Paris – Up Close & Personal

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

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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” – both flavors which I love!  I also can’t eat just one serving of their garlic naan – light and delicious!  Then, I had their signature dessert – some kind of spiced 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

Rose Kir

Garlic naan

Garlic naan

Vegetable korma

Vegetable korma

Chicken curry

Chicken curry

? cake with pistachios

? cake with pistachios

Ice cream

Ice cream

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

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

View Book Trailer here

Paperback & E-book at:  Amazon

Paperback at:  Createspace

Note:  Ebook has a different cover image

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”!

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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.”



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

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)

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, oh, oh, oh…..listen to the music !


piano corner



intimate corner

outdoor terrace