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.


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)



Accessible seaside walk – Villeneuve Loubet

If you are looking for an accessible gentle walk, try the boardwalk at Plage de la Batterie in Villeneuve Loubet that leads from the marina to the River Loup near Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Marina Baie des Anges

Marina Baie des Anges

The boardwalk is constructed of flat decking from the Marina Baie des Anges, changing to flat gravel path towards Cagnes-sur-Mer.

plage de la Batterie, gentle walk in Villeneuve Loubet

plage de la Batterie, gentle walk in Villeneuve Loubet

The entire pathway is accessible for baby buggies/strollers, and wheelchairs.

access to the boardwalk is from avenue Eric Tabarly either along 'Allee du Centre Nautique' beside the Yacht Club, or the main carpark on ave Eric Tabarly

access to the boardwalk is from avenue Eric Tabarly either along ‘Allee du Centre Nautique’ beside the Yacht Club, or the main carpark on ave Eric Tabarly

Carparking is found at:

– Marina Baie des Anges – there are carpark spaces at the portside shops

– Or on avenue Eric Tabarly.  When you get to the large Géant Casino supermarket on the main road, avenue Eric Tabarly is directly opposite the supermarket.  Note: It becomes a one-way road after the first bend by the Yacht Club, and the main parking is another 100 metres on the left-hand side.  There are a few designated disabled spaces in this parking too.

Look for this sign by the carpark to indicate the boardwalk, Villeneuve Loubet

Look for this sign by the carpark to indicate the boardwalk, Villeneuve Loubet

Facilities at this beach:

– A few beach restaurants (open in summer season).  The beach is pebbles.

– There are retail shops including small supermarket, tabac, clothing stores and restaurants within the Marina Baie des Anges complex.

– Wheelchair-accessible toilets are at ground level next to the beach carpark on avenue Eric Tabarly.

– Beach volleyball court next to the beach carpark.

The walk is gentle and pleasant with views across to Nice and the airport, and you can walk from the Marina Baie des Anges all the way to Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Promenade Le Corbusier : Coastal walk Roquebrune-Monaco

I walk regularly with friends, and this week we chose to walk the Promenade Le Corbusier coastal pathway from Roquebrune-Cap-Martin to Monaco with views of the mountains and sea on the Menton side, and Monaco’s skyline on the other side.

the Promenade Le Corbusier pathway

the Promenade Le Corbusier pathway

We walked to Monaco, passing by the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel and the tennis courts of the Monte Carlo Country Club (the venue for the Monte-Carlo Masters) stopping for a well-deserved coffee on the seafront in the sunshine.

Roquebrune Cap-Martin

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin is divided into two areas; old Roquebrune with its medieval village, and the coastal resort of Cap Martin.

Old Roquebrune and its meandering streets are clustered around the castle – Château de Roquebrune-Cap-Martin – the oldest feudal castle remaining in France. The castle was built in the 10th century to ward off the Saracens, and later remodelled by the Grimaldis.

I’ve been intending to visit the Château de Roquebrune-Cap-Martin which offers panoramic views, so I think I’ll return to write a review about that.

An interesting local tradition in Roquebrune dates back over 5 centuries – every year on 05 August there is an afternoon procession where six scenes of the Passion of the Christ are re-enacted. The Roquebrunois believe their prayers saved them from a plague that ravaged this region in the 13th century, and in return vowed to make an annual procession through the village with locals playing the parts of Romans, Christ, Virgin Mary and baby Gabriel.

Roquebrune's annual festival on 05 August (image: MentonMaVille)

Roquebrune’s annual festival on 05 August (image: MentonMaVille)

The Promenade Le Corbusier pathway

The promenade is named after Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, bettter known as Le Corbusier, the Swiss-born French resident famed for his architecture and design.

If you’re a design fanatic like me, you’ll be familiar with his work including the hotly-debated concept of the Cité Radieuse housing complex in Marseille, and his chairs especially the LC4 chaise lounger. Sadly, Corbusier drowned off the Roquebrune coast in the 1960’s and he is buried in the cemetery at Roquebrune beside his wife.

Le Corbusier's famous chaise lounger

Le Corbusier’s famous chaise lounger

Here is my review of this lovely coastal walk which I completely recently with friends.

We started our walk on Promenade du Cap-Martin, outside the Hotel Victoria. There is a pebbly beach here, cafeterias, tabac selling newspapers/magazines/cigarettes, boulangerie and small supermarket.


The initial 15-minute section of the walk along Avenue Winston Churchill beside the sea is paved, and mostly flat so you can do this walk if you have a baby stroller/buggy, or are wheelchair-bound. Here are some photos of the ground surface:




After this, the pathway includes many steps so is inaccessible for persons with reduced mobility.

The views are lovely of the ocean, coastal rocks and Monaco skyline.


There are also a couple of steel cantilevered bridges which are quite intimidating for people who may have vertigo.

There are lots of bench seats along the route to sit and relax. Take some water and snacks as there is nowhere to stop for refreshments along the route.

the Promenade Le Corbusier pathway

the Promenade Le Corbusier pathway

One way from Roquebrune-Carnoles to Monaco took us around 1.5 hours at a leisurely to medium pace.

If you enjoy this walk, you will also enjoy similar coastal pathways in the region at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Cap d’Antibes (Sentier du Littoral).

How to get there

By car

We had issues with our GPS and got lost above Larvotto in Monaco! Be wary of using GPS around Monaco due to the high-rise buildings. From Nice direction, we exited the A8 highway at Sortie La Turbie / Roquebrune, then we should have taken the D2564 Grande Corniche then the D52 down to the seafront.

By train

If you choose to start your walk at our departure point, the nearest train station is Carnolès. The Roquebrune-Cap-Martin train station is closer to the Monaco end and about halfway along the route we took.

By bus

If you get tired after walking one way, Zest Buses run between Monaco and Menton via Roquebrune/Carnolès. They cost €1,50 one way, you can buy a ticket from the bus driver. Line 18 timetable is here: Zest-Ligne18-500×300-web .

If you want to visit the Château in Roquebrune or the cemetery, Zest Bus number 21 goes from Carnolès train station, and will save you the hike up the hill. The route map / timetable for bus 21 is here: Zest-Ligne21-300×300-web

Other tips:

There are many places along the pathway with steps down the rock faces to the waterline, but be wary of swimming. The sea here can be extremely volatile.

If you want to detour from the coastal pathway, you can take the Massolin pathway and walk up to the old village. Some Roquebrune attractions include the Château, the cemetery with Le Corbusier’s grave, Coco Chanel’s villa ‘La Pausa’ and the ancient olive tree L’Olivier Millenaire.

view from Château de Roquebrune (image: Pinterest)

view from Château de Roquebrune (image: Pinterest)

Many people visit this area looking for Le Corbusier’s tiny beach cabanon where he spent his summers. I heard it is difficult to find his cabanon from the coastal pathway and not sign-posted. The best option is to book a guided tour through the Roquebrune-Cap-Martin Tourist Office, tours run twice-weekly on Tuesday and Friday mornings. To read more about the cabanon, there is a detailed article here: http://socks-studio.com/2014/01/30/inhabiting-the-mediterranean-landscape-le-corbusiers-cabanon-in-roquebrune-1952/

Le Corbusier's cabanon - his small beach retreat in Roquebrune

Le Corbusier’s cabanon – his small beach retreat in Roquebrune

I will definitely be back to do this walk another day.  Highly recommended.

ANTIBES – Nuits Carrées (Fri 27 June & Sat 28 June)

If I could recommend one local music festival on the Côte d’Azur after the grand events for Jazz à Juan, Fête de la Musique and Nice Jazz Festival, it would be Nuits Carrées.

Image logo copyright Nuits Carrées

Image logo copyright Nuits Carrées

Since it’s inception, Nuits Carrées is firmly one of my favourite weekends of music for various reasons including:

  • Entry price – no huge entry fee, it costs just 10€ for one evening, or 16€ for both nights.  A low price doesn’t mean a dip in music quality either – the range and duration of artists is top level.
  • Location – amazing setting in the amphithêatre at Fort Carré in Antibes
  • Eco-responsible – they make efforts for a sustainable and eco-friendly approach
  • Accessible to all – people of all levels of mobility can come here; the venue entrance, refreshments area and toilets are wheelchair-friendly. The amphithêatre itself has graduated steps but you can still find a place to view the acts.
  • Music – a fantastic cross-section of musical tastes including electro, hip-hop, funk, jazz.  It’s an aural rollercoaster and I love it.
festival crowd, Nuits Carrées

festival crowd, Nuits Carrées

Nuits Carrées is an eco-festival of sorts; you purchase a reusable ‘eco cup’ when you arrive and refill it through the evening to recycle at the end.  No discarded styrofoam cups or aluminium cans littering the ground here.


You will appreciate that the toilets are eco-friendly; instead of those horrible smelly Portaloos with chemicals that are regular features at music festivals. The toilets are constructed of chip-board and there are buckets of sawdust – yes, sawdust – to tip into the bowl afterwards.  No odour and much more pleasant.  If you have reduced mobility there is a wheelchair-accessible toilet with ramp.

This year the festival billing includes Dukebox Champions, Saint Michel, DJ Kentaro, Lords of the Underground, Submotion Orchestra, and Sweatshop.

Would you like to be here enjoying music at this festival as the sun sets?

WHAT:  Nuits Carrées

WHEN:  Friday 27 June and Saturday  28 June, doors open from 7pm until late

WHERE:  Amphithêatre at Fort Carré, avenue du 11 novembre, 06600 Antibes

How to get there:

By car:  There are two free public carparks nearby the festival entrance, though limited carpark spaces.

By train:  Antibes train station is less than 10 minutes walking distance to the festival.  Exit the train station, and at the traffic lights just outside the station walk downhill on the road to the left, then follow the footpath to Fort Carrée.

By bus:  From Antibes Old Town, a navette bus (number 13) runs every 10 minutes up to 10.50pm (here is the timetable Ligne13_oct13reed_web  ). It travels a route from the entrance to Antibes port to a stop by the carpark across from the festival entrance.

From Cannes, take bus 200 and there is a temporary stop in Antibes on boulevard Vautrin as the new Passerelle bus interchange at Antibes is not open yet.  From here, you can cross the railway overbridge and walk to the festival from the train station. The bus stop looks like this below, it is opposite a computer repair shop:

Bus 200 Cannes to Nuits Carrées, get off at the temporary stop on boulevard Vautrin in Antibes

Bus 200 Cannes to Nuits Carrées, get off at the temporary stop on boulevard Vautrin in Antibes

From Nice, take bus 200 and there is a temporary stop at Antibes as the Passerelle bus station is not open yet.  The stop is outside Hotel Le Collier, there is a small sign ‘Arret Provisoire’. Get off the bus here and cross the road to Antibes train station, follow the directions above from the train station.


My tips:  Take a small torch for later in the evening, the toilets have no lighting.  Take cash for the bar and restaurant.

Visit the festival website for details on where to purchase tickets and the line-up for both nights www.nuitscarrees.com

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!’.


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:


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!)






Sightseeing – NICE (A tourist attraction that’s no longer there)

Descending by airplane to Nice Airport one of the first things you notice is the beautiful turquoise colour of the sea against the landscape – in fact, the colour lends to the name of this region, the Côte d’Azur (Azure Coast).

Not far from the airport is the end of the main waterfront road – the promenade des Anglais – which is dotted with Belle Époque hotels, beach restaurants and wide paths for strolling, rollerblading or cycling.

Nice once had a Belle Époque pier, la Jetée Promenade, that was constructed in 1882 and extended from the promenade des Anglais (opposite what is today the Ruhl Casino Barriere de Nice) and housed a casino, restaurant and arcades.

Casino Jetée Promenade

Casino Jetée Promenade

The Jetée Promenade was a dream of the Marquis d’Espouy of Saint Paul, after the Marquis visited the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London.  Looking at vintage photos it reminds me of the Brighton Pier and West Pier in East Sussex, and similar to the West Pier the Jetée Promenade also fell victim to fire damage.

Sadly, the casino and jetty structure were demolished in 1944, during World War II, by German troops, and all the bronze, copper, brass, metal wiring components and anything of value was taken by them for scrap metal.

You can find black and white vintage postcards of la Jetée Promenade at flea markets and souvenir stores.  There is an antique postcard market held in Nice on the 4th Saturday of each month, at Place du Palais de Justice.  Look for postcard markings for Sauvaigo, Rostan & Munier, G. Lemaitre & Cie, and ‘Giletta Frères, Nice’ who were three brothers renown for their photographs and making tourist posters and postcards.

A local Riviera architect has created a 3D virtual model of la Jetée Promenade Casino, as it would have looked in 1891 against a view of today’s promenade. You can view his amazing replication work at casino-jetee-promenade-nice.blogspot.fr


Activities – Wheelchair-accessible nature walk (VILLENEUVE LOUBET)

The French Riviera has numerous great parks and outdoor areas for recreation.

Here is a suggestion for a family-friendly park which can be accessed with baby buggies/strollers, or wheelchairs.

Parc Vaugrenier has a children’s playground, wheelchair-accessible toilets, a lake with birdlife, wooden confidence course and bushwalks.  See the attached map for details of a wheelchair-friendly nature walk to the lake – the pathway is dirt so best avoided after periods of rain.  Carparking for this walk is accessed via boulevard des Groules, with accessible toilets adjacent to the children’s playground.


(Map courtesy of Villeneuve Tourism)

Activities – VILLENEUVE LOUBET (Rives du Loup river walk)

It is great to find a nature walk that is accessible if you have a baby stroller/buggy, or you are wheelchair bound. Even better if it is uncrowded and has little noise from traffic. Keep reading for details on a lovely riverside walk that is only 10 minutes from the coast on the French Riviera.

The river Loup runs beside the village of Villeneuve Loubet to La Colle sur Loup, and has numerous spots for quiet walking, picnics, cycling and fishing. This walk departs from near to Villeneuve Loubet:

– From the A8 highway, take exit 47 and get onto the D2D road, avenue des Plan. Follow this road for 5 minutes in the direction of ‘Villeneuve Loubet village’ and you will come to a rond point (roundabout) intersection where an arched bridge on the right goes over the river (D2085 road, avenue de la Libération) to Villeneuve Loubet village.


bridge over River Loup to Villeneuve Loubet

– Cross the bridge and take the first road on the left (avenue de la Liberté) and you will see a large carpark on the left beside the river that you can park your car at.

– Cross the river at the small pedestrian bridge at the end of the carpark.

– As you cross the bridge, you will notice the riverside path goes both left and right directions. To the left, just out of sight by the roundabout is the entrance to adventure park Pitchoun Forest (admission payable). There are free public picnic tables in a small grassed area under the bridge, and also accessible public eco-toilets here for walkers along the riverside. To the right, is a flat pathway that follows beside the River Loup for many kilometres.

– The walking path is wide enough for strollers, wheelchairs, cycles, dog-walkers, runners to share. It is occasionally used as a vehicle track so be aware. You may see groups of cyclists from the nearby Pitchoun Forest park cycling to the start of their rope-climbing adventure.


Rives du Loup river walk

– It is shaded along the pathway, there are also numerous spots to access the river and we saw many families with dogs splashing in the water, and toddlers sitting in shallow pools. There were lots of fish to look at (I’m not sure what type of fish? it looks like trout but I’m not an expert!).


Rives du Loup river walk

– Because the pathway is so long, you have flexibility on the distance of your walk – it was certainly manageable for us to keep our 2-year old son entertained with walking and looking at the trees, insects, river.  And afterwards, you could picnic beside the river or visit Villeneuve Loubet for an ice-cream or pizza.

– I would recommend this nature walk for a family-friendly free activity.

Activities – NICE (Madagascar photography exhibition – until 29 Sept)

One of our favourite spaces on the French Riviera for families is Parc Phoenix in Nice.  Even in the height of summer it is seldom as busy as the region’s theme parks or beaches.

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 (there are some stairs inside the greenhouse), and there are accessible toilets.

There is a small aquarium onsite, a musical fountain display and various animal enclosures with birds, reptiles, prairie dogs, and turtles.  Parc Phoenix has a snack shop onsite selling sandwiches, drinks and ice-creams, and there is a fenced children’s playground with picnic area.

They often have exhibitions included as part of the entrance fee (which is just 2 Euros – a bargain for what you get – plus the entrance fee also includes entry to The Museum of Asiatic Arts next door; the modern looking building overlooking the lake at the park entrance).

One such current exhibition is by Nicolas Cegalerba, displaying photos of his travels to Madagascar and the biodiversity of the flora and fauna. It runs until 29 September 2013 in the Salle Cassini at Parc Phoenix.

There is also another exhibition on bats that runs until 05 December 2013 in the room under the ‘Pyramid’ hill just before the snack kiosk.  We sometimes see bats fly over our house at dusk here in Juan les Pins, and it was interesting to learn that of the 35 species in France, 31 of those have been identified as being present here in this region.

Recommended as a place to visit for families, anyone interested in plants and animals, travellers with reduced mobility.

Parc Phoenix, 405 Promenade des Anglais, NICE (Telephone: 04 92 29 77 00)

For opening hours go to http://www.parc-phoenix.org/

Activities – MOUGINS (Retro Automobile show 21-22 September 2013)

Eco’Parc Mougins has one of our favourite free outdoor playgrounds in the region – recycled car tyre cushioning that offers a safe surface in the event of falls from play equipment, climbing frames, rope courses, swings, balance platforms. And a cafeteria nearby and accessible toilets onsite.

Over the weekend of Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September they are holding a free entry retro car show at Eco’Parc – there will be car displays, tombolas (raffles), road safety demonstrations for children aged 4-13 years, trials of electric cars and a photography exhibition. The car show can be combined with a visit to their great playground. The entire site is on flat ground, though the playground area whilst it does have accessible toilets has recycled car tyre surfacing (similar to sawdust/wood chip in texture) so may pose minor problems for wheelchair users.

Where: Eco’Parc Mougins, 772 chemin de Font de Curranlt, 06250 MOUGINS
When: Saturday 21 September and Sunday 22 September from 10am-6pm both days
Cost: Free entry

Activities – SAINT -LAURENT-DU-VAR (Fête du Terroir, Saturday 31 August 2013)

I like living in France because they hold many festivals celebrating music, national icons, food, wine, local traditions etc

There is always something to attend, and I like learning about the food here and also history.

On Saturday 31 August, the Tourism Office in St-Laurent du Var is holding the 27th Fête du Terroir at the Parc Layet (the park facing the Town Hall/Mairie).

This is a free event (accessible for baby buggies/strollers, and/or wheelchair users) and is held from 10am-7pm. Here are some of the attractions, though unfortunately I could not source exact timings:

– French celebrities Eve Angeli from television show 80’s to today will MC (at 5pm), and Candice Pascal from the French show ‘Dance with the Stars’ who will give dance demonstrations.
– Sales of regional food products including fruit, vegetables, breads, cheeses
– Dance demonstrations of folk dancing, Boogie Woogie and Bachata
– Workshops on bread-making, butter-churning and cheese-making
– Workshops on sculptures of fruit and vegetables
– Workshops of arts, crafts, seed-planting for children
– Goat milking
– Painting and sculpture exhibition
– Inflatable castle for children
– Carousel for children
– Horse and cart rides for children (may be some cost)
– Mini farm with chickens, goats, sheep, rabbits, ducks


mini farm

– Treasure hunt* in Parc Layet (*note: for children 7-11 years old, all children must be accompanied and reservations at the Tourism Office until 30 August).
– Onsite restaurant run by the local Lions Club

If you are traveling to St-Laurent du Var via train or the bus number 200, the park is approximately 15 minutes walk from the St-Laurent du Var train station stop. Or you can take bus number 51 (Lignes Azur) from the train station, dismount at stop ‘Rives d’Or’ and it is a 5-minute walk from there. If you are driving, there are ample parking areas around the park and Tourism Office (including designated disabled parking outside the Town Hall and Tourisme Office using the blue disc).

What: Fête du Terroir
Where: Parc Layet, St-Laurent du Var
When: Saturday 31 August, 10am-7pm

General information – Tourisme et Handicap sites

I am currently reviewing the information given on the website http://www.handitourismepaca.fr regarding wheelchair-friendly accessibility in the French Riviera region.

This website also covers Provence and Sud Alpes regions, and provides tourism information for wheelchair-bound travellers, and hearing and sight-impaired travellers by the Comité Regional de Tourisme Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

The website has good information regarding transport sectors and accessible beaches, however I have run a few searches and found that it is lacking in information regarding restaurants (none viewed across the entire Riviera region), suggested outdoor itineraries (only 6 suggested walks across the region) and leisure activities (only 3 activities displayed in searches in the region for wheelchair-bound travellers in Antibes, Cannes and St-Maxime).

The website is in French only so I have emailed the Regional Committee to enquire about an English equivalent and if not I will be translating it for them and suggesting other accessible options obtained during my own research via my blog.

Will keep you posted on progress!

Sightseeing – ANTIBES/JUAN LES PINS (11 July 2013, free jazz concerts)

On Thursday 11 July, there will be a number of free evening jazz concerts to signal the start of Jazz à Juan (the Juan les Pins Jazz Festival).  It is a nice opportunity for some family time strolling in Antibes and Juan les Pins in the warm evening, or alfresco dining combined with listening to free jazz.

All concert locations are on flat ground (paved surfaces) so accessible if you have a baby buggy/stroller, or are wheelchair bound.

Here is the programme for the various locations in Antibes old town, and Juan les Pins:

ANTIBES: all concerts held simultaneously and are between 7pm-8pm

Les Haricots Noirs (Brazilian batucuda percussion and funk band), at the Marché Provençal and Place Nationale

Sax Appeal (jazz, soul, rhythm and blues), place Audiberti

Fanfare Trouble-Fête (marching band), Bastion St-André and Jardin d’Ilette

New Scat (traditional jazz), place de la  République by the carousel

R-SAJ Band (rocksteady ska acoustic jazz), by the Porte Marine near Café bar du Port

Gugus band (percussion, rhythm and blues, jazz, juggling and theatre, swing), corner of boulevard d’Aguillon and rue Thuret where the tourist information office is located

Tuxedo Jazz Band (New Orleans jazz), place du Safranier

JUAN LES PINS:  all concerts held simultaneously and are between 9.30pm-10.30pm

Sax Appeal (jazz, soul, rnb) and marching band, Ilot de l’Esterel

Fanfare Trouble-Fête (marching band), rue Dautheville

New Scat (traditional jazz), Ponton Courbet, boulevard Guillaumont

R-SAJ Band (rocksteady ska acoustic jazz), Ponton Hollywood, boulevard Baudoin

Gugus band (percussion, rnb, jazz, juggling, swing), promenade du Soleil where Le Ruban Bleu restaurant is located

Tuxedo Jazz Band (New Orleans jazz), avenue Guy de Maupassant

If you would like to know more about the musicians playing at the Jazz à Juan, the full festival programme and ticketing information is found at www.jazzajuan.com





What To Do on a Rainy Day on the French Riviera

Last Sunday we planned to take our son to the Cannes Film Festival.  The weather forecast was for rain, but undeterred we packed our umbrellas, coats and rain cover for the baby stroller.

We walked along the Croisette and took tourist photos of the red carpet and billboards hyping the latest movie premieres, though sadly there were no celebrity stars to be seen.

The rain did come, so we sheltered at a kiosk on the promenade drinking espresso while our son slept soundly under his rain cover.

Rain is rare on the French Riviera, however on those few days when the outdoors are wet and grey there are plenty of indoor family activities to keep everyone entertained.

Here are some suggestions for rainy day activities:


  • Take the family bowling at Bowling d’Antibes, 1er ave Nova Antipolis, 06600 Antibes.
  • Indoor soft play centre – Royal Kids – with climbing equipment, slides, ball pits, electric cars (additional charge), cafeteria selling hot and cold drinks, snacks.  Wheelchair and baby stroller accessible premises, free car parking outside or accessible via bus from Antibes. Read my review of Royal Kids here www.royalkids.fr
  • Y’a Un Croco dans l’Atélier is located near the main playgrounds in Antibes Old Town and offer arts and crafts workshops for 4 years upwards. Possible to drop-in during school holidays without reservation. €10 for a 1-hr workshop including instruction and materials, or half-day and fll-day rates.
  • Try the Junior Ceramic Artist Workshop with Céramic Créa, 94 boulevard Beau Rivage Prolongé, 06600 Antibes.  From age 5, children are introduced to ceramics and decorative techniques, and can decorate their own piece (the ceramics are fired and ready for collection 8 days later).  2.5 hour workshops including a snack break.  More information is at www.ceramic-crea.com
  • Visit the Comic Strips Cafe near the Antibes cinema, 3 avenue du 24 Août, Antibes – lots of colourful comics, and figurines.  www.comic-strips-cafe.com
  • Have fun at Laser Quest Antibes (172 avenue Weisweiller, near to Royal Kids and Quick/McDonalds roundabout).
  • Tip Top Kids have a Ludothèque indoor play corner suitable for 0-4 years and various activities and workshops for ages 1-7 years including music, baby gym, kids yoga and Montessori workshops.


  • While away a few hours at the Musée national Fernand Léger, chemin du Val de Pome, 06410 Biot.  Permanent art exhibitions, boutique and cafeteria onsite.  Wheelchair accessible and disabled toilet facilties.  http://www.musees-nationaux-alpesmaritimes.fr/fleger/


  • For 6 years and older, free guided tour and chance to create your own fragrance (reservations essential).  Atelier des Parfums, 43 chemin des Presses, 06800 Cagnes sur Mer.
  • Visit the Château Grimaldi with its Musée d’Olivier and Suzy Solidor art collection
  • Go to the Cap’Cinéma cinema at the Polygone shopping complex (for English language movies, look for those labelled ‘VO’ which means Version Originale).


  • There is an indoor soft play centre/playground at Fun City Cannes La Bocca (refer to Activities – Playgrounds blog post).
  •  Take the family bowling at Cannes Bowling, 189 ave Frances Tonner, Cannes La Bocca.
  • For ages 8 years and older, practise laser shooting individually or in teams at Laser Quest Cannes, 28 avenue des Arlucs, 06150 Cannes La Bocca.  Venue also has snack vending machines and air hockey table.  www.lqcannes.com
  • Kids cooking classes are available at Ecole Lenôtre Cannes, 63 rue d’Antibes, 06400 Cannes.  Choose from ‘Cuisine’ or ‘Patisserie’.  Ages 8 years and older.  www.lenotre.com
  •  Junior cooking classes at Les Apprentis Gourmets are held regularly on Wednesdays.  Suitable for ages 6-12 years. A one-hour session creating 3 sweet or savoury dishes costs €32, pricing subject to change.  www.lesapprentisgourmets.fr


  • Design your own fragrance in Grasse, the Mecca of perfume.  Workshops available where you learn about composing a perfume, then create your own unique fragrance to take home with you, with the perfume formula and a diploma.  Note: Children must be accompanied by an adult.  More information at www.molinard.com
  • Cooking classes for kids aged 3 years and upwards at Candyplaychoco.  They have themed classes through the year (Easter, Halloween etc) and also host birthday parties.


  • Indoor arcade Luna Park with arcade games, air hockey, Daytona car and motorbike race games, dance games.  More suited for school age children.  12 boulevard Edouard Baudoin (situated on bus route from Antibes (Envibus route 1), there is a bus stop outside the arcade named ‘Luna Park’).


  • Plan a visit to this art and craft workshop for ceramic painting, mosaics, clay model-making, jewellery-making with beads, and a cuddly toy factory – Les Artistes du Soleil, 16-18 boulevard de la Republique, 06240 Beausoleil.
  • Probably the most popular rainy day activity, don’t exclude a visit to the Monaco Oceangraphic Museum (avenue Saint Martin, MC 98000 Monaco) for fear of crowds, it has over 6000 species of fish, corals and other sealife in aquariums, a natural history display and various temporary exhibitions.  Take the elevator to the roof-top cafeteria, pull out your umbrella and go outside for the best panoramic view over Monaco.  Entrance fee payable.  www.oceano.mc
  • NiBOX, an indoor amusement and attraction space with billiards, 10-pin bowling, arcade games including driving games and air hockey, mini football. www.nibox.mc



  • Take your time browsing contemporary art at the free Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Nice (MAMAC), Promenade des Arts, 06364 Nice.
  • Take the family bowling at Bowling Nice Acropolis, 5 Esplanade Kennedy, 06300 Nice.
  • Experience a parent and child cooking class with Aude Bertaux – taylor-made recipes that are fun and easy.  Make something tasty and sit in the garden afterwards to savour it. Saturday classes for 3-6 years; Wednesday classes for 6-12 years.  At Cuisine sur Cours, 75 avenue A. Borriglione, 06100 Nice. www.cuisinesurcours.com
  • Make your own holiday scrapbook or mosaic – there are plenty of arts and crafts pieces for sale at L’arret Creation, 7 rue de Russie, 06000 Nice.
  • Create clay objects that can be fired and taken home at a pottery workshop for ages 3 and older.  Ateliers de Magali, 26 rue Bonaparte, 06300 Nice
  • Musée de la Curiosité – 39 rue Beaumont 06300 Nice, is a curiosity museum with displays of magic and rare and unusual objects. There is a Tarzan room, ‘haunted’ living area, optical illusions, vintage dolls and toys, automated brass band. Open Wed-Sun 2pm-7pm, and also bank holidays and every day during school holidays. Onsite restaurant with formules available (entrance + meal). Wheelchair and pushchair accessible. Admission fee payable. www.museedelacuriosite.com
  • Confiserie Florian sweet factory at Nice port offers free guided tours every day of the year including Sundays and bank holidays from 9am-12pm and 2pm-6pm, and free tastings. Watch them creating jams, sweets and chocolates (They also have another factory in Tourrettes sur Loup). www.confiserieflorian.co.uk


  • The second Confiserie Florian sweet factory, offers free guided tours in 5 languages and also cooking classes at their location in Tourrettes (surcharge applies). Reservations for the cooking classes can be booked via  creatyvesculi@aol.com or Telephone : +33 (0)4 92 11 06 94.  Their Tourettes address is Le Pont du Loup, 06140 Tourettes-sur-Loup.



  • Browse some contemporary art in an architecturally-interesting building with landscaped grounds – there are enough sculptures, paintings, drawings, graphic art to keep the family interested at Fondation Maeght, 623 chemin des Gardettes, 06570 St-Paul de Vence.  Entrance fee payable.


  • Y’a Un Croco dans l’Atélier offer arts and crafts workshops for 4 years upwards. Possible to drop-in during school holidays without reservation. €10 for a 1-hr workshop including instruction and materials, or half-day and fll-day rates.


  • HiTech2Move is an indoor play concept with lighted dance mats, climbing wall, throwing wall, interactive cycle game, kickboxing game and lighted floor mats.  It is located next to Atlas and Fly home décor stores.  Open Wed afternoons, and Sat/Suns and all days during school holidays.  €12 per child, suitable for ages 6 years and up.  www.hitech-2move.com

Need more inspiration?  ‘Like’ my page on Facebook www.facebook.com/accessriviera or follow me on Twitter @accessriviera