Sightseeing – ANTIBES (Antibes Côte d’Azur Rally 12-14 Oct 2012)

The 47th Antibes Côte d’Azur Rally is being held this weekend (race days Saturday and Sunday) and is a great free event for families to see the rally cars up-close and also partake in some sightseeing in the region.  While the event is named the ‘Antibes Rally’, all vehicles actually depart from Juan les Pins.

Antibes Rally cars at Place de Gaulle, Antibes

On Saturday, the first car leaves at 9.30am from Square Gould (Pinede Gould) in Juan les Pins with the circuit heading to Nice, then up to the picturesque Gréolières area and Col de Bleine via La Colle sur Loup.

picturesque Coursegoules village on the edge of the Gréolières

On Sunday, the first car leaves from the same departure point at an earlier time of 7.00am with the circuit heading to Nice, then Piera, Cava and Col de Turini before returning back to Juan les Pins via St-Laurent du Var and Villeneuve Loubet.

There is a public children’s playground at Pinede Gould, and a mini-train and carousel so you can take photos of the rally cars then head to the park.  Pinede Gould is on flat ground and accessible for those people with restricted mobility, with an automated pay-to-access toilet.

Podium ceremonies for the various categories (National and Classic rallies) are held Sunday at Pinede Gould in Juan les Pins from 4.30pm onwards.

 

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Sightseeing – GOLFE JUAN / ANTIBES / JUAN LES PINS (Tuk Tuk Azur)

One of the first things I did as a tourist in Antibes was jump aboard ‘Le Petit Train’ – the little white tourist train that winds it’s way from Antibes old town along the remparts to Juan les Pins.  The journey takes roughly 20 minutes oneway and is full of photo opportunities, especially as it travels along the Antibes remparts beside Plage Gravette.  My son loves it!

Another great family experience if you are after something different is to take a trip onboard one of the new Tuk Tuks I have spotted around town.  More inclined to be seen as a common mode of transport in Asia, the Tuk Tuks in Antibes are the first electric Tuk Tuks to operate here in the south of France.  Because they are electric, they are environmentally friendly and present no harm to the environment with zero emissions.  Also, you won’t need to worry about finding a carpark space!

The Tuk Tuks have 3-seats or 6-seats and pricing is based on ‘zones’ including Antibes, Juan les Pins and Golfe Juan.  They are a unique way to see the local area and customised tours or event transport can be arranged.

For further information or to make a booking visit www.tuktukazur.com or phone/SMS: +33 (0) 627 02 65 01 (English/French spoken)

PLAYGROUNDS on the French Riviera

The French Riviera offers lots of options for playground fun.

Here are a few options for places to take your kids to burn off that excess energy.

I have included mostly free options (if there is an entrance fee I have specified where relevant).

This list is current as at January 2016, for any corrections or additions I welcome your feedback:

ANTIBES

– There are 2 public playgrounds in Antibes old town on rue Republique, beside the carousel and main post office (La Poste).

– 2 public playgrounds at Salis beach (plage du Ponteil) – one is nearer to the Archaeology Museum beside the boules pitch and there is a public toilet beside that; the other is very small and located opposite Royal Beach restaurant and the carpark at the beach.

– Small fenced playground on the corner of avenue Philippe Rochat and avenue Mas Ensoleillé

– Medium-sized fenced playground between route de Grasse and Hameau de la Palmeraie with climbing structures, rocking horses, slides

– Parc Exflora, chemin du Vallauris, Antibes les Pins:  Large open grassed area for picnics and kicking a ball (no playground equipment).  Small lake for feeding ducks.  You can obtain access to the public beach via a tunnel under the coast road/railway line.  Across the road from Parc Exflora on the corner of chemin des Eucalyptus there is a boules pitch and small playground with public toilets nearby.

– Parc Départemental Valmasque:  Between Antibes and Mougins this large park has forest walks, fitness trails and playground equipment.  Lots of shady trees, picnic tables and toilet facilities.

– Parc de Vaugrenier:  2 kilometres towards Nice from Antibes this park has walking paths, picnic tables and forest walks.  A children’s playground area, nature trail, wooden confidence course and accessible toilet facilities are at the eastern entrance.  There is also a lookout hut over the lake to view turtles.

Indoor soft play centre – Royal Kids – has slides, ball pits, motorised cars. Suitable for babies up to 12 years. Admission fee applies. www.royalkids.fr

CANNES

– Palais area, boulevard de Croisette (near to the public beach where the Petit Train departs from):  Children’s entertainment area including carousel, funfair stalls, snack kiosks. Public toilets are nearby on the beachside of the Croisette.

– Further along boulevard de Croisette in the direction of Port Pierre Canto, there is another public playground at the end of the beach with playground equipment.

CANNES LA BOCCA

– Indoor soft play – FunCity, 47 avenue Maurice Chevalier, 06150 Cannes la Bocca:  Indoor playground facility with designated playareas for different ages, large climbing frames with tunnels, nets, slides, trampolines, soft toys, ball pits, inflatables, mini-karts, onsite restaurant for snacks and gift boutique.  Entrance fee payable http://cannes.fun-city.fr

GOLFE JUAN

– Small playground at Square Nabonnand on the main road by the post office.

JUAN LES PINS

– Main playground is at Pinède Gould (also known as Jardin de la Pinède) with playground equipment, mini-train, dodgem bumper cars and mini-carousel. (Rides are chargeable). There are also squirrels to watch that roam free in the pine trees in the park.

– Another carousel is on avenue Guy de Maupassant on the Juan les Pins promenade beside Le Ruban Bleu restaurant, and just along from the carousel toward Sun7 cafeteria there are go-karts and trampolines in summer.

– There is a public playground/park at Jardin Pauline (corner of rue Pauline and boulevard Raymond Poincaré)

– Another small fenced public playground at Square Duluys (corner of rue St-Marguerite and boulevard Raymond Poincaré)

LA COLLE SUR LOUP

– Ludiparc, 1401 route du Pont de Pierre, 06480 Le Colle sur Loup: Park set on 4.8 hectares with trees and river frontage, playground equipment, climbing frames, trampolines, inflatable castles, mini-golf, ping-pong tables, restaurant onsite for snacks, carparking onsite, Wifi connection, baby changing table.  Entrance fee payable €4 (free for children under 3 years) www.ludiparc.fr  Note:  The terrace and toilet facilities are not wheelchair accessible.

– There are a few public playareas in La Colle sur Loup – on rue Max Barel in the village, at Jeu de Baume down from the rue Clémenceau, and at the Parc de la Guérinière.

MONACO/MONTE CARLO

While not technically classed as part of France, I have included Monaco/Monte Carlo as many visitors stay in Monaco or daytrip there.

– If you have children you can stop at Parc Princesse Antoinette (Princess Antoinette Gardens), La Condamine, 54 bis boulevard du Jardin Exotique, 98000 Monaco – a free park with go-karts and a playground.  Older children can be entertained there by mini golf, badminton, ping-pong, a football pitch and basketball courts.

– There are carousels near the Stade Nautique, and on the Larvotto Esplanade. – In the Fontvielle area, there is a playground by the Princess Grace Rose Garden and a carousel near the Fontvielle Big Top. Kids can wander around the Trocadéro Gardens, or after some retail therapy the family can enjoy time out at the children’s playground area at the end of the pedestrianised rue Princesse Caroline.

– Another great spot to take the kids and escape the bustle of Monaco, is the free Japanese Garden on avenue Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo – a real oasis of serenity with   waterfalls, stone bridges and Zen gardens.

MOUANS SARTOUX

-Playground at the Château

MOUGINS

– Free entry playground at Ecoparc Mougins, on chemin de Fontaine de Currault. Accessible eco-toilet onsite at the playground, climbing frames, swings, rope course, playhouse, balancing beams. The ground surface is made of recycled car tyres so is soft and rubbery, and the play area has seating and lots of trees for shade. Nearby at the Ecoparc centre is a cafeteria that sells cold drinks and icecreams.

NICE

– Parc du Chateau, rue de Foresta/Montée Monfort:  Located at the end of quai des Etats-Unis overlooking Nice, this park is on the hilltop with old ruins, a waterfall, playground, restaurant, lookout points over Nice city and port and snack kiosk.  There are public toilets onsite.  You can take an elevator up from quai des Etats-Unis, or if you are stroller-free walk up the numerous stairs for a wonderful view from the top.

– Parc Phoenix (see separate post under Sightseeing – Nice).

– Located on the western edge of the ‘Musiciens’ quarter in Nice (so named because the streets and squares are named after famous musicians such as Verdi) you can find the Jardin Alsace Lorraine, 30 boulevard Gambetta, with park benches, statues and a fenced in children’s playground.

-Parc Carol de Roumanie with water sprinklers and play equipment

– Central Nice play area – There is a carousel at Albert 1er gardens, also the Promenade du Paillon/Couloir Verte playarea at place Massena with sprinklers, wooden play structures, swings.  Accessible toilets onsite.

– Parc du Castel des Deux Rois not far from Nice Port with playground, water sprinklers in summer, mini-farm, accessible pay toilet, snack kiosk, lots of grass to kick a ball around, cycle paths

ParcCasteldesdeuxrois2

Parc du Castel des Deux Rois, Nice

OPIO

– Parc de Loisirs on the Carrefour du Piol, D3 d’Opio-Valbonne is a great park with roomy playground with play equipment for just-walking age, toddlers and older kids.  Slides, climbing ladders, basketball court, exercise station, cycle paths, grassy areas for kicking balls around, accessible public toilet, picnic tables. No snack kiosk onsite but there is a bakery nearby towards Valbonne. Between May-mid June they install skate ramps for initiations in skateboarding and roller blading.

Parc de Loisirs, Opio (playground Opio)

Parc de Loisirs, Opio (playground Opio)

Parc de Loisirs, Opio (playground Opio)

Parc de Loisirs, Opio (playground Opio)

ST TROPEZ

– Plage des Graniers, located beneath the St Tropez citadel gets busy in summer but is family-friendly and offers a few different playgrounds beach-side.

– Plage des Jumeaux, route d’Epi, Plage de Pampelonne, Ramatuelle is a good place to take kids where adults can watch the kids on the playground on the beach.

VALBONNE/SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS:

– Playground in Valbonne village on route du Plascassier next to the Skate park.

– Parc des Bouillides, route du Parc, 06560 Valbonne Sophia Antipolis:  It is closer to the Sophia Antipolis area than Valbonne but is zoned as Valbonne by the local parks.  Access from Antibes is via route du Parc and look for the small side road on the right-hand side with a small sign leading to the restaurant ‘La Source’ and carpark. Fenced playground with soft matted area, running track, walking trails, also has municipal sports athletics club, climbing wall, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts, skate park.  Picnic tables all through the park, and paved pathways good for scooters and bikes.  No toilet facilities onsite.

VILLEFRANCHE-SUR-MER

– A public playground is located at les Jardins de l’Octroi, Square François Binon, 06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer.

– Another small public playground is also beside Port de la Darse, you can reach it via the coastal pathway below the Citadelle but be aware that this pathway while paved is uneven in places.

public playground by Darse port

public playground by Darse port

NOTE:  I have seen and tested all of the playgrounds listed above so the comments are my honest opinion of each play area.  For a map and more details of other playgrounds in the region, Nice Matin has a great interactive map with location pins that you can find here: Playgrounds on the Côte d’Azur

 

Eat and drink – JUAN LES PINS

Children are welcome in restaurants, cafés and bars, however not all restaurants will provide special facilties for families such as high chairs.  Most restaurants do not offer children’s meals (the range may be limited for children to fries, chicken nuggets and similar) but those that do specifically offer children’s menus have fixed-price menus at reduced prices.

Biocoop Les Pins, 8 rue Saint Honorat:  Eco-friendly store selling bio/eco food products and cosmetics. Open Monday-Saturday.

Casino supermarket, 138 boulevard Wilson/9 avenue Beautheville:  Major chain supermarket, open 6 days (and Sunday mornings in summer), wheelchair accessible.

Casino supermarket – Juan les Pins

Leader Price supermarket, 71 boulevard Raymond Poincaré:  Low cost supermarket, not a big range of products compared to Carrefour or Casino but is open 7 days in summer and is wheelchair accessible.

Marché Plus supermarket, 122 boulevard Wilson:  Small supermarket open 7 days, wheelchair accessible.

Accommodation

Below you will find some options for  accommodation (accessible and/or family-friendly accommodation) on the French Riviera.  All properties must be booked direct via the links provided in the descriptions:

ANTIBES

All Seasons (futur Ibis Styles), 2067 chemin de Saint Claude, 06600 Antibes (Telephone: + 33 4 93 33 34 50 ).  Located a 10-min drive to Antibes old town and nearby to the big Carrefour supermarket, room rates include unlimited Wifi and continental breakfast.  Free underground carparking.  Good access to nearby motorway.  They have 3 rooms adapted to travelers with reduced mobility.  www.all-seasons-hotels.com

Hotel La Jabotte, 13 avenue Max Maurey, 06160 Cap d’Antibes (Telephone: +33 4 93 61 45 89).  Small B&B-style hotel with rooms having semi-private patios leading to a shared garden where breakfasts are served.  50 metres from the sea and Salis beach.  They have one room on the ground-floor that is more accessible than the others (note: there is one small step leading to the bathroom).  For photos, rates and more information go to www.jabotte.com

CAGNES SUR MER

Sandton Hôtel Domaine Cocagne, 30 chemin du Pain de Sucre, 06800 Cagnes sur Mer (Telephone: +33 4 92 13 57 77): The hotel site covers an area of five hectares comprising beautiful parks, woodland, swaying palm trees and wide expanses of lavender. The hotel consists of several buildings, and it is just three kilometres away from magnificent beaches. There are several lounges and patios, a restaurant and swimming pool.  The hotel has one disabled access room (a poolroom that sleeps 2 people) with rates including breakfast.  It has a special shower adapted for a wheelchair, and you can obtain access from the room to the swimming pool.     For reservations, email cagnes@sandton.eu or book via http://www.sandton.eu/en/cocagne/contact-cocagne

Camping Green Park, 159 bis, Vallon des Veux, Cagnes sur Mer.  Camping ground open April-September with holiday cottages, villas etc.  They have two air-conditioned holiday chalets that sleep 3 persons and are adapted to persons with reduced mobility (see on the booking site ‘Autres Hébergements’, 3 person chalet personne à mobilité réduire).  Book via http://www.homair.com/camping/green-park/hebergements/detail/2067

CANNES

Carlton International, 58 La Croisette 06414 Cannes (Telephone: +33 4 93 06 40 06) http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/locations/cannes-carlton

Chateau de la Tour, 10 avenue Font de Veyre, 06150 Cannes. (Telephone: +33 4 93 90 52 52) www.chateaudelatour.com

Vue des Oliviers – a luxury 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment in the fabulous Palm Beach area of Cannes, near the beach and just off the famous Boulevard de la Croisette, air-conditioning in warm months, heating in cooler months, underground parking for one car.  First floor accessed via elevator but apartment is not wholly accessible for mobility reduced persons however it is included on this list as it is great for families. Book direct via http://http://www.white-horse-holiday-rentals.com/vuedesoliviers.htm

JUAN LES PINS

Ground-floor location, family-friendly apartment located in a new domaine close to supermarkets, restaurants, the beach and transport links.  Secure underground carpark with an elevator to the apartment level.  Wide paths to a communal swimming pool, with shallow ramp entry into the water.  There is a ramp with access to the beach, though the beach is sandy and not wheelchair accessible as such.  The apartment has a private ground-floor terrace with BBQ, perfect for al fresco dining (note:  the terrace is reached by stepping over a small threshold from the living area).  For reservations, visit http://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/rentals/antibes/136039

Vue du Jardin – a luxury 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment in chic Juan-les-Pins, near the beach and directly overlooking the beautiful Jardin Pauline gardens. Air-conditioning in warm months, heating in cooler months, underground parking for one car.  Sixth floor apartment accessed via elevator but apartment is not wholly accessible for mobility reduced persons however it is included on this list as it is great for families. More information, photos and to book direct via http://www.white-horse-holiday-rentals.com/vuedujardin.htm

LE ROURET

Villa Mimosa, a six-bedroom Provençal villa with stunning views of the mountains and distant coastlines of Antibes and Cannes. Facilities include swimming pool with loungers, outdoor terraces for entertaining, and walking distance to the local village and amenities.  Suitable for families (kids room with triple bunk beds, extensive film and book libraries and outdoor entertainment including swimming pool, table tennis and pétanque). Accessibility for persons with restricted mobility. For photos and availability and to book direct, go to their link via http://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/rentals/valbonne/78603#reviews

PEYMEINADE

Bastide des Jaisous, a bed-and-breakfast gite has an accessible apartment called ‘Les Glycines’ that is adapted to guests with reduced mobility including roll-in shower and shower seat, large door, ramp and outdoor terrace area.  Other non-accessible rooms available also.  More information and bookings via http://www.hotegenty.com/en/index.htm

ROQUEBRUNE CAP MARTIN

Hotel Victoria, 7 Promenade du Cap, 06190 Roquebrune Cap Martin (Telephone: +33 4 93 35 65 90). Located overlooking the sea on the bay of Cap Martin, this hotel conforms to current disabled regulations.  A reserved carparking space is at the hotel entrance, with an access ramp into the hotel.  Ground floor facilities are all accessible to wheelchair users, and access to the rooms is via an elevator. The hotel has 2 adapted rooms – one a Seaview room; the other a Mountain View room and they are equipped with easy-access showers and have appropriate bars and fold-down seating.  For reservations, email info@hotel-victoria.fr or visit their website for further information on rates and rooms www.hotel-victoria.fr

SAINT LAURENT DU VAR

One-bedroom apartment set in quiet residential area with original features including wood beams and stone walls. Fully-equipped kitchen, Wifi internet, private garden complete with barbecue and loungers, good transport links for buses and trains and an excellent option for accommodation close to Nice Airport but not directly next to it. Baby cot and high chair available to hire.  For photos and to book direct, go to their link at http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/france/fr19841.htm

VILLEFRANCHE-SUR-MER

Welcome Hotel, 3 quai Amiral Courbet, Villefranche sur Mer (Telephone: +33 4 93 76 27 62).  Non-smoking rooms each with balcony. They have 2 rooms reserved for disabled travelers (one a Superior, the other a Comfort) that are adapted with larger doors, seat for the bath tub, handles and booster for toilet.  These rooms are accessed via the square adjoining the hotel.  Reservations via email resa@welcomehotel.com or visit their website for photos and more information www.welcomehotel.com