What’s your take on Monaco?

Most visitors to the French Riviera express a desire to see two places in particular: Cannes (due to the famous film festival) and Monaco (due to its reputation for fame & fortune). Interestingly enough, the majority of my friends, who have visited Monaco, were not impressed/disappointed, even referring to it as a “concrete jungle.”

Of course, Monte Carlo has many beautiful sites: the ports, casino square, the rock, and local parks. So, just wondering what’s your impression?

National Day of Monaco – 19 november

Photo credit: Michelle Locke, Associated Press

Photo credit: Michelle Locke, Associated Press – philly.com

Riviera earns its reputation as a global destination

Provence & Côte d’Azur: Tourism in the Riviera represents one per cent of all global tourism

It has been yet another excellent year for tourism on the Côte d’Azur with upwards of 11 million visitors to its shores. Putting a global spin on the figures is the fact that the region has claimed one per cent of all international tourism worldwide and almost 10 per cent of France’s total number of visitors.

Foreigners made up half of the vacationing population, with Italians (19 per cent), the British and Irish (18 per cent), Americans (eight per cent), Scandinavians (seven per cent) and Russians (six per cent) dominating hotels and holiday establishments.

Over half of all tourists travelled to the Riviera by car and 27 per cent arrived in its airports. This latter statistic has cemented the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport’s status as France’s second airline travel hub and Europe’s third business aviation point of call.

Proving that it has earned its place among favourite international destinations, almost three quarters of visitors had already stayed in the Riviera before and more than nine out of 10 said that they were “very satisfied” with their holiday in the south of France.

Spending by tourists topped the five billion euro mark in 2013. Over 60 per cent of all spending was done by foreigners – the equivalent of 90 euros per day – while business clients demonstrated their spending power with an average daily outgoing of 163 euros.

In 2013, tourism provided an estimated 75,000 jobs, of which just 17.5 per cent were seasonal positions. The industry is the region’s leading sector and represents 16 per cent of total employment.

Source/Credit: Elsa Carpenter for The Riviera Times Online

Blue Beach Seaside Restaurant

I recently met some girlfriends for a delicious lunch at Blue Beach, one of the seaside restaurants in Nice that overlooks the blue Mediterranean Sea. A nice meal with nice friends in a nice setting in Nice!

Expat Blog – An Interview

Kim Defforge is a lifelong francophile and former French teacher, with a passion for all things French. Having moved from the U.S. to the French Riviera, she now enjoys writing about French culture, food, wine, events, and the simple beauty of a Mediterranean sunset…proving that dreams really can come true!

Why did you choose to move to Nice?

Actually, I had intended to live in Montpellier, but my husband’s family is in Cannes, so he wanted to return to the Cote d’Azur area. It turned out to be a great choice – Nice is a lively, beautiful city.

How was the moving process?

It was somewhat frantic: we sold our U.S. condo (unexpectedly in two days), sold our cars and other items and shipped the rest of our belongings and furniture from the U.S. to France in a 40 cubic foot cargo container. We were in the midst of totally renovating an apartment in Nice at the time, so had to store our boxes and furniture in the middle of the living room, leaving only a small perimeter to walk around. We had to shower at the beach, until the bathroom was completed…thankfully, it was summer. Getting everything done and being physically settled in took about 6 months.

Did you face difficulties to adapt to your host country?

Not really – I had lived and worked in Paris for a short time years ago and was a French teacher in the U.S. I also spent summers near Montpellier, and therefore, I kept abreast of French culture and am very comfortable being in France. I did, however, have to go to driving school to obtain a French driver’s license, a challenging and expensive process, plus deal with the infamous French bureaucracy for my long-stay visa.
What surprised you the most in Nice?

Although Nice is the 5th largest city in France, I was surprised at how relatively small the city center actually is; also, the aggressive driving, especially the scooters. Could you please share with us something you like about Nice and something you don’t like? I like the view of the Mediterranean sea, especially while sitting at one of the beach restaurants. I don’t like the rocky beaches in Nice and prefer silky, soft sand between my toes for an enjoyable walk along the surf.

A common belief about Nice which wasn’t right?

People usually come to the South of France for the warm, sunny weather; however, there can be, surprisingly, frequent periods of rain.

What do you miss the most from the US, your home country?

An authentic Mexican meal, like I enjoyed at On The Border restaurant and the level of client service found in the U.S.

What does a typical day as an expat in Nice look like?

There is so much to do here! It could be simply enjoying a walk on the Promenade des Anglais, shopping at an open market, taking in the sea view over a cup of coffee, meeting friends for lunch at a beachfront restaurant, and perhaps, attending one of the area’s many museums or international clubs’ events. Voilà!

Which advice would you give to people wishing to settle in Nice?

Take your time to decide if being in a large city is really where you want to live before investing in property and do your homework about what to expect, such as laws and taxes.

When and why did you start your blog, 24/7 in France?

Although I had written a few freelance articles in 2008, I started my blog in March of 2012, as a way to share current news, travel information, and amusing stories about living on the French Riviera, for locals and tourists.

You are also a writer and you release a book on your journey to France: why did you choose to write on your expatriation experience?

Solitary Desire-One Woman’s Journey to France is the true story of my personal journey and the life events that weave an emotional tapestry: from adolescent imagination to adult life situations, with the twists and turns that led me to pursue my life dream of living in France.

What are your projects for the future?

Although I miss my family in the U.S., I feel that I am where I am meant to be and have no plans to live anywhere else. Future project ideas include writing more books, launching special travel opportunities for tourists, and hosting a writer’s retreat.


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: info@decouverteduvivant.fr

Credit:  The Provence Post

“Sporting Beach” in Nice

Under the warm, Mediterranean sun and overlooking the azur Mediterranean Sea, I recently enjoyed lunch at a seaside restaurant in Nice, called Sporting Beach.   I sipped a glass of Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, while taking in the luscious sea view during a ‘girlfriends lunch’ – an afternoon full of fun, laughter, and of course, the latest girly gossip.

There are many private beaches along the Promenade in Nice to experience sun, sea, & (gastronomic) savoir-faire – Bon appetit!

La Vie en Rose…Petals

The French Riviera is well known for its Mediterranean-style cuisine, featuring tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil, and its beautiful, azur blue sea: ingredients, indeed, for “la vie en rose”!  But, there is an additional specialty, specific to this area, included in MY “vie en rose” — jam made with real rose petals – it actually smells and tastes like roses.  This jam, made and sold by Florian is one of many flavored-jams, made from flowers, at their main candy factory, “Confiserie Florian” founded in 1921, located just outside of Nice; they also have a smaller facility at the port in Nice. They provide free, guided tours followed by a free tasting of their specialties.

Here’s a silky, piano bar/jazzy version of this iconic song, to listen to while looking at the below photos:

I did a guided tour of their main factory years ago, which was very interesting, and their candies and jams make lovely gifts — special souvenirs to savor from this area!

Rose jam

Rose jam

florian jamOrange, Lemon, & Grapefruit jam

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)”