Riviera Reporter
Riviera Reporter

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Articles written especially for the site as well as past articles from the Riviera Reporter magazine.

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Prints of Provence, fabrics on a marketstall

Prints of Provence: “Les Indiennes” colourful fabrics

Margo Lestz | Apr 19, 2018
How could a fabric that originated in India, was copied by Armenians and outlawed in France, become a symbol of Provence? The kaleidoscope of cotton fabrics that punctuate the Provençal markets today just seem to shout “southern France”. They are decorated with cicadas, olives and flowers in colours that reflect the local landscape: sky blue, sunflower yellow,…
Mimosa ladies in a group

Mimosa Matters fundraising: past, present and future

Karen Hockney | Mar 16, 2018
Five years ago, Mimosa Matters started life as a conversation over coffee among a group of female expats who had all been touched by cancer and were keen to make a difference to the community they live in. Today, this association has raised almost a quarter of a million euros through a variety of innovative and fun events, which have directly benefitted…
Bread oven in a bakery

Bread and bad luck, a French superstition

Margo Lestz | Mar 02, 2018
The French are a superstitious lot. They have many traditions that predict whether good or bad luck will follow a certain action. One such superstition states that you should never lay bread on the table upside down. It’s widely known that this action invites bad luck – maybe even the devil himself. But why? How could upside down bread invite misfortune? What…
Formula 1 Ferrari

Opportunity to attend the French and Italian Grand Prix

Timothy Molyneux | Feb 22, 2018
We are working with several local clubs and associations with the intention to attend as a group two Grand Prix races in 2018: the French and Italian Grand Prix. You are welcome to attend both or just one of these races. Just indicate your preference via email (below). Tickets have just become available and we are presently negotiating group pricing. We will…
Marie Antoinette with her natural children

Marie Antoinette’s adopted children

Margo Lestz | Jan 22, 2018
“Let them eat cake!” This is the most famous line that Marie Antoinette never said. It was first written about someone else, before Marie Antoinette ever set foot in France, but, for some reason, it became associated with her. She’s often portrayed as a selfish Queen spending the country’s money on her lavish lifestyle, completely unconcerned about the suffering…
Couple under mistletoe

Mistletoe and a flying donkey

Margo Lestz | Dec 04, 2017
Mistletoe in French is called gui (rhymes with the first part of geese). This ball of vegetation that grows high in the trees has been considered magical since ancient days – because a mysterious plant that grows without soil must be magic. A very beneficial plant The ancient druids revered this plant and believed it had many powers. Here are just some of the…
Pont d'Avignon music

Singing about the Avignon bridge, “Sur le Pont d’Avignon”

Margo Lestz | Nov 15, 2017
The Avignon bridge is known around the world today because of the famous children’s song “Sur le Pont d’Avignon” (On the bridge of Avignon). In medieval times, it was also a well-known bridge, but not because of this song – and it wasn’t known for being danced upon either. Miracle of construction First of all, the bridge was renowned as a marvel of construction.…

Why there are Gargoyles on French gothic churches

Margo Lestz | May 09, 2017
On my recent trip through northern France, I was intrigued by all the gargoyles on the gothic churches and wondered why they were there. Then I came across this story which seems like a pretty reasonable explanation. A saint, a convict, and a gargoyle go into a swamp… This story takes place in the seventh century. It has been retold many times over the last 1400…
Mimosa Ball Guests

Mimosa Mougins Ball 2017 in aid of cancer

Karen Hockney | Apr 05, 2017
When a group of expat residents decided to establish Mimosa Matters to help fight cancer on the Cote d’Azur, little did they realise just how dramatic an impact their association would have. Four years on, Mimosa has raised in excess of €140,000 through their events – two charity balls in Mougins, a cocktail party on the beach in Cannes and two Nice Marathon…
Slapped with the truth

Today, the ultra-hard Tory Brexit will be in motion

Orjan Pettersen | Mar 29, 2017
It is better to be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie. If you support a Tory agenda of privatisation of the NHS, reduction of consumer, employee and environmental protections and a tax haven for corporations but a bigger tax burden for ordinary tax payers, you can now rejoice. Congratulations. You are a winner. If you don’t, but you’re still a Leaver…
Brexit question on lips

Today is Article 50 day. What now for expat healthcare?

Mike Meade | Mar 29, 2017
It’ll be a 2 year wait to know for sure what the consequences of the March 29 Article 50 letter will mean in reality for expats. Personally, I’m hopeful but not optimistic — especially for many British expats in limbo situations. Those of us who have worked in France for many years will be fine, but the fate of some other expats is up for grabs. No Briton will…
cypress trees

Secret language of cypress trees in Provence

Margo Lestz | Jan 25, 2017
Slender, conical cypress trees are everywhere in Provence: they line roads, outline fields, decorate cemeteries, and adorn houses. These sturdy, practical trees protect crops and homes from the fierce mistral wind that whips through this area, but there is more to them than meets the eye. These ubiquitous trees may have a hidden meaning depending on where and…
Trio of statues

The Virgin project of Nice: the statue that never came to be

Margo Lestz | Dec 21, 2016
Did you know that the city of Nice almost had a 49 foot (15 metre) tall statue of the Virgin Mary standing atop the Colline du Château? In the 1980s, the idea of the “Virgin on the hill” came to the Abbey Royal of Nice, who may have been inspired by the huge “Christ the Redeemer” statue that stands watch over the city of Rio de Janeiro. The colossal Virgin Mary…
Cocteau by Modigliani

5 Jean Cocteau treasures on the Riviera

Margo Lestz | Oct 29, 2016
Jean Cocteau was truly a multi-talented artist. He considered himself a poet but he was also a novelist, playwright, film director, set designer, painter, and ceramicist – a true jack of all trades. Cocteau was born in 1889 near Paris and spent most of his life in and around that area. However, he also spent quite a few of his last years on the Riviera where he…
Hands typing on laptop

A step-by-step guide to becoming a freelancer

Barth Hulley | Oct 24, 2016
Despite the French government embracing digital technology to reduce the form-filling burden, paperwork is a way of life for those of us residing in this country. Any brush with officialdom still seems to require no end of justificatives, attestations, and lu et approuvé. Even though form filling has moved online, it still has the potential to strike the fear of…
Two glasses of red wine

Wine: Thoughts on 2015 Bordeaux En Primeur

Alex Ignatieff | Oct 20, 2016
Fantastic! Finally, a year in Bordeaux to really get excited about. This may not be the biggest news of the day as the wine world has been not so quietly excited about the 2015 vintage since the moment the grapes were safely out of Mother Nature’s hands. But it’s a subject worth visiting as the wines are now being released to a deserving public. This gradual…
DH Lawrence's grave

Tracing the 1,000-mile odyssey of D.H. Lawrence’s phoenix headstone

Robert Bullock | Oct 17, 2016
Soon after D. H.Lawrence’s burial in Vence Cemetery on March 4th, 1930, his widow Frieda commissioned a simple headstone to place on his grave. No words were engraved on the plaster-covered stone slab, not even Lawrence’s name – instead, it displayed an impressive mosaic of a phoenix rising from its ashes, the writer’s iconic emblem. Made up of different…
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 of being able to improve my second language. The site www.onvasortir.com offers a range of group activities, from…
save me lifebuoy

Provence Diary: The life-saving course that made my head swim

Dan Briggs | Oct 08, 2016
So there I was in the village watching a Euro 2016 warm-up game. The bar had put a TV outside on the street. A woman squeezed through the crowd to stand next to me. She was wearing an off-white party frock, short and frilly around the knees, revealing around the bust. Her hair was cut in a neat bob, her hair light brown, and her eyes almond brown. She sipped on…
St Cezaire sur Siagne, bastide

Homes and Houses: Newly built bastide in St Cezaire sur Siagne

Riviera Reporter | Oct 04, 2016
Inland from Nice, in the foothills surrounding Grasse, are some of the best and most entrancing views in this magical part of the world. Long considered the perfume capital of the world, Grasse is just 15km from Cannes, with its yachts and all the excitement of the Riviera lifestyle and, to the east, Nice’s pebble beaches and international airport are just a…
Nick Danziger

Interview with Nick Danziger: From Monte Carlo into another world

Molly Brown | Sep 30, 2016
The charm of life on the French Riviera has always attracted writers, artists and photographers, but world famous photo-journalist, Nick Danziger, chose to make Monaco his home for much more practical reasons. He needed a home for the three orphaned children he had rescued from wartime Afghanistan. In the 90s, Britain did not allow single men to adopt, but it…
Best of Cooking 2016 cover

Hubert Boivin: Q&A with “Best of Cooking Nice”

Riviera Reporter | Sep 27, 2016
RR: Hubert Boivin, tell us about your role as President of UPCR, the restaurant owner’s union of Nice and the surrounding area (“Syndicat des cafetiers et restaurateurs de Nice et ses environs”). HB: My role is to lead and represent the union in front of the various administrative bodies such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), the Union for Business…
French flag painted on tongue

How to say “ouch” in French (and ten other sounds)

Camille Chevalier-Karfis | Sep 23, 2016
Onomatopoeia is the written version of a sound – think ssh, ouch or bang. And like everything else, the rules are a little bit different in French. The French don’t make a kissing noise or say mwa – they say smack (or even smack smack) for the sound of a soft kiss in French. It’s even the common name for a peck on the lips. “Il m’a fait un smack” (He gave me a…
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 apart from the glitz and glamour of our azure stretch of coast, yet is less than a three-hour drive from Nice. The…
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 pool in the garden. The whole project took over five years, involved two teams of builders, as well as many local…

Most Popular Articles

Here's where you'll find articles from the Riviera Reporter magazine, as well as articles written especially for the site.