Riviera Reporter
Riviera Reporter

Visiting the Riviera

Things to see, places to go. Items of interest, historical and modern.  For both visitors and residents.

Train des Merveilles

On y va! Hiking though the Alpes-Maritimes by train

Portia Griffey | Oct 12, 2016
I have lived in Nice for the past few years, learning French as I go, as I didn’t speak a word when I arrived. Through On Va Sortir (OVS) I have discovered a love of hiking and the riches of the countryside even without a car, with the added bonus…
White wine glasses vineyard

Discovering the other Piedmont: Nizza Monferrato and Barbera

Chrissie McClatchie | Sep 19, 2016
With gentle slopes covered in vines, historic hilltop villages overflowing with charm, chic restaurants and cosy B&Bs, it’s easy to see why Piedmont is such a popular destination for French Riviera residents. This corner of Northern Italy is a world…
Coast view through an archway

An insider’s guide to life west of Cannes

Cheryl Robson | Sep 15, 2016
It was a coup de coeur as the French say – a simple fisherman’s cottage with a panoramic view of the bay of Toulon – and we fell in love with it over 20 years ago. Since then, we’ve extended the cottage by buying the land next door and building a…
Ile Ste-Marguerite cove

A hidden cove to call your own on the Ile Ste-Marguerite

Riviera Reporter | Aug 30, 2016
Passengers 104 maximum. That was the capacity of the boat, according to the slightly faded sign. We were certainly precariously close to limit, bunched together, proverbial sardines in the morning sunlight, heading across to Ile Sainte-Marguerite,…
Artisanal olives

The artisanal olives of the French Riviera

Chrissie McClatchie | Feb 22, 2016
Grape harvest season may be well and truly over, but the shorter days and cooler nights of November could only mean one thing – olives on the French Riviera. The harvest season officially kicked off on October 27th, 2015. When we think of olives,…
Nice carnival, cougourdons musicians

Carnival time and Nice is buzzing with the sound of gourds

Margo Lestz | Feb 07, 2016
Nice’s Carnival (Feb 13th-28th, 2016, www.nicecarnaval.com) is one of the oldest in Europe, with the earliest reference dating back to 1294 when a Count of Provence wrote that he had spent “joyous days of carnival” in Nice. While today the parades…
Vineyards in St Antonin du Var

The six vineyards of St Antonin du Var

Elizabeth Gabay | Dec 24, 2015
Wine writers and buyers often only see two or three vineyards briefly when visiting a specific producer, maybe a local restaurant. Invariably we get small snapshots of a region out of context of its history, people and dynamics. For 30 years I have…
Tramway in Nice

The tramway in Nice, art that'll stop you in your tracks

Margo Lestz | Oct 20, 2015
A few years ago, I took a course that required me to get up early and catch a bus to another town. Sometimes I would take the tram to the bus stop and I used to giggle every time I heard the breathlessly sexy voices announce the next tram arrêt.…
Castanea Sativa

A guide to the chestnuts of Provence in October

Caren Trafford | Oct 12, 2015
As Anne of Green Gables, the beloved character created by L.M. Montgomery, said, “I love October.” The air is crisp, the light is intense and the leaves crunchy. What better way to celebrate the tenth month of the year than enjoying an autumn day…
Homers Odyssey Steps

Homer’s Odyssey in 13 easy steps on the Colline du Château in Nice

Margo Lestz | Sep 21, 2015
If it’s been a while since you’ve read the Greek classics (or if you just never got around to it) no worries! There’s no need to pull out the books. In Nice, you can take a quick 13-step refresher course on a hilltop overlooking the sea, the city,…
La Romieu Cat

The cats of La Romieu

Margo Lestz | Aug 06, 2015
One of the main tourist attractions in the small medieval village of La Romieu, in southwest France, is the abundance of cats to be found there. They sun themselves on ledges or peer out from windows, charming those who pass by. They are well…

Cougourdons in Nice, “A home without a gourd is like an empty nest”

Margo Lestz | Jul 12, 2015
In niçois tradition, the gourd brings good luck. There is even an old proverb that says, “A home without a gourd is like an empty nest.” If your home is currently “gourdless”, Morgan Barbier can help you remedy that situation. His stand in Nice’s…

Roque Around Les Coqs in Roquebrune

Richard McCreery | Jun 26, 2015
Nestled between the Principality of Monaco and Menton, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin’s oldest part is the perched village, overlooking the sea, with its 10th-century castle built to protect the western border of Ventimiglia. Roquebrune’s history is like…
Fort-Royal, Sainte-Marguerite

Secrets of the Lerin Islands that were locked away

Patrick McCrea | Apr 21, 2015
The Lerin Islands are well known for the boat service from Cannes with pretty promenades on the Île Sainte-Marguerite and visits to Île Saint-Honorat for church services and spiritual retreats at the monastery. A small number of visitors (and…

Liguria like a local: Dolceacqua

Chrissie McClatchie | Mar 08, 2015
One of my many New Year’s resolutions for my blog, The Riviera Grapevine, is to start documenting all the wonderful villages that can be found in the hinterland of the French Riviera and Liguria. I started writing a list with my sister and…
Musée National du Sport

The National Museum of Sport is sure to score

Riviera Reporter | Oct 15, 2014
If you’re a museum enthusiast, then you’ll know the Riviera boasts many, ranging from modest village exhibits to the spectacular Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. While most of France’s best-rated musées are in Paris, one local…
Topless Sunbathing

The bare truth on the beach about going topless

Lisa Pepin | Aug 04, 2014
The Riviera’s beaches are widely known for two things, their beauty and the dress code. I must admit, I receive more inquiries from friends considering a visit about the latter than the former. “Hey, didn’t I hear that there are topless beaches in…

Blockhead building gets a thumbs up

Margo Lestz | Jun 10, 2014
I have to say that normally I’m not a fan of modern architecture. I prefer the grand old buildings from the Belle Époque, and Art Nouveau just sets my heart aflutter. But there are a few modern structures that I really appreciate and one of them is…
Julie Mautner

Meet me in St-Rémy: Julie Mautner guides Americans to Provence

PJ Heslin | Apr 25, 2014
Birthplace to history’s greatest know-it-all, Nostradamus, the town of St-Rémy-de-Provence is only about 20km south of Avignon. Probably the town’s most famous “recent” visitor was Van Gogh who spent a year from May1889 as a self-admitted patient at…
Painted Gourds

Celebrating the Gourd in Nice

Margo Lestz | Apr 09, 2014
Nice is a French city, of course, but it also has a strong and proud culture all its own. It was Niçois long before it was French and the people work hard to keep their Niçois traditions alive. It has its own language, anthem, traditional costumes,…
Fete du Citron Car

Menton celebrates the lemon with La Fête du Citron

Margo Lestz | Feb 08, 2014
They say when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. But what if you are a town on the French Riviera and life gives you extraordinarily delicious lemons? You sell them at high prices, of course! Then you buy truck loads of cheaper ones…

Carnival Kings, Silly Strings, and Blooming Things

Margo Lestz | Jan 20, 2014
In Nice, we are preparing for the carnival and that means another royal visit. Every year in February, a different king comes to town to celebrate the carnival with us and participate in the parade on his own special float. But it wasn’t always this…
Promenade du Paillon, Nice

Promenade du Paillon, Nice: A river runs through it ... or at least underneath

Margo Lestz | Dec 13, 2013
October 26th marked the opening of the new ribbon of a park that flows through Nice, the €40 million 12-hectare Promenade du Paillon, in honour of the Paillon River which still flows beneath it. After two years of major works massively disrupting…
Santons - Pizza Oven and Diners

The Little Saints of Provence, Santons at Christmas

Margo Lestz | Dec 06, 2013
In many parts of the world Nativity scenes make up a part of the Christmas decoration, but in Provence they are taken to the extreme. The traditional Biblical figures are only a small part of these sprawling displays. Here, the whole town turns out…
David Price

A visit to Occitania, courtesy of David Price

PJ Heslin | Nov 13, 2013
Coma se ditz ... En occitan? For numerous American expats living in France, speaking the language is a challenge. Texan David Price in Avignon has gone one step further by becoming fluent in the regional dialect of Occitan, a language that precedes…
Les Pastras - House with red shutters

A Day Away: Truffle hunting at Les Pastras

Nancy Heslin | Feb 19, 2013
I am not alone in becoming a creature of habit, especially on the weekends when I prefer to stay close to home. Everything I need is a step away from my doorstep – the beach, the Promenade and the roads to the backcountry for cycling. With the best…
Mougins Museum

Mougins Museum of Classical Art

Patrick Middleton | Jul 03, 2012
So Richard Galy, Mayor of Mougins, has said of the Museum of Classical Art which opened on rue du Commandeur last summer. Director Mark Merrony talked to the Reporter. I’m not much of a museum visitor, recalling from my childhood with little…
Negresco Lobby

Le Negresco: A Nice Centennial

Nancy Heslin | Apr 20, 2012
For nearly 100 years, visitors have flocked to the Le Negresco hotel, the famous Belle Époque landmark that graces the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. For some, a photo with the famously dressed hotel employees would have to suffice, for others who…
abbey lerins

Spiritual retreats on the Riviera

Karen Armstrong | Feb 29, 2012
Karen Armstrong has a look at some places to find peace and God on the Riviera If you believe ‘God is everywhere’, you will have no difficulty with the idea that he puts in an appearance here on the Riviera. However, it is sometimes difficult to…

Carnival - the DNA of Nice

Nancy Heslin | Feb 16, 2012
Nancy Heslin visits the “Maison du Carnaval” in Nice where preparations are made for one of the world’s best carnivals Nice Carnival, now in its 136th year and the inspiration for Rio Carnival, takes place over two weeks ending on the first day of…

Sospel village

Riviera Reporter | Jan 10, 2012
In another in this occasional series Patrick Middleton visits Sospel in the Alpes-Maritimes Sospel, a village of some 4000 people, 350 metres above sea level, close to the Italian frontier and on the edge of Parc du Mercantour, is one of the…

Castellar village

Patrick Middleton | Jan 05, 2012
In the first of a new series Patrick Middleton spends a day in Castellar (Alpes-Maritimes) with Hilary and Thomas Spronken When we went into Castellar’s one shop – a small grocery store – there was a queue. An elderly woman, who’d selected a…
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