Children’s Book Review: My Very First Animals Book

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

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

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

My Very First Animals : Usborne

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

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

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

Wings and feathers with facts about birds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why we love Usborne Books?

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

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

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

Usborne books are a hit in our house!

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

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

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

PLAYGROUNDS on the French Riviera

I thought it was due time to update my previous blog post about playgrounds on the French Riviera.  If you have children, the region has lots of options for playground fun.

I have included mostly free public options in my list here, so if you have any questions feel free to post your question in the comments below the post (if there is an entrance fee I have specified where relevant).

This is by no means an exhaustive list, just an overview of a few playgrounds we have tried and tested on the Côte d’Azur.

PLAYGROUNDS ON THE CÔTE D’AZUR

ANTIBES

– UPDATE 19 August 2018:  Unfortunately, the 2 public playgrounds in Antibes old town on rue Republique, beside the carousel and main post office (La Poste) have been closed due to construction works for the Marenda Lacan new shopping precinct.  Construction work has been stalled for some months now, so it is a great shame that tourists and local residents have no playgrounds for use during summer 2018. The nearest public playground to old town Antibes is on the way to Salis beach at the bottom of Albert 1er.

– 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 the carpark at the beach.

The Jardin Enfant Albert 1er is the closest playground to old town Antibes

– 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.

– A playground at Les Semboules area, next to Jacques Prévert school.  This is a great playground for hot days as it is entirely shaded by trees.  Plenty of free carparking across the road.  Suitable for toddler age to older kids, there is also a basketball court and ping-pong table adjacent and picnic tables. No toilet facilities onsite and the water fountain doesn’t work, but a great playground nonetheless because it is a community playground and never busy.

– 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.

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

CAGNES SUR MER

– Large playground zone beside parking Villette.  There is an accessible pay toilet beside the playground. Lots of play equipment for different ages including climbing frames, swings (including a baby swing), rockers as well as a mock road system which is great for scooters and bikes.

CANNES

– A playground is located at Square Mistral which is a good option for beach goers along the boulevard du Midi.  It is 5 minutes flat walk from Cannes Vieux Port.

– Adjacent to the Palais des Festivals on boulevard de Croisette (near to the public beach where the Petit Train departs from):  Children’s entertainment area including carousel, funfair stalls, snack kiosks.  There is a small climbing frame, but it’s pretty unimaginative.  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 La Jétee restaurant 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).  Lots of trees so it’s great for hot days!

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

– Parc Exflora, chemin du Vallauris, between Juan les Pins and Golfe Juan:  Large open grassed area for picnics (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 a small playground with public toilets nearby.

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.  The biggest benefit of Ludiparc is they have water activities that are perfect for hot days including a splash park and access to the River Loup.

Ludiparc, La Colle sur Loup (photo: Vence Tourisme)

– 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.  You can’t run around or kick balls but it’s a nice zone to wander through.

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 (including a baby swing), small ropes courses, playhouses, balancing beams. 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, and sometimes there are amusement rides such as vertical bungee or bouncy castles set up in summer (rides are payable).

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 – find out more about Parc Phoenix here.

– 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 a big playground zone 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 on Val du Tuveret beside the big carpark and skate park.  There is a toddler playground on the road with Hôtel de Ville and the Abbaye de Valbonne.

– 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 which are well-maintained 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 in Villefranche sur Mer

VILLENEUVE LOUBET

– 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.

NOTE:  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

 

Review of Antibes Free Walking Tours

Antibes is one of the French Riviera’s most popular destinations and rightly so – it has amazing history, beautiful old buildings, interesting monuments, great restaurants, fantastic festivals, an award-winning market and it’s a photogenic place too!

antibes old town

Antibes is a photographer’s dream with picturesque buildings and streets

Recently, I joined a tour with Antibes Free Walking Tours to discover the best of Antibes in a few hours and find out why this relatively new company is being talked about!

Why did I join the tour when I am a local?

I know A LOT about Antibes, however I was very interested in finding out what this tour offers visitors to the Côte d’Azur and how it shares insight about daily French life, the towns rich history, popular attractions and hidden areas of a destination that only a local would know.

antibes sightseeing

Antibes Free Walking Tours lets you discover authentic back streets like a local

My tour benefits

Whether you’re a solo traveller or visiting Antibes as part of a group, here’s my feedback on the benefits of taking this tour:

  • Even though the tour is guided it moves at a good pace – it is not rushed nor too slow.
antibes guide tour

This tour moves at a good pace – neither too fast nor too slow

  • The tour is fun and educational.  Cédric has a great sense of humour and he knows so many facts and figures about Antibes.  I have been on many tours around the world and it’s so great to meet a tour guide who is smiley and enthusiastic (which is not always the case in different cities!)
  • A true representation of Antibes.  I was listening very carefully and he was 100% correct with historic dates and places so you can be assured that he is giving an honest representation of the town.
visiting antibes

Discover Antibes highlights with this guided tour

  • Chance to meet other travellers.  One of the best thing about travelling is meeting other people.  The day I joined in, other tour participants were from Sweden, Belgium, Canada and England.

Antibes is a fantastic destination and you’ll learn about the history and people on this tour

  • A good mix of locations included in the tour.  The tour visits popular places as well as lesser visited places of interest and back streets. You get to see various areas of Old Town Antibes such as Marché Provençal (the covered market), Free Commune of Safranier, the remparts, Picasso Museum and the port.
picasso museum antibes

Learn about some of Antibes top attractions such as the Picasso Musueum, as well as lesser known places

  • The opportunity to learn about Antibes in a few hours.  I’ve done them all in various global destinations – self-guided walking tours, full day group tours that cram in 50 popular touristy spots (hello, London!), tourist trains, audio guided tours.  This tour is the perfect antidote if you have limited time in Antibes.
  • Not ‘salesy’ or pushy.  I think it’s important to mention that this tour doesn’t feel like a directed crawl to various places that the tour guide gets a commission or backhander for taking people there.  Cedric has a background in I.T but due to a lifestyle change he has realised his passion for tourism and sharing his love for Antibes.  At no time did I feel obligated to buy or try anything along the way, it is a very relaxed yet professionally run tour. Cedric is personable and open to suggesting other places you can visit outside of joining the tour.

Who would suit this tour?

This tour would appeal to many different tourists with wide interests because it takes in so many aspects of Antibes.  Whether you like food, history, art, natural landscapes or finding out about French culture you won’t be disappointed.   Even for a local like me, I found it interesting and informative.  Here is a snapshot of the kinds of travellers who I believe would enjoy this Antibes tour:

  • Small groups – couples, families, friends
  • Cruise ship passengers or yacht charter guests looking for an onshore excursion of a few hours duration that gives an overview of Antibes, its history and top places of interest
  • Art or history enthusiasts (the tour includes information about some well-known attractions such as the Picasso Museum as well as lesser known spots such as Chapelle St-Bernandin and the Peynet Museum)
antibes churches

Step inside some of the beautiful places in Antibes

  • People who like quirky facts (Personally, I really love tours that include quirky or surprising information. You’ll hear some fun facts about Antibes and France including the history of absinthe (pastis’ nemesis!), the evolution of the city’s remparts and famous people who visit the area).
antibes free walking tour

Learn fun facts about Antibes and France on this tour

What time is the tour?

The Antibes Free Walking Tours explores the heart of Antibes Old Town from Tuesday to Saturday.

Tours depart at 10.30am daily from Place de Gaulle, near the fountain in the square opposite Monoprix and last around 2 hours.

Note: The fountain isn’t operating on Thursday or Saturday due to the market, so just look for the guide in the red shirt.  It’s recommended to reserve a place in advance.

How to book 

You can find Antibes Free Walking Tours on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or drop them a line via their website.

I enjoyed the tour so much I have added reviews for them on TripAdvisor where I’m a Top Contributor with over 50 global reviews of hotels, resorts, restaurants and attractions and Wiki Places for Kids.

Disclosure:   I was kindly invited to a Special Bloggers Day with Antibes Free Walking Tours to experience the tour myself.  As I believe in supporting businesses who represent the Côte d’Azur to a high standard, I am listed as a Partner on the website.  However, as always, this review is my honest interpretation of what was offered.

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Musée National du Sport in Nice

The Musée National du Sport is an excellent place to go for families visiting or living on the French Riviera.  Located at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, it is the only national museum in France dedicated to sport.

Musée National du Sport

The Musée National du Sport (National Sports Museum) in Nice is the only national museum in France dedicated to sport

What is on display at the Musée National du Sport

The museum has a wide collection of different sports memorabilia dating from the 16th century to modern times spread across 2500m2 of exhibition space.

You will see historic sports items including Olympic medals and torches, team uniforms, sports equipment, postcards, photographs, posters, sculptures and trophies.

It is a great place for children to see recreational items which are not in use today such as vintage bicycles and wooden skis. 

national sports museum nice

musee national du sport

There are displays for cycling, snow sports, running, boxing, fencing, racquet sports, football, rugby, handisports, martial arts, sailing, skateboarding and motorsports.

There are also interactive sports animations such as trying a game of fencing, Wii controllers, baby football tables and a Formula car simulator.  A film room screens sports footage and documentaries.

The museum has a room dedicated to the OGC Nice football team with signed shirts, supporters gear and a jukebox with team chants. It is called Café des Aiglons but isn’t actually a cafeteria; there is a snack vending machine though!

The museum is excellent for families with kids of different ages because it has a good mixture of cabinet displays as well as interactive educational screens to keep children entertained.  It is in my opinion one of the more modern museums you can visit on the Cote d’Azur and is definitely underrated for families!

national sports museum nice

Temporary Exhibitions

As well as many permanent collections, the museum holds temporary exhibitions throughout the year.  There is a dedicated zone of 500m2 where you can explore different displays based on specific themes or subjects.  You can buy entry just for the permanent collections, or purchase a combined entry for the permanent and temporary exhibitions – the difference in price is €1 – €2 only.

Currently, the temporary exhibition at the museum until 11 March 2018 is ‘Jouez’ which is a fantastic showcase of games and toys, with a special focus on vintage items.  You’ll see retro game consoles, vintage wooden toys and games and modern video games.

vintage toys

The current temporary exhibition ‘Jouez’ has some excellent vintage games and toys including a ping pong set from 1901, a pinball machine from 1933 and a steeplechase game from the 1850’s

Slot cars and toys from the 1950’s and 1970’s

Mattel figurines from the 1960’s

atari nintendo pong intellivision

Games consoles from 1975 onwards – who remembers Pong, Intellivision, Atari and Nintendo?

What other things do they offer?

The museum offers guided tours for individuals, groups, or associations; guided tours are additional to the cost of museum entrance.

They run children’s workshops throughout the year (including school holidays and Christmas).  They also host kids birthday parties where you choose between several options that can include a visit of the museum, a sport-related activity and snacks.

Onsite, just to the right in the museum entrance foyer you’ll find a boutique selling items such as football shirts, books and posters.

(image: Insep)

Additionally, they have a huge collection of sports brochures, books, tickets, photos and films that have been collected since the 1960’s and the public can access this research area by pre-reservation every day (except Tuesday or the weekend).  Find out more here:  Le Centre de Researche et Ressources du Sport

You can also combine a visit to the museum with a tour of Allianz Riviera stadium; the cost varies between €8 to €13, reserve this via the museum site.  The tour goes for 1.5 hours and is hosted in French language, tour participants must be minimum 6 years of age.

Another thing to note (which parents will appreciate) is that the toilet facilities include a baby change table. Such a small consideration, but it is not so common to find a baby change table here on the French Riviera so it is a much appreciated amenity.

How to get to the Musée National du Sport

By car:  Getting to the museum is very simple.  If you’re driving, simply come off the A8 autoroute at Sortie 52 (Saint-Isidore) and follow the signs to the stadium and/or museum which is located on boulevard des Jardiniers.  There is free car parking right outside the museum entrance.

By train: Note, the museum can not be reached by train from either Nice Ville train station or Nice Saint-Augustin train station so don’t be led astray.  You can get the Chemin de Fer de Provence train line from the Gare Nice station (4 bis rue Alfred Binet) to Saint-Isidore stop, and then it is a 10-minute walk from Saint-Isidore to the museum.  See this map for the route from St Isidore station to the museum/stadium:  http://www.allianz-riviera.fr/sites/allianz-riviera.fr/files/media/plan_daccecs_stade_evenement_pieton.pdf    Chemin de Fer de Provence also have special fares when matches are on at the stadium too.

(image: Allianz.Riviera.fr)

By bus:  The museum’s brochure says you can get there using bus lines 11 and 59 that stop at Saint-Isidore.  🙂 However, for a tourist it’s not so easy to find more information online about these bus lines and where they travel to/from.  So, to make things easier here is the information you need if you want to go by bus!

Bus 11:  Travels between Carras / Frémont and Saint-Isidore. The line is called ‘Carras / Frémont – Centre Commercial Saint Isidore’ with Lignes Azur.  For the museum, you can get off at stops ‘La Carrière’ or ‘Saint-Isidore Église’ and walk less than 10 minutes.  The timetable at February 2018 is here:  https://www.lignesdazur.com/ftp/lines/170904ligne-11.pdf

Bus 59:  Travels between Nice and Plan du Var.  The line is called ‘Plan du Var-Trésorerie-Cathédrale Vieille Ville’ with Lignes Azur.  For the museum, you have to get off at stop ‘Les Baraques’ and walk 10 minutes to the museum/stadium.  It’s important to note that the roads around this area are part of a semi-industrial area and can be quite busy with the autoroute nearby, so be cautious walking along here and crossing roads.  The timetable at February 2018 is here:  https://www.lignesdazur.com/ftp/lines/180110ligne59.pdf

Note:  These bus routes have changes until the end of February 2018 because of roadworks and Nice Carnival, so check on the Lignes Azur website before you travel on these buses.

Opening hours / entry prices for the Musée National du Sport

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays).

Between October and April, hours are 11am to 5pm.

Between May and September, hours are 10am to 6pm.

Ticket prices:

The best tip I can share is that on the first Sunday of every month the museum is free of charge for everyone. 

They also participate in the yearly Journées Européennes du Patrimoine held each September when museums open their doors to the public for free (or a very low cost).

Every other day, children under 18 years of age get free entry.

Groups, 18-25 years of age or job seekers = €3 for one exhibition, or €4 for permanent + temporary displays.

Adults = €6 for one exhibition, or €8 for permanent + temporary displays. There is no special rate for seniors.

If you are visiting the French Riviera for 3 days or more, the museum participates in the Côte d’Azur Card sightseeing pass.

The National Sports Museum is an excellent option for travellers on a budget, families looking for an interesting attraction or rainy day activity or anyone interested in history of sport.

Watch the promotional video of the museum below (video credit:  MuséeduSport / YouTube):

Accessibility information

The Musée National du Sport is suitable for persons with restricted mobility and is wheelchair accessible.  The museum is on the ground floor with no interior steps or steep inclines and there are wheelchair accessible toilets in the main entrance foyer.  I forgot to check if there are mobility spaces in the carpark but I’m 99% sure there will be some and the entrance path to the museum is flat and paved.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog post about the Musée National du Sport in Nice!  Please do share this post on social media if you found it useful, or for more information about the Sports Museum in Nice, go to their website www.museedusport.fr

 

250,000 THANK YOUS

Sunday smiling and sending out a huge heartfelt thank you to all my followers, sharers, commenters and occasional readers who have stopped by Access Riviera – I have hit a milestone of 250,000 visitors!

I’m totally overwhelmed with all of the support for my blog from what started as a simple vision to provide information about the French Riviera and has grown into a behemoth and I’ve appreciated every like, share and comment along the way.

I’ve worked with some brilliant clients, learned a lot about growing and ungrowing followers, committed myself to writing good content and generally sticking to writing about things I believe in whether it’s the good, the bad or the ugly.

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!  Here’s to the next 250K

Becks

To read some of my most popular articles, click on the links below:

Secret French Riviera : Hidden spots worth visiting

The Lavender Route

Cannes Film Festival : The Ultimate Guide

Top 15 French Riviera viewpoints for amazing photos

Monaco on a budget

To work with me or simply send me feedback, you can contact me a number of ways from my Contact Access Riviera page.

4 Family-Friendly Things To Do on the French Riviera this weekend

After a week of rain on and off, it’s time to get out and about and enjoy some of the region’s activities and events.

Here are my suggestions for 4 family-friendly things to do on the French Riviera this weekend:

1.     Monte Carlo Gastronomie Festival

On all weekend, there are plenty of exhibitors with goodies for parents to sample and buy such as organic teas, fine wines, truffles, cured meats, smoked salmon and cheese.

Don’t put off visiting this food show with your kids – they will love the food from exhibitors such as gelato maker Gez Italia, the cookies from Baghi’s,  the chocolate truffle bon bons from Sgambelluri , chocolates from Maison Auer and nougat from Nougaterie Cévenole.

More info :  www.montecarlogastronomie.com/en/

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2. Ciné-Récré in Nice – All weekend at various Nice cinemas

Ciné-Récré is a mini film festival for children with films screened at cinemas in Nice for just €3 a ticket for kids aged 3-12 years and their accompanying adult.

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Participating cinemas and information about film schedules can be found at their websites:

 

3. Tchico et le Trésor de Barbe Noire in Nice – Sunday 27 November at 11am

A theatre production for young children.  After the disappearance of the renowned pirate Barbe Noire (Black Beard), an ex member of the crew, Robin Sea the cruel, decides to go in search of his priceless treasure, with the wise advice of a mysterious parrot named Tchico. This one will take him on an adventure filled with unexpected developments combining plots, battles, jokes and curious encounters.

Bookings via:  http://www.spectacles.fr/salle/theatre-bellecour-nice (go to ‘Aout 2016’)

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4. Christmas Market in Tourrette-Levens – All weekend

It’s not yet December but the French Riviera Christmas markets are starting to open for the year’s festive season.  This weekend, Tourrette-Levens is hosting their annual Christmas market from 10am-6pm in the Salle des Fêtes and village.  Pop along to see Father Christmas, Christmas stands and eat roasted chestnuts and crepes.

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

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

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

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

top sightseeing tour cote d'azur

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

What is a GPS-guided travel article?

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

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

best travel apps

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

Benefits of using a GPS-guided travel article

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

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

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

monaco on a budget

sightseeing tour french riviera

Convenient, user-friendly tours

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

cheap sightseeing tour monaco

GPS navigation at your fingertips

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

offline map french riviera

Working offline is great for travellers on the move

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

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

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

 – Families looking for tours that are not time-restricted

– Backpackers on a budget

– Tourists interested in history or local tips about a destination

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

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

– People looking for advice about visiting Monaco on a budget

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

best french riviera tours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the links:

Ventimiglia:  A  slice of Italian life

ventimiglia market

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

Sightseeing in Villefranche-sur-Mer

things to do villefranche

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

Image credits: Access Riviera, Pixabay, Deavita

Parc Vaugrenier – Villeneuve Loubet

Parc Vaugrenier is a park that we visit regularly and it’s easily accessible for many people visiting the region who may be staying in Villeneuve Loubet/Baie des Anges, Cagnes sur Mer, Biot, or Antibes.

Vaugrenier : A past Roman site

Located off the RN7, the park is around 100 hectares of grass areas, forests and a lake with a number of outdoor activities possible there such as walking, picnicking and bird watching.

In the 12th century BC, Romans occupied the site and archaeological discoveries by the Nice-Sophia University have found remnants of a Roman village and a temple dedicated to Mercury.

Family-friendly park

We like going there because it has a mix of things to keep kids entertained including a playground zone with various play equipment for different ages, a bird watching hut, nature trails and picnic tables. There are also lots of trees which is a god send on hot days in summer!

The park has many dirt pathways for nature walks, and it’s accessible with baby strollers. Visitors in electric wheelchairs can also access the park and pathways though some of the ground surfaces are small gravel chip.

Pros

  • Lots of free carparking
  • Fenced playground zone with various play equipment for different ages. This play area also has swings (very hard to find on the French Riviera!)
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Playground zone at Parc Vaugrenier

  • Wooden confidence course with balancing beams – suitable for 2 years upwards with adult supervision, and even my 5-year old son still enjoys it.
Wooden confidence course at Parc Vaugrenier

Wooden confidence course at Parc Vaugrenier

  • Nature trails with information plaques about animals and plants, and treasure hunts; really educational for kidsVaug3Vaug1
  • Bird watching hut to see herons, ducks etc.  There are tortoises there but they are a pest in the lake and you are not permitted to feed them!

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  • Lots of grassed areas and picnic tables
  • A 1.9 kilometre fitness trail with around 20 wooden fitness structures
  • Accessible toilets near the carpark on avenue du Logis de Bonneau
  • If you arrive at the park via Avenue de Vaugrenier you may see Château de Vaugrenier, located off the main road.  It’s not very well known and unfortunately is not open to the public for walk-in visits.   The Château is only open to be visited by the public between 01 July and 30 September by booking directly with the Château or by arrangement with Villeneuve Loubet Tourism Office; it is also open on the Heritage Days.  You can also rent it for a special event, for example a wedding or private party.

chateauchateau-de-vaugrenier_260Cons

  • Irregular and badly timed maintenance at the playgrounds – I understand if there are safety issues or things need to be replaced, however this is the 3rd year in a row at least one of the playgrounds has been closed and fenced off during summer when its the optimum time for families to want to use it! (see photo above).  The playground zone also has very little shade and some sizeable pot holes in the dirt which have caused a few sprained ankles for kids.
  • Only one toilet block  so if you park via the other entrances there’s no toilets nearby.

How to get to Parc Vaugrenier

By car:  Parc Vaugrenier is situated on the RN7 in between Antibes and Baie des Anges at Villeneuve Loubet.  There are free carparks accessed by Avenue de Vaugrenier, Boulevard des Groules or Avenue du Logis de Bonneau.  (The main carpark near the playground area is off Avenue du Logis de Bonneau).  We visit this park regularly and have never had issues finding carparking.

By bus:  The 200 bus passes by the park – the closest stops are called ‘Parc Vaugrenier’ and ‘Les Groules’.  Be aware on the RN7 road though as it is always extremely busy with traffic and there are no pathways.  The bus timetable is here: https://www.departement06.fr/documents/A-votre-service/Deplacements/transports-en-commun/dpt06-cadredevie_lignes_200.pdf

By train:  The Villeneuve Loubet train station is the closest station to the park and a 5-minute walk away and much safer to walk from than the Biot train station along the main road.

If you read one article about the Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival), read this one

The town of Menton, located on the France-Italian border, has one of the highest allocations of sunshine hours in France and it is this climate that supports the growth of tangerines, oranges and one of the symbols of the town – lemons.

In celebration of these citrus fruits and their importance to Menton, each February an annual festival – the Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival) is held.

This year the Fête du Citron is from Saturday 14 February – Wednesday 04 March 2015, and not to be out shadowed by another prominent festival happening along on the French Riviera at the same time, the Fête du Citron promotes unique events based around lemons and all the citrusy fruits they can muster.

Fête du Citron 2015 (poster copyright feteductiron.com)

Fête du Citron 2015 (poster copyright feteductiron.com)

The significance of lemons to Menton

In the late 19th century, a group of hoteliers, suggested to the city council that there should be a parade in the town to provide entertainment for locals and visitors as it was very fashionable at that time to spend winters on the French Riviera.

A parade was initiated in 1896 (a shadow of the festival as it exists today), and in 1925 the concept of including lemons in the festival was suggested to give it a local colour as Menton was the number one lemon-growing region in Europe.

The festival was a huge success, and has continued to grow year after year.

Attractions of the festival

Every year, a theme is chosen – 2015’s theme is ‘Les Tribulations d’un Citron en Chine’ (The tribulations of a lemon in China).

The choice of the theme originated from Jules Vernes 1879 adventure novel ‘The Tribulations of a Chinaman in China’, and it a brilliant strategic option to attract more Chinese tourists to the region. France is one of the premier destinations for Chinese tourists in Europe, and more Chinese are travelling outside of China due to increased disposable income and relaxation of travel regulations, including fast-track visas for France.

Chinese visitors are the top spenders for outbound tourism, and when they visit France they love themes – art, museums, wine discovery and life in France so a citrus-based festival is excellent for tourism promotion and attraction (On another note, I will be writing an editorial about the Fête du Citron and Chinese tourism to France for Ctrip, the largest travel agency in China).

Here are some photos of displays from previous years:

Fête du Citron, Menton (image: Access Riviera)

Fête du Citron, Menton (image: Access Riviera)

The festival has parades with lights and lanterns, decorated floats in the evening and the central park Jardins Biovès has an exhibition of large sculptures made of citrus fruits decorated in the annual theme.

The Jardins Biovès also has stalls selling citrus-themed products – vintage postcards with photographs of lemons, Provençal table linen adorned with orange groves, citrus produce including curds, limoncello, marmalades….anything and everything that can be made of citrus is there!

This is a great event if you live in the region or are visiting – I think the entry fee for the sculpture display is very reasonable, it’s quite unique to see towering citrus sculptures.

Menton has many restaurants in close proximity to the action so it’s possible to visit for a few hours and combine a visit to the Fête du Citron with lunch or dinner. Other attractions in Menton include the Jean Cocteau Museum, Musée de Préhistorie and also the Via Julia Augusta route (an important Roman trade route) which you can find out about here www.viajuliaaugusta.com

And if you’re wondering what happens to the tonnes of fruit at the end of the festival, it is offered up for sale so you can whip up your own versions of ‘tarte au citron’.

Where to buy tickets for Fête du Citron

Tickets can be pre-purchased online at www.fete-du-citron.com or at the Menton Tourist Office, 8 avenue Boyer, 06500 Menton.

Or you can buy tickets for the sculpture display only at Jardins Biovès entrance.

Fête du Citron, Menton (image: Access Riviera)

Fête du Citron, Menton (image: Access Riviera)

Ticket prices

Adult tickets cost €10 for the citrus sculpture display at Jardins Biovès, and between €10 – €25 for the parades. Note: If you pre-purchase online, you will receive a discount on these prices.

Children 6-14 years cost €5 for the citrus sculpture display at Jardins Biovès, and between €8 – €10 for the parades. Note: if you pre-purchase online, you will receive a discount on these prices.

Children under 6 years are free of charge.

Information for persons with reduced mobility

The festival has free entrance for persons with reduced mobility with disability cards and their accompanying person (free entrance applies only to the garden display and for the parades but without seating. You are entitled to reduced prices for a seat in the stands; accompanying companions must pay full price for a seat in the stands).

For persons with reduced mobility there is a footbridge and stairs separating half of the garden sculpture display at Jardins Biovès – however, if you are in a wheelchair you can exit at the bottom of the stairs and re-enter at the other side where the exhibition begins again (there is a gate with attendant).

If you are attending the parades, there is a designated wheelchair area on Place Saint-Roch.

Tips

The central train station of Menton is called ‘Gare du Menton’, and is just 200 metres from the main garden sculpture display.  Do not alight at the station ‘Gare du Menton Garavan’ which is the next station heading towards Vintimille (Ventimiglia) in Italy.

If you are driving, Menton is located at Exit number 59 on the A8 highway. There is a designated free car park just off the highway at the beginning of the industrial area (Intermarché Shopping Car Park) with free shuttle buses running to the festival.   Town car parking was ample last time we visited with no major traffic jams from the highway, though there were some street restrictions and detours around the central garden however all detours are well-signposted.

For the duration of the festival, hotels in Menton are offering special packages including accommodation, breakfast, seated tickets for one parade, unlimited entry to Jardins Biovès and more. Participants include Hôtel Ibis Styles and Hôtel Napoléon. To see the deals, head to the website www.hotelmenton.fr

More details of the festival programme can be found on the official website www.fete-du-citron.com or download the free app on iTunes or Google Play (app is in French language only).

   (YouTube video courtesy of VilledeMenton)

 

 

Théâtre shows for Under 3’s in Nice

There are plenty of playgrounds and outdoor activities on the French Riviera, but what do parents do if the weather is adverse or you fancy introducing your little one to the world of theatre shows?

Théâtre de la Cité in Nice runs regular shows for all ages including theatre, music, comedy, mime and dance.

Here are some suggestions below for upcoming shows at Théâtre de la Cité suitable for children under the age of 3 years.

I find this is a tricky age for entertainment in this region as little ones are often not in the school system, or old enough to subscribe to pre-arranged classes.

Tikitêt

Saturday 24 January – 2 shows – one at 10.30am and one at 4pm.

Duration: 25 minutes.

Recommended for age from birth upwards.

Show includes songs (French nursery rhymes) such as ‘Mes petite mains’ and ‘Maman regarde’.  Violin interludes.

Tikitêt - a concert for little heads

Tikitêt – a concert for little heads

Magie à la ferme

Monday 23 February at 10.30am and Tuesday 24 February at 10.30am.

Duration: Between 25-45 minutes.

Recommended for ages up to 3 years.

It is 8am when the farmer wakes up to a disaster. The rooster did not sing this morning and he is now missing!  The farmer and the animals have to investigate to find out what happened to him.

Magie à la ferme - comedy and magic  show

Magie à la ferme – comedy and magic show

C’est la vie

Saturday 11 April – 2 shows – one at 10.30am and one at 4pm.

Duration: 30 minutes.

Recommended for ages from 2 years upwards.

A theatre and marionette show about discovering the world through the four elements.

C'est la vie - theatre and marionette show

C’est la vie – theatre and marionette show

Une journée au zoo

Monday 27 April at 10.30am, and Tuesday 28 April at 10.30am.

Duration: 30 minutes

Recommended for age from 3 years upwards.

It’s a mad adventure! Sebastian is looking for work and finds himself the next day as the zoo keeper with no experience of working with animals.  The show has him share his experiences of meeting the animals at the zoo and the adventures begin – the sea lion is hungry, the crocodile has a toothache and so on!

Une journée au zoo - comedy and magic show

Une journée au zoo – comedy and magic show

Where:  Théâtre de la Cité, 3 rue Paganini, 06600 Nice

How to get there:-

By bus within Nice:  Lignes 12, 30, 64, 71, 75, 99 : Station Gare SNCF
Lignes 1, 2, 4, 17, 18, 22 : Station J. Médecin-Pastorelli
See bus timetables at www.lignesdazur.com

By train:  The nearest train station is the main Nice station (Nice-Ville) and the theatre is an easy 5-minute walk from the station.

By tram: Get off at stop Jean-Médecin, the theatre is a few minutes walk.

By car:  You will find carparking locations at:

Mozart – 11 avenue Auber
Le Louvre – 20 boulevard Victor Hugo (Angle Rossini/Karr)
Nicetoile Shopping Centre – 30 avenue Jean Médecin
Notre Dame – 28 Avenue Notre Dame

Price per person:  €6 per show (or €5 with special deals). There is also a pass you can buy from the theatre for 4 shows called ‘Pass Enfants/Parents 4 Spectacles’ which costs €22 per person for 4 ‘tout petits’ shows.

 

Théâtre de la Cité, Nice

Théâtre de la Cité, Nice

 

Sightseeing – VILLEFRANCHE-SUR-MER (Painter’s Trail)

I have recently visited Villefranche-sur-Mer for the first time in about 3 years, and I was amazed by how beautiful it is.  As I walked from the train station toward the old town, it is one of those places that make you say ‘Wow!’.

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Villefranche-sur-Mer is one of the more picturesque towns on the French Riviera, showcasing it’s charm with a traditional village atmosphere mixed with maritime and historical points of interest including Port de la Darse and the Citadelle Saint-Elme.

Citadelle Saint Elme, Villefranche sur Mer

Citadelle Saint Elme, Villefranche sur Mer

It is also one of the busiest towns in the high season. The deep water harbour is favoured by cruise ships that disembark passengers for organised tours, it is a ‘must-see’ destination on many coach itineraries, there is a renown French Language school located here, and residents come from nearby Nice, Monaco and Italy to enjoy the beach and change of pace.

It is easy to see why artists flocked to Villefranche-sur-Mer with it’s combination of paintbox-hue houses and terrace restaurants lining the seafront, the rugged Corniche hillsides, a lovely Old Town (vieille ville) dotted with churches and flower boxes cascading from balconies, and a view that stretches from the Cap of Nice across the bay to the peninsula of Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat.

quai Admiral Courbet, Villefranche sur Mer

quai Admiral Courbet, Villefranche sur Mer

In my previous ‘avant-France’ life, I was a coach of Special Olympics and also a travel consultant for many years so you could say I have an affinity for ensuring all travellers – regardless of mobility – have access to information regarding sightseeing, attractions and other travel advice that will present them with the best travel experience they can possibly have.  And now I am a mother, navigating the travel highway with a child/children (and multiple suitcases, car seats, baby strollers) also factors consideration to travel planning.

One of my interests is art, and I do appreciate that access to art galleries or tours in France can be a struggle when traveling with children, or if you have reduced mobility.

So, I have updated a painter’s trail for this region with the addition of a few extras and more information regarding accessibility to each location.

Trail Note: Locations are marked 1-9 and are suitable for able-bodied tourists able to manage walking up some flights of stairs; locations 1-3 and numbers 6-9 only are accessible to families with children in baby buggies/strollers, persons with reduced mobility, or wheelchair-bound tourists and are located on paved surfaces.

I hope you enjoy my Villefranche-sur-Mer Painter’s Trail.  Please click on the link below to open the Word document:

PainterstrailVSMinclaccessibility

I would love some feedback on this itinerary I have compiled (I am trying to source a map to plot the locations but it is proving difficult to scale the town and source a blank map, so I may have to create my own map – watch this space!)

 

 

 

 

 

Medieval weekend – Biot and Les Templiers

Biot et Les Templiers (Biot and the Templar Knights) is a free annual festival with medieval jousting, falconry displays, artisan workshops such as basket weaving and iron work, and markets selling jewellery, mead wine and all things ‘medieval’ including swords, silverware and roast meats on spits.

Biot & Les Templiers

Biot & Les Templiers

The festival was held 04-06 April 2014, and many spectators dress in costume, particularly children as knights and fair maidens.

Biot & Les Templiers

Biot & Les Templiers

Highly recommended for a family day.

How to get to Biot and Les Templiers festival:

  • Train and bus:  You can take the train to Biot train station (Gare de Biot), then catch Envibus number 10 (there is a bus stop just outside Biot train station to the left). Because there are road closures around the village during the festival, get off the bus at the final stop ‘Fontanette’ and the knights and horses displays are a 2 minute walk (on flat ground).  There are free buses closer to the village, but unfortunately the festival doesn’t offer a linking shuttle bus to/from the train station to the village and it is a minimum 25 minute+ walk on unshaded busy roads, some with no footpath – not recommended with children, or on a hot day.  Take the bus number 10 from Biot train station to save time and stress. Bus timetable can be found here www.envibus.fr
  • By car:  It is possible to drive and park, however there are road closures near to the village during the festival. For parking updates, visit Biot Tourism www.biot.fr
Biot & Les Templiers

Biot & Les Templiers

Access to Biot Village:

  • A lot of the festival occurs in Biot village.  It is a steep gradient to get up there, and there are lots of stairs and cobblestone streets (which aren’t always obvious on tourist maps). Wear comfortable footwear. If you have a baby buggy/stroller, or reduced mobility, you can get to the village by following two easier (but slightly longer in duration) routes:
  1. Route de la Mer, then chemin Neuf follows the main road and takes you up to the village proper with flat ground
  2. Route de la Mer, then turn right onto Calade de Migraniers, then rue de la Calade. It’s a steep street, but it’s paved and there are no stairs until the top. Much easier than climbing the steps through the bottom of the village.
Biot & Les Templiers

Biot & Les Templiers

Other tips:

  • Free public toilets in the village during the festival are on rue de la Poissonerie. There were 3 steps leading up into the corridor for the toilets, but I will source information on accessible toilets and update my blog.
  • Biot Tourism has a free SmartPhone application available on the App Store or Google Play, download  http://www.biot-tourisme.com/biot-sur-mobile

 

Activities – ANTIBES (Royal Kids, indoor play centre)

A new indoor play centre opened in February 2014 in Antibes, which has been very welcome to residents and tourists in the area after the closure of the Boomiland indoor play centre in Mougins.

First impressions are that the centre is well lit, organised and clean. Staff that work there are friendly and helpful.

Children must wear socks to use the play equipment.

The centre has 2 large party rooms available for hire for birthdays with different options (‘formules’) available, priced from €13 per child upwards. The party options include mornings, afternoons and a Friday early evening session. There must be a minimum of 8 children attending, and birthday party rooms must be reserved in advance. Dependent on which option is purchased, Royal Kids supplies unlimited access to the play equipment, birthday certificate, birthday cake, drinks and entertainment from Léon, the dragon mascot. (Note: you can not bring your own birthday cake, food or drinks). For party guests, there is a cloakroom at the centre entrance with storage boxes for shoes and gifts, and children attending the party receive a bright-coloured top to wear for the duration of the party.

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For patrons with babies, there are high chairs with safety belts to use.

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Royal Kids has clean, accessible toilets onsite – 2 each in the ladies and mens toilets, with a designated disabled access toilet in both the mens and the ladies bathroom. There are step stools for kids to reach the basins to wash hands, and the ladies bathroom also has a baby changing table.

Onsite attractions include:

– Ball pits, soft play climbing, mini football, basketball, slides, climbing frames, giant Lego building area

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– A disco room with continuous music playing, mirror ball, lights

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– Coin-operated machines/games including air hockey, football, motorised cars, vending machines with toys

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There is a snack restaurant onsite with many tables and chairs serving a range of hot and cold drinks, ice creams, paninis, crêpes etc.

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Royal Kids is an accessible play centre with 2 designated mobility carpark spaces nearby to the entrance, flat ground to the entrance and no stairs inside the centre (excluding climbing frames). There is a designated disabled access toilet in both the men’s and the ladies bathroom, and there is ample room for baby strollers/buggies.

Access:

By car: Royal Kids is located at 172 avenue Weisweiller, 06600 Antibes.

If arriving from the A8 highway, take exit 44 towards Antibes/Juan les Pins and at the third roundabout (with McDonalds/SFR/Renault/Quick) turn right onto avenue Weisweiller (the road with the ‘Quick’ fast food restaurant).

If driving from Antibes/Juan les Pins, continue up the Route de Grasse to the roundabout with McDonalds/SFR/Renault/Quick and turn onto avenue Weisweiller (the road with the ‘Quick’ fast food restaurant).

There is a free onsite carpark (14 spaces including 2 designated mobility spaces) accessed by the first road on the right-hand side Voie Tripoli. Also, ample carparking can be found on Voie Bertrand le Bon as Royal Kids is located in an industrial area.

Public transport: Royal Kids can be accessed by bus number 6 from Antibes and there is a stop ‘Foyer P. Merli’ on avenue Weisweiller that is 2 minutes walk from Royal Kids. Find the timetable at www.envibus.fr. There are no trains that travel here.

Opening hours:

Open 10am-7pm: Every Wednesday, every Saturday, every Sunday, bank holidays, every day during school holidays

Open 4pm-7pm: Friday evenings only

Prices (correct at Wednesday 09 April 2014 but subject to change)

Adults: One or two accompanying adults are free of charge; €2 each for third adult or more

Children 4 years upwards: €10 each (or buy a ‘Royal Pass’ 10 entries for €80)

Children under 4 years: €6 each (or ‘Royal Pass’ 10 entries for €50)

Group discounts available on discussion with Royal Kids

For more information on party pricing or descriptions, visit their website www.royalkids.fr

 

Activities – GOLFE JUAN / VALLAURIS (Carnaval, Wednesday 5 February 2014)

It’s Carnaval time across the French Riviera!   The most popular carnival in this region is of course the Nice Carnaval beginning mid-February, however smaller towns also celebrate in their own grand style.

This Wednesday, the carnival comes to Golfe Juan and Vallauris – the theme is Darnéga, King of the Sea so wear costumes, bring some confetti and follow the street parade.

image courtesy of Vallauris Tourism Office

image courtesy of Vallauris Tourism Office

Free entry!  Golfe Juan and Vallauris have flat street surfaces and are paved so accessible for everyone.

GOLFE JUAN: 10a.m – Kids parade departs from M.L. Gachon school in Golfe Juan

VALLAURIS: 4.30p.m – Kids parade departs Espace GrandJean for Espace Loisirs in Vallauris

King of the Sea (programme courtesy of Tourism Office of Vallauris)

King of the Sea (programme courtesy of Tourism Office of Vallauris)

 

Thank you for reading my blog!

Thank you for reading my blog!   Access Riviera has now hit over 10,500 views since it’s humble beginnings as a source of information for families and travelers with reduced mobility.

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Many thanks,

Rebecca at Access Riviera