Coming soon! Great art exhibitions to see on the French Riviera

One of the best things about living on the French Riviera is the number of art galleries, studios and exhibitions featuring classic and contemporary art.

Whether you’re a fan of modern pop-up installations or classical art, there are so many excellent places to see or visit that you’ll have trouble deciding where to go.

Art on the French Riviera

If you are visiting the region for a week or longer, there are a number of must-see French Riviera museums that have spectacular art collections including rare paintings, sculptures, ceramics or photographs.

If you are here for a weekend up to 14 days, take your pick from a handful of art-based attractions or galleries – many are free entry or very cheap to visit so perfect for people on a budget or not willing to pay a lot of money for a sightseeing pass.

Temporary Exhibitions

The French Riviera is an excellent destination for art lovers.  There are a number of interesting temporary exhibitions coming up which I thought I’d share the details of below:


On now until 11 June, the 32nd edition of Grand Prix des Artistes with exhibitions of sculpture, paintings and photography is being hosted at Espace Miramar in central Cannes.  The ‘Artiste d’Honneur’ this year is local Cannois photographer and talented graphic designer Vivi A who will showcase photos from her series Miroir Miroir.

grand prix des artistes

Grand Prix des Artistes – Exposition in Cannes at Espace Miramar until 11 June 2017

From 16 to 27 June, there will be a free photography exhibition with large format photos featuring Cassius Clay a.k.a Muhammad Ali along the Croisette.   I’ll definitely be checking this one out to see some candid snaps of one of the world’s most celebrated sports figures who sadly passed away last year.

Muhammad Ali, Cannes 1982


From 14 July to 10 September 2017, the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco will host an exhibition, The Forbidden City in Monaco: Imperial Court Life in China, about the Imperial Chinese dynasty (1644–1911).

Jointly curated by Jean-Paul Desroches, honorary general curator, and Wang Yuegong, director of the Imperial Court Life Department at the Forbidden City – the exhibition will bring together some 200 historic exhibits, from the former palace of the emperors and loans from major European and American collections: the Musée Cernuschi and the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the V&A in London, the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels, and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington.

The personalities of the Qing emperors are a crucial element of the exhibition, most notably in the cases of Kangxi (1662–1722), Yongzheng (1723–1735) and Qianlong (1736–1795) and will feature ceremonial costumes, portraits, furniture, precious objets d’art including ceramics and lacquerware, displays of calligraphy, and scientific instruments, some of which are ranked as national treasures.

The Forbidden City is one of the most impressive palace complexes, and the world’s most popular tourist venue, with some 10 million visitors annually.

I am looking forward to this exhibition and seeing how they bring to life the Temple of Heaven, the Throne Room, the Buddhist temple, the Temple of the Ancestors and the tea pavilion.   Tickets cost just €5 per adult, with free entry for 18 years and under.  Tickets are sold via Monte Carlo Ticket : Forbidden City


From 23 June to 15 October at the Galerie Lympia at Nice Port, an exhibition will showcase 50 major works of Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) including sculptures, paintings, lithographs and drawings.   Thanks to the Giacometti Foundation, the artworks will show the variety of techniques he used through his career.

art nice french riviera

Giacometti at the Galerie Lympia in Nice

Galerie Lympia has an interesting history – known as Lou Barri-Lonc, it is the oldest building at Nice Port. In the 19th-century it was transformed into a prison with the convicts put to work building the roads that connect the port area to Nice city (prior to that, the area was a penal colony where the prisoners from Villefranche were employed to dig the basins for Port Lympia).  Consisting of 2 buildings (the penal colony building with roof terrace and the Clock Tower), it has been restored and now offers an original art space with an eclectic programme forecast to broaden Nice’s art venues.

Galerie Lympia at Nice Port

Saint Tropez

Summer time alludes to al fresco living and where better than to host an art exhibition that Pampelonne Beach?

From 29 June to 02 July, Art Pampelonne will present a selection of international galleries showcasing contemporary artists at 20 Route d’Epi at Ramatuelle.

Located a short walk from Nikki Beach’s famed property, Art Pampelonne will host an elite audience of tastemakers with a selection of curated events that engage the international art community including VIP benefits and free entry for kids under 12 years of age.

art st tropez

(logo: Art Pampelonne)

The schedule is:

Thursday 29 June

12pm-2pm     Vernissage (VIP Invitation + Press Preview only)

2pm-9pm       Public Opening

Friday 30 June , Saturday 1st July and Sunday 2nd July*

From 12pm-9pm     General Show Hours (*12pm-8pm on Sunday)

Note:  Press accreditation is at the organiser’s discretion and includes the vernissage as well as public show hours.

Tickets for Art Pampelonne can be purchased here:

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About the Festival des Jardins de la Côte d’Azur

The first Festival des Jardins de la Côte d’Azur is a new event for the region and will take place from today until 01 May 2017.

The debut edition of the Festival des Jardins de la Côte d’Azur

Debut edition of the Festival des Jardins de la Côte d’Azur

The theme is ‘L’éveil des sens’, translated as ‘Awakening the senses’ – and I think it is a great initiative for both residents and tourists because there are some really beautiful gardens throughout the French Riviera.

The aim of the Festival is to protect and enhance the regional gardens, and increase awareness of the ‘green’ heritage that has contributed much to the region.

Botanical Heritage

Interest in plants, flowers and making use of the landscape for aesthetic appeal has a vast history along this coastline from 19th-century English aristocrats who travelled globally and returned with plant specimens to acclimatise, to modern garden installations with contemporary sculptures.

The French Riviera region consists of over 80 gardens (excluding public parks), many with exceptional locations that offer sea or hinterland views.   Twelve of these gardens are listed as ‘Remarkable Gardens’; four are in Menton which is well known for it’s gardens.

Many festivals throughout the year maximise the connection to botany:  From Fête du Mimosa in Mandelieu and Fête du Citron in Menton in February, the March festival celebrating the vibrant violettes in Tourrettes-sur-Loup, flower battles in Antibes, Nice and Villefranche-sur-Mer, the Fête du Orangier in Bar-sur-Loup in April, Fête du Jasmin in Grasse, rose festivals in La Colle-sur-Loup and the month of gardens in Menton’s summer season.

The Festival Programme

The Festival will be hosted for an entire month (01 April to 01 May 2017) and will comprise of a competition of garden design reserved for landscape architects, landscapers, landscape companies and other professionals where pop-up garden displays of 200m2 will be created in various locations throughout the French Riviera.  An extra garden of 1400m2 will be installed at Promenade du Paillon in Nice.

Entry to these garden displays will be free to the public.  There will be 10 participating gardens for the first Festival.

Cannes:  Villa Rothschild (note: This is hosted at Villa Rothschild in Cannes, not Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in St Jean Cap Ferrat)

Grasse:  Villa Fragonard

Juan les Pins / Antibes:  Pinède Gould 

Menton:  Jardins Biovès

Nice:  Albert 1er Garden on the Promenade du Paillon

Villa Rothschild in Cannes is a participant in the Festival des Jardins de la Cote d’Azur

The winners of the garden design competition will receive the following prizes:

– The jury prize will receive €10000 donated by the Département des Alpes-Maritimes.

– The public choice prize (honorary prize) will be decided from votes throughout the Festival.

– The press prize (honorary prize), will be presented tomorrow on Sunday, April 2, 2017, by a press jury composed of a dozen journalists from  media specializing in gardens and ‘life style’, from France and Europe.

To find out more about the garden locations and designs, click on this link Festival des Jardins information

For families

There will be a free treasure hunt at the 10 garden displays where you follow the white rabbit!   The treasure hunt starts at 2pm until 5.30pm on the following dates:

  • Nice 01 and 02 April 2017
  • Menton 08 and 09 April 2017
  • Cannes 15 and 16 April 2017
  • Antibes – Juan-les-Pins 22 and 23 April 2017
  • Grasse  29 and 30 April 2017

Children can also join a free patisserie workshop at Villa Rothschild on 01 April at 2pm, a potager workshop at Pinede Gould in Juan les Pins on 15 and 16 April 2017 and various art workshops.


Festival OFF

The Fringe Festival that is additional to the garden displays will include open days, guided tours, talks and exhibitions.  Most of these activities will be free, with some entry fees applicable for visits and entertainment that are part of the schedule.

For a list of activities, refer to the official website link Festival des Jardins: Le OFF

Special deals

For visitors to the French Riviera during the Festival des Jardins, you can benefit from special promotions running in conjunction with the event including discounts of up to 20% on Nice accommodation and sightseeing passes.

To see the deals, click on the link here:

If you have enjoyed this article, please share it on social media. Thank you! 

Credits:  Festival poster, video, images courtesy of the Département des Alpes-Maritimes


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 :


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.


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: (go to ‘Aout 2016’)


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.



Foodie Heaven this November on the French Riviera

One of the best reasons to visit the French Riviera is the number of food-themed fairs and festivals that you can attend here year round – who said autumn and winter are slow seasons?

This month, gastronomy takes centre stage across the region with some great food and wine events to keep gastronomes yearning for more.

Here are Access Riviera’s Top Picks for where to find Foodie Heaven this November:

Until 14 November:  The 25th Salon du Palais Gourmand, Hippodrome in Cagnes-sur-Mer

Head to the Hippodrome for a change from horse racing action – instead, you’ll find over 300 exhibitors showcasing products ranging from wines and liqueurs to seafood to cheeses and charcuterie goods.


From 17 November – Beaujolais Nouveau tasting on the French Riviera

Iconic and traditional, the third Thursday in November sees wine bars, bistros and restaurants open their doors to share the release of Beaujolais Nouveau.  I particularly like Georges Dubouef Beaujolais Villages and the bottle labels are really eye-catching, fun and fruity – much like Beaujolais!

Here are a few local events for the 2016 Beaujolais Nouveau release:

17 November – La Petite Cave de St Paul has tastings of the Jean Paul Brun Beaujolais Nouveau

17 November – Barbaroux Golf, Hotel & Spa in Brignoles is hosting a Beaujolais Day menu for €26

17 November – Cave Rivoli in Nice has tastings from 6pm-10pm

17 November – The Wine Pier in Villefranche-sur-Mer has tastings from 6.30pm

17 November – From 6.30pm, head along to Blue Gin at Monte Carlo Bay for a Beaujolais evening

17 November – A Beaujolais evening will be hosted at Hotel Villa La Tour in Nice from 7pm.  €15 gets you 3 glasses of wine, tapas and entry into a draw to win more wine. Reservations necessary via email ( or phone direct +33 4 93 80 08 15

17 November – Vingt4 wine bar in Nice from 7pm

17 November – Casino Barriere de Ruhl in Nice at 7.30pm

19 November – Le Bistrot Provençal in Pegomas is hosting a menu for €38 including a bottle of Beaujolais for 2 people

Note: If you would like your Beaujolais event on the French Riviera included in this article, please send me an email with details to


18-20 November:  The 16th Salon Saveurs & Terroirs, Mandelieu La Napoule

Around 15,000 visitors descend on the town of Mandelieu La Napoule for the annual Salon Saveurs & Terroirs held at the Centre Expo Congrès.

With the show Patron being double Michelin star chef Stéphane Raimbault of L’Oasis, you can be certain of a high standard from the 100 exhibitors.

This year don’t miss:

  • ‘Happy Hour’ from 6pm-9pm on 18 November where you can enjoy half-price tastings at participating stands
  • Food Trucks
  • Vincent Ferniot, a well known food journalist from culinary reviews screened on France 2 and 3 will be at the show on 19 November from 10am-5pm


19 November – Fête de la Châtaigne, Cagnes-sur-Mer

I remember the first time I came to France and went to a Chestnut Festival, the smell of roasting chestnuts on a crisp day combined with a glass of vin chaud was so appealing!


This festival celebrates the suppliers and traditions from the Haut-Pays towns of Isola, St-Etienne de Tinée, Roure and Valdeblore and they come down to Cagnes-sur-Mer for the day with their products and livestock!

Last year, I met some friendly suppliers and of course bought far too many goodies like mountain honey, cheese and jams homemade from autumn fruits.

As well as chestnut products of every type, they have mass cooking of polenta and daube which you can taste for around €4 a portion.


The Fête de la Châtaigne is family-friendly – with pony rides for kids, a sheep herding demonstration, mini farm and of course a free tasting of one tonne of chestnuts roasted in the town centre.


20 November – Fête de la Chataigne, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

Organised by a local committee, Les Coqs Roquebrunois, this Chestnut Festival is held all day at Places Des Deux Frères and will have tastings of roasted chestnuts, vin chaud and Beaujolais.

25-28 November – The 21st Monte-Carlo Gastronomie, Chapiteau Fontvieille

The press release states ‘An invitation to indulgence’ and you’ll find it suitably apt at this excellent food trade show held in the huge big top tent at Fontvieille.  It is the same colossal marquee that the annual Monte-Carlo Circus Festival is hosted in right between Cap d’Ail Port and Port Fontvieille, however you won’t find circus acts but around 100 high-quality food producers from France, Italy and other European countries.



(image: Monte-Carlo Gastronomie)



As well as delicious products to taste and try, there will be cooking demonstrations by international chefs and awards for exhibitors.  Pop along to sample truffles, cheeses, cured meats, organic conserves, premium wines, spirits and liqueurs (e.g. Champagne, Armagnac), seafood, foie gras, chocolates and sweet goods.


There will be some highly regarded chefs there including Emmanuel Lehrer from Le Mas de Pierre in St Paul de Vence, Antonio Fochi, Maître d’Hôtel of the Meridien Beach Plaza Monte-Carlo and Joel Garault from the Vistamar Hotel Hermitage in Monaco.



(image: Bertos)


Various associations will be in attendance such as the Association of Italian and French Maîtres d’Hôtel, the Monegasque Association of Sommeliers, the Monegasque Hotel Industry Association and the Slow Food Riviera Côte d’Azur Association.

I hope you get to attend one or many of these events – go with an empty belly and an open mind (and wallet!) to trying new flavours and products.

Bon Appetit!


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


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.


  • 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!)
playground French Riviera

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!


  • 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.


  • 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:

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.

Sunday on the French Riviera

Sunday is traditionally a family day in France, you’ll find the boulangerie‘s busy as people queue to pick up a flan or tarte for the family lunch and everyone is on ‘relax mode’.

We love to head outdoors as summer arrives with an early morning swim followed by a treat at a cafeteria on Sundays.


Today, Sunday 26 June, here are some other suggestions of things to do on the French Riviera:


Cannes Festival Autos Motos Rétros is hosting a car show with the theme ‘James Dean is back’ with a parade along the Croisette and retro cars and motorbikes.  Free entry between 10am-5pm at square Verdun parking near Port Pierre Canto.



If you enjoy classical music, Musée Fragonard is hosting the last evening of a 3-night mini festival of classical music.  Tonight, from 9pm enjoy the renditions of Brahms, Schumann and Faure in the gardens of the Villa.  Entry €20.


It’s your last weekend to visit the beautiful gardens in Menton as part of the annual ‘Mois des Jardins’.  The main open days have passed, but there’s still time to get to Fontana Rosa, Serre de la Madone, Riviera Palace, Maria Séréna, Jardins Biovès, Palais Carnoles and the terrace at the Musée Cocteau to soak up the tropical vegetation.

For a list of participating gardens, Mois des Jardins 2016

Villa Maria Serena (image:

Villa Maria Serena (image:

Happy Sunday!



Le Science Tour – 02-03 August – Saint Laurent du Var

If you need to entertain your children on Sunday 02 August and Monday 03 August, head to Saint Laurent du Var where the team from ‘C’est Pas Sorcier’, a French magazine show about science and discovery will be camped out between 10am-6pm.

Le ScienceTour has educational vans that go on location throughout France

Le ScienceTour has educational vans that go on location throughout France

Two days of free educational activities and workstations based around the theme of ”The Climate’ aims to entertain kids and stimulate creativity and curiosity.  The activities are aimed at kids from 8 years upwards.

When:  Sunday 02 August and Monday 03 August between 10am-6pm

Location: Esplanade les Goélands, St Laurent du Var

To find out more about the aim and dates of Le Science Tour throughout France, visit their website (in French)

How to survive summer on the French Riviera with kids

Say what you will about the French Riviera in the summer. Sure, there are traffic jams, crowded public transport, longer queues at attractions, sweatier tourists, and pricier airfares, but there’s also ice-cream on the seafront, dining al fresco in village squares, open-air concerts and firework displays in the warm evenings, and most important, no school for eight weeks.

If you are visiting the French Riviera with children, it’s a great time to bond as a family and experience first-hand history, art, traditional festivals and nature; and develop a real appreciation for French culture.

However, travelling with children is a whole different ballgame to travelling solo or as a couple and it’s vital to plan ahead so your Riviera trip is more incroyable than catastrophe.

How to survive summer on the French Riviera with kids

How to survive summer on the French Riviera with kids

Here are Access Riviera’s tips for how to survive summer on the French Riviera with kids:

Make the journey fun

For flights, I print out a map of the world and put stickers on from the origin to destination and little ones can follow the flight path and circle each ‘stopover’ when you arrive – it builds anticipation and if they have their own ‘map’ they feel involved in the process.

Keep any train or bus tickets for their ‘travel bag’ so you can invent games later on.

iSpy sheets are good for killing time – here are few free downloads I made for my eldest son when he was aged around 2 years and they helped keep him occupied when we had to travel, visit busy supermarkets etc.  They are customised for things you are likely to see while travelling in France and FREE!  You can download them here: iSpy  iSpysupermarket  iSpynature

A great family-friendly destination

The French Riviera is an excellent family-friendly destination, and while it’s easy to blow your budget at theme parks and attractions, it is also a viable destination on a small budget.

Plan outings at the beach, evening strolls around hilltop villages when many of the historical buildings are lit up and look spectacular, and mix up the transport you use if you can – trains, buses, ferries, petit train (the little tourist trains) may seem boring to you but kids love transport!.

Le petit train can be great for kids (image: trainstouristiquedenice)

Le petit train can be great for kids (image: trainstouristiquedenice)

There are some excellent national parks in the region that are perfect for biking and hiking, and you can find an overview of many of the Riviera’s playgrounds here Playgrounds on the French Riviera.

Bear in mind the length of guided tours especially in summer as little ones can get hot and bored quickly.

Visit websites such as for information and dates of local events.

Don’t cram too much into one day

Consider your child/children’s normal routine and try to stick to similar times for meals, naps, bedtime.

It can be hard with many summer events on the French Riviera starting late in the evening so choose one or two events where you can stretch to a late night, but don’t try to cram too much into one day or you’ll find you’re left with overtired and grumpy kids which will quickly make your holiday stressful.

Research family discounts

Tourist offices are a wealth of knowledge and can advise about entry discounts for groups or families.

Search on the internet and social media for family passes, ‘2-for-1’ deals or last-minute specials.

Here are 5 useful links for French Riviera family discounts:

  1. Family discounts for TER trains: and
  2. Regional discounts with Lignes D’Azur buses where you can use your bus ticket to get discounts across the French Riviera
  3. Cote d’Azur Card – includes sightseeing, activities, shopping discounts. Available in 3 or 6-day validities. Generally, you will get value out of this card if you use it at least once a day.
(image: cotedazurcard)

(image: cotedazurcard)

  4. Groupon – web-based discount site for accommodation and activities. Site is in French; you will need to search ‘France’ then ‘Sud-Est & Corse’ to find discounts applicable for the French Riviera.

5.  La Fourchette – Dining discounts; site is in French. Search by town/city, e.g. Nice, Cannes, Antibes. They often have specials such as ‘20% off your total bill’, ‘Buy 1 main meal, get one free’ or ‘Kids dine free’ so it pays to have a quick look before you eat out on the French Riviera.

Teach your kids basic French

Kids learn languages much easier than adults. Teach your child a few basic French phrases – it’s amazing how responsive wait staff or shop assistants are to a small child saying ‘Merci’.

We love the free French lessons at Monde des Titounis in our house as they are short duration and fun (it’s aimed at preschool kids with animated vocabulary lessons).

Make use of Google Translate and apps such as Duolingo.

Be flexible about meal choices

France is not particularly well known for specific children’s menus – you will see A LOT of frites (French fries), basic pasta and chicken nuggets on kids menus here.

Many restaurants will however split menu costs from the a la carte menu for a smaller portion size so don’t hesitate to ask, and it pays to take along a few snacks to restaurants in case your child completely turns their nose up at what is on offer.

Also, a trip to the French Riviera is an opportunity to try new foods that they may not be familiar with – I know 3-year olds who love escargot cooked in butter and garlic, marinated artichokes and steak tartare so try to be flexible about what is on offer and what they are used to at home.

Escargot anyone?

Escargot anyone?

For vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free travellers and people with food allergies or intolerances you may find dining in France is a bit trickier but do some research online first and you’ll find plenty of other travellers who have ‘been done and done that’ so are more than happy to recommend restaurants.

Consider your accommodation carefully

Holiday rentals are ideal for families travelling with small children, because you can cook some of your own meals and unpack and spread out. Most holiday rentals on the French Riviera have excellent proximity to beaches or towns so you are never far away from supermarkets and essential shops.

French campsites are generally in scenic locations and have good facilities such as swimming pools, games rooms, restaurants though try to book ahead especially in peak season.

French campsites usually have good facilities (image: Camping Green Park, Cagnes sur Mer)

French campsites usually have good facilities (image: Camping Green Park, Cagnes sur Mer)

Also, explore the idea of staying in themed accommodation that will intrigue little ones – you can stay in a yurt (Mongolian tent), treehouse, tepee, castle, restored chapel or old mill so think outside the box if your budget and patience for research allows it.

Stay safe

Sometimes travel can make you complacent about basic safety. Ensure your holiday accommodation is safe for your family (e.g. cleaning chemicals locked away, electrical cables out of reach of little fingers, smoke alarms installed etc) and don’t hesitate to ask the landlord in advance what safety precautions they have in place for families.

It can be extremely tempting to leave doors and windows open all night at your hotel/B&B/apartment/villa but exercise caution as burglars do prey on the fact there is warm weather and they are experts and can be in and out before you blink (and sometimes even striking when you are on site!).

The French Riviera climate can be scorching in summer, so drink plenty of water and always wear sun cream and a hat. Occasionally, jellyfish are present on the beaches here and it takes 2-minutes to check local jellyfish reports, more details can be found here Jellyfish on the French Riviera

I morally ummed and ahhed about including this next piece of advice, and while I think every tourist office along the Riviera coast (and certainly every town mayor) would state otherwise, I believe it’s important to honestly inform tourists of potential hazards or dangers.

As with every destination, there are some undesirable people you’ll come across on your travels and the French Riviera is no exception. Don’t be surprised to see homeless people, tramps and gypsies especially at areas of high pedestrian traffic and where money is transacted frequently (they sit outside supermarkets, beside ATM machines, outside banks, at bus terminals etc).

I’ll put it out there and state that 9 out of 10 times homeless people and drunks here on the Riviera are harmless – unlike experiences in other countries, here in France they usually do not verbally abuse you if you don’t give them money or follow you down the street. However, exercise caution in all circumstances.

Families should be cautious around gypsies as they are renown for pickpocketing people with baby strollers and/or lots of luggage – be extra alert if you travel on the train or bus as families often stand in the doorways (as it’s convenient for getting your stroller on/off) and this is when many pickpocketing incidents happen at the stops when the change of people getting on and off the train/bus creates a diversion.

Encourage your child to collect souvenirs

Finding inexpensive souvenirs can be fun when you’re travelling – encourage your child to find souvenirs when you’re visiting towns and cities. Some popular souvenirs for the French Riviera are postcards, pretty soaps, keyrings, santons.

Visiting a vide grenier (car boot sale/flea market) or local antiques market can unearth some fantastic retro toys such as tin cars, comic books or vintage airplanes.

French markets are great for finding vintage toys

French markets are great for finding vintage toys

Diaries and photographs

Older children may enjoy keeping a travel diary and writing about highlights of their day, and you can always buy them a disposable camera or two so they can take their own pictures of the trip.

Allow your kids to enjoy the simple pleasures

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of having a full itinerary and seeing everything in a tourist hotspot, but you’ll find some of the best experiences will be when you slow down and go with the flow.

Stop for an ice cream or gelato. Grab some take-out pizza and sit on the beach watching the sunset. Let your kids play at the park, interacting with local children. Stroll along the harbourside quays and chat to the fishermen. Pause for a while to watch locals play petanque.

Stop to watch the locals play petanque (boules)

Stop to watch the locals play petanque (boules)

Most of all, enjoy your summer holiday on the French Riviera and spending time together.

Do you have other  family travel tips to share?  I’d love your feedback. Please share this post on Facebook or Twitter.

Thank you ! to all my blog readers xx

A big thank you to all the regular readers and occasional visitors to my blog!



I’ve been busy with some major travel projects  (my paid ones!) since 2015 began, so I’m the first to admit my blog has been neglected these past 2 months.

So, a big thank you to the just under 3,000 visitors who have stopped by to read my blog since the beginning of 2015 (with 4,660 page views).

What began as a small idea has grown to over 50,000 global views  since inception – small fry numbers compared to the colossal travel bloggers who roam the globe but I’m pleased I’ve gained readers from hard work, scheduling and no paid advertising 🙂

My top readers by nationality to date are from :

1.  France

2. UK

3. USA

4. Australia

5. Italy

And I have a solo visitor from Chile who is appreciated in equal measure 🙂

My top 10 posts by views are:

1.  Types of French restaurants

2.  Airport buses on the French Riviera

3. Fireworks in Juan les Pins and Antibes 2014

4. French social customs, etiquette and idiosyncrasies

5. Playgrounds on the French Riviera

6. Villa Nellcôte

7. French gardening vocabulary 

8. Cannes Film Festival on a budget

9. Visiting Villefranche-sur-Mer

10. Rainy day activities

Merci beaucoup!