“Rendez-vous aux Jardins”

June 1, 2, & 3, 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the “Rendezvous aux Jardins,” an annual cultural event organized by the Minister of Culture & Communication — around 2,200 gardens, all over France, will be opened to the public, displaying the link between art and landscapes. So, come stroll along, and take time to smell some roses!

Gardens listed for Nice (see link and type in Nice in Chercher par Commune box)

Amusez-vous bien!

Organisés par le ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, les Rendez-vous aux jardins fêtent en 2012 leur dixième anniversaire et rassembleront tous les passionnés de jardins les 1, 2 et 3 juin autour d’un thème d’une grande richesse, à la croisée des disciplines et des réflexions sur le dialogue entre art(s) et paysage(s) : “Le jardin et ses images.”

Le thème “Le jardin et ses images” choisi pour cette édition 2012 propose de réfléchir aux différentes représentations du jardin, qu’elles soient figurées, littéraires, poétiques, musicales ou mentales.

(Source: http://www.rendezvousauxjardins.fr/Photo: wimp.com)

French Breathalyzer Law Update

Driver’s Beware !

The latest news on the french breathalyzer law is that, as was speculated , it has been now been confirmed that the new french law that requires motorists to carry NF approved breathalyzer kits in their cars from the 1st July 2012 or face fines will not actually be enforced by police until 1st November 2012 – recently changed to March, 2013.

(Source: French breathlyzer website)

Personal Note: July 24th – I just purchased a Box of two tests, at the local pharmacie, and it cost 3,90 Euro/box; they expire in 2 years (June 2014)

Personal Note: As of January, 2013, the enforcement of this law has been postponed indefinitely.

Riviera Times article

Since the weather is getting warmer, and summer is just around the corner, this article, as posted today in the Riviera Times, is indeed … well, timely – and good news for tourists – come and enjoy!

Riviera beaches given blue flag

This year, more beaches than ever before in France have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award, marking their environmental excellence and quality of service. A wave of blue flags will now fly high on 52 beaches in the Alpes Maritimes and some 39 along the coast in the Var.

Beau Rivage beach in Nice is just one of the many blue flag beaches on the Côte d’Azur

For over 25 years, the distinguished Blue Flag has flown as a sign of environmental and tourism excellence, as well as recognising high water quality and public facilities on many beaches across the globe.

In France, a record number of beaches across the country have been awarded the prestigious title this year, a remarkable 377 in total.

Although, there weren’t any new additions in the Var, it was good news for the Alpes Maritimes, after the Pierre au Tambour beach secured its first blue title.

Blue flag beaches 2012 in the Alpes Maritimes:

– Antibes (Les Groules, Fontonne Est, Fontonne Ouest, Pont Dulys, Antibesles-Pins Est, Antibes-les-Pins Ouest, Garoupe Est, La Gravette, La Salis, Le Ponteil, Grande-Plage-Juan les-Pins, Gallice, Marineland, Square Gould and Ponton Courbet)

– Cannes (Chantiers Navals, Trou (Roubine), Font de Veyre, Gabres, Gare Marchandises, Gazaniaire, Ile Sainte Marguerite Est, Ile Saint Marguerite Ouest, Midi, Moure Rouge, Riou, Rochers de la Bocca, Saint Georges and Sud Aviation)

– Cap d’Ail (Mala, Marquet and Pissarelles)

– Nice (Bambou, Beau Rivage, Carras, Castel, Coco Beach, Galion, Lido, Magnan and Forum)

– Vallauris (Barraya, Jeunes, Midi Centre, Midi Est, Midi Ouest, Pascalin, Poste CRS and Tetou)

– Villeneuve-Loubet (Lifeguard station number 2 and Pierre au tambour)”


Day at the Beach in Nice for sun, fun, & sand ? (Non – rocks!)

With all the recent rainy weather and cooler-than-normal temperatures, it was sunny and warm in Nice — a good day to head to the beach….but I couldn’t decide on which one?

There are many private and public beaches along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice to choose from (even a few public sandy areas); however, I picked Bambou Plage, located across from Lenval Hospital (where Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt gave birth to twins!)

Since the beach wasn’t crowded, I was upgraded to the VIP loungers on the “2eme ligne” (2nd row back from sea) — quelle surprise! The extra-wide loungers had tiltable, overhead screens for shielding your head/eyes from the sun, if desired. As I sipped a glass of champagne, they brought out nibbles of toasts with tapenade. A tranquil setting and just what I needed to chill out, literally and figuratively!

For lunch, I found their “suggestions” menu a little pricey, so I ordered “a la carte”: a “salade chef” and “moules frites” (mussels and fries), dining just behind the rows of sun loungers. With views of the sea and of a cruise ship in the distance, I ate a leisurely lunch, served with a glass of rosé.

The service was friendly and efficient, with “service compris” (tip included), as is usual in France, but with a cute ‘tip jar’ on the counter, just in case!

(Photos copyright 24/7 in France)

Equestrian Ballet: Dancing horse!

I was an avid equestrian and horseowner, and although I never personally did dressage, I appreciate the hard work and dedication it takes to reach a high standard of performance. This horse is magnificent — a performance that speaks for itself and made me teary-eyed!

(Note: a memorial day post to honor this horse)

Cooking lesson – an important ‘ingredient’ !

With all the great fruit and vegetable markets in and around Nice, I am inspired to experiment more with French-style cooking — not a task to be taken lightly, as I was in a cooking-the-same-old-things type of rut — yes, reliable and easier, but not very exciting!

Using the wonderful produce and exotic ingredients available here, I have become an improved food shopper and, dare I say, better chef ?! Well, let’s just say, I’m working at it and, at least, enjoying it more!

‘Ingredient’ to remember:
30 second lesson

Brain food: Being Bi-lingual !

As a former middle/high school French teacher, articles about language learning always catch my attention — pretty cool that there is a health benefit linked to studying a foreign language!

According to a recent article in The Connexion, an English-language newspaper:

“Being bilingual is good for your brain – and can even fend off Alzheimer’s Disease, says one of the world’s leading experts in the subject.

According to psychologist Ellen Bialystok of York University in Canada, “the benefits of bilingualism increase with its duration and the more you practise it, the better it is”.

All bilingual children experience similar benefits, she told Le Figaro.

These include an ability to perform in a noisy environment due to skill at separating out different sounds and greater mental flexibility including enhanced ability with all tasks requiring “complex thoughts”.

A researcher at the Paris-Descartes University, Ranka Bijeljac-Babic, backed the findings. “Being bilingual helps you to pass from one piece of information to another, to change the centre of your attention,” she said.

However Professor Bialystok said “the most surprising discovery of recent years” is the way that bilingualism holds back Alzheimer’s, “significantly” – by more than five years on average.

Ms Bijeljac-Babic said the latest thinking is there is no need to follow the “one parent, one language” approach.”

A – Z : The French Riviera

Tourist Office map

I will be continually adding and updating information & links on this page, so please check in regularly to this evolving post:

A – Antibes

B – Bus schedule information

C – Carnaval de Nice

& Cannes Film Festival (2012 video)

D – Dog-friendly; My dog loved living here, being able to go most everywhere, and especially riding on the scooter! (photo link)

E – Eze Village (not to be confused with Eze-sur-Mer)

F – Fenocchio Ice Cream – 94 flavors to choose from

G – Grand Prix of Monaco (1966 movie clip video)

H – Haut de Cagnes-sur-Mer

I – Imagine living here (video)!

J – Juan-les-Pins

K – Kite surf

L – Louis Vuitton will be launching a new perfume, in the Perfume Capital/Town of Grasse, to add to it luxury product line.

M – Monaco: The State Apartments at the Princes Palace are open for public visits from April 2nd to 30th from 10:30-18:00; May 1st to September 30th from 09:30-18:30; and October 1st to 31st from 10:00-17:30. Entry permitted up to 30 minutes before closing. Admission is €7 for adults and €3.50 for students and children aged 8-14.

N – Nice airport – useful information

O – Olives de Nice (les caillettes)

P – Paris (video link)

Q –

R – Roquebrune Cap-Martin (hang-gliding video)

S – Scams in Nice

T – Tourettes-sur-Loup

U – What makes YOU think of Provence?

V – Vence – Local Market held every Sun, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat mornings at the Place du Grand Jardin; selling local produce, flowers, fruits, and vegetables

W – The coolest weather gadget ever!

X – Xenophobia = Cultural differences

Y – Yoga on the beach (HI Beach) is a perfect setting to get fit!

Z – Driving in Nice is a ‘Zoo

Emergency Phone Numbers: 112 International help / 15 SAMU Ambulance / 17 Police / CNAM French Health Service English-language service Tel: 08 20 90 42 12