Train information update for the Côte d’Azur

As part of the COVID-19 pandemic, SNCF may have to adapt its train schedules from Monday, March 16, 2020.

Information on the next day’s trains is available every day at 5 p.m on all of their information channels:

  • Via the website TER SUD Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
  • On the ‘SNCF Assistant’ app
  • For your TER journeys in the region, phone TER on 0800 11 40 23 (Free call: Monday to Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m; service in French language)
  • For your other trips including outside the region: 0805 90 36 35 (Free call from a landline; service in French language)
  • On the Twitter account @TERSUD_SNCF (Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday and public holidays from 12 noon to 8 p.m.)

Ticket Changes / Postponements / Refunds

If you want to exchange your tickets or postpone your trip due to the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, SNCF is allowing passengers to take advantage of free exchange and reimbursement costs for all TGV INOUI, Intercités, OUIGO and TER trains in correspondence running until April 30.

Your request for a free exchange or refund can be made:

  • Up until the departure of your INOUI and Intercités TGV train
  • Until 1h30 before the departure of your OUIGO

Passengers can carry out these procedures on all the usual sales channels (including the website oui.sncf and SNCF approved online agencies).

Reinforced cleaning and sanitation measures for all trains 

If you would like to find out the measures that are taken for cleaning of the trains, please refer here (in French): https://www.sncf.com/fr/offres-voyageurs/voyager-en-train/coronavirus-nos-mesures-exceptionnelles

I’m expecting more transportation updates in the near future so will update any information as much as I can.

Top 4 : The Best February Festivals On The French Riviera

There are plenty of reasons a festival might make your bucket list, however when you have children you often need to compromise with schedules, facilities and transport.

One of the best ways for kids to experience arts, music and culture is to join in on the festival atmosphere at local events.

From big-hitting carnivals to small traditional celebrations, the French Riviera has plenty of festivals for all ages and attention spans!   Here’s my pick of the Top 4 family-friendly festivals happening during February on the French Riviera.

  1. Nice Carnival  :  15 February – 29 February 2020

One of the world’s biggest carnivals, the 2020 theme for this annual event is ‘King of Fashion (Roi de la Mode)’.  Fabulous flower battles, afternoon and night time parades with floats, lights, costumed actors and animations ensure a family-friendly event with plenty of entertainment.

The Bataille des Fleurs takes place at the same location as the main parades; at Place Massena and around Jardin Albert 1er gardens.

The parades are spectacular, with floats taking hundreds of hours of work to create.  Parades last around 1.5 hours.

My top tips: 

To get access to your seats, be sure to use the correct entrance number which is shown on your ticket or else you will be diverted elsewhere.

Before you go to Nice, check the road restrictions on the official website because there are many roads closed 3 hours prior to the parades as well as restrictions on parking zones.  You can find the information under ‘Practical Information – Access, Transport and Parking’ on the Nice Carnival website.  Some parking zones including Port Lympia and Nice Etoile have a special parking offer where you pay just €5 for 5 hours parking.

Don’t forget if you dress in fancy dress, you get FREE standing entry in Zones A and B for the Carnival Parades and Parade of Lights.   Persons with disabilities also get FREE entry for standing Zone B for the Flower Parades, Carnival Parades and Parade of Lights.

Children aged 0-10 get FREE entry in Zone B (Standing around Jardin Albert 1er) for the Carnival Parades and Parade of Lights which is excellent for families to be able to enjoy the festivities!

For the official carnival programme, go here:  Nice Carnival 2020 

Watch a video below of one of last year’s Corso carnivalesque illuminé below (courtesy of Nice Côte d’Azur Tourism) showing what to expect during this 2-week party:

2. Fête du Citron : 15 February – 03 March 2020

The 87th edition of Menton’s wonderful Fête du Citron kicks off the same day as the opening of Nice Carnival, running from 15th February to 3rd March 2020.

It’s a unique festival attracting around 200,000 visitors annually who visit to see around 140 tons of citrus fruit in sculptures and parade floats.

We particularly love seeing the large-scale citrus sculptures in the Jardins Biovès which are 5-10 metres in height and engineered from wire framing and thousands of oranges and lemons.  It’s a good outing for families as the exhibition zone isn’t too big, nor do you have to wait too long for the action to start.  The gardens are open during the day, and there is evening admission when the sculptures are illuminated with sound.

Adjacent to the gardens is the Palais de l’Europe which has an artisan market selling things such as limoncello or Provençal linen decorated with lemons, alongside an orchid display.

The parades include street performers, dancers, confetti and bands with the night time parades having lanterns or fireworks as well.

This year the theme is ‘Les Fêtes du Monde’.

My top tips:

Taking the train is a good option because the Jardins Biovès and the parade circuit is about 5 minutes walk from the main train station.  Menton has 2 train stations so you need to get off at Gare de Menton and NOT Menton Garavan station.

If you drive, beware that streets in and near the festival are closed to traffic and if you are going to the Sunday Golden Fruits parades to arrive before midday.  There are 3 carparks available to use on Sundays (Golden Fruits parade days) – they are located near the Italian border (Rondelli Stadium), at the Intermarché car park near the Vallée du Carei motorway exit and the Val d’Anaud Stadium.  These carparks are free and shuttle buses run to/from the festival zones. Check the shuttle information here:  Fête du Citron shuttle buses

Wheelchair users can access the garden display, as well there is a designated viewing area for the parades at Place Saint Roch which is the eastern end of the parade route.  If you have restricted mobility and want to access the beach, go opposite the Belle Époque Hotel Royal Westminster – the entire seafront of Promenade du Soleil is wheelchair accessible.

Visit the official Lemon Festival website here:  Fête du Citron 2020

If you have never visited the Fête du Citron before, you may be wondering what happens to the incredible amount of fruit that is used!  A lot of it is thrown away due to rot or composted after the festival, however once the main sculptures are disassembled the remaining fruit is sold publicly.  You can buy bags of oranges and lemons for less than €1 – there is no limit.

You can see some of my photos from previous festivals below:

Things to see and do in Menton

Menton is a lovely destination to visit year round with a backdrop of mountains, an Italianate Old Town and a promenade stretching to Cap Martin.

Other things to do when you’re in Menton include discovering the Musée Jean Cocteau, visiting the churches Basilique Saint Michel and Chapelle des Pénitents-Blancs, exploring the gardens such as Serre de la Madonne or Jardin Fontana Rosa and taking in the panoramic view from the Cimetière du Vieux Château, high above Menton.

If you want to do a day trip while you’re visiting Menton, you can head over the border to the Italian towns of Ventimiglia or Sanremo that have great food markets, or read more on Christie from Scribbles and Smiles blog and add Sainte-Agnès to your itinerary.

Sainte-Agnès is off the beaten track but worth visiting (photo: menton.fr)

3. Fête du Mimosa : 19 February – 26 February 2020

The mimosa is already flowering and is a welcome end to winter days.  The annual Fête du Mimosa is held in the streets of Mandelieu-La Napoule where the golden bloom is celebrated with flower battles, music and activities.

For more information about the Mimosa Festival programme and tickets, visit the Office de Tourism website here:  Fête du Mimosa 2020

Fête du Mimosa in Mandelieu-La-Napoule (pic: Mondoramas)

As well as the main festival in Mandelieu-La Napoule, other towns host mimosa festivities and parades including Pegomas, St Maxime and Tanneron.

Route du Mimosa walking trails

You can also do a variety of walking trails if you want to see mimosa forests – the best family-friendly trails we’ve found are between Mandelieu-Tanneron-Auribeau-Pégomas.

If you start at Mandelieu, take Boulevard Paul Tarascon, then Boulevard des Termes, heading towards Tanneron on the Route de Tanneron (D92).  After driving about 10 minutes from Mandelieu, you reach the Circuit du Grand Duc and there is an easy walking trail with great views of the hills covered in mimosa.  This trail is super popular at weekends and there is limited carparking, so go early!  Here is the map:  Circuit du Grand Duc.

For other mimosa trail options, refer to ‘La Route du Mimosa’ for more information.

4. Festival International des Jeux : 21 February – 23 February 2020

A fun festival for families with all types of activities, games and toys to try out.  You can find everything from classic and contemporary board games, Cosplay, video games, escape games, simulators, toys, sci-fi and fantasy games, wooden games, models, trading cards and more.

Entrance is free, however they also have a payable VIP option where you get fast access entry and a free game.

My top tips: 

There are a few restrictions for this festival for items that you can and can’t take into the venue.  For example, you can’t take your own food into the Palais, unless it’s vacuum sealed sandwiches/crisps etc and a plastic water bottle up to 50cl.  There are food outlets inside the Palais; prices are OK for an event venue.

You also can’t take baby prams or large backpacks inside; last year there was a luggage check facility to leave these items and it cost €2. I couldn’t find any more information on their website if the luggage facility is chargeable this year?

Find out the full programme and list of exhibitors here:  Festival International des Jeux

Note:  Last year, getting into the Palais was a bit of a mission as the entrance queues were long and there was only one person on the first security bag check (!!).  I hope they rectify this for this year, because there were lots of families with small children who waited a long time.  Regardless, the festival is worth checking out over the 3 days that it takes place.

Have you been to any of these festivals?  Which one is your favourite?  Like or comment on this post. 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! We’re closed over Christmas and New Year

I will be in the UK for Christmas and New Year, therefore Access Riviera will be quiet until early January.

One thing I’ve learned through blogging is that it is OK to step away from time to time and reenergise your mind and body.  In the beginning, I was learning new things and trying to express my thoughts here – now, I can do things in my own time and not feel obligated to post every week because I have a family and other projects on the go.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned this year running Access Riviera:

  1. That the message matters more than the medium.  This year, there’s been a pull towards jumping onto the latest tools and trendy social media such as TikTok, but I’ve learned to gravitate to what works best – for Access Riviera’s audience that is maintaining a presence via my subscriber list, on Facebook and Twitter.
  2. Good images and good storytelling still rule.
  3. Blog analytics are so valuable for defining what posts are doing well (and also what content is a complete flop) so I can create more of those winning posts.
  4. That there is no trickery in running a top blog.  This year, I’ve had a big part of my time taken by client projects, so regular posts onto my blog have been neglected and this has definitely reflected in the drop of visitors to my blog.  Blogging isn’t ‘easy’ because it demands consistency and fresh content.
  5. That whatever I blog about can still be relevant months and years later.

Thank you for all your support this year – Merry Christmas and best wishes!

Ultimately, Access Riviera is part of my life.  It grew from a hobby to a business, and I’ll continue to enjoy the experience of it.

I have some incredible client and personal projects launching in 2020, so I hope this little community I’ve built through my blog writing sticks around!

What were my most popular blog posts in 2019?

My 5 most popular blog posts by views this year are below – interestingly, two were published this year, two were from 2017 and one I wrote way back in 2014 proving that old content can still do well! :

35 Family-friendly Things To See And Do For Christmas 2019 On The Côte d’Azur

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

Secret French Riviera:  Hidden Spots Worth Visiting 

7 Reasons Not To Visit The Côte d’Azur In Winter

And my most popular blog post?  A guide about car parts and mechanical terms in French !  I’m not sure why people love this as a reference source, but it’s very popular in searches and 5 years after going live this is still my highly-visited post each year by thousands of views.  Take a look here:  Car Parts & Mechanical Terms in French 

Thank you to all my followers who have liked, commented or shared my posts throughout the year – I see every comment and your support is greatly appreciated!

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and a great start to the New Year.

See you in 2020!

35 Family-friendly Ideas : Christmas Holidays 2019 on the French Riviera

The French Riviera is the ideal destination to soak up the holiday season with everything happening including Christmas markets dressed in their finest decorations and lights, food festivals and winter activities.

There’s plenty for families to see and do, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune – here are 35 of my best suggestions to get into the festive spirit on the French Riviera:

Admire the illuminated light shows

As well as the Christmas markets with beautiful light garlands and displays, there are a few worthy mentions for places to go to see spectacular lights at night during these Christmas school holidays.

Saint-Laurent du Var projected video show

On Wednesday 18 December, a free sound and light show will be projected at 6.30pm on the facade of the Hôtel de Ville in Saint-Laurent du Var.   At 6.45pm, the Enchanted Forest displays will be opened along with mulled wine and hot chocolate offered by the municipality.

(photo: Recreanice)

Nice, baie des lumières

Nice, baie des lumières is being hosted at Parc Phoenix in Nice until 23 February 2020.  It comprises of around 550 illuminated Chinese lanterns, including a Great Wall, pandas and dragons.  The festival also includes kung fu demonstrations, tea ceremonies and traditional dance performances.

See Chinese lanterns at the ‘Nice, baie des lumières’ display at Parc Phoenix until February 2020 (photos: baiedeslumieres on Instagram)

Note:  Nice, baie des lumières displays are only on from Wednesday to Sunday (closed Monday and Tuesdays).  It is open every day during Christmas school holidays, including Christmas Day and New Years Day.

In my opinion, I think €17 for adults and €12 for children (5-17 yrs) is quite pricey for a static festival, especially when I’ve experienced free Chinese lantern festivals overseas, however it’s worth visiting as it’s not something that happens regularly in this region and kids can get a glimpse into another culture.  My top tips are to buy a Family Pass, or visit on Wednesday or Thursday when admission is at a reduced price.

More information about Nice, baie des lumières is here: https://www.baiedeslumieres.com/index_en.html . There is also a similar Chinese lantern festival being hosted in Marseille until 19 January 2020, details are at this link for Les Lumières Légendaires de Chine.

Take advantage of the great outdoors

The Côte d’Azur is blessed with mild weather year-round, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get outdoors.  Even if the temperature is a bit cooler, you will still experience mostly blue skies and be able to soak up the beauty of nature.

Mountain life

Head to the mountains where you’ll find over 30 ski resorts just a few hours drive from the coast, catering for everyone from novices to expert.  Most ski resorts have rental shops where you can hire skis, helmets, snowboards, boots or toboggans/sleds.

If you don’t have a toboggan/sled, you can hire one for around €10.

There are also group or private ski lessons available, as well as the addition of kids clubs so you can have qualified carers mind your little ones while you get in a few runs and a post-ski vin chaud.

Ventes flash:  Don’t miss the opportunity for discounted adult ski passes for Auron and Isola 2000 – look for the flash sales online on Tuesday nights at 8pm where you can buy an adult ski pass for 50% off.  Stock is limited and basically runs until the last one sells.  Be ready to buy one!  Go here for the flash pass links:  Auron and Isola 2000 Flash Sales

100% Neige ski buses:  Ski buses run to and from Nice to selected mountain resorts during winter season.

I’ve previously used them and they are great if you want to avoid driving winding roads or for a half-day trip to the mountain without worrying about parking, petrol costs etc.  The downside is that the ski buses times don’t really sync if you have group ski lessons booked (morning and afternoon sessions), but you can always reserve a private lesson at a time that suits you best.

The 100% Neige ski buses serve :

  • La Colmiane, with a navette to Boréon : Bus #90; was previously known as bus number 730; daily service until the close of the ski season.
  • Auron, with a navette to Roubion :  Bus #91; was previously number 740; daily service until 19 April 2020.
  • Isola 2000 : Bus #92; was previously number 750; daily service until the close of the season.
  • Valberg :  Bus 770; daily service until 9 March 2020.

The cost for the ski buses is €6 oneway per person with pre-booking, €12 return.  (Note: There are also regular bus lines that service the mountain towns).

The best stop to get on the ski buses in Nice is right outside the Nice Ville train station, opposite the post office; the name of the bus stop is ‘Poste Thiers – SNCF’.  You must book online and you are sent an e-ticket to print and give the bus driver.

For ski buses to La Colmiane, Auron, Isola 2000, book online at www.lignesazur.com

For ski buses to Valberg, book online at zou.maregionsud.fr

The 100% Neige ski bus timetables are here: Valberg ski bus and Bus 100% Neige – Auron, Isola 2000, La Colmiane

Other attractions in the mountains include Parc Alpha Loup, Vesubia Mountain Park and Via Ferrata at Lantosque.

If you’re visiting the ski resorts during Christmas 2019 school holidays, there’s loads of activities and events happening such as torchlight mountain descents (24th and 27th December and 3 January in Valberg), Santa arriving by various modes of transport including skis, husky dog sled or zipline, fireworks displays, free concerts and cinema screenings such as Frozen 2 which will be screened in Auron, Valberg and Valdeblore.

(photo: Auron)

Family-friendly walking trails

Winter is a fantastic time to experience many of the region’s walking trails, without the crowds from summer.  Three family-friendly walks are:

Cap d’Antibes loop walk : nice coastal scenery, toddler age will need supervision as there are some steep sections and uneven surfaces, the pathway has some stairs so it’s not suitable for prams/baby strollers.  The full walk from Plage Garoupe past Villa Eilenroc is around 1.25-1.5 hours; the mini loop walk from the side track opposite Château de la Croe takes about 25 minutes and is ideal for families with small children.

The Cap d’Antibes coastal walk, also know as the Sentier Littoral, is a scenic coastal pathway for families to discover.

Villeneuve Loubet seafront : flat seafront walkway from Marina Baie des Anges towards Cagnes sur Mer with cafeterias along the way, plenty of carparking at Marina Baie des Anges and accessible toilets.

There is plenty of carparking at Marina Baie des Anges if you want to walk along the seafront at Villeneuve Loubet towards Cagnes sur Mer.

Parc du Paradou between Golfe Juan and Cannes : Has limited carparking but lots of great views across the sea, wear comfortable footwear as the path can be rocky in places, take a picnic as there’s no food outlets nearby, lots of trees and chances to see birds and other wildlife. Great location for dog walking too! For directions, click here:  Parc du Paradou map

Parc du Paradou is never crowded and offers a local nature walk with views of trees and the sea.

Cycle trails

Cycling is a wonderful activity where all the family can participate.  The variety of cycling routes on the Côte d’Azur is excellent, ranging from flat coastal pathways to hilly climbs for more experienced cyclists. Interest in cycling is steady year-round with events such as Nice Ironman and Tour de France 2020 helping boost the profile of cycling.

Expert cyclists can take on hill climbs such as Col de Vence and Col de la Madone, but in general family-friendly cycle options are most accessible near to the coast.

Families can avoid traffic by using the region’s coastal cycle paths – the routes are usually paved, smooth and pot-hole free!  They are also near to restaurants, snack kiosks or picnic areas so you don’t have to cycle too far if you have small children.

Here’s three fun places to go cycling en famille:

Cagnes sur Mer : The seafront has a marked cycleway, also the Jardin de la Villette playground at 7 Maréchal Juin in the centre of Cagnes sur Mer has a mini roadway marked out so younger cyclists can practise their riding or play on their scooters in a fenced, safe environment.

The playground at Jardin de la Villette in Cagnes sur Mer has a separate mini road zone so kids can ride in safety.

Nice : A cycle journey on the French Riviera can’t be done without discovering Nice by bike!  Did you know that Nice has over 125km of cycleway paths and dedicated parking for anyone on 2 wheels?   Hire a Vélo Bleu bike, or take your own.

Casual cyclists can pedal along the Promenade des Anglais enjoying the view across the turquoise sea, while serious cyclists may opt to stop in at Café du Cycliste at Nice Port which retails cycle gear, rents bikes and serves pedal-worthy coffee.

Café du Cycliste in Nice

Sanremo:  OK, not exactly the French Riviera I know, however the Pista Ciclabile / Ponente Ligure cycle path is worth mentioning if you fancy a day trip just over the border in Italy.  The cycleway follows an old railway line and covers 24 kilometres from San Lorenzo al Mare to Sanremo (Ospedaletti).  You can stop and start wherever you like!

Along the way, the route is a mix of quality paved coastal path and tunnels with plenty of locations to rent bikes, stop at beaches, sit on benches to admire the view and grab a drink at pretty Italian villages.  Highly recommended.  For the route map and more information, you can click on this link to Pista Ciclabile.

(images: viagginbici and Pista Ciclabile)

Get creative

School holidays are a great time to get creative with Christmas-themed craft workshops, fun events and kids cooking classes.

Kids cooking classes

Until Saturday 21 December, Jacobs Création in Nice is running kids patissier classes.  Classes from 18 December onwards include making reindeer popcakes, emoji cookies, bûche de Noel and a special themed workshop on 21 December based on Disney’s Frozen with cooking and craft sessions. Reserve a place via Jacobs Création.

Jacobs Création in Nice is hosting kids cooking classes over Christmas school holidays (photo: Jacobs Création)

Christmas craft workshop

On Sunday 22 December, the Médiathèque in Vence is hosting a Christmas craft workshop from 10am to 4pm with origami, card making and other activities.  Reserve a place by telephone:  04 93 58 02 12

The Médiathèque in Vence is holding a Christmas craft workshop

BrickLive Monaco / BrickLive Christmas

Last year, we had a fantastic day at the BrickLive Monaco event at the Grimaldi Forum where the kids got to play in different Lego®-style zones making their own creations out of mini bricks for Star Wars, Friends, animals, cities and more.

Last year’s BrickLive Monaco was awesome – I wonder what this year’s event will be like?

The good news is that BrickLive Monaco is returning!   Head along to the Grimaldi Forum from 21 December 2019 to 5 January 2020 for more interactive, hands-on construction.   Don’t miss the special displays featuring ocean creatures and a life-size Lego® version of Felipe Massa’s Formula E car. 

Watch the promo video here:  https://tv.grimaldiforum.com/video-413-bricklive-2019-2020#embed270

My tip is to ask for the special combination ticket deal at Grimaldi Forum where you can get entry to BrickLive Monaco AND the Monaco Oceanarium for great prices.

More info about BrickLive Monaco is here: https://www.grimaldiforum.com/fr/agenda-manifestations-monaco/bricklive-monaco#.XfZxpG5FzIV

Bricklive Monaco will have a life-size replica of Felipe Massa’s Formula E car made entirely of Lego. (image: Grimaldi Forum)

Visit the French Riviera Christmas markets

I love taking the kids to the Christmas markets on the Côte d’Azur.  Each one is different and has anything on offer from theme park rides, music, face painting and magic shows, artisan stalls, kids craft workshops, Santa visits and food outlets selling things such as pretzels, gingerbread, hot chocolate, vin chaud or cookies.

French Riviera Christmas markets have food chalets, entertainment and a family-friendly atmosphere.

Where do you take your kids for ice skating?  Head to the Christmas markets at Antibes, Auron, Cannes, Golfe Juan (at Theatre de la Mer), Grasse, Monaco, Mougins, Nice and Saint-Martin-Vesubie which all have pop-up ice skating rinks for school holidays.

Looking for something a bit different? Here’s 6 more ideas:

  • Watch the free show ‘Moscow Circus on Ice’ at Monaco Christmas Market on Saturday 21 December from 5.30pm-8.30pm.
  • See Santa water skiing in Juan les Pins at 10.30am on Sunday 22 December.
  • Visit the Enchanted Forest at Parc Layet during Saint-Laurent du Var’s Christmas market.
  • Get up close to farm animals at the mini farm experiences during school holidays at Pinède Gould in Juan les Pins, Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat and Théoule sur Mer.
  • Take a free zipline ride on Christmas Eve from 2.30pm-5pm – the zipline goes from the second floor at the Mairie in Saint-Martin-Vesubie!
  • Check out the traditional santon and crèche displays at Roquebrune Village or Lucéram over the festive period.

Experience a seasonal food festival

Whether you join in on local festivities such as the Fête de la Buche de Noel tradition that’s hosted by the Commune de Safranier in Antibes each December, or head to a truffle market, you’re sure to find something to tempt your tastebuds.

Top family-friendly picks over the holiday season are breakfast with Santa at the Hard Rock Café Nice on Saturday 21 December, the truffle market at Saint-Paul de Vence on Sunday 22 December complete with live music and truffling dogs, or head a little bit further to Aix-en-Provence for the ‘Market of 13 Desserts‘ from 17 to 24 December to sample goodies that are traditionally enjoyed at Christmas time.

Treize desserts de Noël (photo © REY Jerome / Maxppp)

Highly recommended is a visit to the southern France truffle markets that are open until March – Aups is held on Thursday morning, Carpentras is Friday morning and Richerenches is Saturday morning.  Visit https://www.richerenches.fr/ for more information.

Thanks for reading my post.  Please share it on social media and have a safe and enjoyable festive season!  

More information : Grève / Strikes today! Thursday 5th December

Life in France means you need to be prepared for regular grève (strike) action.  Most often, this affects transport, commerce and schools.

There is a strike happening today, Thursday 5th December.

SNCF has announced that only one in 10 trains on the TGV route will operate, 55% of strikers are expected among primary school teachers and air traffic will also be affected.

See below for current information about schedule changes and service disruptions on the French Riviera. This is current as at 7am today; it’s not an exhaustive list but all I can find:

Buses

Envibus : No urban buses will circulate today.

Lignes d’Azur (Nice region):  

  • Lines under normal service:
  • * 22, 44, 59, 65, 67, 68, 69, 73, 77, 78, 85, 86, 88, 90, 91, 92, 93, 706, Express Lines 1 and 2, CADAM North , School K, T School Gilette, School of Cap d’Ail, School Lines 510a, 510b, 510c, 510d, Lines C4, C6, C7, C8, C10 and High Country.

 

  • Lines with no service today:  
  • Tram lines L1, L2, and L3 : the lines will not work from the beginning to the end of the service.
  • The bus lines 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 56, 57, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 66, 70, 71, 72, 75, 76, 79, 80, 82, 83, 84, 87, express line 3, CADAM (East and Semi Direct) will not flow from the beginning to the end of the service.
  • School lines : A, C, E, F, L, M, P, R, S, V, W, School School of the Castle, 51C, 51D, 75D, School Saint Laurent du Var SLV1 to SVL5, School Cagnes-sur -G, H, I, O, Q, T / Y will not flow from the beginning to the end of the service .
  • Line Charts C1, C2, C3, C5 and C9 will not flow from the beginning to the end of the service .
  • The public transport service for people with reduced mobility, Mobil’Azur, will not work from the beginning to the end of the service.

In addition, the Lignes d’Azur commercial agencies will be closed. The presence of the Infobus planned in the schedule will not take place.

All PARCAZUR (P + R) will also be closed.

Flights

The DGAC (French Civil Aviation Authority) has requested airlines to reduce their flight program to and from Paris CDG, Paris Orly, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux airports for 5 December 2019.   This will also affect Nice Côte d’Azur Airport because of the national disruption.

Nice Côte d’Azur Airport

I always get enquiries on strike days, because Nice Côte d’Azur Airport is terrible at giving information about the status of what’s happening at the airport.  Their Twitter account is usually always late for announcements – currently they have not put anything up on Twitter about a strike today – and the ‘News’ feed on their website is always behind (latest news is dated 29 November…..)

After years of telling them the importance of up-to-date information, one of France’s busiest airports finally has a home page notification on their website for passengers with basic strike information. Hooray!   Note: if you search for ‘grève’ on their website, you will not find anything!

Today, 20% of arriving and departing flights for Nice will be cancelled.  The best I can suggest is to contact your airline directly, then look at the live flight information on a flight tracker or the airport’s website:   https://en.nice.aeroport.fr/Passengers/FLIGHT-INFO/Live-flight-information

Air France:

Air France’s flight schedule is up to date. On 5 December they expect to operate:
– all long-haul flights
– 85% of their medium-haul flights
– Almost 70% of their domestic flights

Last-minute delays and cancelations cannot be excluded.

Disruptions are also possible for 6 and 7 December, and their flight schedules will be adjusted the day before, following DGAC recommendations.

To get updates on your Air France flight, go to http://www.airfrance.com – Informations – Infos vols & aéroports – Tous les Horaires – Actualisation des vols en temps reel.

Easyjet:

Easyjet has cancelled 200+ domestic and medium-haul flights today.   To get updates on your flight, go to www.easyjet.com/fr/flight-tracker.

(photo: LP/Guy Gios)

Ryanair:

There have been a number of a cancellations today and Ryanair have advised that they have sent text messages or emails to all affected passengers.

Volotea:

There are a number of cancellations and reschedules from 5 to 7 December, but it seems only a few flights to and from Nice are affected.  Here is the list of cancelled/rescheduled Volotea flights:   https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=fr&sp=nmt4&u=https://www.volotea.com/en/information/5th-7th-december-affected-flights-by-the-french-national-strike/&xid=17259,15700021,15700186,15700190,15700256,15700259,15700262,15700265,15700271,15700283&usg=ALkJrhj1z9ZkEx-BwVWhRph3LATqb8jHXQ

Vueling:

Vueling has cancelled a number of flights today, but it affects Paris airports only.  See the list here:   https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=fr&sp=nmt4&u=http://vuelingnews.com/%3Flang%3Dfr&xid=17259,15700021,15700186,15700190,15700256,15700259,15700262,15700265,15700271,15700283&usg=ALkJrhjDht89UYykWQPqKScx6GomqmjsXQ

Schools

Many schools on the French Riviera will be closed entirely, or have cantine and accueil reception unavailable.

Here is the updated list by town, thanks to Nice Matin: https://www.nicematin.com/greve-mouvements-sociaux/ecoles-cantines-creches-le-point-ville-par-ville-sur-les-perturbations-pendant-la-greve-dans-les-alpes-maritimes-437054?fbclid=IwAR3wWNI9_acmfEHZq4PMhOLeAGNj5lHuzJtVkDLFYYy5AXVPSq4UncE_DGI

Trains

Here is the updated train schedule for trains between Les Arcs and Ventimiglia. This includes the trains stopping in Cannes, Golfe Juan, Juan les Pins, Antibes, Cagnes sur Mer, Nice, Monaco, Menton.

Today’s TER SNCF timetable (PDF format):   https://cdn.ter.sncf.com/medias/PDF/sud_provence_alpes_cote_d_azur/Affiche%20grève%20MR08%20LES%20ARCS%20-%20CANNES%20-%20NICE%20-%20VINTIMILLE%20du%2005%2012%202019_tcm65-182164_tcm65-234839.pdf

Did you know?

Interestingly, it seems France ranks highest in the number of days of strike action per year, according to this graph from Statista.  For all the lost days of productivity, the economic effects are great.

France is the world champion of strike action (graph: Statista)

 

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

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

top french travel blog

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

How did I end up on this Top 100 list?

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

The blogs are ranked based on the following criteria:

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

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

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More in store for 2019

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

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

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

Promenade Le Corbusier

Top 15 French Riviera viewpoints

Ventimiglia : Day trip from France

Why visit Villefranche-sur-Mer

Villa Nellcote : A palatial mansion with a lengthy past

Heritage trail in Juan les Pins

Thank you for your support and following Access Riviera!

 

 

 

350K visitors! THANK YOU!

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

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

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

travel french riviera

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

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

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

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

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

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

THANK YOU!

 

5 cool ideas for Christmas holidays on the French Riviera

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

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

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

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

1. Get creative at BRICKLIVE Monaco

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

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

bricklive monaco

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

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

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

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

Buy tickets hereTickets for Bricklive Monaco

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

2. Visit the French Riviera Christmas Markets

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

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

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

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

3. See the nativity crèches in Lucéram

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

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

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

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

creches luceram

Circuit des Creches in Lucéram (image: Simone Laurent)

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

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

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

4. Chill out in the mountains

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

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

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

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

valberg christmas

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

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

noel auron

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

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

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

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

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

7pm      Jumanji  (suitable for older kids)

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

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

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

5. Soar sky high over Monaco

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

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

monaco helicopter tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you and have a Merry Christmas!

 

Prince’s Day, Pampering and Shopping discounts : Local’s guide to upcoming events

Autumn and winter are traditionally viewed as ‘quiet’ seasons for tourism, however the Côte d’Azur has a number of activities and events which a visiting tourist may not be particularly aware of.

The big festivals such as Nice Carnival, Fête du Citron and Fête du Mimosa get a lot of coverage, however there are a few events and activities happening in the near future worth considering.

Fête Nationale Monégasque :  19 November 2018

Many people are familiar with Bastille Day (Fête Nationale) in France held on July 14 each year, however did you know that Monaco also celebrates their own national day?

fete nationale monégasque

Fête National Monégasque 2018 (image: Monaco Mairie)

Fête Nationale Monégasque is held on November 19 each year and is an important date in Monaco, known as ‘Prince’s Day’ by locals with celebrations including a Te Deum at Cathedrale Notre-Dame, concerts, fireworks and games.

Many tourists aren’t aware but the day is significant for awarding national honours, whereby individuals are recognised with medals for their services to the State and/or Prince.  The 2 awards of the highest distinction are the Order of St Charles (which is the equivalent of the Legion d’honneur in France) and the Order of Grimaldi.

The Cravate Commandeur Ordre de Grimaldi is a high-ranking medal awarded on Monaco’s national day (image:  Traditions Monaco)

The programme for Fête Nationale Monégasque 2018 is:

Sunday 18 November   8.15pm  Free public fireworks display at Port Hercules

Monday 19 November   Military parade at the Palace Square from 11.30am, mass at the Cathedrale and balcony appearance at the Palace from the Royal Family.

You can follow the day’s progression live from 9.25am on Monday 19 November via Monaco Info (local Monaco television), or on Radio Monaco live from the Palace from 10am-1pm.

Top Tips:  Due to the Monaco National Holiday, all Monaco buses with CAM and the Bateau Bus will be free for the day.  There will be a bus leaving at 9.15am from Saint Roman and the Jardin Exotique for Monaco-Ville, returning at 12.45pm.   No other vehicles will have access to Monaco-Ville, except delivery vehicles for the Palace and authorised vehicles with badges.

Happy Spa Week : 19 to 25 November 2018 

Happy Spa Week is a promotion running from 19 to 25 November that offers special deals at 8 locations with spas, health or wellness facilities.

The aim is to encourage winter visitors to take advantage of mild weather on the Côte d’Azur and experience some of the region’s best wellness offers.  Each establishment will offer 2 deals – a B&B offer for 2 people with spa/beauty packages, and a day offer.  Alongside the spa packages, Côte d’Azur Golfs will have discounted green fees at regional golf courses.

Participating locations include Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo (Monaco), Cap Estel (Eze), Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat – A Four Season Hotel (St Jean Cap Ferrat) and the Majestic Barriere in Cannes.

See all the offers here:  Happy Spa Week Packages

happy spa week

Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo participates in the Happy Spa Week promotion (image: Marque Côte d’Azur)

Sales and the City – Shopping sales in Cannes :  11-13 January 2019

Cannes will have a dedicated shopping weekend in January whereby there will be fashion shows and shopping discounts galore.

Over 350 stores will participate with 100 stores earmarked to stay open for Sunday trading, with carparking at Interparking, Pantiero and Effia proposing a rate of just €5 from 8am to 8pm.

On Friday and Saturday afternoons, there will be catwalk displays with current fashion trends between 71 rue d’Antibes and rue des Serbes.  Crazy Horse Paris, known for their cabaret shows, will also present 2 shows at the Palais des Festivals at 8pm on 11 and 12 January.

Top Tips:  The Sales and the City weekend runs in parallel with the annual winter sales from 9 January to 5 February, so if you intend on shopping this will be the weekend to do it!  Ask Cannes retailers for your ‘Sales and the City’ loyalty card whereby once you spend €100 you are entitled to free gifts from participating restaurants in Cannes such as kids toys etc

sales in cannes

Sales in the City will be held in Cannes in January 2019

Thanks for reading!

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Guide : What to expect

Monaco Yacht Show is one of the key superyacht events in the Mediterranean and will be hosted at Port Hercules from 26th to 29th September 2018.

Each year, exhibitors from across the nautical industry join around 120 superyachts that are displayed, with 40 yachts being world premieres and 50% of the yachts being less than 2 years old.

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Exhibitors

The hundreds of exhibitors that attend Monaco Yacht Show are a representation of all sectors within the superyacht sector.

They include yacht designers and naval architects, shipyards, engineers, yacht brokers, charter agents, shipyards, marine supplies, yacht toys, tenders, marinas, tourism companies and crew.

The show is separated into zones to differentiate sectors:

  • Quai Albert 1er will host yards, naval architects and brokers adjacent to the yachts they’re displaying
  • Quai Jarlan will host part of the tenders zone
  • Parvis Piscine and the Upper Deck Lounge will display prestige luxury goods, furnishings and interiors
  • Darse Sud has marine suppliers and technical equipment
  • Quai Antoine 1er has the Tenders & Toys zones, the Art Pavilion, the luxury Car Deck, Press Centre and the Starboard Lounge

To find out who is attending, click here Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Exhibitors List

exhibitors mys 2018

Monaco Yacht Show is one of the most important annual boat shows for the marine industry (image: MYS)

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Yachts

Visitors and exhibitors at MYS are always eager to learn which yachts will be on display.  This year, some of the boats include:

6.31m Williams Diesel Jet 625

williams tenders mys

The Williams Diesel Jet 625 will be on display at MYS 2018 (image: Boat International)

10m Pascoe Open Limousine

33.5m Riva 110 Dolcevita, Riva

yachts monaco yacht show 2018

Riva 110 Dolcevita (image: MYS)

Tansu Yachts 43.7m Cyclone

47.2m Sanlorenzo 500xp, Sanlorenzo

49.98m Cecilia, Wider Yachts

cecilia wider yachts

MY Cecilia by Wider Yachts (image: MYS)

49.9m Flying Dagger, Rossinavi

50m Latona, CRN

54m El Leon in the new Mangusta GranSport line, Overmarine

55.5m Power Play, Damen

57.7m Volpini 2, the first hull in the limited edition 188 series by AMELS

volpini 2

M/Y Volpini 2 by Amels (image: MYS)

72m Solo by Tankoa

74.5m Elandess, Abeking & Rasmussen

77m Go, Turquoise Yachts

superyacht go turquoise yachts

M/Y GO by Turquoise Yachts (image: MYS)

90m DAR a.k.a Project Shark, built in the Netherlands by Oceanco

dar project shark mys 2018

DAR a.k.a Project Shark was built in the Netherlands by Oceanco (image: MYS)

95.2m Kismet, Lurssen

To find out which yachts are attending MYS 2018, click here Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Yacht List

VIP Experiences at Monaco Yacht Show 2018

Private superyacht clients can join tailor-made experiences at Monaco Yacht Show.  The Sapphire Experience and ‘Infinite’ are the official VIP programs of the show and include an invitation to the opening gala, participation in the Monaco Yacht Summit, a courtesy car service and private visits on board yachts at the show.

Monaco Yacht Show has official VIP programs called the Sapphire Experience and ‘Infinite’ (image: copyright 2017 MC-Clic)

At the show

In-show transport

At the show, there are plenty of options to move between exhibitor zones and stands.  Make use of the shuttle boats that cross the port between the main quays, and the electric golf carts that travel between Quai Rainer II and Quai Jarlan.

Here is a Map of Shuttle boat routes at MYS and golf carts.

Food & beverage

Feeling thirsty or peckish?  Here are the in-show food and beverage options:

  • The restaurant and Champagne bar at the Upper Deck Lounge is open from 10am to 6.30pm daily (lunch service from midday).
  • The café at the Starboard Lounge opens daily from 10am to 6.30pm (lunch service from midday).
  • Coffee/snack zone at Café Lucciana on Jetée Lucciana from 10.30am to 6.30pm daily.
  • For uniformed crew, you can visit the C&C Lounge between 8.30am and 7pm.

Wifi

The show Wifi hotspots will enable you to connect to Wifi to reach out to clients and keep on top of your business during the week.  Here is the map of Wifi zones and mobile charging spots – note:  All zones are accessible for show visitors, except the MYS Captains and Crew Lounge is for uniformed crew only.

wifi at mys

Wifi at Monaco Yacht Show 2018

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 parties

During the 4 days of the show, there are a number of charity galas, social meet-ups and cocktail parties.  Here are some of the parties and social events during Monaco Yacht Show 2018:

Tuesday 25 September

The London 2 Monaco charity cycle ride in support of Blue Marine Foundation has their after-party for all the riders and teams after they arrive at the Palace of Monaco – the London 2 Monaco party is sponsored by Icon Connect.

L2M after party

The London to Monaco cycle ride after-party last year (image: Icon Connect)

The MYS Inaugural Gala Party also takes place on the Tuesday night where 400 invited guests attend the 5th Monaco Yacht Show Superyacht Awards; more info is here MYS Inaugural Gala Party.

Wednesday 26 September

4.30pm-6.30pm  Informal business drinks at the Isle of Man stand at Darse Sud

5pm onwards  Yachtneeds hosts drinks, live music and entertainment at their stand (DSE7)

7pm till late The Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean under the High Patronage of H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco (invitation necessary)

monaco gala for the ocean

Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean (image: Getty Images/FPA2)

7.30pm till late IGY Marinas James Bond party at the Monaco Yacht Club (invite only)

8pm till late  The SXM Crew party at the ACREW and IMM Crew Lounge at La Rascasse.

Thursday 27 September

5pm onwards  Yachtneeds hosts drinks, live music and entertainment at their stand (DSE7)

yachtneeeds mys 2018

YachtNeeds has live music, drinks and entertainment every day during Monaco Yacht Show 2018

6pm onwards Invite-only cocktail party hosted by Zytexx at La Rascasse.

8pm-10pm  PYA Sea Changes rooftop networking drinks, sponsored by Onshore Cellars and Ocean Pantry. This event is part of the PYA Sea Changes Forum which is free for PYA members; others must register and pay a small fee via the PYA Monaco Sea Changes forum Eventbrite page.

Friday 28 September

5pm onwards  Yachtneeds hosts drinks, live music and entertainment at their stand (DSE7)

5pm-7pm  Drinks and nibbles courtesy of TINO Stone at the ACREW & IMM Garden Lounge at La Rascasse.

6pm-9pm Club Vivanova Summer Yacht Party at Le Méridien Beach Plaza (entry fee applies).

7pm-9pm  Yacht Chandlers hosts an event strictly for Captains and Crew at the Star Deck at Stars n Bars. Details below:

Other events during the week include the Amels/Damen party, Boat International party (video of 2017 party shown below), Feadship’s event, Lurssen’s popular soirée, My Yacht Group’s annual yacht party and China Night.

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 tips

  • Wear comfortable footwear – you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
  • Check the weather forecast – it may be a hot sunny week or thunderstorms; pack for the weather conditions.
  • There is no coat check or luggage storage facility at the show, so bear this in mind if you have valuable items with you, jackets or laptops.
  • Visitors are permitted to take photos and videos within the show zone. The exception is the use of drones which are forbidden inside the MYS perimeter (aside from the official drone operator, MC Clic).
  • Download the Monaco Show app for maps of the show.  You can get it on the App Store or Google Play.
  • Check train schedules to and from Monaco as evening trains run less frequently.  Taxis can be quite pricey, so plan transport in advance.  Monacair offers promotions for helicopter transfers between Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and the heliport at Fontvieille including private car transfers to the show or any address in Monaco.  Use promo code ‘MYS2018’; to book a heli transfer you can download the Monacair app or visit them at the show above La Rascasse at point N on the show map.
  • Follow the show on social media and use hashtags #MYS2018 #monacoyachtshow #MYSexperience
shuttle boats monaco yacht show

Make use of the in-show transport to save time at Monaco Yacht Show 2018 (image copyright Alina Garazhenko / Ameller Malcorps)

MYS 2018 at a glance

Monaco Yacht Show adapts each year ensuring owners, potential buyers and the industry itself evolves through B2B networking and feedback.  Here’s the show at a glance:

Monaco Yacht Show (image: copyright 2017 MC-Clic)

Yearly visitor numbers:  36,400 (stat from 2017 show)

Exhibitors:  590 exhibitors from 38 countries

Yachts:  120 superyachts, 40 debuts, 50% are less than 2 years old, 49m is the average length of yacht on display at MYS.

Luxury showcases:  10 prestige cars at the Car Deck, 2 helicopters on display at Parvis Piscine and Quai Antoine 1er, luxury exhibitors at Parvis Piscine and the Upper Deck Lounge including Dassault Aviation, Paola Lenti and ProtectStone

Date / opening times :  Wednesday 26th September to Saturday 29th September from 10am to 6.30pm

Tickets:  Tickets are available for purchase on the official MYS website, or at the show at one of the three entrances.  This year, ticket prices have increased – buy MYS tickets here.  Children under 12 years of age are free.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there!  Please share this MYS 2018 guide on social media if you’ve found it informative. Thank you!

 

 

 

Family-friendly things to do during summer on the French Riviera

Summer school holidays are almost here and already plans are underway for things to keep the kids entertained until September rolls around and schools go back.

Here are some of my budget-friendly suggestions for families to stay entertained through summer:

PARC PHOENIX – NICE

Parc Phoenix is one of our favourite family attractions on the French Riviera.  Located at the L’Arénas complex near the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, it’s a great place to spend a few hours if you have kids of varying ages.

The park features:

  • A lake with ducks, fish and various water birds

  • Enclosures with animals including parrots, meerkats, wallabies, otters, monkeys, porcupines
  • Fountains, cascades and water zones with stepping stones, turtles or small fish

  • A huge greenhouse with tropical and sub-tropical plants and flowers, and animals such as alligators, flamingoes, snakes, koi carp, tortoises and iguanas.  Note:  The aquarium has been closed for some time.

  • A mini farm zone with goats, poneys, pigs and chickens
  • A large playground area with various climbing frames, slides and play equipment suitable for 1 year upwards.  The playground zone also has accessible toilet facilities with a baby change table.
  • A small restaurant sells snacks and drinks – paninis, salads, crepes, fries, ice creams, coffee, cold drinks. There are tables and chairs with umbrellas.
  • Temporary exhibitions of art or photography; often themed around science, animals or botany

The park is stroller-friendly; wheelchair access is wholly possible for the park grounds, excluding some areas in the greenhouse that have stairs.

Super tips

Carparking:  Visitors to Parc Phoenix get 2 hours free parking at Parking de l’Arénas next to the park every day in summer from 15 June to 15 September, during Zone B school holidays, on weekends and on bank holidays.

2-for-1 attractions:  An extra bonus is that if you visit Parc Phoenix you can also visit the Musée des Arts Asiatiques next door, which has free entry.  Guided tours, workshops, audioguides and the tea ceremony are additional cost. My opinion is that the Asian Arts Museum is more suited to adults, but it’s a lovely light-filled building with some excellent displays and temporary exhibitions.

Special events:  The park’s restaurant can arrange catering for birthdays, weddings, conferences.  They also host an Easter Egg Hunt at Parc Phoenix every year where toddlers look for eggs in straw, and older children follow a treasure hunt for chocolate eggs (for the Easter activity, reservation is not necessary).

Opening hours for Parc Phoenix

Summer hours 01 April to 30 September:  9.30am to 7.30pm

Winter hours 01 October to 31 March:  9.30am to 6pm

Note:  The park is open every day, including bank holidays.  The ticket office closes 1 hour before park closing times.

Entry price

Adults €5 each (or €3 with the Musées de Nice pass)

Kids under 12 years are FREE

Find out more about the opening hours and map for Parc Phoenix here:  Parc Phoenix 

RIVER WALKS – VILLENEUVE LOUBET, SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS AND LA COLLE-SUR-LOUP

When it’s hot and crowded at the beaches, we love to visit some of the river locations a short distance from the coast where you can walk along shaded forest paths and/or swim in cool water.

Here are 3 family-friendly river walks located within 15 minutes drive from the coast.  The first one is baby stroller and bike-friendly; the second and third options follow dirt / gravel paths but there are some areas of big rocks or tree roots on the pathways, so while it’s manageable for bikes it’s not particularly pram-friendly by the end of the tracks.  All walks below are a short distance from the carpark area, maximum 10 minutes walk one way, so perfectly manageable for ages 18 months old upwards.

  1. River Loup walk from Villeneuve Loubet village:  At the entrance to Canyon Forest, cross the road bridge and park at Villeneuve Loubet village at Parking du General du Gaulle. Cross the river via the bridge beside the carpark and follow the riverside path.  It is firm dirt so fine for bikes, scooters, baby prams and electric wheelchairs.

rives du loup walk

2. Pont de la Veirière along the La Brague river:  The access is a bit tricky to locate as it’s not particularly well sign-posted.

There are 2 options:  From the Fitlane in Sophia Antipolis, follow route des Crêtes passing Air France on the left until it joins onto route des Macarons. Continue straight ahead, you will pass the large Fire Station on the right-hand side before the road reaches a left bend.  Here, you can park at ‘La Veirière’ carpark and walk downhill to the river following the gravel path.

The other preferred option that we take is to park at the carpark shown as (B) on the map in this link:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NuAMu0iFhY-EGRqA0Y-GD4lQEXPCAyo7&usp=sharing     Once you park, go left along the river 5-10 minutes and there are plenty of swimming holes and shaded areas to access the river.

There are no toilet facilities of course, but plenty of places for a riverside picnic, swimming, climbing trees, skipping stones in the river.  If you have toddlers, there are lots of places for a shallow splash in the water.  Great place to walk dogs too!

This is a great river walk for nature spotting for kids; we always see lots of butterflies, birds, dragonflies and small fish.  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NuAMu0iFhY-EGRqA0Y-GD4lQEXPCAyo7&usp=sharing

3. Kayak Club river walk along the River Loup at La Colle-sur-Loup:  The town of La Colle-sur-Loup is located just 10 minutes drive from the coast.   From the town, head towards Ludiparc along route du Pont de Pierre, turn left into chemin de la Fuontsanta and park at the Spcoc Canoë Kayak Club.

The carpark is well shaded and you can follow the river to the left along flat ground for 15 minutes, passing shaded swimming holes and picnic tables along the river.

balade rives du loup

The Kayak Club river walk along the River Loup at La Colle-sur-Loup is an easy family walk that is great for hot days! (pic: Couleur Montagne)

Eventually, you get to a large pebble beach area, with a great outlook of the river and limestone cliffs that are popular for rock climbing (the climbing spot is called La Bagarée with varying degrees of difficulty.  The list of climbs available is here).  This area is part of the Parc Natural Départemental des Rives du Loup.

la bagaree

A wonderful riverside pebble beach that’s great for picnics and swimming in cool water (pic: Couleur Montagne)

Note: There is limited shade at the main pebble beach, so take an umbrella.  Don’t walk underneath the cliffs as there are sometimes rock falls.  There are also small rapids so take care with small kids; the river is not so fast-moving that the kayakers will suddenly be approaching but do keep a look out for some!

Again, no toilet facilities at the pebble beach and take all your rubbish home with you.  There are lots of butterflies, birdlife and insects along the forest path, as well as small fish in the river.

Here’s a map of how to find the Kayak Club in La Colle-sur-Loup:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1uwP6BFyE8oUPUqdwP11vzkIQTisoDeIM&usp=sharing

FAMILY-FRIENDLY BEACHES – JUAN LES PINS, CAP D’ANTIBES AND THÉOULE-SUR-MER

With the redesignation of public versus private beaches on the Côte d’Azur, there is now more room for a spot on the sand (or pebbles).  When you have children, there are some main factors you may consider regarding beaches:

  • Availability, ease and cost of carparking
  • Shade
  • Clean and shallow water
  • Toilet facilities
  • Food & beverage outlets
  • Beach activities
  • And for me, the less crowded the better!

Not all of these are ‘must haves’ to ensure a great time at the beach, however if a beach has at least 5 of these it gets a thumbs up from us for family-friendliness.  Here are a couple of my summer picks for family-friendly beaches on the French Riviera:

Plage de la Gallice is a small public beach located at the port in Juan les Pins.  Coming from Hôtel Belles Rives direction toward the Cap d’Antibes, you’ll find pay carparking at Port Gallice and even in the height of summer there is usually a space. Pedestrians will see a set of stairs 300 metres from the Belles Rives that leads down to the snack kiosk and beach. You can also walk to the beach along the seafront via a concrete walkway, passing Le Provençal Beach and the Belles Rives.

This beach is more of a locals hangout than a tourist spot, so if you arrive early in the day it’s a fantastic beach spot and gets some shade in the morning from a high wall bordering the length of the neighbouring properties. There is a snack shop there, beach showers and accessible toilet facilities.

Note:  Usually the water is quite clean, however sadly this beach did lose it’s Pavillon Bleu (Blue Flag) status this year which is awarded for environment excellence and high water quality (that being said, because it’s located right by the marina it’s monitored regularly for water quality, so check the noticeboard at the entrance to the beach).

Plage des Ondes is another public beach located on the Cap d’Antibes.  The beach is a small sandy strip, but has a wonderful view of the bay, across to the Lérins Islands and the picturesque Port de l’Olivette.  There are beach showers and toilet there, but the downsides are intermittent shade, no food outlets and limited carparking on surrounding streets.  The main road beside the beach can get quite busy with road traffic in summer, so exercise caution if you’re walking.

It is however a great beach for families if you go early in the day, and older kids will enjoy climbing up the tower which you can read about here on I Love Cap d’Antibes blog.  I also visit this beach regularly for paddle boarding as the water is usually calm and beautifully clear.

Super tips

If you have children, the end of Plage des Ondes closest to the toilet cabin gets some shade early in the day, as seen in the second photo below.

Just behind the toilet cabin, is a small sheltered swimming area (with pebble beach) which is great for snorkeling, shown in the first photo below.

plage des ondes cap d'antibes

Plage des Ondes, 8am and no one around !

Plage de la Figueirette is located at Miramar in Théoule-sur-Mer and is an excellent choice for families.  The beach is split in two with the end closest to Port de la Figueirette having fine white sand, beach showers and more space; the western end has gritty sand and more pebbles in the water so kids probably would appreciate aqua shoes.

plage de la figueirette

The beach at the port end of Plage de la Figueirette has fine white sand and clear water

Free carparking is at the port or by Le Panama restaurant.  Free public accessible beach toilets and beach showers are located at the carpark next to Le Panama restaurant with ramp access to the beach.

Plage de la Figueirette has a few beach restaurants:

  • At the port, there is a small restaurant at the entrance to the port also a restaurant named La Marine that has a shaded terrace overlooking the bay, as well as a shaded snack restaurant offering paninis, fries, steak, salads and pizzas (friendly service, good prices, baby high chair, accessible ground-level toilet).
port de la figueirette

The view from the restaurant terrace at La Marine, Port de la Figueirette

  • Bondi Beach is a chic beach restaurant with lots of beach loungers, beach bar, some tables under trees, kids menu. There is also a small playground area.
  • Le Panama has indoor and outdoor dining areas, kids menu, beach loungers for rent.

Next to the port is a Jetscool tiki hut where you can hire flyboards and jetskis, including kids electric jetskis. The kids electric jetskis run on an inflatable course; hireage is for kids aged 4-10 years with an accompanying adult, the cost is €20 for 15 minutes.

electric jetski theoule sur mer

Kids electric jetskis can be rented at plage de la Figueirette for use within an inflatable circuit (with adult supervision).

At the western end of the beach you can rent kayaks, paddle boards, catamarans, windsurfers and Optimists with Bat’Ski.

During summer, the Navette Maritime Esterel ferry also operates between Cannes-Mandelieu La-Napoule-Théoule-sur-Mer and Port de la Figueirette.  This is a great scenic boat trip for families along the coast (journey is around 1 hour oneway between Cannes and La Figueirette) and runs 4 departures daily each way with stops at each port on the way.

The Navette Maritime Esterel costs €10 per adult for a day pass, kids aged 3-10 years cost just €5 return, kids under 3 years are free.  It really is excellent value as you can’t get a boat trip or cruise locally for that price!

Find out the timetables here:  Navette Maritime Esterel and watch the trailer video below (video from Films06 / Communauté d’Agglomération des Pays de Lérins):

Super tips

Beach inspiration:  Curious to find other great beaches on the French Riviera? Cannes Estate has curated a huge list of 104 beaches on the Côte d’Azur and Phoebe from Lou Messugo shares her Top 12 favourite beaches on the French Riviera.

Beach at Cannes (image: Fodors)

Water quality at French Riviera beaches:  French Riviera towns and municipalities take the water quality at beaches seriously.  To check the water quality at any beach on the Côte d’Azur, the French Ministry of Health provides updates on testing and analysis of water quality.  Follow these instructions below:

  1. Choose ‘Mainland France’
  2. Drop down Départment:  06 – ALPES MARITIMES
  3. Select :  A town and a beach

Click on this link to find out the latest results of Water quality at French Riviera beaches

Jellyfish alerts:  Occasionally, the French Riviera has jellyfish warnings.  Usually, it’s the purple Pelagia jellyfish which can inflict nasty stings.  The Oceanographic Observatory of Villefranche-sur-Mer researches and maps jellyfish sightings on the French Riviera, click on this link, Jellyfish Alerts French Riviera, to go to the map or to report your own jellyfish sightings.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog post – please share it on social media via Facebook and Twitter if you’ve found it informative. Thank you!

Les Voiles d’Antibes and L’Italie à Table 2018

Les Voiles d’Antibes

Les Voiles d’Antibes is an annual sailing regatta hosted at Port Vauban and the 23rd edition will take place from 30 May to 3 June 2018.

This popular event signals the first stage of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge and sees the port in Antibes and surrounding sea filled with beautiful yachts including vintage yachts built pre-1950 and classic yachts from the late 1950’s onwards.

voiles d'antibes

Les Voiles d’Antibes 2018 will be held from 30 May to 3 June

As well as the yacht races, a pop-up Village is set up at the Bastion Saint Jaume at Port Vauban with exhibits about marine preservation and the sea.  A huge drawcard for the community is free nightly entertainment with live music and bars.

Les Voiles d’Antibes (image: Stilldrone)

See Les Voiles d’Antibes 2018 Programme here including times for the bands:  Les Voiles d’Antibes 2018 Programme

A map for the location of Les Voiles d’Antibes is below:

Find out more about the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge here:   Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge

L’Italie à Table

The sights and smells of L’Italie à Table will cross over the same time as Les Voiles d’Antibes (from 31 May to 3 June 2018) at Port Vauban in Antibes.

L’Italie à Table is an Italian food festival that features a number of Italian gastronomy products such as cheese, pasta, beverages, cured meats, olive oils, pastries, bread, sweets as well as recipe demonstrations, children’s workshops and live music.

The Antibes event is a sister festival to a similar festival that was recently held in Saint Raphael and another festival that will be hosted on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice from 8 to 10 June.

l'italie à table antibes

L’Italie à Table is returning for the third year to Antibes; it has been running for 14 years in Nice

L’Italie à Table Antibes is free entry to the public and opening hours are:  10am to 8pm daily; 10am to 9pm on Friday and Saturday.

View the programme here:  L’Italie à Table Antibes Programme

How to get there

By train: The Gare d’Antibes (Antibes train station) is just 5 minutes walk from Port Vauban; simply cross the road directly outside the main entrance to the station and walk down Avenue de la Libération to the roundabout, continue straight ahead along Avenue de Verdun.

L’Italie à Table is set up in marquees at the square opposite the marina and Les Voiles d’Antibes is taking place at Bastion Saint Jaume by the Nomade statue near the Quai des Milliardaires.

By bus:  Bus numbers 1, 8 or 200 stop outside Hotel Le Collier opposite the Antibes train station / Pole d’échanges and you can follow the directions above to get to the port from the station.  Alternatively, the Antibes Gare Routiere in old town is a 5 minute walk to the port.

By car:  You can get to both of these events by car either via the RN7 or bord de Mer (coastal road).  Because there are a number of constructions happening in central Antibes, car parking for both of these events is best at the Q-Park underground pay carpark at Pré des Pêcheurs, 20 avenue de Verdun.  Parking prices are here:  Parking Antibes port   Alternative pay carparks are located at Parking Poirier on boulevard Dugommier or Parking avenue Frères Olivier.

Accessibility notes

Both events are on flat, paved ground so they are suitable for families with kids in baby strollers, or people with restricted mobility.  Note:  The whole quay area and Village is on flat ground, however the bar area at Les Voiles d’Antibes is on raised decking and toilets at the Village are not accessible for wheelchair users. The nearest ground-level accessible toilets are by plage Gravette, at the automated pay toilet on Avenue de Verdun near the boules pitch or go to Félix Café or Gusto (pizza place) just inside the first archway to old town as both have ground-level accessible toilets.

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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!  

 

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

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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/