Tips for surviving April events on the French Riviera

April is here!  For most people this means the arrival of spring is well underway.  For myself, this is when the cogs really start turning for preparation leading up to the big May events, Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix.

Of course, I’ll be publishing in-depth guides for both Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix soon aimed at helping first-time visitors (or regulars) to the events get the most out of their stay on the Côte d’Azur.

APRIL EVENTS ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA

The French Riviera has a number of major events occurring in April including CANNESERIES, MIPDoc, MIPFormats, MIPTV, Monaco Ocean Week, the Maria Callas Exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Top Marques Monaco, Performance d’Acteur comedy festival, Antibes Art Fair, Red Bull Air Race and the Cannes Triathlon to name a few 🙂

Unfortunately, there are also a number of transport strikes which makes things challenging logistically.

Transport strikes are part and parcel of living here in France, however the damage that a transport strike does to the tourism and event industry is exponential : visitor expenditure for delays, cancellations, arranging alternative transport (rather than using trains/buses) means they have less money to spend overall on accommodation, food and beverage, event advertising, shopping.

Strikes often occur here during bank holidays or vacances scolaires (school holidays) which are optimum times for unions to capitalise on huge movements of people.

Regional councils need to appreciate the planning and budgets that go into leisure and business tourism and if basic amenities such as reliable public transport to and from the airport as well as between towns is not readily available, tourists will choose to go elsewhere to major cities where amenities run smoothly.

This post aims to give you some handy tips to manage life-on-the-ground if you are attending any of these upcoming events on the Côte d’Azur.

Map of the French Riviera (map: Paul Cox / Pinterest)

TRAINS

With well-timed grèves (strikes), regional TER train services will be affected by over 30 days of strikes scheduled 5-9 April and until 28 June that will cross over with a number of major French Riviera events.

Here are the dates for the upcoming train disruptions:

Sunday 8 and Monday 9 April

Friday 13 and Saturday 14 April

Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 April

Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 April

Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 April

Thursday 3 and Friday 4 May

Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 May (Note: Wednesday is a big departure day leading up to the Ascension holiday weekend)

Sunday 13 and Monday 14 May (return from Ascension weekend)

Friday 18 and Sunday 19 May (departures for Pentecôte weekend)

Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 May (Note: Thursday is the first day of the 4-day Monaco Grand Prix event)

Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 May

Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 June

Thursday 7 and Friday 8 June

Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 June

Sunday 17 and Monday 18 June

Friday 22 and Saturday 23 June

Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 June

IMPORTANT:  For the dates above with train strikes, schedules will be published from 17h for the following day’s travel; for example if you want a timetable for Tuesday 29 May it will be released online from 17h on Monday 28 May.  To see the train times on these strike days, go to:  https://www.ter.sncf.com/paca/horaires/info-trafic-greve-sncf-ter

The main TER route people use is called Ligne 8 and runs between Les Arcs and Ventimiglia which includes the stations for Cannes, Golfe Juan, Juan les Pins, Antibes, Biot, Villeneuve Loubet, Cagnes-sur-Mer, St Laurent du Var, Nice, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Eze-sur-Mer, Cap d’ail, Monaco, Roquebrune Cap Martin and Menton.

For TER strike updates, you can also visit:  https://www.sncf.com/fr/itineraire-reservation/info-trafic/ter

train french riviera

Be prepared for more than 30 days that will be affected by TER train strikes on the French Riviera until the end of June 2018

BUSES

Envibus which run the bus routes for Antibes, Juan les Pins, Sophia Antipolis, Biot and Vallauris has transport updates on their website www.envibus.fr or the Communauté d’Agglomération Sophia Antipolis (CASA) website; look under the ‘Transports’ tab.

Lignes Azur which run buses for Nice, Cagnes-sur-Mer and Villeneuve Loubet have timetable updates on their website www.lignesazur.com; go to ‘Se deplacer’ and ‘Infos réseau’ for strike updates.   For changes to routes, go to the regional transport website here:  Buses on the French Riviera

Lignes d’Azur buses on the French Riviera

NICE CÔTE D’AZUR AIRPORT

Unfortunately, communication from Nice Côte d’Azur Airport is not particularly great during strikes.

Air France is well known for industrial action at holiday periods and has scheduled strikes for the following April dates below.  This includes a mix of pilots, cabin crew and ground staff so contact the airline prior to travel to check the status of your flight as generally 50% of flights are cancelled, delayed or brought forward.

Saturday 7 April

Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 April

Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 April

Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 April

If you need to rebook your Air France flight on any of these dates above, read here for the process:  Air France April 2018 Strikes

french airport strikes

Airport strike up ahead? Stay updated via the links below in my blog post

For general French airport strike updates, my ‘go-to’ websites for information are:

www.easytravelreport.com

Network Operations Portal (NOP)  – read their Headline News for strike updates

Direction des Opérations (DSNA) – bilingual information about the air traffic situation in France

Syndicat National des Contrôleurs du Trafic Aérien (in French) – the official site for the ATC (Air Traffic Controllers) Union.

Eurocontrol (The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation) 

CANNESERIES

If you’re visiting Cannes for the inaugural festival for international series, there are a few perks for attendees:

Shopping:  If you buy anything at Galeries Lafayette and show your CANNESERIES badge you get a 10% discount (*conditions apply instore).

Happy Hour:  Who doesn’t love happy hour?  Drop by these bars from 6pm to 8pm during the festival and you’ll get preferential prices on some drinks.  Some of the participating bars for ‘Happy Series’ are:

Charlys Bar, 5 rue du Suquet

Ma Nolan’s on rue Buttura

Morrisons Pub, 10 rue Tessiere

La Bouche à Oreille, 7 rue des Garbes

Le Posto Publico, 9 rue Victor Cousin

Le Tube, 10 rue Florian

Plage C Beach, 45 boulevard de la Croisette

The Quays, Quai St Pierre

CANNESERIES is a new festival for Cannes (image: official CANNESERIES site)

MIPTV 

Taxis to and from Cannes

I constantly get feedback from both leisure and business travellers to the French Riviera, particularly those visiting Cannes, that taxis are too expensive.

In 2017, a study was completed about world taxi prices and out of 88 major destinations Paris, Nice and Monaco didn’t fare (pun intended) too well, all 3 were included in the Top 10 List of Most Expensive World Taxi Prices.   French Riviera taxis have been known to add surcharges on bank holidays, weekends, late night transfers, wait time, extra luggage, pets or having 4 or more passengers.

I know people who have been charged a base fare of €85 oneway from Nice Côte d’Azur Airport to Antibes in quiet traffic and €130 oneway to Cannes in off-peak.  Ouch!

Transport tips from Access Riviera for MIPTV

There is some good news though – for people attending MIPTV (or Cannes Lions, MIPCOM, ILTM etc) the Préfecture of Nice has declared from 1st March 2018 there will now be set fares for certain locations for taxis to and from Nice Côte d’Azur Airport. The set prices are:

Taxi between Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and Nice centre  €32

Taxi between Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and Cannes  €80

Taxi between Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and Monaco €90

NOTE:  If you prebook a Niçois taxi there is an additional surcharge of €4, for a Cannes taxi it is €2.

Another thing to be aware of is if you ask your hotel to book you a taxi; some have been known to order a people mover (minivan) or chauffeured luxury vehicle which are pricier, so always check first.

There is of course UBER which is a topic for a whole other blog post….

Airport buses to/from Cannes

For airport buses to and from Cannes, Aéroport Express Bus number 210 leaves every half hour. Tickets can be purchased from Terminal 1 or 2 at Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, the timetable is here Airport Bus Cannes 210 .   This is the fastest bus between the airport and Cannes.  Returning back to the airport from Cannes, the rue des Serbes bus stop in Cannes is not functional due to construction works so you must get the bus from Quai F at the Cannes train station.

Bus 200 also travels between Nice and Cannes, it is cheaper though much slower.  I have been campaigning with other tourism businesses for this Nice-Cannes airport express bus #210 to operate until the final evening flight – currently the last bus leaving Terminal 1 leaves at 8pm leaving many visitors arriving on evening flights no option but private transfers, infrequent night train times or a long wait for bus 200.

RED BULL AIR RACE

The Red Bull Air Race will be hosted in Cannes for the first time from 20-22 April 2018.

For road traffic, there are a number of closures before and during the event which will ensure a pleasant spectator experience and limit frustration for visitors to Cannes.

The road on the seaside frontage of the Croisette will close from 22h on 17 April until the event finishes to facilitate set up and breakdown for the event.  The Croisette will be closed for traffic on 20, 21 and 22 April between the hours of 7h30 and 21h (Access will be granted from 21h on the northern side of the Croisette for approved vehicles with badge).

To see the map from the Mairie of Cannes regarding road closures, go here:  Red Bull Air Race Cannes road closures

red bull air race cannes

Red Bull Air Race Cannes 2018 – road closures

If you have found this blog post informative, please share it on Twitter or Facebook.  I’ve put a lot of time into researching current sources of information which will hopefully save people time, money and frustration.  Thank you!  

 

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Preparing for Data Protection: GDPR Readiness in the Yachting Industry

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU’s new privacy law, aims to clarify discrepancies and bring consistency from country to country with data protection and privacy.

Effectively, it will affect the way companies source, collect, use and record consent for emails and data from EU citizens.

It is a regulation, not a directive and therefore will have binding legal force for any yachting business operating in the European Union, or any yachting company outside of the European Union that processes the personal data of EU citizens.

GDPR yachting

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will affect many yachting companies

When does GDPR start?

GDPR will be enforceable in law in all EU member states from 25 May 2018.

Why GDPR compliance is important for yachting companies

GDPR will affect any yachting company that uses personal data from EU citizens, including those with less than 250 employees.  As an example, your yachting company might collect email addresses and you send company newsletters, news or blog updates to subscribers in the EU, therefore you must comply with GDPR.

Crucially, GDPR applies whether you have a digital capture system or simply use a spreadsheet to collate and store client contact details.

The UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, France, Italy and other European markets are all important for yachting businesses and the new regulation will mean over 750 million people will fall under the GDPR’s protective framework.

(image: marseille2ii)

Aside from the law, responsible data handling is a basic principle of good business practice.  By proving to your existing yachting clientele that you are taking steps to be compliant with the new law, you are adding value to your business and showing that your respect their personal data.

Non-compliance with GDPR will lead to heavy penalties such as fines up to €20 million or 4% of a company’s total global annual turnover (whichever is higher).

What changes will this mean for yachting businesses

Most EU yachting companies process their client data legally under the existing EU ePrivacy Directive, however once GDPR starts there will be stricter regulations around consent and the use of personal data.

One of the most important things to note is that you’ll only be able to send commercial communication via email to people who have ‘opted-in’ to receive messages.

This has been the case for most yachting companies already, however from 25 May 2018 businesses must give subscribers ‘clear, affirmative, non-ambiguous and specific’ options for opting in.  This includes checking a box on your website or agreeing to another statement or action that clearly indicates consent.  Pre-ticked boxes will not be compliant.

yachting gdpr preparatioin

Does your yachting company have a GDPR checklist? (image: searchengineland)

Additionally, if someone gives you their email for a competition, giveaway or to download a white paper and you add them to a mailing list, this will now be illegal unless they actively agree to be sent marketing messages.

Companies must keep records of these consents in the event that any forms need to be presented if requested.

10 Steps to Prepare for Data Protection:  GDPR Readiness in the Yachting Industry

  1. As well as new data, GDPR will apply to existing data.   If you can’t provide sufficient proof that your existing contacts consented to your mailing list, then you may not be able to email them commercial communications anymore.
  2. Understanding your data flow is crucial, therefore you should undertake an information audit by documenting what personal data you hold (e.g. name, address, bank details, IP addresses, photos etc), where it came from, how it is stored and who/when/how/where it will be shared. This includes client, supplier, partner, past or present employee personal data.  You should review how you seek, record and manage consent and make changes if necessary to be GDPR-compliant.   For many yachting companies, they may use third-party hosting or cloud services;  the host may have a local address but the servers may be outside the EU.  It’s vital that you review your contract to ensure they offer guarantees to meet GDPR requirements.
  3. Get your existing database up to GDPR standards now by adapting all of your opt-in processes and current privacy notices to meet EU regulations.  If you intend to keep collecting emails, you will need to inform your subscribers who is collecting the data, how long you will hold their data and how you intend to use their data. Your consent requests should be separate from any terms and conditions and your privacy notice should detail why you are lawfully processing their personal data.
  4. Check your procedures to ensure they cover all individuals’ rights under GDPR, such as the right to access and right to delete their data.
  5. Consider whether you need to implement systems to verify individuals’ ages and obtain parental/guardianship consent for data processing.
  6. Ensure you have security measures such as encryption and policies in place to detect, report and investigate personal data breaches.
  7. Nominate someone to take control of data protection compliance.  Your company may need to formally appoint a Data Protection Officer, dependent on whether you do large-scale monitoring of clients.
  8. If your yachting business operates in more than one EU member state (e.g. you undertake cross-border processing), you need to determine your lead data protection supervisory authority.  This is important in the event of a data breach.  You can determine how to choose your lead data protection supervisory authority via Article 29 Data Protection Working Party guidelines here (last updated February 2018):  Article 29 Data Protection Working Party Guidelines
  9. Get up to speed with the Information Commissioner Office’s (UK) tools and guidelines to help you comply before 25 May 2018, refer to the link below in the Resources list.
  10. Train all staff to be aware of the risks GDPR breaches pose and the necessary procedures to comply.  This should include regular audits of systems in place and how people interact with personal data.

A study of EU businesses says around 40% are unprepared or unaware of the implications of GDPR.  It is going to mean some changes in the policies and procedures for many yachting companies, therefore there has never been a better time to start preparing your business.

This article is written by Rebecca Whitlocke for information purposes.  For updates on the changes for GDPR, you can refer to these resources:

Data Protection | European Union 

DMA UK | Updates and advice about GDPR

Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) |  Tips and tools to help companies comply with GDPR

If you have found this post useful, please share it on social media.

Access Riviera makes Top 100 French Blogs !

I’m very happy to have received inclusion in Feedspot’s list of ‘Top 100 French Blogs’!

Feedspot is a great way to view content from several different sites in one place.  It brings everything together from multiple sources and lets you read things quickly, which is great if you’re like me and always on the lookout for interesting content!

The best thing is you can organise your favourites into folders, tag articles or blogs and share them directly to Facebook, Twitter, Pocket, Buffer.  I use Evernote and Dropbox a lot for organising my ideas and saving important items, so Feedspot Gold is a great tool for this and saves me a lot of time.

I’m not giving them a plug because they have included me in their Top 100 French Blogs list (though I’m pretty impressed they have!) – you can search for news that’s relevant to you and track Google News with keywords and topics you set.  For me, this is very valuable in keeping up with local news, industry trends across travel, yachting and marketing as well as monitoring brands, including competitors.

Thanks Feedspot for recognising Access Riviera as one of France’s best blogs!

You can find other great blogs about France on Feedspot here:  https://blog.feedspot.com/french_blogs/

25 Reasons Why You Should Visit Cannes in 2018

Cannes is one of the most popular destinations in southern France and home to a dynamic variety of sport, cultural and artistic events, as well as over 40 trade fairs, conferences and business meets yearly.

If you’re looking for somewhere to visit with a lovely climate and plenty of things to see and do, book a trip to Cannes at any time of the year – you can never accuse Cannes of being a boring destination!

1. Illuminated Landmarks

Until January 22, landmarks in Cannes will be spotlighted at night by artist Gaspare di Caro whose beautiful illuminations have lit up the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the Negresco Hotel in Nice and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

gaspare di caro

Visit Cannes in January to see Gaspare di Caro’s illuminations

2. Dance & Choreography

Cannes is well known for its biennale Festival du Danse (the next edition is December 2019) but you can still find other dance shows year-round.

From the urban vibe of breakdancing, street dance and hip-hop at Break The Floor to classical dance performances during the Gala d’Étoiles, you can find exceptional choreography and expressive dance in venues around Cannes.

dance cannes 2018

Gala d’Étoiles – classical dance performance in Cannes (image copyright: Eric Dervaux)

3. Festival des Jeux 2018

Held across 3 days (23 to 25 February 2018), the Festival International des Jeux is a family-friendly event at the Palais des Festivals where you can discover new board games, video games, fantasy and role play games, wooden toys and kids comics.

A number of tournaments and game demonstrations are onsite as well as boutiques, authors and illustrators for games.

Entry is free; there are also VIP Passes (paying) available which include early entrance to the show and goody bags.

Watch the video by Cannes is Yours below and find out more information here:  Festival International des Jeux 2018

4. Cannes Half Marathon 2018

Created in 1992, the Cannes Half Marathon (Le Semi de Cannes) will be held on 25 February 2018 with a course that starts and finishes at Pantiero near Vieux Port and follows a circuit along the Cannes seafront.

Around 4000 runners will hit the pavements on a Sunday morning – there is also a 10-kilometre run for participants who prefer shorter distances (or like me, still recovering from the excess of food consumed over Christmas!).

Entrants must supply a medical certificate as usual; entry is €20 per person for the 10km run and €25 for the half-marathon.

For other keen runners, you can also enter the Nice-Cannes Marathon which is staged in the last quarter of the year.

5. MIPIM 2018

MIPIM (Marché International des professionals de l’immobilier) is an international property market that brings together over 24,000 professionals from over 100 countries looking for new markets, those who want to exchange ideas, share insights about property hotspots and discuss real estate trends.

Cannes will host the 28th edition of MIPIM from 13-16 March 2018 with the theme ‘MAPPING WORLD URBANITY’ : What will urban life be like in 2030 and 2050?

Keystone elements of the 4-day schedule at MIPIM 2018 include the Startup Competition for those who seek to innovate within real estate, the invite-only Real Estate Institutional Investor’s Summit, a diverse range of conferences and the MIPIM Awards that celebrate the leading global property developments.

mipim 2018

The MIPIM Awards celebrate outstanding global real estate projects, completed or yet to be built. (image: Twitter).

6. Cannes Sports – Running trails guided by a free app

Cannes is blessed with a mild climate and running outdoors year-round is possible with many different trails that take in city and sea views.

In September 2017, a new app was launched by the Mairie de Cannes which gives joggers and runners sixteen different trails to follow in and near Cannes.

The Cannes Sports app is available in French or English and trail options include Croix des Gardes, Le Suquet, Cannes La Bocca and Ile Sainte-Marguerite.

The Cannes Sports app is free to download on the Apple Store and Google Play.

Trailer video below by CannesWebTV:

7. MIPDoc 2018 and MIPFormats 2018

MIPDoc is the documentary-specific prequel and MIPFormats is focused on non-scripted formats.  They both run just prior to MIPTV, and are set for 8 and 9 April 2018.

MIPDoc will be hosted at the JW Marriott Hotel on the Croisette, it involves over 1600 programmes of non-fiction that may catch the interest of 400 buyers.   At-market screenings, co-production networking plus a print and online catalogue ensure good visibility for factual or documentary programmes supported by a dedicated MIPDoc Screening Library.

If you’re interested, the Top 30 MIPDoc programmes last year are found here:   MIPDoc Top 30 Programmes

MIPFormats focuses on the changing trends with non-scripted shows and is a great place to find new talent and ideas.  Held at the Palais des Festivals, there are a lot of distributors and production companies networking over reality TV concepts, game shows, quiz shows, dating shows and similar.

For the latest updates, go to:

8. MIPTV 2018

MIPTV (Marché International des Programmes de Télévision) is the global TV and digital content market which is held in Cannes every April.

MIPTV 2018 will run from 9 – 12 April 2018 and continue as the epicentre for producers and buyers hoping to find success with the next big show!

New for 2018, the Kids Live Action Pitch will be a platform for creators to pitch original kids live action series aimed at kids aged 6-12 years.

View the MIPTV 2018 trailer below (video:  mipmarkets)

9. CANNESERIES 2018TM

The inaugural season of CANNESERIESTM (Cannes International Series Festival) will be held in the palm-tree lined resort from 4 – 11 April 2018 and feature an Official Competition that will showcase 10 world debut series – from any genre, any country and any format.

Dubbed as an incubator for international series, the event will cross-over dates with MIPDoc, MIPFormats and MIPTV creating the biggest week in TV.

The festival Patron is Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen and the event will feature the world premiere Out of Competition screening of ‘The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair’, a 10-part series from MGM Television, Eagle Pictures and Barbary Films which will screen in France on TF1 this year.

CANNESERIESTM Institute will begin prior to the festival proper and welcome 8 international students to a 5-week writing residency, overseen by teachers from the University of Cote d’Azur (UCA) and a Berlin-based writing residence, Serial Eyes.  The ultimate aim is to give writers a platform to conceptualize and write a pilot TV series which may be developed by Canal+.

CANNESERIESTM Addict is a week of free public screenings of classic series, Competition series and digital selections.    CANNESERIES TM Digital will focus on short formats.

In Development, the Cannes Drama Creative Forum is a 2-day mini session that takes place at the Gare Maritime and aims to accelerate new productions at an international level; the dates are 10 – 11 April 2018.

Don’t miss the emerging and established TV talent that will be present at CANNESERIES 2018 TM

CANNESERIES (TM) and MIPTV will be held in April 2018

10. Red Bull Air Race Cannes 2018

For the first time ever, the Red Bull Air Race will be coming to Cannes from 21 – 22 April 2018 where the world’s best pilots navigate an aerial racetrack marked by air-filled pylons.  Reaching speeds in excess of 350kph with forces up to 10G, the pilots need to be extremely skilled to fly at high speed, low altitude and perform tricky manoeuvres.

The series pilots come from Canada, Australia, China, Spain, Japan and South Africa (to name a few) and amongst them are 5 French pilots in the series – 3 Master Class pilots: Mikael Brageot, Nicolas Ivanoff and François Le Vot  and 2 Challenger Pilots:  Melanie Astles and Baptiste Vignes who will get the chance to show off their aerobatics in front of a home crowd.

Don’t miss one of Red Bull’s most popular spectator events, tickets will go on sale via the link here: Red Bull Air Race Cannes 2018 Tickets

red bull air race cannes

Cannes is one of 8 global cities included in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship for 2018 (Race Calendar courtesy of Red Bull)

11. Cannes International Triathlon 2018

From 27 to 29 April 2018, the 5th edition of the Polar Cannes International Triathlon will be staged in Cannes incorporating a 2 kilometre swim off Bijou Plage, 100 kilometre cycle stage to Tanneron, Montauroux and Pegomas and 16 kilometre run based around Port Pierre Canto.

The triathlon attracts competitors from over 40 countries with the main Village Expo hosted at Square Verdun.

For the registration process, race schedule and information about volunteering, find out more at CIT2018

Watch the teaser video from Mikael Sport for Polar Cannes International Triathlon below:

12. Cannes Film Festival 2018

Undeniably the crowning glory of the annual events in Cannes, the world famous Cannes Film Festival will be hosted from 8 to 19 May 2018.

For the 71st edition, the opening day has moved forward one day and will start on a Tuesday. The organisers say the change in dates means they can also hold an additional gala evening before the Festival weekend, and organise previews of the opening film throughout France.

By bringing forward the announcement of awards by one day to Saturday evening, it is expected that this will increase its prestige while at the same time giving the closing film better exposure.

cannes film festival 2018

Cannes Film Festival 2018 is a world famous film festival (image: critique film.fr)

Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who won two Oscars for The Aviator and Blue Jasmine, has been named as Jury President of Cannes Film Festival 2018 and will join other jury members to decide the winner of the prestigious Palme d’Or.

As usual, Access Riviera will be publishing a full guide to Cannes Film Festival 2018 closer to the event including festival tips for Marché du Film.

13. Watersports in summertime

Cannes is making a strong effort to promote outdoor activities and watersports are always high on the list of things to do.  Cannes occupies a wonderful location on the Mediterranean and has great views to the Iles de Lérins, the Esterels and beyond to Cap d’Antibes.  Whether you are a beginner or experienced, there are plenty of companies where you can rent equipment and/or take lessons to learn a new on-water activity.

During summer, pontoons on plage du Midi, boulevard Jean Hibert and along the Croisette are open daily until around 7pm (weekends until approx. 6pm) and offer a range of watersports including waterskiing, jet skiing, stand up paddle boarding, kite surfing, wakeboarding, flyboard sessions, kayaks, dinghy hire, pirogue tours and more!

watersports cannes

Watersports are popular in summer in Cannes (map: Cannes Destination)

14. MIDEM 2018

What is MIDEM?  For the uninitiated, MIDEM (Marché International du Disque et de l’Edition Musicale) will take place from 5 – 8 June 2018 and unite leading players in the music industry.

It is the industry event to attend for rising talent looking for labels, musicians looking for licensees and distributors, bands to connect with creatives for advice about how to boost their marketing, tech innovators showcasing their products as well as publishers and agents looking for new talent and trends.

I’m always interested in Midemlab which is the startup competition as it is great to see innovative concepts for online promotion, tech or musical education.   The Midem Artist Accelerator (MAA) is also interesting to see develop and is into its fourth year, it aims to continue supporting emerging talent; submissions close on January 28 so get in quick!

Some of the brands who will be attending MIDEM 2018 include Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Fox Music and Billboard.   Find out more about the event at Reed MIDEM‘s official website:  MIDEM 2018 

MIDEM 2018 will run from 5 – 8 June 2018 (image: Flickr)

15. Guided tours in Cannes

Year round, visitors to Cannes can experience a number of guided tours bookable through the Tourist Office.  Two popular options include :

Cannes and the Cinemain French and English, this guided tour runs from October to May every Wednesday at 2.30pm ; from June to September every Wednesday at 9.15am.  Duration: 1.5 hours. Adult price: €6 each, free for under 16 years of age. Note: Minimum of 5 people required.

Visit of the Croisette – in French and English, this guided tour runs from October to May every Wednesday at 2.30pm in French and English; from June to September every Wednesday at 9.15am.  Duration: 1.5 hours. Adult price: €6 each, free for under 16 years of age. Note: Minimum of 5 people required.

One of the nicest places to visit when in Cannes are the Iles de Lérins (Lérins Islands) just a short cruise away.  You can join a wine tasting experience on the first Friday of every month on Íle Saint-Honorat and sample some of the wine harvested by the Cistercian monks.  Buy a wine tasting excursion here:  Wine Tasting Abbaye de Lérins.  Visit the island courtesy of a virtual tour viewable here: Ile Saint-Honorat

lerins islands cannes

Visit the Lérins Islands when you come to Cannes (image: Atout France)

16. Cannes Lions 2018

Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity is a 5-day festival for branded communications, marketing, media, entertainment and tech which will be held from 18 – 22 June 2018.

The event has over 4500 attending companies however for the 2018 edition, the event length has been reduced from 8 days to 5 days amidst feedback from holding companies, stakeholders and agencies that Cannes Lions was becoming ‘too expensive’.   Additionally, for Cannes Lions 2018 there will be a six-Lion entry limit for one piece of work.

cannes lions 2018

Cannes Lions 2018 has been adapted to reflect feedback from previous years including restructuring of categories to win Gold Lions (image: Campaign Asia)

Again, the organisers have been shuffling around with the Categories; for 2018 they’re scrapping the Categories for Cyber, Integration and Promo & Activation and introducing new Categories including Social & Influencer and Creative E-Commerce.

To find out more about what’s in store this year for Cannes Lions, the official website is here:  Cannes Lions 2018 

17. Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique Cannes 2018

Firework enthusiasts will love the French Riviera in summer because Cannes is one of a number of places that hosts regular public firework displays through July and August.   Other fireworks competitions are held in Antibes/Juan les Pins and Monaco.

Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique Cannes takes place over the bay of Cannes and features international pyrotechnic teams who create brilliant fireworks displays to music and a winner is chosen at the end of the summer series.

cannes fireworks 2018

Panzera from Italy competed in the Cannes fireworks competition (image: Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique)

Follow the official website Le Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique Cannes to stay informed of competition dates when they are released.

18. Nuits Musicales du Suquet 2018

Each year in the square in front of the Notre-Dame de l’Espérance church at the top of Le Suquet, you can listen to open-air orchestral concerts under the stars in late July.

Featuring the Orchestra of Cannes and acclaimed soloists, the atmosphere is inviting and relaxing.

The 2018 Nuits Musicales du Suquet programme is yet to be released, so stay updated by subscribing to my blog on the right-hand side (you can unsubscribe at any time), or refer to the Orchestra of Cannes or Palais des Festivals websites regularly.

19. Les Plages Électroniques 2018

One of the French Riviera’s best summer festivals for dance music, Les Plages Électroniques is an annual electronic music festival that is held on the beach beside the Palais des Festivals and the rooftop terrace of the Palais.

This year, Les Plages Électroniques will be held from 10 – 12 August 2018.

Unfortunately as with many events here on the French Riviera, the organisers Panda Events have put no information about accessibility on the official event website but if you have restricted mobility and would like to attend this music festival, please do get in touch with me via my Contact Me page to obtain more information about accessibility options for this event.

plage electronique cannes 2018

Les Plages Électroniques organised by Panda Events is an annual electronic music festival held on the beach in Cannes (image: discothequemagazine)

20. Cannes Yachting Festival 2018

As Europe’s leading in-water boat show, Cannes Yachting Festival is one of the French Riviera’s most important nautical events.

Hosted across both Vieux Port and Port Pierre Canto, Cannes Yachting Festival 2018 will run from 11 to 16 September 2018 and showcase new builds for motor yachts, sailing yachts, tenders and marine equipment.

In 2017, I was disappointed by the Luxury Gallery which was an uninspiring display zone that brought nothing dynamic to the event, and the Concours d’Elegance which seemed under promoted and underwhelming.  A real shame, and I hope that the event marketing team take on feedback to boost these two elements of the show.

Follow updates until Cannes Yachting Festival 2018 at:  https://www.facebook.com/Cannes-Yachting-Festival-180413645312841/?ref=hl

cannes yachting festival 2018

Cannes Yachting Festival 2018 will run from 11 to 16 September 2018 (image: Cannes Yachting Festival Facebook)

21. Museums & Galleries in Cannes

Cannes has a number of interesting museums and galleries with collections that you won’t find elsewhere on the French Riviera.

Take your pick from the Musée de la Castre at Le Suquet, visit the Musée de la Mer on Ile Saint-Marguerite or drop into the Centre de L’Art Malmaison on the Croisette.

Within a short distance from Cannes, you can also visit the Musée Bonnard in Le Cannet, Chateau de la Napoule in Mandelieu-la-Napoule and the National Picasso Museum in Vallauris to get a cultural fix.

22. Cannes Régates Royales 2018

Staged in the bay of Cannes, the Régates Royales is an annual nautical fixture that brings the elegance of classic sailing to the French Riviera.

Founded in honour of King Christian X of Denmark, the Régates Royales Cannes are set for 22 – 29 September 2018, where you’ll see beautiful classic sailing yachts race amidst Dragons, Tofinous and International classes.

Don’t miss finding your vantage point to watch the action at sea!   Here is the official website for the Cannes Régates Royales 2018

regates royales cannes 2018

Régates Royales is an annual nautical fixture in the bay of Cannes (photo copyright: Guido Cantini/Panerai)

23. MIPCOM 2018

MIPCOM 2018 will be held in Cannes from 15 to 18 October 2018, where you can join around 4000 companies at the global event for programming for all genres across all sectors and meet international producers and production companies in one place.

It is deemed the world’s best entertainment content market and the place to go to secure licensees, pitch to broadcasters and finance or sell TV and digital content for shows, series and documentaries.

Previous companies who have been to MIPCOM include DreamWorks Animation, BBC Worldwide, Nickelodeon, FremantleMedia, NBC Universal Studios, MGM Studios, Viacom, HBO and Netflix.

Find out the schedule and what to expect here:  MIPCOM 2018 (official website)

mipcom cannes 2018

MIPCOM 2018 will be hosted in Cannes from 15 – 18 October 2018

24. P’tits Cannes à You

For two weeks starting in late-October, P’tits Cannes à You is a family-friendly festival aimed at children 3 – 13 years of age offering puppet shows, cinema screenings, story telling, kids craft workshops and activities for free or low prices.

Timed to coincide with Toussaint school holidays, participating locations include Mediatheque Noailles, MJC La Raguin, Musée de la Castre and Theatre de la Licorne.

The P’tits Cannes à You programme will be released later in the year.

25. NRJ Music Awards 2018

Each November, the NRJ Music Awards are held at the Palais des Festivals and televised on TF1 French television.  The award categories include French and international musicians, and they are handed out by well known French personalities such as actresses, DJ’s or fashion designers.

nrj music awards cannes 2018

NRJ Music Awards Cannes 2018

In 2017, some of the attending musicians included Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, U2, Kygo, Amir, Soprano, Arcadian, David Guetta and Julien Doré.

The dates for the NRJ Music Awards 2018 are yet to be released publicly.

Thank you for reading my post.  As you can imagine this list is just a small sample of the events, activities and sightseeing that you can enjoy in Cannes in 2018.  Other reasons to come to Cannes include Heavent Meetings, Tax Free Cannes, MAPIC, ILTM Cannes, traditional festivals and markets.

If you enjoyed my blog post, please share it on social media. Thank you!

2017 In Review: 10 Lessons I’ve Learned This Year

I sure have learned a lot this year.

From content writing to press work and juggling family life, I thought I’d share some things I’ve experienced this year – the highs, the lows, the achievements and the challenges!

Here are ’10 Lessons I’ve Learned in 2017′:

  1. Freelancers can’t work solo

It’s fantastic to have the flexibility to work when and where I want, but I have found networking is vital to maintaining my sanity.

It can be a lonely time running your own businesses so it’s helpful having a support group.

Being part of a community of people who have different success levels and opinions is great for inspiration, motivation and bouncing around ideas.   I am part of various entrepreneur and business groups and I find it energising to be around people who are entrepreneurs or have a positive mindset.

2. Stay focused

I have a vision board in my work area to stay focused with my goals and fine tune what is urgent or important.

I use content tools to manage my workload and everyone who knows me knows I don’t go anywhere without my diary!

Some tools I use regularly to stay on focus and organised are Google Keep, Dropbox, Evernote and Slack.

Evernote is one of my favourite tools for staying organised and on track

3. Always keep learning

I follow a lot of business forums for tech, aviation, travel, yachting and luxury sectors so I can start updated with trends and forecasts.  I watch a lot of webcasts and try and complete one educational course of interest yearly and this has lead to work opportunities for me.

I’m still plugging away at learning Mandarin Chinese, it’s a slow process (much slower than learning French!) but I can reflect on when I first started learning French and how progress gets easier.

4. No magic formula for blog success

People often ask me if blogging is hard work or where I find the time to write posts.   If you aren’t passionate about what you do, you won’t find time to do it.

For my own blog, I always write about things I’m interested in, unusual insights for the French Riviera or useful tips and this moulds itself into posts that my audience enjoys and shares.

If you write about things you’re interested in, you will stay motivated

5. Celebrate your achievements

No one has overnight success.  I was really happy to hit the 250,000 visitors mark for my blog this year, but it made me realise that it was even more important to not use this milestone as an excuse to just sit on my coat tails and assume my blog would stay popular.   I had to take time to reflect on why I started it, where it’s at now and where I hope to head in the future. 

I believe that success shouldn’t be purely based on page views, traffic, income or social media followers.  

I earn an income from my blog however the best rewards come in the form of lovely comments or emails from readers who I have helped.

6. Allow yourself a break

The world is not going to fall apart if you take a break or holiday.   We had our first child-free holiday this year and it was great for recharging our batteries.

It’s important to find a balance between work, your family and taking care of yourself and you will come back more productive than ever.

Some days my working day is very traditional – 9am to 4pm – and some days it is chaotic and interrupted by the daily grind, school run, sickness, sport etc.

We all need time out from work, family and life

As a working mum, I have found another level of busy that I didn’t think was possible but for me personally I need to ensure I get enough sleep, exercise regularly and have a social life.

7. Accept that things may not go to plan

You can’t solve everything and you may have to accept that your ideas won’t work or people don’t want it to work.

I have had a few media projects this year where I had to wait on other people to finish their input for the project and it delayed my deadline.  This is reality.  Accept the flow of things, adapt if necessary and refocus.

8. Give to others when you can

I’ve become much better at saying ‘No’ to people.  Especially people who contact me for ‘free’ business advice or marketing tips and then they disappear off the face of the planet and you never hear from them again until the next time they need something.

Saying ‘No’ doesn’t mean you’re selfish, rude or unhelpful – it means you are placing a conscious decision to put your time into your family, paid work, your health or your hobbies first.

It’s perfectly wonderful to help other entrepreneurs, community groups or businesses when you can, but be wary of the leeches.  It’s not cynicism, but you can get burned by people you help and expend a lot of energy, time and patience without receiving a thank you.

Saying ‘No’ can be beneficial to your work/life balance

9. Don’t be afraid to take risks

The first step in starting a business is often the most difficult but you need to crawl before you can walk.

Big adventures start when you least expect them and I would never have thought 18 months ago that I would start up five new business projects in the past year.

If I had thought for one second that I wasn’t capable, someone else would have been there doing exactly what I intend to do.

10. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else

In this crazy age of social media, it is incredibly easy to be lead into a false sense of inadequacy about your worth as a business owner and/or parent, self-esteem, looks and work skills.

I see a lot of people daily who are seeking higher recognition from people who don’t matter.  I have unfollowed a lot of accounts on Instagram because they aren’t relevant to my lifestyle or career goals; people who just post selfies and have nothing else to contribute.

It is easy to think someone else has greater success in business or life than you, but don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

Don’t compare yourself with others

Here are some of my most popular posts that readers loved in 2017:

The Lavender Route

Top 15 viewpoints for amazing photos

The 70th Cannes Film Festival:  The Ultimate Guide

Secret French Riviera:  Hidden spots worth visiting

How to visit Monaco on a shoestring

7 reasons NOT to visit the Cote d’Azur in winter

The Lavender Route was another popular post this year

To end this blog post, I would like to wish all my readers a fantastic New Year and a huge thank you for supporting my blog.  Every one of your comments doesn’t go unnoticed.   Roll on 2018!

 

10 Top Tips for a Skiing Holiday in Courchevel   

For the international jet set, the winter months offer the perfect opportunity to escape to the glamorous alpine ski resorts for family time spent on the slopes. Few ski resorts are as luxurious as Courchevel – France’s winter equivalent of St Tropez with regards to style, scenery, and fun. We consulted with seasoned skiers to compile these 10 top tips for a ski trip to Courchevel.

So wrap up, don your skis, and take to the slopes like a local.

Tip No.1: Arrive in Style 

There’s only one way to arrive at your destination, and that’s by Courchevel helicopter transfer. Exceptionally quick, unsurpassably stylish and undeniably cool, arriving by Helicopter not only makes you feel like a VIP but it also provides views of a lifetime.

Tip No.2: Learn a New Skill

For those of us who are more comfortable with a little more stability than skis provide, it is possible to learn to ride a snowmobile with Courchevel Adventure, a winter sports company. Everything’s more fun with friends and this is certainly no exception; take a group and you’ll soon become pros at navigating the 700m course.

snowmobile courchevel

Learn a new skill – go snowmobiling in Courchevel (Image: Monacair)

Tip No. 3: Go Off-Piste

Go off-piste! And we don’t just mean when it comes to the slopes. There’s so much to experience in the resort of Courchevel that it’s genuinely just as magical a destination for non-skiers as it is for seasoned pros. If you’re a fan of luxury spas, then you’re in for a treat with the Aquamotion Centre. It offers sensational mountain views, heated pools, outdoor jacuzzis, water slides, and even a spa and wellness zone where you can enjoy a sauna and relaxing massage.

off piste courchevel

Go off piste in Courchevel! There are plenty of things to do when you’re not on the slopes (Image: Monacair)

Tip No. 4: Eat Well

Make sure you sample as much as you can of Courchevel’s sumptuous cuisine at some of the resort’s Michelin-starred restaurants. We recommend Pierre Gagnaire pour Les Airelles, and you’d struggle to come across a disappointing meal at this illustrious spot in the mountains.

top restaurants courchevel

Eat well in Courchevel at some amazing restaurants with spectacular views (Image: Monacair)

Tip No. 5: Get in the Alpine Spirit

You’ll be transported to another era when you ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the picturesque mountain village. The stunning white horses are a sight to behold in the snow.

Tip No. 6: Take Some Lessons 

Book taster ski sessions with an experienced teacher if you’re a first-timer. You’re sure to find out that you’re a natural and you’ll be independent in no time, but it’s always best to find your ski-legs first.

ski lessons courchevel

Take some ski lessons in Courchevel and you’ll be ready to enjoy the alpine ambience in no time! (Image: Monacair)

Tip No.7: Live it Up in the Resort’s Best Hotels

Spend your stay in the lap of luxury at the Grandes Alpes Private Hotel, Hotel Carlina or Hotel de la Loze and expect stunning views, world-class service and beautiful, Courchevel-cosiness.

courchevel accommodation

Courchevel’s hotels and luxury chalets are some of the finest in Europe (Image: Monacair)

Tip No. 8: Indulge Your Inner-Child

Families with children – and those without – will relish the opportunity to try their hands at sledging, a wickedly fun alternative to skiing that is highly addictive. Beware though, it’s not as gentle as it might sound – you can reach some astonishing speeds on these steep slopes.

Tip No. 9: Take to the Skies

It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s a truly incredible experience! You can go on a helicopter tour over Courchevel and the 3 Valleys. There’s just something about experiencing the landscape from the air that’s truly out of this world.

helicopter tour courchevel 3 vallees

A helicopter tour over Courchevel and the 3 Valleys is a wonderful way to see the mountains (Image: Monacair)

Tip No.10: Wear Sun Cream!

Many people fail to realise that the sun shines brightly on Europe’s highest peaks. The snow acts as a mirror and reflects the sun’s rays; a burnt nose is nothing to sniff at, so take care of your skin and enjoy your holiday!

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post in partnership with Relevance.

 

Are French Riviera tourism operators ready for China’s National Week?

Are French Riviera’s travel and tourism operators ready for China’s National Week?   I’m dubious to say ‘Yes’ as I believe a high proportion of travel-related businesses here are completely oblivious to targeted marketing for one of the world’s largest holiday periods and tourism markets.

What is National Week?

Chinese National Day is celebrated on 1st October each year to celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China.  National Week or Golden Week is the holiday period that follows National Day – this year, it runs from 1st October to 8th October 2017.  Golden Week is the longest public holiday in China aside from Chinese New Year.

Why should France care about China’s National Week?

Traditionally, France has ranked within the top 2 overseas destinations for Chinese visitors however it is increasingly facing tough competition from other European destinations.  Switzerland has made huge efforts to attract Chinese tourists, as has Croatia with Game of Thrones-themed tours.

Director Jiang Yiyi of the International Tourism Research Institute with the China Tourism Academy says, “Chinese tourists no longer only select traditional hot journey places such as Thailand, the United States and Japan to spend their holidays. Countries such as Kenya, Morocco, New Zealand and Peru have all become a new attraction.”

France needs to adapt their tourism model and refresh their marketing to go beyond standard tour product by assessing the entire tourist journey from availability and frequency of flights from Chinese cities to French cities to including Chinese-specific signage at key tourist areas.

Notably, one of the biggest lags in tourism development for Chinese visitors is translation of French websites.  To compare, Barcelona Tourism has their main website resources available in 13 languages; Nice Tourism’s website is 7 languages including Chinese – something to think about for French businesses looking to grow their Chinese client base.

Chinese tourists visiting the French Riviera

Locally, companies are realising the potential of Chinese tourism on the French Riviera.

Monte-Carlo SBM has hosted high-profile events for Chinese companies adapting their service offering for their clients, including Chinese TV channels and meal options.  Their 4 hotels –  Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort and the Monte-Carlo Beach have obtained the Silver Certification, a hospitality standard for outbound Chinese travelers, awarded by ‘Welcome Chinese’.

‘Welcome Chinese’ is the only officially recognized by Chinese Authorities certified travel service standard and travel platform, aimed at upgrading the services dedicated to Chinese travellers.

Monaco has promoted the Principality as an add-on travel experience for National Week holidays, appealing to Chinese visitors to Monaco Yacht Show to stay and discover the Principality and surrounding regions.

Golden Week – French Riviera

French Riviera travel and tourism businesses need to prepare and strategise for this important tourism market – over the 8-day Golden Week holiday period, 650 million Chinese will travel which is an incredible number logistically and of that number, 6 million will travel abroad.  While they won’t all be heading to the famous Côte d’Azur coastline, a large number have been researching their travel options for European highlights and booked already.

The chance to create travel product and packages for a target group (known as mid to high spenders) is untapped for many businesses.  Shanghai-based Ctrip.com International, a Nasdaq-listed travel agency said that a quarter of their Ctrip customers chose to travel between 7 and 10 days, up 140 % year-on-year.   As well, shopping ranks highly as an activity during this time.

Immersive culture experiences, adventure activities and enticing landscapes appeal to Chinese visitors and as it is shoulder season here with comfortable temperatures and clear weather, the potential for opportunity is high.

Stats:  Ctrip.com, UNWTO