Riviera Reporter
Riviera Reporter

Local Living

Articles and tips about residing on the Riviera.

Geoffrey's, inside shop

Geoffrey’s of London: a Riviera institution turns 25

Riviera Reporter | Jun 08, 2016
In 1990, Geoffrey Garnett was looking for a new challenge in life and identified a business opportunity in Antibes while on holiday there with his family. The following year, he moved his family to France and took over an existing English food shop,…
Solar panel grid

Electricity’s digital future has dawned on the French Riviera

Riviera Reporter | Jun 02, 2016
The commune of Carros straddles a leafy valley tucked away a short ride from Nice and the beaches of the French Riviera. Like much of Provence, the medieval town of 11,000 swells every summer with tourists seeking tans and sipping rosé. But it may…
Residence Albert

Residence Albert: Independent apartment living for expat seniors on the Riviera

Marian McCarthy | Feb 15, 2016
The Côte d’Azur is an exceptional place to live, whatever your age. However, until recently, the options for expat seniors on the Riviera were relatively limited: return to your country of origin; remain in your home; or move into a more traditional…
Square Foot Self-Storage interior

Square Foot Self-Storage: Why size matters

Riviera Reporter | Jan 08, 2016
When it comes to storing personal belongings, do your research. Square Foot Self-Storage began nine years ago with its first warehouse in Biot, where different sized units, ranging from 2m sq to 45m sq, plus smaller 1 or 2m cubed lockers ideal for…
Victoria retirement home

Rent an apartment at the new “Albert” residence for seniors

Barry Hibbitt | Oct 03, 2015
A new prince in the name and shape of Albert is arising to give home, security and succour to senior citizens downsizing on the Cote d’Azur. Albert was, of course, the much loved husband of Queen Victoria and now his princely presence is taking root…
Eileen Gray Villa

Eileen Gray: A long life and a short dream, the story of villa E1027

Maureen Emerson | Aug 04, 2015
After what many agree have been far too many years of neglect, the iconic Modernist villa E1027 at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin has been restored and opened to the public as of May 3rd, 2015. Built by the designer Eileen Gray in the late 1920s, it was one…
Luxury life on beach

Lifestyles of the rich and famous on the Côte d'Azur, who cares?

Lisa Pepin | Mar 28, 2015
The South of France is known for being the second home to many of the world’s rich and famous. But when the rest of the world sees photos of celebrities walking the red carpet at Cannes or partying at Paloma Beach Club, they assume that those of us…

Two tales of street crime in one city, Nice

Riviera Reporter | Jan 06, 2015
In September 2001, Publishing Director Mike Meade was contacted by John McLaughlin, host of The McLaughlin Group, a long-running political commentary TV show in the US. McLaughlin and his wife were driving from Marseille airport towards Cap d’Ail…
Cancer Patient

Support for the sick and lonely at Christmas (and other times)

Riviera Reporter | Dec 17, 2014
The most wonderful time of the year? The Riviera sun, sea and lifestyle don’t always compensate for the considerable distances from family and friends many resident expats experience. Day to day life can be particularly challenging over the…
MLV Drone Aerial View

Eyes in the sky - the future in drones

Mike Meade | Nov 27, 2014
Not long ago the words “aerial drone” conjured up visions of espionage and secretive military attacks in war zones. These days, drones have many other more peaceful uses. Shop-bought models have become common and - perhaps more dangerously - are…
Surveillance Cameras

Surveillance cameras in Nice: I’ll be watching you

Riviera Reporter | Sep 07, 2014
In 1989, “Every Breath You Take” by the Police hit the airwaves and became a number one hit. Thirty years later it could be the theme song for the city of Nice – and police would still be in the picture. For the size of the city, Nice has the most…
Arthes Perfumes

The World Cup of cologne. How one Grasse perfumery scores big in the fragrance game

Joe Dziedziak | Jul 17, 2014
A procession of flowers lines the drive to the Arthes perfumery, a property of 36,0000 sqm in Bois-de-Grasse, where the air is rich with the sweetness of Provence: freshly bloomed rose and jasmine, blackberry brambles, vanilla vines. It’s a place…
Breaking News

A news story, the takeover of Nice-Matin

Riviera Reporter | May 22, 2014
Nice-Matin has been in financial agony for years (see Reporter 160) and bets for salvation were on a miraculous takeover by a mysterious buyer, probably from Italy or the Middle East. As the only local daily, its possible demise worried not only the…
Taco Truck

Street food: a moveable feast from food trucks

Riviera Reporter | Apr 11, 2014
Glenn and Richard graduated from culinary schools and worked in 4-star establishments before deciding to branch out on their own. In October 2013 they set up Le Vieux Taco Burger Truck in Antibes, er… sort of. Le Vieux Taco is part of the Street…
Voters Choice

On your right, you can see Nice: Municipal elections 2014

Riviera Reporter | Mar 27, 2014
For more than 65 years, Nice has voted to the right of centre. The last time a Socialist was elected mayor was in 1945 when Jacques Cotta took office. He was ousted two years later by right-winger Jean Médecin, who remained in the position until his…
Molly Brown at the Grand Prix

Monaco Murmurs: Looking back over 25 years

Molly Brown | Mar 12, 2014
A national treasure One expects a few surprises in the New Year, but I received a horrific shock. I realised that I have been murmuring about Monaco for a quarter of a century! My first article was criticised for portraying Monaco through…

A head start in looking good: Headhunters Hair and Beauty Specialists

Riviera Reporter | Mar 04, 2014
After selling the very popular Cutting Shop in Antibes, an institution in the English community for over 20 years, sisters Nicky Hooper and Sally Ryder decided to go into partnership and so in mid-January 2014, they opened Headhunters, the hair and…
Wind swept

When the wind blows, what’s it called and what does it bring?

Riviera Reporter | Feb 05, 2014
We clear the air For a northern European, apart from the sunshine, the oddest part of the weather in our patch of France is the wind. The reliably wet westerlies that dominate the maritime climate of the UK and much of Scandinavia are replaced by an…
Roadside Veg and Fruit Cabin

Fresh fruit and veg in a road-side vending cabin

Riviera Reporter | Oct 17, 2013
It’s fast food all right, but not fake food. Market gardener Raphaël Clerissi has spent €40,000 providing a shop-in-a-box solution for those of us who always turn up at the farm shop when it’s closed.Pitch up at his patch on the D1 at Gattières…
Trees Down at the Sporting d'Hiver

Monaco Murmurs: Farewell to trees at the Sporting d’Hiver

Molly Brown | Oct 02, 2013
Digging our own grave? A Fête de la Musique is a great way to celebrate Midsummer Day, but there were quite a few discordant notes and a chorus of dismay when it was discovered that the tall palm trees in the Casino gardens had disappeared, leaving…
Working on the black

The Var and work on the black

Riviera Reporter | Aug 11, 2013
It's a risky business for scores of reasons but a struggling economy has meant an upsurge in travail au noir – working on the black. The Var has been especially affected as many unemployed at the end of their dole or those on particularly low…
Elton John Shankbone

Monaco Murmurs: Invest in something you can enjoy

Molly Brown | Jun 26, 2013
The idea of a government closing banks and taking a percentage of their clients’ savings rang alarm bells around Europe, even in the Principality, where we are assured the banks are well financed and secure. Lumpy mattresses are uncomfortable and…
App - Jellyfish Report

4 Apps for summer

Mike Meade | May 18, 2013
Tracking Jellyfish It's a subject we've covered in these pages because jellyfish are a recurring problem along the Riviera coast in the summer. Some of our beaches have even installed jellyfish nets to protect bathers. Jellyfish Report is a free app…
Victoria staff display English-training diplomas

Victoria Retirement Home on the Grange

Riviera Reporter | Apr 26, 2013
“How are you today? Isn’t your son from England coming on a visit this week?” a nurse at Victoria in Mouans-Sartoux asks one of the residents, a Brit who admits he’s “not much good in French”. “That’s the case with quite a few of the people here,”…
Monte-Carlo Casino Gardens

The only elegant view in Monaco

Molly Brown | Apr 24, 2013
If you arrive in Monaco at Jardin Exotique, the road takes you down to the Casino where there is a traffic light; you either turn right to go down to the port, left to Roquebrune Cap Martin, or across and down a small road through the Casino gardens…
Nice to meet you

Nice to meet you - volunteer as a greeter

Riviera Reporter | Apr 13, 2013
Nice is looking for volunteers to act as “greeters” to the city, a scheme first tried in New York some years back with success – Lynn Brooks wanted to share a slice of the Big Apple she loved with visitors in a personal way, not so much as a guide…
Raining and wet

Is our weather becoming wetter?

Riviera Reporter | Apr 07, 2013
The ladies on the bus moaning about the weather are right for once – since last September there has been a remarkable, and it is hoped temporary, change in the climate of what we shall call Eastern Provence. We did not settle here to witness moss…
Leather Key Ring

Don't get ripped off if you lose your keys

Riviera Reporter | Apr 05, 2013
Keys seem to be more trouble on the Côte d’Azur than anywhere else. If you don’t lose them yourself, then the family who have rented your place for the summer will do the job for you. If you lock yourself out in Cannes, then it’s usually cheaper to…
French Riviera

Internet options on the Côte d’Azur

Huw Williams | Mar 18, 2013
Look before you login With today’s demands to be constantly connected ... that pressing email to send, a Facebook update to make, or that latest product to search out and buy, a good internet connection is essential to keep everyone in the family or…

The mimosa: a flower at the heart of a local tradition

Riviera Reporter | Mar 04, 2013
Within a few days of this Reporter’s distribution there should have been the first blooming of the mimosa, that wonderful golden flower which has become a symbol of the Côte d’ Azur and has a tradition all of its own. But this flower which brings,…
Christian Estrosi with Spot Mairie

Spot Mairie, Spot On.

Riviera Reporter | Mar 02, 2013
Nice was in the global spotlight this week when it launched Spot Mairie, the world’s first virtual city hall, on February 24th. Speaking from Paris, Jean-François Balcon, Head of Cisco’s Business Development Collectives in France told the Riviera…
Chenille Processionnaire

A thin grey line - the procession caterpillar

Riviera Reporter | Feb 24, 2013
We used to be able to say that this region has few really nasty creepy crawlies. Climate change has made this no longer true and we've written about this more than once. One native undesirable presence – and you'll start seeing them about now – is…
Queen Victoria Monument

For the niçois all foreigners are English

Patrick Middleton | Feb 14, 2013
So wrote Alexandre Dumas in 1841. Patrick Middleton looks back at over 200 years of British involvement with the South of France Until the second half of the 19th century British visitors and residents were still relatively rare in this region. No…

Valentine’s à la française

Nathalie Giraud | Feb 12, 2013
Nearly 30% of the French believe that Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be ignored. Are you romantically inclined too? Last Valentine’s Day, Americans collectively spent around $3.5 billion on a romantic evening even though 82% said they would’ve preferred…
Adam and Steve

Adam and Steve are really welcome

Riviera Reporter | Jan 29, 2013
Of Nice’s past high profile mayors Jacques Médecin was rather openly homophobic while Jacques Peyrat – exception made for Elton John to whom he awarded honorary citizenship – didn’t seem very favourably inclined towards gays. Since their days things…

Apps for Christmas and the Ski Season

Riviera Reporter | Nov 14, 2012
Winter can be such a chore but here are a few apps for your mobile devices that should make it all better and easier. Apps to help with Christmas Prixing Not strictly a Christmas app but one free Santa's helper you should definitely take when you're…
app basefrancais

Apps for back to school and back to work

Riviera Reporter | Sep 09, 2012
This issue we look at apps about returning to school or work now that the summer break is well behind us. OFF TO SCHOOL... Language French Basics. (iTooch - Les Bases du Français) 4,99 € If your child is struggling with French at school this little…
NaturesHope image3

Harvesting nature's hope for the future

Linda Cadore | Aug 30, 2012
On Sunday 19 August sixteen volunteers joined “Renouer avec la Cueillette”, to harvest 100 Kg of lavender in Gourdon in a new back-to-nature initiative to create employment and avoid waste. This was the endeavour of voluntary project leader Sophie…
Bed Bug

Insects that invade the Riviera

Cressida van Zyl-Pithey | Jul 11, 2012
Our region is being targeted by several kinds of migrants we don’t want. The only solution is to eliminate them. Cressida van Zyl-Pithey reports. I grew up in South Africa and there you get used to insects. Certainly I never liked them. I challenge…
app ligneazur

Apps for summer on the Riviera

Riviera Reporter | Jun 30, 2012
Apps are everywhere and if you own an iOS device or smart phone they can make your life here a lot easier. This regular column will look at Apps that concern expats, the Riviera or - this time round - summer. There are also apps like BBC or Sky…
SOS Moustik

Mosquito free homes ... not just a dream

Nancy Heslin | Jun 28, 2012
Bernard Desarnauts from SOS Moustik explains Entrepreneur Bernard Desarnauts spent 12 years working in Silicon Valley before moving back to France in 2006 to set up European businesses for American companies. Initially SOS Moustik, launched last…
Emmanuel Delattre

Radio Bleu Azur

Patrick Middleton | Jun 17, 2012
Some of our readers, we know, look at Nice-Matin on a regular basis and that surely is a sign of a wish to “integrate”. But what about local radio? A quick cruise across the FM band can be bewildering – there’s so much stuff there and some of it…

Lotto and Lottery, Luck is a Lady in 83

Harris Stobbs | May 23, 2012
The state-controlled gaming commission Française des Jeux has made it official. The Var can boast the greatest number of lottery and loto millionaires per head of population and the second greatest number by department (outdone only by Seine…

Taxi drivers on the Riviera

Patrick Middleton | May 20, 2012
Some taxi drivers like to talk, others don’t. Max Roy, president of the Syndicat des Maîtres Cochers et taxis de la ville de Nice, has quite a lot to say. I’ve met taxi drivers who were quick to moan about the job but, I’ve always noted, they rarely…
Milliardaires book

The super wealthy on the Riviera

Patrick Middleton | Feb 19, 2012
Local journalist Bruno Aubry has been taking a look at our seriously rich neighbours A few years aga Bruno Aubry wrote a book about the Côte d'Azur's top gangsters; in Les milliardaires de la Côte (France: l'Archipel) he turns his attention to the…
Vélo bleu

How to use a Vélo Bleu

Nancy Heslin | Feb 16, 2012
A great way to get around Nice is by using the bike lanes and the Velo Bleu public bicycles. Cheap, safe, environmentally friendly, fun and good for exercise - here's how to use them. If you want to rent a bike for an hour or a year, you have to…

The Siren of Saint Tropez, Brigitte Bardot

Harris Stobbs | Feb 14, 2012
In the swinging Sixties every male on the planet knew that the initials BB referred to the Var’s most famous resident (pictured, 1963 in St-Tropez). Bardot, a national icon whose last name alone, like Montand or Trenet evokes a legend. Simone de…

Close encounters of the Var kind, will they be back?

Harris Stobbs | Feb 07, 2012
The Var wants the reputation as a “green” department but perhaps the green they have in mind doesn’t quite equate to the skin colour of visitors from another planet. In June however, that’s what we got ... maybe. A couple from Toulon reported…

Electric car travel now in Nice

Riviera Reporter | Feb 05, 2012
A couple of years ago we met Guy Nègre (see Reporter n° 129) who had worked on an idea for a car powered by compressed air. The Indian car manufacturer Tata had taken up his invention and he claimed to have promises from Paris and Nice to adopt his…

Against that tiger mozzie it’s war

Riviera Reporter | Jan 08, 2012
… and no holds barred We’ve written before about the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). This undesirable immigrant from Asia is twice as nasty as his native cousins. Why? Unlike them, who only usually bother us at night, this fellow is active round…
Euro coin

Getting around for one euro a day by bus or bike

PJ Heslin | Jan 08, 2012
PJ Heslin takes the bus - and bike - challenge A friend told me that you could take a bus from Menton to Cannes for just a euro. I was suspicious since the information was delivered by one of the Côte d'Azur's more shady characters. He's not on the…

Earthquakes, surviving the “big one”

Gerry Ronningen-Fenrich | Jan 08, 2012
As an architect who is actively involved in earthquake preparedness and response training in Seattle, Washington. I read with interest “Where the earth has moved, it will move again” article in the August/September Reporter. I am writing to send you…

Earthquakes: Where the earth has moved, it will move again

Riviera Reporter | Jan 08, 2012
A few days into April newspapers and TV screens offered us fearful images of the Aquila earthquake, not all that far away in Italy. So could it happen here? Yes, reply the seismologists, but they don’t know when. The basic fact is that this area…
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The rip-off Riviera

Riviera Reporter | Jan 08, 2012
Sorry but it’s the sad truth: our beautiful region is thickly populated with thieves and fraudsters. Anyone can be the victim and so can the State. With stricter budgeting the order of the day, there’s a crackdown in progress on the many fiddles…

Callian Can

Mike Meade | Jan 08, 2012
Tucked away slightly off the beaten track, Callian is one of those old Var villages which keeps pretty much to itself. That’s a blessing to the foreign residents who’ve chosen to live there in relatively unspoiled seclusion The hilltop village of…
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Monaco Mobsters

Patrick Middleton | Jan 08, 2012
While violent crime remains a serious problem along the Coast Monaco can fairly claim to be “a peaceable kingdom”. Most of the time. Early one morning this summer – around four o’clock – one Italian customer jostled another in the Karrement…
Bus station

The inadequacy of public transport...

Mike Preston | Jan 08, 2012
I have to go to Sophia Antipolis, and then drop off an envelope in Valbonne on my way home. From my house in Plascassier this is a simple round trip of 20 minutes by car. Being temporarily without the questionable luxury of a car, I have to…

Provençal Markets? Actually, I think I'll pass...

Miles from Vidauban | Jan 08, 2012
Call me a kill-joy, but I cannot see why people make such a fuss about visiting Provençal markets. What possible enjoyment is there to be had in pushing and shoving your way through thousands of hot, sweaty bodies in narrow, congested streets,…

Should “Transhumance” be banned?

Mike Shaw | Jan 08, 2012
La Fête de la Transhumance is approaching, when local towns and villages will be invaded by thousands of sheep with their shepherds, goats and dogs as they make their way to Alpine pastures. While it is an impressive sight to behold, finding…
Provence old house

Is living in Provence overrated?

Michael Zimmer | Jan 08, 2012
Blissful summer evenings on the terrace. Leisurely candlelit dinners, lulled by the chirping of the cigales. Lazy lunches under the shade of the mulberry tree. This is the kind of lifestyle we associate with living in Provence. It’s undeniably…
William Fogwell

The Monaco fraudster William Fogwell

Riviera Reporter | Jan 08, 2012
“I feel sick, just very sick.” The speaker was a British woman, one of hundreds of victims of fraudster William Fogwell, who had just warned that – oh, what a surprise! – our Bill had decided not to stick around in the Principality to receive and…

The Malpasset Dam Disaster - could the Var suffer again?

Martin Ricketts | Jan 07, 2012
« De tous les ouvrages construits par la main humaine, les barrages sont les plus meurtriers. » (“Of all the works of mankind, dams are the most murderous”) These were the words expressed in 1952 by André Coyne, the engineer appointed to construct…

The Malpasset Disaster

Ro Matthews | Jan 07, 2012
The Day the Dam Ruptured... It was at precisely 9.13pm on the rainy night of 2nd December, 1959 when the arched dam at Malpasset on the Reyran river collapsed, releasing 50 million cubic metres of water which roared down the valley towards Fréjus,…
forest fire

The roar, the crackle, that acrid smell - Facing a forest fire in the Var

Patrick Middleton | Jan 07, 2012
Chris Burgess lost his home in last year's Var fires. Together with his wife Geneviève he talks his way through the experience with Patrick Middleton. "In a way, I suppose, it shouldn't have been a surprise," admits Chris. "I first came here from…

Fire Savvy - Chris Burgess Offers Some Advice

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
As we've told you, when you've been the victim of fire you realise some things you should - or shouldn't have - done. - First, there's bush cutting or débroussaillage - that means clearing away the undergrowth around your property which, when it's…
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