250,000 THANK YOUS

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

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

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

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

Becks

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

Secret French Riviera : Hidden spots worth visiting

The Lavender Route

Cannes Film Festival : The Ultimate Guide

Top 15 French Riviera viewpoints for amazing photos

Monaco on a budget

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

Parc Vaugrenier – Villeneuve Loubet

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

Vaugrenier : A past Roman site

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

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

Family-friendly park

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

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

Pros

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

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

Wooden confidence course at Parc Vaugrenier

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

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

chateauchateau-de-vaugrenier_260Cons

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

How to get to Parc Vaugrenier

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

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

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

Sightseeing – NICE (Jardin Botanique / Botanic Garden)

The Jardin Botanique de Nice is open daily and situated on the Corniche Fleurie with views across to Baie des Anges and the Massif de l’Estérel.

It is located in the midst of a residential area on a hillside, but we noticed minimal traffic noise and could hear birds and insects all the time.

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The garden contains more than 3500 plant species including trees, herbs, cacti, agaves, aloes and flowers, and is divided into zones that mimic the Mediterranean climate around the world including South Africa, Mexico, Australia and central Asia.

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If you are driving to the garden, come off the AutoRoute A8 highway at exit 51.  There is a free carpark at the entrance to the garden (with about 15 spaces including one designated disabled space) though the carpark is quite busy and even though we have a small car (Volkwagon Golf) we found it difficult to exit out of the carpark as there were cars trying to arrive into the carpark and it is very narrow entrance.

If you intend to visit the garden by public transport, there are no trains located nearby so your only option is by bus.  There is a bus stop located right at the entrance to the garden, the stop is called ‘Jardin Botanique’ (Bus numbers 8, 65 and 73, from Lignes Azur, tickets can be bought from the driver, timetable information at www.lignesdazur.com)

Within the garden, the paths are well maintained with a mixture of wide paved pathways and earth stairways, and excluding the stairways there are enough ample paved pathways so the garden is accessible for wheelchair bound people.  Points of interest include a small waterfall, ornamental ponds, small bridges and a herbarium.  There are many park benches and water fountain taps dotted throughout the garden which is lovely.

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There are two accessible toilets onsite, free of charge, located beside the gardien’s building.  I forgot to check if there were baby-changing facilities, but the toilets were very clean and spacious enough for baby strollers/buggies/wheelchairs.

Two accessible toilets at Jardin Botanique de Nice

Two accessible toilets at Jardin Botanique de Nice

There is a fenced children’s playground onsite with climbing frames, rocking horses and a merry-go-round operated by pedals.  Age suitable for children from walking age upwards.  Near to the playground are two children’s picnic tables, and two larger picnic tables which were shaded under trees.

Location:  78 avenue de la Corniche-Fleurie, 06200 NICE

Hours:  Open daily, 9am-5pm in winter, 9am-7pm in summer.

Price:  Free entry to garden, free carparking onsite, free public toilets onsite.  They also offer free guided tours in French and English only with prior reservation (duration: 1.5 hours)

Points of interest:  Cacti, trees, agaves, aloes, fenced children’s playground, small waterfall, ponds, bridges, herbarium

NOTE:  I took a photo of the map of the garden at the entrance, however it was not very good quality.  Next time I visit I will take another photo and mark an entirely wheelchair-friendly garden route and add back to this blog post.

Thank you for reading my blog!

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

Your feedback is always valued and appreciated.  If you have any suggestions, comments or enquiries please continue to contact me on accessriviera06@gmail.com

Many thanks,

Rebecca at Access Riviera