No! Well at Nice Airports Riviera Restaurant upstairs in Terminal 1 you are missing out. Yvette and I always make time for that last taste of France before returning to the UK. It is a welcome time to relax and reflect on what has usually been a frantic few days viewing Villas to add to our website www.januvillas.com.
Tired and hungry our default setting is generally Beef Carpaccio for Yvette and Confit de Canard for myself, all washed down with a demi pichet of house red and if I have room, which invariably I do, a Café gourmand.
Access to Riviera Restaurant is easy, as there is a free shuttle bus between terminal 1 and terminal 2 every 10 minutes, so really does not matter which terminal you are flying out from.
So next time in Nice Airport forgo the burger or sandwich and treat yourself to a meal at Riviera Restaurant, it is surprisingly affordable, we comment every time on some of the experiences and mediocre fare served at other airports in Europe and wish they would use this establishment as a template on how to get it right.
View of Nice
NICE CARNIVAL 15/02/13 to 6/03/13
Rio too far! Nice 2 hours away!
The Nicecarnaval is 15 days of fun, music, extravagance and special events centred at the amazing Promenade des Anglais. The giant floats, music and fantastic flower displays are a small part of this premier Côte d’Azur event. The 2013 carnivals theme is “King of the five continents” and all parade and flower floats give their interpretation of this. This year the Rock ’n’ Roll marathon series the world’s largest running series is adding Nicecarnaval to its 2013 schedule. The 10 mile race along the Promenade des Anglais takes in the scenic Baie des Anges (Bay of Angles) with live bands encouraging you along.
Escape the grey skies and expose yourself to Le Carnaval Parade with 18 giant floats designed around this year’s theme, the Flower Parade with 20 flower covered floats carries on the tradition from 1876 when wealthy visitors to Nice arrived for winter sun and exchanged bouquets of flowers on the Promenade. The flower floats with their costumed models who throw 100,000 flowers to an enthusiastic crowd. The carnival Parade of Lights especially at night is a feast for the senses. Tickets for the grandstands can be purchased online at www.nicecarnaval.com Nice is two hours from the southern Alps so you could enjoy Carnaval today and sky tomorrow.
Janu Villas have superb self-catering villas close to Nice at attractive low season rates so with good value and a mild climate why wait. Nice as a destination is often overlooked with a lot of people only experiencing Nice airport which is a shame as this vibrant city has so much to offer from its world renowned flower market to the seafood restaurants. Nice is one of my favourites especially at this time of year as most airlines have a year round schedule unlike other holiday destinations where they only fly into during the high season. If you fancied a day trip to Monte Carlo why not base yourself midway between Nice and Monaco in Villefranche-sur-Mer where we have some amazing villas overlooking Villefranche bay.
Camerons Sterling zone encourages entrepreneurially spirit, a culture of deal making with less bureaucracy and red tape.
Hollande’s Euro zone is sinking under punitive bureaucracy, social charges, taxation and red tape.
Will debt build up end French “joie de vivre”, unlike other Eurozone countries France has not realistically addressed its debt mountain. A lot of economic observers have recently commented that in their opinion France is in danger of failing to tackle their deficit while the markets still see France in a favourable light. While François Hollande points out that French debt is at a low rate of interest thereby signifying a confidence in his policies one only has to look to the populations of Greece, Spain, Ireland and Italy who are only too aware how this comfortable position can radically change in a very short time frame. One example recently cited is that a lot of French companies due to over-zealous bureaucracy, taxation, social charges and government inspections to name but a few have kept employee levels below fifty people as to exceed this number multiplies the red tape to unacceptable levels so restricting growth and as a consequence lower contributions to the exchequer and limiting growth. It is no surprise to learn that to launch a new company successfully in France is extremely difficult due to over bearing bureaucracy, employment laws, licenses, taxation and a system not in tune with the entrepreneurial spirit at a time when these individuals should be fostered and encouraged. France for all her spirit and pool of talented people has in fact fewer small and medium size companies compared to Italy, Germany and Britain.
I am not and do not pretend to be an expert on world economics but even I recognise that France needs a cohesive strategy to address the problems it is heading towards, no doubt in the short term there will be difficult times for some but long term it can only benefit the country and her people, so France now is the time for action.
Financially self supporting; completely, partially or a financial drain?
The answer is simple it can be all of those. The old estate agent adage applies the world over, location, location, location. Once you have your budget in place your next decision is “where”? Your budget and your personal preferences will determine where you desire and where you can afford. If you are going to rent your property on the holiday villa rental market you must ensure that your personal requirements match those of the rental market. If you know the area well you are in a more powerful position – knowledge is power. Remember, that quaint vibrant village in the hills in summer can be a bitterly cold ghost village outside the high season, so before you make a large financial decision do make a visit at different times of the year to get a realistic feel for the area. I have seen more than once where a purchase has been made on an emotional level without proper due care and diligence and all too often with the benefit of hindsight it has ended up as a costly mistake, remember the more informed you are the less likely you are to regret your purchase later. Some sellers can exaggerate how lively their village is out of season to help facilitate a sale and their idea of lively may not tally with your own. A property with more positive attributes in its favour will be easier to rent. It will not be possible to accommodate the wish list of every prospective villa renter. When I am looking for a villa to rent I like to have some facilities within walking distance, a couple of restaurants being my top priority to enable me to sample French cuisine without having to forgo my few glasses of red. A local boulangerie is always a plus though not a deal breaker if not that close and an AutoRoute is also handy, thirty or forty minutes away, especially if some visits in the area are planned. We quite often have family joining us for part of our holiday and if this is the case, a convenient train station that links with the TGV or a local airport on the budget airline routes is always a plus, though personally I prefer to drive across France as part of my holiday finding new inexpensive places to stay and eat, this could of course be part of my dread of Easyjet and Ryanair which I avoid if at all possible. read more…
Considering that the Loire Valley wine region stretches from the Muscadet region near the city of Nantes to Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in north central France near the city of Orléans it is easy to understand that in a Blog I can barely scratch the surface. August to October is harvest time and is an interesting time to visit this region, affectionately known as the garden of France for good reason, to soak up first hand all that is involved in the harvest . Anjou, Saumur, Bourgueil, Chinon and Vouvray as well as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé are responsible for most wine production in the Loire Valley wine region. With 750 square kilometers of vine plantations encompassing grape varieties such as Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Melon de Bourgogne, Gamay, Pinot Noir and others producing still red and white, sparkling, dessert and rosé wines with 87 appellations under the Appellations d’origine Contrô lée (AOC) , Vin Délimité de Qualité Superieure (VDQS) and Vin de Pays systems. See Wine Wine Wine blog/news to get a brief description of the Appellation system.
The area around Saumur is the third largest sparkling wine Appellation in France after Champagne and the Crémant d’ALSACE aoc with more than 12 million bottles of Saumur Mousseux produced yearly, based on the Chenin Blanc grape. Of worthy note is a red produced from the Cabernet Franc grape in the area around Saumur-Champigny very similar to the reds of St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil. read more…
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the vibrancy, joie de vivre, beautiful people, magnificent villas with pools and the buzz that is synonymous with the Cote d’Azur. Though occasionally when the mood takes I like to kick back and live life at a slower pace with time to enjoy the myriad blues of the Mediterranean, to take a little longer over lunch without the pressure to vacate my table as I watch the world go by, gazing at all the comings and goings from my harbour-side vantage point. My answer then is to travel further west along the coast to the more relaxed Var. Beginning around Cavalaire-Sur-Mer and stretching all the way to the heady port of Marseilles, it is a stunning coastline noticeably less developed with umbrella pines growing out of rocky headlands and the light a favourite of post impressionist artists. This is an area people go to “see and enjoy” as against to be “seen and enjoyed”, where the more famous amongst us go to mingle and fit in rather than to stand out. A lot of the villages feel, to me at least, more typically French. There are so many but a few that spring to mind are the fishing villages of Anse de Méjan, Anse de San Peyre and Les Oursinières. The beautiful long sandy beaches at St. Clair near Le Lavandou are perfectly suited to relaxing and chilling out. On days when you want to get out and explore how about a short ferry ride to the island of Porquerolles, departing from the Giens peninsula.
Unless you know a wine area intimately or are good friends of a producer buying a good wine at a reasonable price can be a minefield. It also is worth considering that my idea of a reasonable price and other wine lovers can vary greatly, I shall not at this stage embarrass myself by declaring my preferred spend. There is a direct correlation between cost and quality though I must say less and less of my purchases now find their way into the vinegar pot Voila!! (some say good wine makes good red wine vinegar, more on this in future news posts) For me the challenge has always been to try and find the tipping point , that is the best wine at the fairest price. Some aficionados that is to say wine lovers, not wine snobs who think only the best labels or chateau will suffice, will often buy their wines direct from one or two producers whom they have built up a relationship with over many years and supplementing their caves by buying wine from the large French supermarket chains typically in September or October when these outlets usually run their wine fares. read more…
A conversation I seem to have most years is akin to déjà vu. Whilst friends and colleagues are lamenting our inclement weather and giving out about hose pipe bans in August while the heavens are opening with a deluge of the wet stuff conversation inevitably turns to how pleasant it would be to be stretched out poolside at a nice rental villa in France. This is usually when I interrupt this splendid idle and comment in the affirmative, not too convincingly mind, as in my next breath I am championing the delights of a September break. Once into my stride I point out that the weather is still superb, o.k. maybe not 40º centigrade but a comfortable high 20º or low 30º degrees. I love the idea of getting a table in a good restaurant at a moments notice, not having to book well in advance, spur of the moment, my idea of holiday bliss. The fact that I am saving a whole lot of money by holidaying a few weeks later than families with kids at school does bring a smile to my face especially as when we drive through the French countryside and take in a scene that has gone on for centuries, that of the Vendanges, and I make a quick calculation that with what I have saved enables me to take an even bigger piece of France back home with me, in the form of extra cases of wine to gladden the heart during the winter. France is a beautiful country during all seasons and I hope you agree with my train of thought regarding September and even October further south that it has that “je ne sais quoi”. Actually I remember fondly one delicious lunch where we ate al fresco at a restaurant along the old port in Villefranche-Sur-Mer en route home from a ski trip in the French Alps a few days before last Christmas. Vive la France!!!!!
Driving in France whether a mad dash down to the Côte d’Azur or a leisurely journey with one or two overnight stops should be trouble free if you observe “la code de la route” in other words the French driving laws are much stricter than the UK.