Saturday, March 30, 2013

Paris - Up Close & Personal


A few on-the-run photos from my trip to/around Paris, to show the diversity found in such an extraordinarily beautiful city!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Indian Restaurant in Nice


Funny, I didn’t really eat or like Indian food, and I am still very selective – that being said, I do enjoy eating occasionally at Shalimar, an Indian restaurant in Nice. Ok, I admit it – they got me with their free aperitif combination, a “Rose Kir” – a kir made with rose flavored syrup, both which I love! And I can’t eat just one serving of their garlic naan – light and delicious! Then, I had their signature dessert – some kind of spice (but bland tasting) cake with pistachios that was so lightly flavored and aromatic – not sure what it was exactly, but I could have eaten the whole gateau!

Rose Kir

Garlic naan

Vegetable korma

Chicken curry
Ice cream

Cake with pistachios


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mediterranean Food & Art: nice in Nice

2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the Marc Chagall Museum and the 50th anniversary of the Matisse Museum in Nice. Nice is also full of spectacular examples of modern art that have added to its architectural heritage: "Belle Epoque", "Art Deco" and Baroque.

Today, art can be found all over the city, which has become a real contemporary open-air museum. Explore the city by tram and follow the commented night-time tour "L'Art dans la Ville" (Art in the City) where you'll find works by world-famous artists that add a very special touch to Nice's urban landscape.

The tour lasts approximately 2 hours - Fridays at 7pm.
Languages: French - English.
Adult rate: 8 € (plus transport ticket 2 €) / children under 10: 3 €
(free transport for the age under-4).

Source: Nice Tourism

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Travel Focus Book – Now in Paperback!

paperback cover SSS


A comprehensive, travel information book that focuses on the French Riviera. Includes concise transportation information, itinerary suggestion, website links, cultural tips, my personal recommendations, a recipe from my French family, and much more – even a visit to a village house.  Information at your fingertips, to easily access what you need to know and the savoir-faire for how to navigate the Côte d’Azur!

” When I realized I would see that light every morning, I could not believe my happiness … I decided never to leave Nice and remained here for my almost my entire existence.”               Henri Matisse

Available as:
E-book at:  Amazon
Paperback at:  Createspace

(to follow as paperback on Amazon)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Italy in Monaco


I don’t often go to Monaco, but enjoy it when I do go there – recently I decided to have lunch at an authentic Italian restaurant, Il Terrazzino. I figured it must be the real deal, as the servers and everyone seated near me were speaking Italian – maybe I had crossed the border without realizing it!

The place was very colorfully and nicely decorated, as I sat next to a wall painted as a large vegetable basket, and they were actually displaying baskets and items of specialties at the entrance. No way could you miss finding the bathroom either!

The food was excellent, service was efficient and friendly, and the overall ambiance “bellisimo”!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

French….Fried with a Side of English


“French say ‘non’ to the term hashtag in battle to stop English words violating their language:

The French Government has banned the Twitter term ‘hashtag’ from all official documents in their latest bid to ban a torrent of English words invading their language.

The Government’s powerful Académie française has decreed that the French word ‘mot-dièse’ must be spoken when the ‘#’ symbol appears in print.

Teachers have been told to urge schoolchildren to use the term, and the media has also been asked to avoid using the English word.
Non, non, non: these English-speaking Twitter users are unimpressed with l’Academie’s solution

The outlawing of ‘hashtag’ is the latest in a flood of orders from the Académie, the state body appointed to protect the French language.

The French culture ministry recently put up a huge list of English words on its website which it said had slipped into common French usage and should be banned.

These included ‘email’, ‘blog’, ‘supermodel’, ‘take-away’, ‘chewing gum’, ‘parking’, ‘weekend’ and ‘low-cost airline’.

Now the Goverment’s Official Journal, which publishes new laws and decrees, wrote this week: ‘The English term hashtag should wherever possible be replaced with the French term “mot-dièse”.’ The plural is mots-diese.
Seat of power: l’Academie exists to preserve the purity of the French language and has also resisted words such as ‘take-away’ and ‘weekend’

But critics swiftly pointed out that the two words are technically different, with the English hashtag symbol leaning to the right and denoting an abbreviation for ‘number’, equivalent to ‘no.’,
while the ‘dièse’ – the French term for the ‘sharp’ sign used in music – is vertical.

Users of Twitter took to the site to air their views. Some complained that you can’t hashtag mot-dièse because it contains a hyphen. Another noted the news with the mocking hashtag #fightingalosingbattle.

Critics charged if a French word must be found for the contentious symbol, then it should be ‘croisillon’ (meaning cross-piece or lattice) rather than a dièse (sharp sign). Several users tried to generate momentum for their campaign using the hashtag (sorry, mot-dièse) #teamcroisillon.
La resistance! Another faction calls for the word ‘croisillon’ to be used instead of ‘mot-diese’

The hashtag is just one foreign invasion l’Académie is wishing to see off. Even such obscure terms as ‘shadow-boxing’, ‘detachable motor caravan’ and ‘multifunctional industrial building’ were blacklisted over 65 pages of forbidden vocabulary on the Journal’s website.

Scientists were told to no longer refer to ‘serial analysis of gene expression’ and ‘suppression subtractive hybridisation’.

And television sports commentators are being advised to stop using the word ‘coach’ or ‘corner’ for football matches. They should instead say ‘entraineur’ and ‘coup de pied de coin’.

The French Government commissioned a report into English usage two years ago, which warned that the global domination of Anglo-Saxon culture had plunged the future of the French language into a ‘deep crisis’.

The report said: ‘English-speakers have a vision of the so-called English-speaking world, but an equivalent concept does not seem to exist in France.

‘Despite having 200 million French-speakers on earth, the idea of a French-speaking world is becoming obsolete.

‘France is failing to promote its own language, and there seems to be very little interest in doing so.”




Sunday, March 17, 2013

Air France unveils new low-cost offer


“Air France has launched a new series of low-cost tickets – called “Mini” – which aim to increase its competitiveness in the face of rivals such as Ryanair and EasyJet.

Tickets starting at €49 one way will be sold for 58 destinations in France, Europe and north Africa – starting on February 6. (2013)

They are available setting off from Paris Orly airport, Marseille, Nice, or Toulouse.

Air France said the same level of service would be offered to passengers – including free newspapers – but checked baggage would cost extra. The company launched a restructuring plan last year that aims to save the company €2billion by 2015.”


Souce: The Connexion


Friday, March 15, 2013

Paper or Plastic?

A friend emailed this amusing video to me, which is very relevant for our times!

Which do you prefer ?

See Video HERE (in French and English)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cooking with a Michelin-Star Master Chef


I recently signed up to do a group cooking class at a top-rate restaurant in Nice, called l’Univers.  Not having a cooking gene, I figured I could watch and learn something – but NON, this was a hands-on cooking experience! I don’t eat a lot of fish, so never handle or cook it…until then, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The class started with a walk to the famous, daily food market in Cours Saleya, with the chef – he had planned the main course for the day, but needed to see/decide what would he vegetables he wanted to include. It was amusing to watch him browse the local vendors stands, instantly choosing things that he was mentally preparing. He choose nettles, which I had heard of but never saw or touched (yes, the leaves do sting ever so slightly to the touch) – were we going to eat them? Not exactly – they were cooked to make a dark green sauce to accompany the red fish (see photo).

Back at the restaurant, wearing plastic aprons, we watched the chefs demonstrate and then, we each took a turn – fileting and de-boning the sole, pulling stems off of rocket lettuce, fileting red fish, and of course, observing the chefs as they cut, cooked, and created delicious delicacies.  I tried to avoid semi-guillotining the red fish – a necessary step before fileting them, but concentrated on not cutting my self and the job at hand (pun intended)!

After about 2 hours, everything was ready, so we sat down to a beautiful table setting and were served hearty wines and the day’s cooked catch (three-course meal). Everything tasted wonderful, as we relaxed, chatted, and enjoyed the fruits of our (and mainly the chefs) labor!  What also impressed me was the relaxed, easygoing ambiance in the kitchen, thanks to Master Chef, Christian Plumail, and Chef Nicolas, as they joked with us, taught us basic skills of their craft, and patiently explained and answered our questions.

I am planning on doing another class, and if and when you visit Nice, it is definitely worth doing (the class was done in French, but the Chef also speaks English).


(hover over photo to see the caption)
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Famous Hotel Piano Bar


I recently had a morning coffee on the terrace of the Palais Mediterranée, a well-known hotel on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. It was served from the piano bar, called “le 3eme” – aptly named since it’s situated on the 3rd floor of the hotel. This small, intimate-feeling bar/lounge is cozy and colorful, with rich velvet fabrics and luscious sofas in deep purples and reds. I felt transformed to the time where a formal salon welcomed guests, in a sort of den-like setting.

Live music at “le 3eme” is on Thurday, Friday, and Saturday evenings – so, step into a romantic French parlor-type ambiance and listen to the music!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Brad Pitt & Pink Floyd!

As an update to my previous post, apparently Brad Pitt in in town & in the pink ! 
(I added a French TV news video link after the article)

"Film star Brad Pitt caused a stir at the Marseille Provence airport on Monday, flying in from Los Angeles to launch the newly christened 'Pitt & Jolie' rosé wine, fresh from his new co-owned vineyard in Correns. The first bottles of wine sold out within hours online, and buyers will have to wait a few more weeks until it reaches the shelves.

American actor Brad Pitt has branched out from his career in film to strengthen his role in the wine industry
"He was on seat number 4A, a few places away from from me and he was travelling alone," recounted Nadia, an excited witness to Brad Pitt's cross-continental journey, to local newspaper Var Matin.

According to a passenger from Montpellier, Dominique, the 48-year-old actor was "dressed very casually" and did not receive any trouble from fans aboard the international flight from Los Angeles to Marseille, via Paris Roissy.

On the evening of Monday 4th March, Brad Pitt arrived at his residence in Correns in the Var to prepare for the official launch of his new rosé cuvée, produced by the Miraval vineyard.

Brad Pitt and wife Angelina Jolie entered into 50:50 ownership of the Correns-based vineyard with the Perrin family, who own the château de Beaucastel of Châteauneuf du Pape in Vaucluse, as well as 200 hectares of vineyards on the Rhône sud valley. The 40-hectare Miraval vineyard produces an average of 150,000 red, white and rosé wines each year.

The online sale of the 'Pitt & Jolie' rosé, formerly known as Pink Floyd, was inaugurated at 9pm on Thursday 7th March. The first 1,000 six-bottle boxes were available to buy at 105 euros each from the Châteaux Miraval website, but sold out within hours of going online. The wine's official launch in shops will not take place for another 15 days.

Although Pitt will only be in the Var until the end of the week, he is expected to appear at the Cannes Film Festival in May to present his latest acting exploit as Ridley Scott in The Counselor, due for release in November this year."

Source: Riviera Times by Isabelle Younane

Watch VIDEO LINK HERE on French TV news


Huh? Je n'y comprends rien!


As an update to my previous post and updates with deadlines, problems, and photo:
There is a new decree dated March 1, 2013, which states that a fine will no longer be enforced for drivers who do not have the breathalyzer kit in their vehicle.

Source: article in French: Nice Matin

OK, I know what I think, but would like to hear your thoughts/comments ??

Thursday, March 7, 2013

 Since my blog is one year old today, I thought I would post the one-year-old birthday celebration photo of my dog, Bullet! 

Thanks to all of you for your readership and support over the past year, for which I am so appreciative.  May we have many more years to come!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Not Your Mother’s Travel Guide!


Announcing the new release of

"Sun, Sea & Savoir-Faire"

Includes most everything, but the kitchen sink!

A comprehensive, travel information e-book, focusing on the French Riviera. Includes concise transportation information, itinerary suggestion, website links, cultural tips, my personal recommendations, a recipe from my French family, and much more - even a visit to a village house.

Information at your fingertips, to easily access what you need to know and the savoir-faire for how to navigate the Côte d’Azur!

Available as an e-book on Amazon &

Available for all reader formats on Smashwords

“Merci beaucoup” to John Stephenson and Debra Fioritto for their valuable input and suggestions.



Sunday, March 3, 2013

Keeping An Eye on the Nice Carnaval!


The Carnaval de Nice is winding down soon, with all the fanfare that goes along with it!  The time, effort, and work that goes on behind the scenes (video link) is incredible, and it always seems to flow so effortlessly, and "flow" it does....or should I say "throw", meaning the Bataille de Fleurs: the flower parade where bunches of flowers are continuously thrown to the crowds of spectators.

Do you know the name of the yellow small flower, being thrown in the below video ?


Friday, March 1, 2013

“LBD – La Petite Robe Noire”


I was recently shopping and passed a pharmacy window featuring a Guerlain perfume, for which “J’adore” (a Dior perfume) the TV
commercial!  Everything about this product appeals to me – the branding, marketing, visual packaging, etc.  Having visited a parfumerie, as well, I am only too aware of what goes into creating what goes inside of the bottle.
Guerlain2But, like a book’s cover or film trailer, it’s the visual aspect of a perfume that draws someone, enticing them to open the cover and smell.  So, is it the marketing or the visuality of a product that initially piques our interest?  What do you think?