/new-years-eve-dinner-at-the-buddha-bar/

MOUGINS

L’Amandier Mougins will have a menu specially prepared for New Years Eve. You can book via their website www.amandier.fr

SONY DSC

Le Mas Candille’s New Years Eve menu includes a magnum of Champagne for 2 people, see the menu at www.lesmascandille.com

Paloma is offering their ‘Menu de la Saint Sylvestre’ which you can see here :  http://www.restaurant-paloma-mougins.com/menu#1

NICE

Hotel Splendid & Spa has a New Years Eve dinner with entertainment; find out more here:  http://www.splendid-nice.com/en/new-years-eve-dinner/

Le Bistrot des Viviers is offering a New Years Eve menu for €90 which you can see here:  http://www.les-viviers-nice.fr/fr/le-bistrot/les-menus/79-le-restaurant/144-menu-special-restaurant.html

The iconic Le Negresco will welcome diners to their carousel-themed La Rotonde for a New Years Eve menu that includes scallop carpaccio, boudin blanc with truffles and dark chocolate on shortbread.  See the menu here:  http://www.hotel-negresco-nice.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2014/11/ROTONDE-NOUVEL-AN.pdf

dsc03418-940x626OPIO

Château Begude has a New Years Eve menu www.chateau-begude.com

Joyeux Réveillon!

Holiday Gift Guide 2016 : Last Minute Gifts on the French Riviera

Christmas brings out the best and worst of seasonal shoppers – from the queues and elbow-jostling at the large department stores and malls to shoppers who head for the smaller stores for that something special during the festive season, here is my round-up of places to shop on the French Riviera.

For Kids

If you have children, Christmas is a magical time but it can be overloaded with huge expense and stress for many parents.  I try to stagger my gift buying across a few months to avoid the Christmas crowds, but for last-minute gifts you can’t go past these stores on the French Riviera:

Pierrot La Lune (8 rue James Close) in Antibes has some beautiful traditional toys including wind-up figurines, wooden toys and classic tin toys.  They also stock Playmobil, Tin Tin and the Steiff bears.  A lovely store for a special gift (it’s pricey though).

Pierrot La Lune toy store, Antibes

Pierrot La Lune toy store, Antibes

Pylones in Cannes and Tiger (Flying Tiger) are stores that you can find cool unique gifts for kids from 2 years up to teens.  They have everything from quirky lunch boxes to gadgets and stickers, lots of travel games and stocking fillers.

Pylones and Tiger are great for stocking fillers at Christmas time

Pylones and Tiger are great for stocking fillers at Christmas time

If you have kids into science, nature, planets or discovery then stop by by Nature et Découvertes at Cap 3000 in St Laurent du Var.  It’s a great store for finding educational gifts such as DIY rockets, telescopes, planetariums and all sorts of science-related goodies.

Nature et Décovertes is an excellent shop for kids gifts

Nature et Décovertes is an excellent shop for kids gifts

For Him

If you want to break away from the socks and underpants routine at Christmas, try one of these stores – guaranteed to get you some brownie points.

Pop Art in Nice specialises in customised printing on clothes but they also stock vintage pieces, sculptures and of course, pop art.  It’s a great store if you’re looking for a gift for a guy into skateboarding or urban culture.

Pop Art in Nice is an arty concept store with personalised clothing, retro pieces and objets d'art

Pop Art in Nice is an arty concept store with personalised clothing, retro pieces and objets d’art

Cobalt is a funky concept store retailing all sorts of contemporary and eclectic items including designer furniture, stationery and objets d’art.  They stock Woouf iPad covers and Seletti’s fun monkey and mice lamps.   The über cool already know where it is – go now before the masses discover it.

Cobalt in Nice is a superb store for quirky or cool gifts

14563541_983852288386278_3516346171657493138_n

For Her

Who can resist a delicious fragrance?  French perfume is well known to ignite hearts and Fragonard has some exceptional fragrance blends.  Rather than opt for a parfum, their room fragrance diffusers are so lovely you’ll think you’ve dived straight into a Provençal field head first.  I love the Ginger and Vétiver one.   They have retail shops in Cannes, Grasse, Eze, St Paul de Vence and Nice or buy a treat online at www.fragonard.com

Fragonard room fragrance diffusers

Fragonard room fragrance diffusers

If you are seeking a special book for her, try heading to La Briqueterie Librairie.  Based in Vieux Nice (4-6 Rue Jules Gilly), this amazing bookstore has a brilliant selection of books with subjects ranging from music to art and history.  Highly recommended.

For interior decorating fans, there are so many beautiful Provençal items but the bright colours or prints don’t always match your furniture.  I love these neutral Jean Cocteau-themed cushions you can buy on Society 6, and Eklektik Gallery in Monaco is a testament to its name with a fabulous collection of classic and contemporary ceramics, ethnic art, fragranced gifts, homewares and furniture.

Jean Cocteau cushions

Jean Cocteau cushions

EklektiK Gallery in Monaco is an Aladdin's cave of furniture, homewares, sculptures and art

EklektiK Gallery in Monaco is an Aladdin’s cave of furniture, homewares, sculptures and art

I hope you have enjoyed my Holiday Gift Guide – it’s a sample of some great places to buy French Riviera goodies!   Joyeux Noël!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive!

At one past midnight, on the third Thursday in November all across France and the world announcements are made ‘Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive!’  – meaning ‘This year’s Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived!’.

Of course, I will be sampling this year’s release of Beaujolais, it would be rude not to!

THREE WAYS TO BEAUJOLAIS

  1. For Ideas of Where to Celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau on the French Riviera, you can read my November post here:  https://accessriviera.wordpress.com/2016/11/12/events-november-french-riviera/
  2. Jill Barth’s fantastic blog L’Occasion is overflowing with wine tips and advice and  you can join her and other #Winophiles this Saturday 19 November on Twitter for a chat about Beaujolais.  To find out more, read here:  https://jillbarth.wordpress.com/2016/11/16/beaujolais-french-winophiles/
  3. Confused about French wines?  Struggle no more with these handy guides from About.com:

French Wine Pronunciation http://french.about.com/od/vocabulary/a/wine.htm

French Wine Tasting Terms:  http://french.about.com/od/vocabulary/a/wine_2.htm

Santé!

 

Why this travel app is like having the French Riviera in your pocket

Imagine reading a great travel article about the French Riviera and thinking to yourself, “I’ll bookmark this and use it as a reference when I go there…”

If you have access to the internet, you can visit the website again. But more often than not, you’d rather not use up valuable data to access the internet and then spend your holiday time having to look up directions to find all the great places you want to visit – that amazing beach, the restaurant everybody raves about….

Guess what? There is an easier, quicker and smarter way!   Use a GPS-guided travel article.

top sightseeing tour cote d'azur

GPS-guided travel articles are a great way to discover a destination

What is a GPS-guided travel article?

A GPS-guided travel article is a travel article or blog post that has GPS coordinates embedded in the article and a map of the route the author described in the article.

You can find them in over 600 worldwide cities via the popular travel app, GPSmyCity, that has been reviewed by The Telegraph, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times and Travel Weekly.

best travel apps

GPSmyCity is a popular travel app with tours available in over 600 cities worldwide

Benefits of using a GPS-guided travel article

Many local government or tourism boards offer free audio walking tours that you can download, however because you are in France this means they’re often usually only offered in French language.

There are plenty of free maps available at tourism offices, however they skip all the local tips that only come from living and experiencing the region on a day-to-day basis – where to find the best local food, the best times to visit monuments, how to save money on transport etc

market

If you’re the sort of traveller who avoids group tours because they’re not to your liking or don’t suit your budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t visit Monaco without seeing some of the best attractions, or explore Villefranche-sur-Mer without learning a bit of its history. You don’t need a group tour; you just need a smartphone or iPad.

monaco on a budget

sightseeing tour french riviera

Convenient, user-friendly tours

Once you download GPSmyCity, it works offline so you will not need an internet connection to use the article as a guide. It will show you right where you are on the map and guide you to each location with turn-by-turn directions (by foot, car or bike).

cheap sightseeing tour monaco

GPS navigation at your fingertips

Working offline is a genius solution for travellers always on the move because you can download any travel article from GPSmyCity free of charge, and then read it at your leisure without Wifi or having to rely on unreliable internet connections – at a cafeteria while enjoying a French pastry, on the beach, during airport stop overs, wherever (!).

offline map french riviera

Working offline is great for travellers on the move

One of the biggest benefits of this app to me as a parent and juggling kid’s routines while travelling is that I no longer need to plan our family itinerary around set tour departure times because we can explore a destination at our own pace.  So, “Hello to an afternoon siesta for the kids, goodbye to racing around trying to squeeze in a destination’s highlights!”

Plus we save money because the app upgrade is a small travel expense compared to a family paying individual tickets to join a tour group for a guided tour.  It’s just like having a personal tour guide without the time restrictions!

Who will find these tours useful when visiting the French Riviera:

 – Families looking for tours that are not time-restricted

– Backpackers on a budget

– Tourists interested in history or local tips about a destination

– Cruise ship passengers who want a self-paced tour in Villefranche-sur-Mer or Monaco without the time restrictions or group numbers on organized shore excursions

– Tourists who visit the French Riviera and want to go to the market in Ventimiglia (Italy)

– People looking for advice about visiting Monaco on a budget

– Travellers who need offline maps or want to avoid roaming data charges

best french riviera tours

The French Riviera in your pocket – ** FREE UPGRADE **

 The ‘lite’ version of GPSmyCity is free and includes a city map, photos and attraction details that you can read, but for the tour map and turn-by-turn directions, all you do is pay a small fee to upgrade.

The upgrade option that includes GPS-navigation makes travelling on the French Riviera budget-friendly, convenient and easy.

As a bonus (and to introduce you to how user-friendly this app is), I am offering a FREE upgrade to my ‘Monaco on a Shoestring’ tour in the GPSmyCity directory for a limited time.

From today (Monday 5 September, 2016) and ending next week (Monday 12 September, 2016) you can grab your own tour of some of Monaco’s best sightseeing with a dose of local knowledge mixed in.

Monaco on a budget - find out local tips, places to visit

Monaco on a budget – find out local tips, places to visit

You can access GPS-guided travel articles two different ways:

  1. Click on a link below for the article you are interested in (if you haven’t already downloaded the free GPSmyCity app, you will see a prompt to do so). After downloading the app, you will be directed to the article, where you can choose UPGRADE to get the GPS-guided version and start making plans to see these great locations in your own time and at your own pace.
  2. From the GPSmyCity app, you can browse by city to see which articles are available.

Other than my Monaco sightseeing tour, discover one of the most popular travel apps and see the rest of my travel articles featured on GPSmyCity…. You can find out how to make the most of your time seeing top sightseeing attractions with a few hidden spots, and where to get the best local cuisine!

Here are the links:

Ventimiglia:  A  slice of Italian life

ventimiglia market

Visiting the Ventimiglia market is a popular day trip from the French Riviera

Sightseeing in Villefranche-sur-Mer

things to do villefranche

Disclaimer: If you do upgrade one of my downloaded travel articles, I will receive a small commission. This helps me offset the time and costs of maintaining a travel blog for other travellers to enjoy the beautiful French Riviera.  Thanks to GPSmyCity for their assistance and support..…Merci et à bientôt! 

Image credits: Access Riviera, Pixabay, Deavita

How Brexit will affect tourism on the French Riviera

The big news of the past fortnight has been the outcome of the historic Brexit referendum that has cast huge uncertainty over economics, trade and politics.

Certainly tourism to the French Riviera will have a bumpy ride as the Brexit result settles and the great unknown becomes the known.

Whilst the public are happy to voice their opinion on social media, the referendum has split loyalties amongst friends, families and co-workers with many refusing to detail their vote and many small to medium businesses staying tight lipped with their comments on the result to avoid business backlash.

Brexit-7-lessons

I have written this post to provide information and it is skewed toward UK tourists who visit this region; whether you supported the ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ campaigns I hope this post gives food for thought beyond tabloid media and political opinion.

Currency

Currency fluctuations were always on the cards regardless of the referendum outcome as any major global event will cause the markets to change.

Niall Bates, Managing Director of Chic Gites – Stylish Apartment Rentals in the Heart of Cannes commented that, “The currency effect was felt immediately – euro denominated holidays are now around 10% more expensive to holiday makers than they were a week ago.”

In the days following the result, major British banks including Barclays stopped accepting stop loss orders confirming their fear at the similar chaos created by last year’s Swiss franc upheaval. Global foreign exchange providers including Travelex, Travel Money and Commonwealth Bank put a cap or stop on buying pounds stirling to prevent exchange mayhem.

The pound stirling has experienced a rough ride pre-Brexit over the past few years with industrial and manufacturing sectors in decline, uncertainty on financial markets because of China and the prospect of an interest rate hike setting the value on a decline since the lows at the end of 2014. The zero or reduced rate for certain goods and services could therefore change. There could be an expansion in the extent of zero-rating currently denied by the EU. Or there could even be a removal of reliefs.

European luxury brands have also taken a knock due to the depreciation of the stirling; the flagship luxury French Riviera stores located in Cannes, St Tropez and Monaco will be competing with the UK stores who are experiencing a surge in customers.

monaco2

Aviation

Brexit is likely to create a real headache for UK-based airlines particularly the low-cost carriers such as Easyjet, Ryanair, Monarch, and Jet2 that service Nice Côte d’Azur Airport.

The EU is made of individual member states/countries however it is treated as one customs area, treating members as a single state in the interests of free trade. This allows for airlines and operators based in EU-member nations to freely conduct business in and out of neighbouring EU-member countries without being subject to VAT (Value-Added Tax) which is fixed between 15%-25%.

Easyjet’s CEO Carolyn McCall stated that ‘Leaving the EU would have a material adverse effect on Easyjet’s financial conditions and results of operations’. For your Average Joe who plans to travel from the UK to France, this translates in the media to ‘higher airfares’ and ‘the end of cheap flights’.

What the airlines have omitted to tell passengers is the rulings that govern compensation if their flight is cancelled or delayed 3 hours+ (dependent on circumstances), fall under EU Passenger Regulations (EC Regulation 261/ 2004). With Brexit this will mean this law will no longer apply to UK travellers or will need to be renegotiated. Therefore, British parliament will be acting on behalf of travellers; ideally they would want to retain the same level of compensation or actually improve it so in the meantime the price of flights is dependent not only on aviation fuel costs plus the current EU legislation covering (anticipated) compensation claims.

Bilan-du-trafic-estival-2015

Likewise, private jet charter companies will see some flow-on – it is too soon to tell whether private flights between the regions may be subject to additional fees. Brexit has thrown uncertainty over whether or not UK-based aircraft operators will still be considered private use, along with questions of cabotage rights.

For those not familiar with cabotage rights, essentially they are open-skies deals that allow for an airline based in an EU-member nation to transport passengers within other EU nations for domestic air travel, typically short haul flights which are vital for business travel.

To provide some data, the growth in global demand for air travel has varied between 5.2% and 6.5% for the past 5 years (stat: IATA Economics) with European passenger volume sitting around 5% growth. Much has been bandied around in the media about the Single European Sky (SES) initiative and if the UK leaves the EU how they will be shut out of the EU aviation market and airfare prices will skyrocket for UK-EU flights.

The Single European Sky initiative was implemented by the EU to manage increasing air traffic and minimise costs of air traffic service provision; European air traffic management handles approximately 26,000 flights daily. The SES breaks down national boundaries of 67 airspace blocks into just nine – making it easier for air traffic controllers to guide aircraft.

By re-entering a single aviation market this will increase overheads for UK airlines as negotiations take place however to get around any restrictions, I expect EasyJet would seek an EU-based Air Operators Certificate (AOC) for its continental European operations, while the others could set up a UK-based AOC.

It should be noted, that EU membership is not a prerequisite for belonging to the Single European Sky initiative as many people have been led to believe. Norway, Switzerland, Tunisia, Albania and Egypt all observe this. For a comparison case study, consumers can look to Norwegian Air for some insight of a business model operating as a low-cost carrier servicing the EU from a country outside the EU – they are the third largest low-cost airline in the European zone and rank above Easyjet, Ryanair and WizzAir for on-time performance.

Accommodation

The effect of currency fluctuations will see UK travellers increase their efforts to seek accommodation discounts and specials on the French Riviera as the value of the stirling drops so it presents an opportunity for French Riviera-based travel companies to push deals to UK tourists, especially outside peak season. Look for more aggressive marketing on sites such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Lastminute.com, Expedia and Promovacances.

2009554_brexit-en-france-les-politiques-semparent-de-la-question-europeenne-web-0211064014745

The instability with the stirling will work in reverse for the UK immediately following the vote with U.S and Chinese travellers seeking out UK holidays.

Ctrip, China’s biggest OTA, has announced that the Brexit result has seen a 200% search increase on their app for UK holidays, so this is the perfect chance for off-spin marketing to capture these tourists who may then choose to extend their UK stay by heading over to French shores.

The UK, especially London, won’t fade as a top-ranking destination; in 2015 London was the top global city destination by international visitors and London Heathrow is the top foreign airport by U.S. passenger traffic (stat: Office of Travel & Tourism Industries)

Niall Bates, Managing Director of Chic Gites in Cannes continues with some insights, “ In the medium to longer term there is more uncertainty over the fate of the UK economy. If the UK does experience the predicted recession in coming years, we could experience a similar slowdown in conference attendance figures in Cannes as we did post the Credit Crunch in 2008. Although this would affect non-UK clients significantly less than in 2008, UK companies continue to represent a significant proportion of conference attendees in Cannes. However, as we experienced post 2008, the reduced expenses budgets resulted in increased demand for apartment rentals as companies looked to save money by choosing self-catering over hotel stays. So for our apartment rental business I would expect little if any affect in the short to medium term.”

This echoes my predictions as I expect to see a rise in the sharing economy due to self-catering potential as this means UK tourists will have less £ to spend on meals when on holiday here. Airbnb (who ranks Paris then London as the 2 cities with biggest listings outside of the U.S) and Homestay should expect continual enquiries. For disabled travellers, HandySwap will provide excellent options to cut travel costs with home exchanges.

Package holidays & Cruises

Brexit will influence the UK consumer’s decision to travel with destinations such as Cyprus, Malta and Ireland that rely greatly on UK tourism expecting to suffer a downturn in visitors.

On the upside, destinations closer to the UK such as Belgium, Spain and France can expect to increase marketing of package holidays and all-inclusive getaways to reduce the variable expenses at destination such as meals and fuel.

The U.S and U.K markets are dominant in cruise demand with the Mediterranean being the second most deployed destination after the Caribbean (stat: CLIA). Aside from potential changes to port and customs regulations, Brexit will influence cruise pricing for P & O and Cunard as well as Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited and Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings including provisioning costs for food and drinks on board that may filter through to the consumer.

78-large-eb60eaa6f23c772aeb8bdc7974f566d2

Eurostar

How will Brexit affect Eurostar? The most popular sectors between London and Paris, Lille and Brussels may be affected by new regulations for border control and fare prices are likely to fluctuate in the initial uncertainty.

  • If you are travelling from London itself to Paris or Brussels, book online at http://www.eurostar.com for the best deals. Friday and Sunday are peak times (and peak  prices!).  For spontaneous Eurostar passengers who don’t care what train they travel on between London and Paris/Brussels, Eurostar has special fares with a 7-day advance purchase (£25 instead of £45 oneway) on a new website live since May 2016. You can access the site signing in with Facebook: https://snap.eurostar

If you are based in the UK and intend to travel on the Eurostar to Paris, then onwards via train to the French Riviera there are a number of travel tips you can facilitate to reduce your total train fare:

  • If you are travelling from outside London to a western European destination including French Riviera stations and starting your journey at one of the 130+ UK train stations, www.loco2.com is a great starting point for booking all-in-one tickets that combine the domestic UK train sector with the continental train sector. Note: Eurostar bookings open 180 days ahead of travel while most domestic continental trains typically open 92 or up to 120 days ahead so bear this mind when trying to confirm trains.

I highly recommend you check current Eurostar tips online at The Man in Seat 61, he has in-depth and invaluable advice about booking Eurostar tickets and global train routes including the rest of Europe. Top Tip: His best tip in the web link above concerns booking online for ‘London International CIV’ and ‘London Eurostar CIV’ which are well-kept secrets for discounted fares between over 130+ UK stations and a special online destination that automatically adds a cheaper UK sector to Eurostar fares.

eurostar

The Auto industry, Self-drives & France

The UK Automotive industry supports 800,000 UK jobs from vehicle manufacturers to parts suppliers with Toyota, Land Rover and Nissan having plants based there. Aside from the manufacturing implications, with the Brexit decision and many UK tourists choosing to self-drive to France, this option is likely to reduce as crude oil is priced in dollars so as at today, the low stirling means UK petrol and diesel prices will increase at least in the short term. Ride-sharing services such as BlaBlaCar should capitalise on tourists looking to reduce travel costs.

Medical insurance while on the French Riviera

The UK’s inclusion in the EU means UK nationals can receive public medical treatment in the EU for reduced or no cost using their European Health Insurance Card under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.

With Brexit, this agreement must be renegotiated or all travellers will need to take out full private insurance to cover them in the event of any medical assistance being needed during their visit to the French Riviera.

Tourist Visas

Much has already been debated about the possibility of tourist visas for UK nationals to enter European Economic Area countries.

Many citizens of EU nations also enjoy the ability to cross borders without presenting a passport when travelling throughout Europe; because the United Kingdom is not part of the Schengen Agreement, UK nationals still require a passport when entering France but enjoy the right to free movement throughout the rest of the European Economic Area once they enter.

EU-passports-400x400

For Brits already living within France, it is unlikely that your residency will be affected. Asking existing residents and property owners to move or sell would be in breach of existing conventions, such as The European Convention on Human Rights (not to mention the colossal paperwork involved).

What will remain unchanged for UK tourists to the French Riviera?

The Brexit vote is not legally binding yet, the vote was just a referendum, one the UK government can simply ignore (granted this would be upsetting over half of the voters who opted to leave the EU). Until the government takes action to invoke Acticle 50, which will not be within two years, it does not mean the UK have officially left the EU.

If you are travelling to the French Riviera in 2016 and 2017, things will remain mostly unchanged:

– There will be no changes to passports as UK tourists will be free to move between the UK and EU as before the vote. This means you queue in your usual passport line at airports and you will not require visas.

– Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is still valid until the UK officially leaves the EU.

– You will still be covered under EU law for compensation for flight delays and cancellations until the UK officially leaves the EU.

– You can still take cheap alcohol back to the UK from France so grab that bottle of French wine you love now.

The fact remains that the UK tourism market is vital to the economy of multiple EU countries, not just France. Countries outside of the EU such as Switzerland and Norway have been able to reach economic agreements with the EU in an effort to establish cooperative partnerships, and the UK will be aiming to negotiate similar terms as the Brexit debate settles as it will be beneficial to many to keep the tourism status quo.

No smoking : Are the tides turning about smoking in France?

I’m a non-smoker and always have been.

I’ve lived with smokers, I have family members who smoke, I have friends who smoke.  I don’t begrudge anyone’s choice to smoke cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars or pipes.

What I DON’T like is when smokers think its their right to throw their cigarette butts everywhere, blow smoke into my children’s face while standing next to them in public, or parents who smoke at playgrounds (from July 2015, smoking was forbidden at children’s playgrounds however I’ve seen many parents turn a blind eye and never seen anyone enforce this law).   You choose to smoke, my kids don’t.

terrasse-non-fumeur-FranceSoir

Smoking in France

Buying a packet of cigarettes is not as easy as other countries – they’re not sold at supermarkets, service stations, corner stores or vending machines.  You can only buy cigarettes from a tabac (or sometimes over the counter at a bar for an inflated price).

Yet, the difficulty at finding cigarettes has not stopped smokers. Smoking is deeply ingrained in life in France – I see teachers stand outside schools smoking alongside teen students, the queues for tabacs on a weekend prove there’s demand and smokers include all ages, nationalities and socio-economic groups.

No smoking indoors in public places

France has come a long way where decades ago smoking (as in other nations) was perfectly accepted on airplanes, trains, in offices and restaurants.

dmeu_pimlfr20_635_1_std_lang_all

French laws:

  • The TGV trains were designated smoke free over 10 years ago.
  • In 2007, a law denouncing smoking indoors at public areas including hospitals, schools, shopping centres, airports and offices was brought in.
  • The following year on January 1st 2008, indoor smoking was banned at casinos, cafeterias, restaurants and bars and I was surprised at minimal outcry from smokers.  However, many French bars outsmart the indoor smoking policy by erecting semi-enclosed plastic awnings (effectively they are ‘smokers rooms’ with the minimum requirement for ventilation).  Smoking is still permitted on the sidewalk tables at restaurants.
  • Smoking at children’s playgrounds was banned in July 2015.

The emergence of e-cigarettes has also opened debate. While they have no nicotine vapour, safety tests are still being conducted on the chemicals and effects on health.

No smoking initiative for Antibes & Juan les Pins

After public feedback, Antibes and Juan les Pins is supporting La Ligue contre le Cancer (the League against Cancer) and will be introducing ‘espaces sans tabac’ with smoking bans to be put in place in certain places.

Their aim is to reduce young people taking up smoking, eliminate passive smoking particularly for infants and children in public gardens and preserve the environment from cigarette butts and fire hazards.

Plage Richelieu, Juan les Pins (non smoking beach on the French Riviera)

Plage Richelieu, Juan les Pins (non smoking beach on the French Riviera)

The areas concerned will be:

  • Municipal beaches Richelieu and plage Garoupe
  • Public gardens (Jardin Pauline, Exflora, Parc Rabiac-Estagnol, Pinede)
  • High risk sites for fire hazard (Villa Eilenroc and gardens, Pinedes in Juan les Pins, and the Cap d’Antibes coastal pathway).

To avoid cigarette butt litter, there will be installation of disposal units at each site with information posters.  Apparently, smokers caught in these zones will be fined 38€ though who exactly will enforce this I don’t know and if the success of dog poo fines is anything to go by then I won’t hold my breath on this.

Other no smoking beaches in the Alpes-Maritimes

  • Îles de Porquerolles – light up here and you’ll be fined €200
  • Plage du Rocher at Cannes La Bocca and Bijou Plage in Cannes have banned cigarettes
  • In Nice, during summer, the beach opposite Centre universitaire méditerranéen (CUM) as well as Centenaire, Bains militaires, Sainte-Hèlene and Lenval are all smoke free
  • Plage du Fossan in Menton