5 original places to propose on the French Riviera

Today, I’m joining in with my first contribution to the ‘All About France’ Blog Link Up.

All About France is a monthly Blog Link Up that started for the first time in February 2015 and takes place every 1st Thursday of the month.  Each link-up lasts a week.

The idea is to link up any posts about France, old or new, as long as there’s something French about the subject. The idea then is that participants and readers will have fun hopping around different blogs reading and learning about France, and discovering lots of new interesting blogs along the way.

The All About France Blog Link Up is overseen by Phoebe Thomas who runs a gite in the region and writes an informative blog called Lou Messugo with tips on travel, French culture and snippets about life here as an expat.   You can subscribe to Phoebe’s blog via the link, ‘Like’ her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Why visit the French Riviera

The Côte d’Azur – or French Riviera as it is commonly referred to by non-French people – is famous for epitomising an image of fabulous, sun-filled days.

It is true that the French Riviera tempts tourists with promises of cocktails on sun loungers, French cuisine and strolling through cobblestoned villages but there is so much more to the region than this.

Where to propose on the French Riviera

The region is a popular choice for weddings with an agreeable climate and gorgeous venues ranging from luxury villas, castles, vineyards, private beaches, hotels and restaurants.

But what about before the big day? Where would you go to pop the question on the French Riviera?

Forget about a clichéd luxury hotel or Michelin-starred restaurant – here are Access Riviera’s picks for 5 original places to propose on the French Riviera:

1.   Orion Treehouses, Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Saint-Paul-de-Vence is one of the most visited villages on the French Riviera, and this area is home to the lovely Orion Treehouses.

Orion Treehouses, Saint-Paul-de-Vence

A unique bed-and-breakfast resort, the treehouses blend into the surrounding forest and have a view to Saint-Paul-de-Vence village.

Oriontable

One of the distinctive features of the resort is a natural swimming pool that is chlorine and chemical-free.

natural swimming pool at Orion Treehouses

They also offer an eco-friendly sauna, massage with essential oils and yoga lessons to ensure your well-being and relaxation.

www.orionbb.com

2. Circuit de  l’Aiguille, Théoule-sur-Mer

The Massif de l’Esterel owes it’s rust-red hue to rhyolite, an igneous volcanic rock, and the contrast of the red rock to the turquoise ocean is stunning along the N98 coastal road and makes for some of the best scenic driving in the region.

Esterel rocks on the N98 coastal road

At the edge of the Esterel mountains, near Théoule-sur-Mer you will find the Circuit de l’Aiguille, an easy hiking trail that leads past the red rocks to sheltered pebble beaches.

secluded beaches on the Circuit d'Aiguille

The path continues up through a forest track past mimosas and fragrant lavender ending at lookout spots most tourists don’t venture to for some seclusion and a birds-eye view over the Gulf of La Napoule.

http://www.randoxygene.org/pge/rando_pe/affiche_rando.php?rubrique=1&zone=3&rando=57

3. Batterie de la Convention, Île Sainte-Marguerite

The Lérins Islands off the coast of Cannes are a popular tourist destination on the French Riviera.

Île Sainte-Marguerite, the larger of the two islands, is frequently visited for trips to the Musée de la Mer in Fort Royal, where the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned.

But few people wander over to Batterie de la Convention, the lesser known (and less visited) ruins at the other end of this island.  You reach them by following the eucalyptus and pine-fringed Route de la Convention that dissects the middle of the island.

eucalyptus and pine-fringed pathways dissect Île Sainte-Marguerite

Take a picnic hamper and a bottle of champagne and sit beside your own private French ruins.

A photo of me trying  to break into Batterie de la Convention

4. Col de Vence

Situated between the towns of Vence and Coursegoules, the Col de Vence is an alpine hill that is popular for hiking, cyclists and pony schools.

Col de Vence in winter

The Col de Vence’s main attractions are the panoramic views across the French Riviera and the rocky terrain similar to being on the moon.

Barren and under-populated, it’s a great place for quiet moments and stargazing at the Riviera sky due to it’s low pollution levels.

Col de Vence moonscape

It’s also a reputed area for UFO sightings so chances are you’ll end up with a great engagement story regardless.

5. A Mongolian yurt, Villars sur Var

Villars sur Var is 45 minutes from Nice and a favoured destination for hiking, canoeing and rock climbing.

If that sounds like your idea of bliss, Yurts of Domette rent two Mongolian yurts in a wooded park overlooking the Var river.

Yurts of Domette, Villars sur Var

It’s glamour-free but secluded, and a perfect place to swim in the Var river, and listen to birdsong while swinging in a hammock.

http://yourtes-de-domette.com/accueil_019.htm

Disclaimer: Access Riviera does not act on behalf or have any sales or marketing affiliations to any of the companies mentioned in this article.  All opinions are my own, if you like them I’d love you to please share on Facebook or retweet this on Twitter.

 

Lou Messugo
Advertisements

School holiday ideas on the French Riviera

School holidays begin this Friday, and if your child/children is not enrolled in the local centre (holiday activity programme) it can be tricky to think of ideas to entertain them for two weeks.

There are big events happening during these school holidays (Nice Carnival, Fête du Citron and Fête du Mimosa), but if you are looking for something low cost or close to home here are some suggestions for any school holiday break during the year.  Note:  It is still considered to be low season here at the moment, so please check opening hours of each attraction before you go.

1.  For a list of ‘Playgrounds on the French Riviera’ read my blog post here

2.  For suggestions for ‘Rainy Day activities’ if the weather turns to custard, read here

2.  For some suggestions for ‘Outdoor activities and theme parks’, read below:

ANTIBES

– Marineland, located just off the RN7 main road, is the largest marine themepark in Europe with aquariums, killer whales, dolphins, sharks, penguins, sea lions and more. ‘Meet the animal’ experiences on offer for additional cost.  Lots of restaurants onsite.  Wheelchair accessible park.  Their website often has discount specials for entrance, and combinations with the other adjoining theme parks www.marineland.fr

Kids Island, located just off the RN7 main road, has farm animals, pony rides, inflatable play equipment, a lazy river ride, sheriff’s saloon, mini Wild West train ride and more.  Snack kiosks onsite.  Wheelchair accessible park.  Entry is free for children under 3 years, however it is more suitable for children 4 years and older due to the age restriction on some of the attractions.  www.marineland.fr

Aquasplash, another one of the parks adjoining the Marineland complex, is self-explanatory – a water-filled funpark perfect for those hot days!  Slides, pools, Pirate Island, whirlpools. Snack kiosks onsite. www.marineland.fr

– Adventure Golf, the remaining park at the Marineland complex, has 3 mini-golf courses for varying levels. www.marineland.fr

Antibesland, just across from Marineland is open during summer, with funfair stalls, fairground rides, a big ferris wheel and snack kiosks.

CAILLE

Arbre et Aventure – Experience an adventure course set in the forest, 7 different levels with one child course suitable for ages 5 years and older. Suspended bridges, rope ladders and a 470-metre zip-line.  Arbre et Aventure, Télésèige de La Moulière, 06750 Caille. Hours and tariffs can be found at www.arbreetaventure.fr

Arbre et Aventure, Caille (image: CATourism)

Arbre et Aventure, Caille (image: CATourism)

CAGNES SUR MER

– The waterfront promenade is wide and flat.  Hire rollerblades at the Hippodrome end of the promenade or a family cycle and burn off some energy, then sit in a restaurant eating lunch and enjoying the view.

CANNES

– Make a daytrip out to the Lérins Islands

– Camp Trappeur is an adventure park with climbing nets in the trees, a rockclimbing wall, buggy cross hire, pony rides (during school holidays), chill-out lounge and tipis for private events.  Minimum age for climbing nets is 5 years of age. www.okwide.fr

Lounge (image: Camp Trappeur)

Lounge (image: Camp Trappeur)

JUAN LES PINS

– Visiobulle is a glass-bottomed boat that travels to the nearby Cap d’Antibes and the ‘Bay of Millionaires’ past the mansions, Eden Roc hotel and rocky outcrops of the Cap.  Departs from the pontoon Courbet on the waterfront in Juan les Pins. Read more here

Cap d'Antibes scenery on the Visiobulle boat trip

Cap d’Antibes scenery on the Visiobulle boat trip

Karting Juan les Pins is located underground on the Promenade du Soleil (just next to Sun7 Caféteria), it’s open late in summer and children from 5 years upwards can drive mini-karts around a track manned by safety supervisors.

LE BAR SUR LOUP

Refer to ‘PLAYGROUNDS‘ blog post for Ludiparc details.  Also, Funkart (located at Plateau de la Sarrée, route de Gourdon, 06620 Le Bar sur Loup) is the only go-kart track in the region equipped with adult and children’s tracks. Restaurant onsite.  www.fun-karting.com

MENTON

Koaland is a theme park for children with carousel, mini-golf, amusement rides, inflatable castles, located at 5 avenue de la Madone, 06500 Menton www.parckoaland.fr

MOUGINS

Buggy Cross de Mougins (909 chemin du Fond de Currault, 06250 Mougins) has mini motorbikes and quad bikes for children 4 years and older to hire. Snack kiosks with tables and swing playset onsite.  www.buggycross.fr

Kids quad and motorbike hire at Buggy Cross Mougins (image: buggycross.fr)

Kids quad and motorbike hire at Buggy Cross Mougins (image: buggycross.fr)

Centre Hippique de Mougins (next to Ecoparc) has pony rides for kids.  From 2 years of age, kids can have a 30-minute pony ride (no reservation needed).  Older kids can have pony lessons or stages during holidays that include horse riding plus tuition about horse care and grooming.

NICE

– Departing from Nice and chugging through the villages set high above Nice towards Dignes-les-Bains, the Train des Pignes covers 151 kilometres with great scenery of valleys, mountains and villages and lots of tunnels to thrill the kids!   Recommended to stop off at one of the villages (my pick is Entreveux), enjoy lunch then take a later train back www.trainprovence.com

Parc Phoenix is excellent value with bird lagoon, greenhouse with plants and animals, small aquarium, playground, snack kiosk. Entrance also includes entry to the adjoining Museum of Asiatic Arts.  Car parking is free for visits of under 2 hours.

Parc Phoenix, Nice (map courtesy of Parc Phoenix)

Parc Phoenix, Nice (map courtesy of Parc Phoenix)

SAINT CÉZAIRE SUR SIAGNE

– Grotto caves 15 kilometres from Grasse with stalactites. There is snack shop and souvenir shop onsite.  Not wheelchair accessible.  Recommended to telephone and check it is definitely open as we have shown up during opening hours previously and it has been closed with no explanation online or onsite. For hours, entry prices and more information visit www.lesgrottesdesaintcezaire.com

SAINT JEANNET

– A small farm 7 kilometres from Vence that arranges on-demand farm visits where you can sample homemade preserves, meet the animals (donkeys, ducks, rabbits and more) and pick vegetables in the organic garden. Graine and Ficelle, 670 chemin des Collets, 06640 Saint-Jeannet. Bookings via http://www.french-riviera-mag.com/outings/website-graine-ficelle_1096.htm

SAINT MARTIN VÉSUBIE

– Located in the Mercantour mountains, Parc Alpha Loup lets you discover about wolves in their natural habitat.  Parking, accessible toilets, picnic tables, snack kiosk, educational theatre onsite.  There are many rocky and uneven pathways so it is not particulary suited to pushchairs or wheelchairs if you choose to do a forest walk.  Chalet d’Accueil du Boréon, RD89, 06450 St Martin Vesubie  www.alpha-loup.com

Parc Alpha Loup in the Mercantour

Parc Alpha Loup in the Mercantour

SOSPEL

– Walking trails on the farm, and occasional pony rides. 2€ per person entry fee. Wheelchair and buggy/stroller accessible.  Reservation necessary. At Association MIR – Ferme Pedagogique, Quartier Sainte-Marie. Telephone +33 (0)4 93 04 20 89

VALBERG

– Take the family on an adventure course set in the forest, 3 different levels from ages 3 years and older.  Suspended bridges, zip-lines, rope ladders, nets and more.  At Espace Valberg Adventure and Télésiège pieton.  More information, hours and tariffs at www.valberg.com

VALDEBLORE

– Situated just over an hour’s drive from Nice, Valdeblore is a ski resort that offers many summer activities also.  Enjoy mini-golf, a luge and 5 different courses of forest adventure set in the trees, from ages 3 years and older.  Open June-September.  At Colmiane Forest, Sem des Cimes du Mercantour, La Colmiane, 06420 Valdeblore.  Hours and all prices at www.colmiane.com

La Ferme du Mercantour – Spend a day with the kids partaking in horse and cart rides, meeting farm animals (see donkeys, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, geese and more), pony rides, and sample the fresh farm produce.  La ferme du Mercantour, La Roche, Quartier de Collet, 06420 Valdeblore www.lafermedumercantour.com

VENCE

– Refer to ‘Saint Jeannet’ above.  Also, there is La Ferme du Col de Vence (La Cavetière, route de Coursegoules, 06140 Vence), an educational farm situated at the Col de Vence only 10 kilometres from Vence, where kids can go horse riding, take a horse-and-cart ride, meet farm animals, collect honey and eggs, and walk on bush trails (note: there are rocky paths so leave the pushchair behind if you go trail walking).  More information and prices are at http://www.lacavetiere.com/home.htm

VILLENEUVE LOUBET

– Canyon Forest is an adventure playground set in the trees with rope bridges, zip-lines, climbing equipment.  Picnic tables onsite, snack kiosk, river frontage, it is a wheelchair accessible site however there is a 2.5km path to get to the park site from the carpark, and please note the adventure courses aren’t wheelchair accessible as they are elevated in the trees. Located at Canyon Forest, 26, route de Grasse, Parc de Rives de Loup, 06270 Villeneuve-Loubet. Open February-November.  Reservations necessary; see hours and prices at www.canyonforest.com

LabyFolies for ages 4 years and older (at 2559, RD 2085 – 06270 Villeneuve-Loubet) has a labyrinth maze, pedal karts, luge in the trees, water catapults, inflatable slides and trampolines.  Picnic tables onsite, snack kiosk. Wheelchair accessible park.  www.lelabyrinthedelaventure.com

Pitchoun Forest is a great site with a climbing adventure course for smaller children, ages 3 years and older (same address as LabyFolies above).  Snack kiosk onsite. Wheelchair accessible park.  For more information visit the park’s website at www.azur-labyrinthe.com/pitchoun_forest.htm

Les Bois du Lutins, (same address as LabyFolies and Pitchoun Forest) is suited for younger children from 2 years and older.  You will find inflatable play equipment, climbing nets, luge, tunnels, snack kiosk and picnic tables onsite, baby changing facilities, wheelchair accessible park.  www.leboisdeslutins.com

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES / THEME PARKS on the French Riviera

The great weather on the French Riviera means it is the perfect destination for families, and with it’s proximity to both the sea and the mountains there is never a shortage of outdoor activities to participate in.

See also my ‘PLAYGROUNDS on the French Riviera’  and ‘Sightseeing’ sections.

Here are some suggestions for family activities outdoors (including the must-see theme park attractions):

ANTIBES

– Marineland, located just off the RN7 main road, is the largest marine themepark in Europe with aquariums, killer whales, dolphins, sharks, penguins, sea lions and more. ‘Meet the animal’ experiences on offer for additional cost.  Lots of restaurants onsite.  Wheelchair accessible park.  Their website often has discount specials for entrance, and combinations with the other adjoining theme parks www.marineland.fr

Kids Island, located just off the RN7 main road, has farm animals, pony rides, inflatable play equipment, a lazy river ride, sheriff’s saloon, mini Wild West train ride and more.  Snack kiosks onsite.  Wheelchair accessible park.  Entry is free for children under 3 years, however it is more suitable for children 4 years and older due to the age restriction on some of the attractions.  www.marineland.fr

Aquasplash, another one of the parks adjoining the Marineland complex, is self-explanatory – a water-filled funpark perfect for those hot days!  Slides, pools, Pirate Island, whirlpools. Snack kiosks onsite. www.marineland.fr

– Adventure Golf, the remaining park at the Marineland complex, has 3 mini-golf courses for varying levels. www.marineland.fr

Antibesland, just across from Marineland is open during summer, with funfair stalls, fairground rides, a big ferris wheel and snack kiosks.

CAILLE

Arbre et Aventure – Experience an adventure course set in the forest, 7 different levels with one child course suitable for ages 5 years and older. Suspended bridges, rope ladders and a 470-metre zip-line.  Arbre et Aventure, Télésèige de La Moulière, 06750 Caille. Hours and tariffs can be found at www.arbreetaventure.fr

CAGNES SUR MER

– The waterfront promenade is wide and flat.  Hire rollerblades at the Hippodrome end of the promenade or a family cycle and burn off some energy, then sit in a restaurant eating lunch and enjoying the view.

CANNES

– Make a daytrip out to the Lérins Islands – refer to Sightseeing section for more information.

– Camp Trappeur is an adventure park with climbing nets in the trees, a rockclimbing wall, buggy cross hire, pony rides (during school holidays), chill-out lounge and tipis for private events.  Minimum age for climbing nets is 5 years of age. www.okwide.fr

Lounge (image: Camp Trappeur)

Lounge (image: Camp Trappeur)

JUAN LES PINS

– Visiobulle is a glass-bottomed boat that travels to the nearby Cap d’Antibes and the ‘Bay of Millionaires’ past the mansions, Eden Roc hotel and rocky outcrops of the Cap.  Quite pricey for what it is but an excursion option none the less. Departs from the pontoon Courbet opposite the Office du Tourisme on the waterfront in Juan les Pins.  www.visiobulle.com

Cap d'Antibes scenery on the Visiobulle boat trip

Cap d’Antibes scenery on the Visiobulle boat trip

Karting Juan les Pins is located underground on the Promenade du Soleil (just next to Sun7 Caféteria), it’s open late in summer and children from 5 years upwards can drive mini-karts around a track manned by safety supervisors.

LE BAR SUR LOUP

Refer to ‘PLAYGROUNDS‘ blog post for Ludiparc details.  Also, Funkart (located at Plateau de la Sarrée, route de Gourdon, 06620 Le Bar sur Loup) is the only go-kart track in the region equipped with adult and children’s tracks. Restaurant onsite.  www.fun-karting.com

MENTON

Koaland is a theme park for children with carousel, mini-golf, amusement rides, inflatable castles, located at 5 avenue de la Madone, 06500 Menton www.parckoaland.fr

MOUGINS

Buggy Cross de Mougins (909 chemin du Fond de Currault, 06250 Mougins) has mini motorbikes and quad bikes for children 4 years and older to hire. Snack kiosks with tables and swing playset onsite.  www.buggycross.fr

NICE

– Departing from Nice and chugging through the villages set high above Nice towards Dignes-les-Bains, the Train des Pignes covers 151 kilometres with great scenery of valleys, mountains and villages and lots of tunnels to thrill the kids!   Recommended to stop off at one of the villages (my pick is Entreveux), enjoy lunch then take a later train back www.trainprovence.com

Parc Phoenix (refer to Sightseeing section).

SAINT CÉZAIRE SUR SIAGNE

– Grotto caves 15 kilometres from Grasse with stalactites. There is snack shop and souvenir shop onsite.  Not wheelchair accessible.  Recommended to telephone and check it is definitely open as we have shown up during opening hours previously and it has been closed with no explanation online or onsite. For hours, entry prices and more information visit www.lesgrottesdesaintcezaire.com

SAINT JEANNET

– A small farm 7 kilometres from Vence that arranges on-demand farm visits where you can sample homemade preserves, meet the animals (donkeys, ducks, rabbits and more) and pick vegetables in the organic garden. Graine and Ficelle, 670 chemin des Collets, 06640 Saint-Jeannet. Bookings via http://www.french-riviera-mag.com/outings/website-graine-ficelle_1096.htm

– Nature Essentielle run kids activities focused on the sea and mountains including trips to the Lérins Islands, whale watching days, mountain adventure camps and teens adventure camps in the Mercantour.  You can find out more info here : Nature Essentielle Kids Outdoor Activities.

SAINT MARTIN VÉSUBIE

– Located in the Mercantour mountains, Parc Alpha Loup lets you discover about wolves in their natural habitat.  Parking, accessible toilets, picnic tables, snack kiosk, educational theatre onsite.  There are many rocky and uneven pathways so it is not particulary suited to pushchairs or wheelchairs if you choose to do a forest walk.  Chalet d’Accueil du Boréon, RD89, 06450 St Martin Vesubie  www.alpha-loup.com

SOSPEL

– Walking trails on the farm, and occasional pony rides. 2€ per person entry fee. Wheelchair and buggy/stroller accessible.  Reservation necessary. At Association MIR – Ferme Pedagogique, Quartier Sainte-Marie. Telephone +33 (0)4 93 04 20 89

THEOULE SUR MER

Exploring the Côte d’Azur coastline is a wonderful experience and there are plenty of companies where you can rent sea kayaks or stand up paddle boards.  One of the nicest locations to explore by sea is looking across to the Esterels, book through Aqua Sport Evasion.

VALBERG

– Take the family on an adventure course set in the forest, 3 different levels from ages 3 years and older.  Suspended bridges, zip-lines, rope ladders, nets and more.  At Espace Valberg Adventure and Télésiège pieton.  More information, hours and tariffs at www.valberg.com

VALDEBLORE

– Situated just over an hour’s drive from Nice, Valdeblore is a ski resort that offers many summer activities also.  Enjoy mini-golf, a luge and 5 different courses of forest adventure set in the trees, from ages 3 years and older.  Open June-September.  At Colmiane Forest, Sem des Cimes du Mercantour, La Colmiane, 06420 Valdeblore.  Hours and all prices at www.colmiane.com

La Ferme du Mercantour – Spend a day with the kids partaking in horse and cart rides, meeting farm animals (see donkeys, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, geese and more), pony rides, and sample the fresh farm produce.  La ferme du Mercantour, La Roche, Quartier de Collet, 06420 Valdeblore www.lafermedumercantour.com

VENCE

– Refer to ‘Saint Jeannet’ above.  Also, there is La Ferme du Col de Vence (La Cavetière, route de Coursegoules, 06140 Vence), an educational farm situated at the Col de Vence only 10 kilometres from Vence, where kids can go horse riding, take a horse-and-cart ride, meet farm animals, collect honey and eggs, and walk on bush trails (note: there are rocky paths so leave the pushchair behind if you go trail walking).  More information and prices are at http://www.lacavetiere.com/home.htm

VILLENEUVE LOUBET

– Canyon Forest is an adventure playground set in the trees with rope bridges, zip-lines, climbing equipment.  Picnic tables onsite, snack kiosk, river frontage, it is a wheelchair accessible site however there is a 2.5km path to get to the park site from the carpark, and please note the adventure courses aren’t wheelchair accessible as they are elevated in the trees. Located at Canyon Forest, 26, route de Grasse, Parc de Rives de Loup, 06270 Villeneuve-Loubet. Open February-November.  Reservations necessary; see hours and prices at www.canyonforest.com

Le Village des Fous for ages 4 years and older (at 2559, RD 2085 – 06270 Villeneuve-Loubet) has a labyrinth maze, pedal karts, luge in the trees, water catapults, inflatable slides and trampolines.  Picnic tables onsite, snack kiosk. Wheelchair accessible park.  www.lelabyrinthedelaventure.com

Pitchoun Forest is a great site with a climbing adventure course for smaller children, ages 3 years and older (same address as LabyFolies above).  Snack kiosk onsite. Wheelchair accessible park.  For more information visit the park’s website at www.azur-labyrinthe.com/pitchoun_forest.htm

Les Bois du Lutins, (same address as Le Village des Fous and Pitchoun Forest) is suited for younger children from 18 months and older.  You will find inflatable play equipment, climbing nets, luge, tunnels, snack kiosk and picnic tables onsite, baby changing facilities, wheelchair accessible park.  www.leboisdeslutins.com

Sightseeing – Ideas for families, or travelers with reduced mobility

Beaches:   Most beaches along the French Riviera coastline are easily accessible, and safe for children with limited waves, lifeguards (in peak season) and shallow water. Many are stony beaches therefore beach mats are needed.  Children are highly recommended to use UVA/UVB water-resistant sunblock to prevent sunburn.  There are a number of beaches that also cater for those with disabilities. Some are at Plage le Ponteil in Antibes; Plage de Tiercé in Cagnes-sur-Mer; Carras in Nice.  The ‘Handiplage’ sign marked with a wheelchair symbol symbolises where to find them. The ‘Handiplage’ beaches usually include facilities such as toilets, changing areas, showers, ramps, parking and designated sea access for wheelchair users.  For more information visit www.handiplage.fr

French Handiplage sign

Lérins Islands:  Îsle St Marguerite is a small island situated just off the Cannes coastline and accessible via boat that is suitable for stroller or wheelchair access.  Please note that while the ferry boats and island are suitable for wheel access, many paths are not paved so there is uneven ground.  Disabled toilet facilities on the island are located up the hill from the boat jetty. There are stairs to the Fort on the island. For ferry timetables and prices refer to http://www.riviera-lines.com/

Parc Phoenix, 405 Promenade des Anglais, (Telephone: 04 92 29 77 00): Parc Phoenix is a 17-acre park located on the edge of Nice city complete with huge tropical greenhouse with fern, orchids, tropical plants and animals.  The park is 99% flat paved paths (some stairs inside the greenhouse). There is a small aquarium onsite, a musical fountain display and various animal enclosures with birds, prairie dogs, and turtles.  Parc Phoenix has a snack shop onsite, and a children’s playground with picnic area to keep the kids entertained.  The entrance fee also include entry to The Museum of Asiatic Arts next door – all this for just 2 Euros!  For opening hours go to http://www.parc-phoenix.org/

Parc Phoenix greenhouse

Markets: One of the nicest experiences of traveling in France is enjoying the pleasures of a local market.  Every town has a regular market; some daily; some weekly but you are sure to find something to appeal to every family member.  Vendors sell homemade confitures (jams), pastries, delicious meats, fromage (cheese), soaps, fresh local produce, souvenirs, antiques, fresh fish, olives, condiments and spices…the list goes on!  One of the best markets in the region is the Nice Market located on Cours Saleya, between Place Massena and Vieux Nice (Old Town).  It is a flower and produce market every day from early in the morning (excluding Mondays when it is an antique market), and in the evenings in summer arts and crafts vendors set up their stalls.

Spices at the Nice Market

Boules:  The French game of boules (also known as pétanque), is similar to British lawn bowling or Italian bocce.  It is traditionally played with metallic balls on a dirt surface beneath plane trees,  and the local boule pitch (boulodrome) is a social meeting place where the participants (and spectators) while away the hours with the odd glass of wine and cards in between games.  The object of the game is to throw your balls so that they land closer to the small ball (the cochonnet) than those of your opponent, or strike and drive the cochonnet toward your other balls and away from your opponent’s.  My son enjoys watching boules from the comfort of his stroller, however you can sit in the afternoon sun watching a game and even participate if you are lucky enough!

boules