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January 2010
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March 2010

Cycling: Paris-Nice 2010

Paris-NiceLExpress This year, the Tour de France cycling classic won't begin by the French Riviera as it did last year (in Monaco). In fact, it won't pedal near the Côte d'Azur.

Paris-Nice1991-ThierryMARIE© For biking fans visiting or living in Southern France, there's always the Paris-Nice event. For 2010, the Paris-Nice begins on Sunday March 7th and runs until the 14th to cover a total of 1,288 kilometers.

 The last two legs of the 8-part race takes place here on the French Riviera. Expect lots of action here: before reaching town of Tourrettes-sur-Loup from Peynie, our rides will climb the tough Col de Vence (9.7 km at a gradient of 6.6%, ouch!). ParisNice1

Then for stage 8, they're off to other ascents at La Turbie and the Col d’Eze before their descent to Villefranche-sur-Mer on the 14th and arrival on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.

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22 teams will race the Paris-Nice, including 3 teams from the USA, 1 from Great-Britain, but also Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Russia, Switzerland, Kazakhstan


Let it Snow, Let it Blow, Let it Snow

SnowOnFrenchRiviera

Meteo France warned 13 départements to be vigilant for snow today. This included the entire French Riviera, with the départements of the Alpes-Maritimes (06) and the Var (83).

Well, we were very vigilant but it still snowed! There's about 1 cm of snow covering the roads, boardwalk, seaside. 

Here on the Cote d'Azur, we're not used to snow by the coastline. Everyone is driving at snail pace. Lots of people are calling in to work with "un problème de transport" that forces them (chucks) home.

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St Tropez in Winter

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As with many trendy French Riviera villages, the St Tropez of winter time has little to do with the busy, bustling, bursting St Tropez of summer months.

Yet on a winter open market day, St Tropez's Place des Lices pulsates heartily. Under the square's plane trees, folks wrapped in colorful scarves and high boots fill their baskets with shiny mandarins, hams from Corsica, rounded gourds. Between the cheese and sausage stands, cubes of Aleppo Pine soaps pile up. They're a rarity: made from scratch on the St Tropez peninsula.

"Where can I find a dog sweater?", asks a lady at the Pulls: Cashmere et Soie stand.
"Ma chérie," answers the lovely sweaters lady as she winks over to my side, "just buy two cashmere scarves and have your seamstress make one."

The marché winds down and St Tropez makes its way into the cafés around the plaza*. This isn't exactly rush hour: no need to wait in line for a table. I settle for a coffee at one of my favorites for its friendly atmosphere, Le Sporting café.

"What are you writing about?" asks my sly-eyed neighbor, as I scribble on paper. I explain. The waiter pitches in: "If you're writing about St Tropez, it's a little quiet right now, at least until the February school break."

Quiet? It's relaxed, personal, perfect.

  • Open Market Days in St Tropez on Place des Lices: Saturday and Tuesday mornings, until 1PM.
  • A sample of coffee shops around Place des Lices: Le Clémenceau, Le Sporting, Bistro, Café des Arts at the corner, Le Café and its boules available for playing on the plaza. In summer, all are busy. Off-season, the ones facing the sun fill more sun-ray-loving hearts.
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