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February 2014
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April 2014

Dogs on the French Riviera


So your pooch has brought you along on his smashing holiday to southern France's French Riviera? A true friend.

Now comes the hard part: finding a beach you can both enjoy.


While many dogs live in the French Riviera, few go to the beach. They may stroll along many promenades, ramble in the country side, play in a number of open parks, but not often go to the beach.

There are a handful of beaches where dogs are "tolerated" while on leash. In peak summer season, the tolerance dims. But July and August are not ideal months for a dog on a beach, especially during the day - it's hot and dogs are constrained in a small area between howling humans. 

SummerReadingHere are a few French Riviera beaches which currently tolerate dogs, on a leash and accompanied by a human carrying a poop-loving plastic bag:

  • Cagnes-sur-Mer -- from the hippodrome to Villeneuve Loubet.
  • Menton -  Only on the Reine Astride promenade to the left of port de Garavan; on the promenade du soleil in front of the casino and at the mouth of the Gorbio river.
  • Roquebrune-Cap-Martin - Only on the beach between Roquebrune and Menton.
  • Villefranche-sur-Mer - On the Marinières beach.
  • Fréjus - On the Esclamandes beach.
  • Sainte-Maxime - Plage de la Garonnette and Plage des éléphants, on leash


Scrap Metal Magic in Grimaud

The French Riviera harbors far more than what meets the eye.

Like Christian Champin's metallic monkey pictured above, Surabaya, currrently enjoying a bit of sunshine in Grimaud opposite St Tropez.

Born to a car body repair dad, the self-named "scrap metal alchemist" Christiam Champin grew up around his father's workshop - a treasure trove of scrap metal pieces. He loved tinkering in hid dad's shop.

Today, Christian revels in his own workshop where 80 tons of industrial metalic waste await a new faith. 

With great quantities of inspired welding, Christian shapes old radiators, broken engines, twisted pipes and dumped broken boat propellers into surreal creatures.

Each of his metallic phoenix-like creatures has a story to tell about our scrap society, albeit with a good amount of love and humour.

Meet "Rillette", the 100 kg pig

Christian lives in the Loire Atlantique region, but his creatures travel to the French Riviera.
They will find themselves at the Salle St Esprit in Valbonne: April 4 - May 26, 2014 and from July 15 to end of August 2014. Check out his web site for further info.

You will find some of Christian Champin's sculptures on permanent  expo in Grimaud at the Atelier GECA art gallery

The film below speaks of an expo which took place in 2010 in Saint-Aygulf by the beach of Fréjus, but it offers a great set-up of Christian's work presented on the sunny beaches of St Aygulf.

La Vie en Rosé

CIVP photo: rosé & blue

Summer in a Bottle

Provençal rosé is a summer in southern France bottled up and ready to serve. It's no wonder the peachy pink wines of Provence are well-liked.

Hard numbers seem to support our taste buds. The "Conseil des Vins de Provence/CIVP" association for the Provence wines provides interesting statistics on the rosés of Provence. We've sprinkled them below for an overview on the health of Provençal rosés. 

Provence Tickled Pink

Provence is currently the largest producer of rosé wines in France, bottling up around 40% of the country's rosés. That translates to Provence making 26% of all rosés wines on the planet, with Italy coming next (22%), followed by the USA (15%). 

This has Provence tickled pink. Why? While red wine consumption has been dipping in recent years, and white wine has mostly held steady, rosé wine consumption has gently but steadily risen.

So what's good for the soul is good for the local economy. 

CIVP photo: Vineyard in Provence

Who drinks the wines of Provence?

Most of the wines of Provence are sold in France (87%). In fact, many are sold locally, in the region that produces them (40%).

Outside of France, Belgium appreciates the Provence wines the most according to CIVP statistics. Belgium accounted for a quarter of Provence's wine exports in 2011.

Switzerland, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands and the USA are also on top of the charts for being aware amateurs of Provençal wines, based on French customs data analyzed by CIVP.

Provence travels well.

CIVP photo: Wines and Olives of Provence

 Above photos, credits to: CIVP/F.MILLO

Could London be Warmer than St Tropez?

Photo: by ZoedeStTropez

St Tropez may be enjoying a balming 15°C right now in early March, but London is currently warmer by a couple of degrees. 

According to iTV and all weather current reports, London is currently warmer than Mallorca and St Tropez... well, minus the Mediterranean and all that it brings us.