Friday, May 31, 2013

Mediterranean Whale Watching


If you are looking for something different to do, here’s an outing that fits the bill:

“Every Sunday, Decouverte du Vivant offers Naturalist Discovery Cruises aboard the boat La Croix du Sud V. During the nine-hour voyage you’re likely to see striped dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, pilot hales, sperm whales and the second largest animal on the planet, the fin whale. 

You can also expect to encounter seabirds, sunfish, loggerhead turtles, bluefin tuna, bonito and swordfish.

The season opens June 9 and runs through October 20, 2013. Cruises depart from Sanary sur Mer in the Var at 9:30 am and return at 6 pm. Prices are 55€ (under 13), 66€ (students and teens), 78€ (adult) and on demand for groups. “  For more info or to reserve, click here or call 06-10-57-17-11 or email to:

Credit:  The Provence Post

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Le Mois des Gourmands


There’s still time left for foodistas and foodies alike!

“La Fourchette” is featuring May 22-June 16 as gourmet month, with substantial reductions on select restaurants.

For current restaurants offering discounts in Nice, click HERE
Buyer Beware -  I haven’t used La Fourchette (it seems to be like Groupon which I have used)

Do you think you generally get what you pay for?


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

B & B – Guesthouse Near Nice


I recently visited Villa Estelle and met Fiona, the on-site Irish manager for the owners of this charming B  & B, situated in the medieval village of Haut-de-Cagnes-sur-Mer just outside of Nice.

This five-bedroom guesthouse’s facade and beautiful arched entrance hides a large interior courtyard inside the 14th-century building, where, historically, Jean Cocteau, Renoir, and even Modigliani used to pass by the front door of this authentic Provençal house.

Open all year long, the B & B has welcomed international visitors for the past fifteen years.  Since there were guests, I took photos of only the living room, breakfast room, and kitchen (to die for!)  – see the website link’s picture gallery for others.

Full of charm and warm hospitality, this unique establishment is inviting and ideally located – come enjoy the charming ambiance of this guesthouse in a lovely medieval village!


Monday, May 27, 2013

The Riviera Woman

And you thought I was talking about myself, right?!

paperback photoWell....sort of…..since I am A Riviera woman, and am featured in THE Riviera Woman:  an online magazine, and as the author of “Solitary Desire – One Woman’s Journey to France.  Watch book trailer HERE.

A big merci to Anna Fill, the e-zine presenter and promoter, who I met a few years ago at one of her events.  Anna started the magazine to “develop a platform that allowed (her) to meet inspirational women and men on the Riviera who are part of the community, giving (her) the chance to raise their profile and hear their story.  (She) also wanted to have a website that promoted art and artists of all kinds.”

The Riviera Woman magazine’s slogan is: “Talk to us because we’ll talk about you. It’s what women do.”  And Anna certainly does it very, very well – Bravo!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Gastronomic Restaurant in Nice


Situated on Coco Beach just after the port of Nice,  “La Reserve” is a well-known “restaurant gastronomique, ” famous for its proximity next to the sea, high quality dining, and providing panoramic views.  The ambiance is formal, with a contemporary interior design, and sound effects from the waves lapping the shoreline.  The food was first-rate, service excellent (but not personable), and views spectacular.  But, I had a little reserve about La Reserve….a feeling that something was missing that I couldn’t put my finger on.  It wasn’t just the pricey menu (expected for this type of restaurant), but rather a lack of “soulfulness” – everything felt too robotic.  It was a black and white, rather than colorful, experience – figuratively speaking and difficult to explain.

Do you know what I mean?  Have you ever experienced this at a restaurant?

(The above is my personal opinion and not meant as a critique of the restaurant to sway tourists – your experience may be totally different.)


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gourmet Restaurant in Monaco


I recently attend a luncheon with the Riviera Gourmet Club, held at Le Benoit Restaurant in Monaco – a posh setting for a posh meal, and all in all, a delicious afternoon among friends. The restaurant is within walking distance from the train station, going down the hill and then taking a long flight of steps up to the parking garage level. The restaurant is on the 5th floor, providing a panoramic view of the Port Hercule – well worth a visit for a luxurious lunch (or dinner)!

photos (excluding the mixed fruit dessert – it was so enticing, I forgot to take a photo of it!)

Filet de boeuf
Brie cheese


Foie gras

View from terrace



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sporting Beach in Nice

View article HERE

Metro Signs


During a visit to the Washington D.C. area, I took the Orange Line of the Metro into the city.  It suddenly dawned on me,  how confused a non-English speaker could be, when faced with these transportation signs.  I immediately thought of the automated ticket machines in Paris, for non-French speakers, as a comparison.  We tend to take it for granted that things are easy, so I tried to put myself in someone else’s shoes – as a type of role reversal.  Have you encountered this type of situation?
metro map automation IMG_0003 entrance
bench seat

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I Scream, You Scream…


We all scream for ice cream — especially with summer and tourist season just around the corner here in Nice.
Berthillon” is to Paris as “Fenocchio” is to Nice
Here’s the scoop!
Berthillon is a well-known tea salon, located on the Ile Saint Louis,  offering 60 flavors of ice cream/sorbet.  In the summer, there are long lines at this famous establishment.
29-31 rue Saint Louis en l’ile (Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 8pm)
75004 Paris

Métro :  
_ ligne 7 station Pont Marie
_ ligne 1 station Saint Paul
_ lignes 9 & 10 station Cardinal Lemoine
BUS : lignes
86 / 87 / 63 / 67 / 24
Fenocchio, located in the heart of Old Nice at Place Rosetti, is a well-known and offers around 98 flavors of ice cream/sorbet  (one of my top five sites in Nice).  Long lines are common during high tourist season.
Address (two locations in Old Nice):

2, Place Rossetti near St. Reparate Cathedral – 9:00am – Midnight (non-stop)
6, rue de la Poissonerie near Cours Saleya market – 9:00am – Midnight (non-stop except Tuesday)
What flavor(s) would you choose?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New News Nuggets from Nice


guide cover resized•        As of May 3, 2013, bus & tram fares are 1,50 € (instead of 1€) for a one-way ticket; however, buying a group of 10 tickets still costs 1€ each (buy at tram stops or at Lignes d’Azur shop)

•        The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 15-26 and the Monaco Grand Prix is May 25-26, 2013

•        The Nice Jazz Festival will run from July 8-12, 2013

•        “Mirazur” restaurant in Menton is #28 in the 2013 list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (

•        AutoBleue stations are under construction in Villefranche and Beaulieu, with 28 stations targeted to be ready in 2013

•        The newly constructed green park (Coulée Verte) in the center of Nice will be officially named the “Promenade du Paillon”

•        A new tunnel is being constructed between Nice and Monaco, projected to be completed in two years

•        By 2020, high speed broadband will reach remote communities in the PACA region, with all of France having Internet before 2022

•        The Musée Oceanographique in Monaco will host a permanent exhibition all year long, themed “The Mediterranean Splendid – Fragile Living”

•        Nice airport has a full body scanner for checking international travelers, reportedly the only French airport with one, so only volunteers are scanned, instead of the typical walk-through metal detectors

•        Nice’s airport is in the top ten listing for the world’s most scenic airplane landings, from a survey by an air charter company

•        Virgin Megastore in Nice will be closing

•        IKEA will be opening in the Eco-Nice Saint Isidore area, targeted for 2016

•        The Palais Mediterranée was voted 18th best luxury hotel in Trip Advisor’s list of best hotels in France

•        The Palais de la Mediterranée hotel and casino in Nice will be renamed Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranée, and Hôtel Martinez in Cannes will be officially named Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez,following a new management agreement under the Hyatt family of hotels; both hotels will also be renovated

•        A new site shows where you can drop-off electronic equipment for recycling, as well as where to donate other goods ( )

•        Renault Twingo and the Smart Fortwo are the two top cars in France for thefts

•        France has been repeatedly voted to have the world’s best quality of life by International Living magazine, with 79 million tourists last year


Source: Riviera Times, Connexion, Riviera Reporter

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Eurostar to Southern France: An Update


Following my previous post about Eurostar’s new service:

London to Aix-en-Provence trains will begin running every Saturday in May and June, stopping in Lyon and Avignon.

Prices are €99 in standard class Lyon-London and €199 in premier, rising to €109 standard and €249 premier for Aix-London.

The first train leaves St Pancras on May 4 at 7h17 and arrives 4h43 later in Lyon Part-Dieu, 5h52 later in Avignon and 6h17 later in Aix at 14h34.

However, travellers heading from France to London will face longer journey times due to customs checks needing to be made at Lille. On the London outbound services these checks are done before
boarding at St-Pancras.

Trains leave Aix at 15h57, Avignon at 16h21 and Lyon at 17h38 to arrive in London at 22h39. The Aix-London journey takes seven hours 42 minutes.


(Source:  Connexion)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Le Square Dancing (Country)


It’s been years since I’ve seen or even thought about square dancing, although I do love to dance.  So,  I was very curious to see a local town’s square dance demonstation, fully aware that country dancing is very popular in France.

The first thing I noticed was that the dancers were all ages, not just middle-aged, making up about 8-10 foursomes. And, the caller sang all the group dance moves and was decidedly did not a French accent. As I listened to calls of “promenade,” “a la main left” and “dos-a-dos” I became even more curious about the history and “language” of square dancing – maybe it is French after all!

A square dance is a dance for four couples (eight dancers) arranged in a square, with one couple on each side, facing the middle of the square. Square dances were first documented in 17th century England but were also quite common in France and throughout Europe. They came to North America with the European settlers and have undergone considerable development there. In some countries and regions, through preservation and repetition, square dances have attained the status of a folk dance.

The Western American square dance may be the most widely known form worldwide except dances from China and India, possibly due to its association in the 20th century with the romanticized image of the American cowboy. Square dancing is, therefore, strongly associated with the United States of America. Nineteen US states have designated it as their official state dance.

Calls/Language:  From Allemande German, originally from Latin allemanus, + Left NOT “a la main” (so much for that theory!)

Are there any other differences in the videos – French vs. American square dancing?




Sunday, May 5, 2013

Italian Restaurant at Nice Port


“Le Local” is situated just around the corner from the “Notre Dame du Port” church , with its neoclassical edifice and topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary.  I have enjoyed lunch (dinner)  there several times.  Most recently, I met a friend for a leisurely lunch, which turned into a even more leisurely lunch (read: enough time for an extra after-lunch glass of Prosecco) due to a springtime thunderstorm passing through.

The restaurant’s “cuisine Italienne” is very good, service is friendly and accommodating, the restaurant’s location is on a side street for less Port traffic noise. Oh, and the prices are reasonable too – what more could one want?