“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)

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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)”

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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