Tag Archives: France

Cannes and Juan Les Pins

My expert guide to all things Cannes and the film industry.

Well-known actors are immortalised artistically throughout Cannes.

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Of course, we all remember ‘The Man in an Iron Mask’ particularly with Jeremy Irons.

However, at the Carlton InterContinental Hotel Cannes, you can book yourself into the Grace Kelly Suite, if available that is …

The Carlton is famous for hosting movie stars from around the world during the annual Film Festival
Stairway to heaven.

If you’re seeking a quieter area of the Cote d’Azur then Juan Les Pins should be considered. This area has a serene and unhurried feel about it.

Great little cafes and reasonable prices.

Driving along the French Riviera is easy, additionally there’s a train service connecting all the smaller locations along the way if need heading onto Monaco.

Quirky and fun – Mademoiselle Hotel Juan Les Pins, Cote d’Azur.

Breakfast at the Mademoiselle Hotel is more like a High Tea.

Cote d’Azur – France

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Symbolic for Cote d’Azur – relax and have a good time in the sun along the coast

Even this motor bike is tuned into the swing of life along the coast. Thought I might ditch the Vespa but couldn’t find the owner for a photo.

Fantastic bird’s-eye view over Nice and surrounds.

Fabulous and colourful buildings all throughout Nice.

Heritage-listed and artistically magnificent.

I wasn’t expecting to see an Aboriginal Exhibition in Nice but was great to see we’re on the World stage.

Sculpture of a different style and feel.

Lunch with friend Ria at the centrally-located restaurant filled with a collection of portraits of a bygone era. Le Grand Balcon at 10 rue Saint Francios de Paul, Nice

Something healthy for lunch this time … umm yes I know what you’re thinking, with all that yummy shaved fromage!

Coat of another kind …

Nice is also famous for glazed fruits seen at the Markets.

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Heading in the direction of one of my favourite stores … Galeries Lafayette

Sunset along the Promenade and happy to keep walking.

Room with a view no doubt, Westminster Hotel is in a prime location with a balcony overlooking the Promenade.

Next door to the Westminster Hotel is Restaurant Koudoo at 28 Promenade des Anglais, these oysters must’ve been on steroids as my eyes bulged at the sight of them.

Grasse – Fragrance Capital of the World

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International Perfume Museum, Grasse whereby you can learn about the history of fragrance dating back to the Egyptians and its development through various influences.

From all over the world, raw materials are sent to Grasse to be treated.

How it was …

A Perfumer is affectionately known as the ‘Nose’ and takes up to three years of training.

Being shown around the Museum; here are some plants which allow people to see the beginnings of a fragrance’s composition.

Also owned by the Museum is the beautiful gardens and parkland whereby you can hire out this space for functions and conferences.

Rows of lavender are only one part of the magnificent gardens.

Time for lunch – people can visit and bring a packed basket of goodies to enjoy.

I’m having lunch with Franck and Pascale along with some lively conversation.

Moving onto one of Grasse’s viewing points, to the south only 15 km away, is the city of Cannes with its yachts, fine-sand beaches and luxury shopping. To the east, about a 30-minute drive away is Nice, with its international airport, pebble beaches and the bustle of a busy city.

Starting at the Tourism Office Place de la Buanderie, you can discover the Medieval City by following the brass emblems in the street which mark the path to follow, aided by a map offered free of charge at the tourism office. Here Phillipe my guide shows an unnamed beauty outside the Cathedral which overseas Grasse and its surrounds.

It doesn’t matter which way you look, the buildings are historically significant in the architecture and design of the region.

Market in the city centre with an array of cafes and restaurants.

Now I’m at the Perfumery, House of Molinard and prices are quite reasonable for lovely French fragrances. Unable to buy in Australia I’m afraid.

It’s fun watching a bartender mix a cocktail, but here we’re learning the art of mixing the top, middle and base ingredients for our personalised concoction. You write down your own creation in case you perfect your dream scent and want to remember it.

And, here’s my creation with a Diploma as proof! Umm smells divine and like no other. Of course, I’ll call it Travel Gracefully …

Avignon, France – City of the Popes

Pont Saint-Benezet – possibly the most photographed bridge in the world? After Sydney Harbour Bridge perhaps?

Wrapped around the city, Avignon’s ramparts were built between 1359 and 1370. They were restored during the 19th century, minus their original moats.

Walking around and admiring the architecture on arrival.

Avignon Cathedral with its flying buttresses.

A must-see is the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes).

Inside the Palace of the Popes, one of the largest medieval gothic buildings in Europe.

Near the rooftop of the Palace and heady to the café for some fantastic views over Avignon.

Heading out to Orange, Provence for a wine tasting. And of course Orange, NSW Australia produces high-quality wines as well. Be great to have a wine tasting event to compare!

Orange’s own Triumphal Arch.

The characteristic terrain of Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes from a layer of stones called galets (“pebbles”). The rocks are typically quartzite and remnants of Alpine glaciers that have been smoothed over millennia by the Rhône River. The stone retains heat during the day and releases it at night which can have an effect of hastening the ripening of grapes. The stones can also serve as a protective layer to help retain moisture in the soil during the dry summer months.

Now for the best part – our wine tasting at Chateauneuf-Du-Pape

Fellow wine drinkers on our day trip out to Provence.

Admiring the views near the vineyard.

The Antique Theatre and Musee d’Orange is close by and worthy of a visit.

Having a walk around Orange, Provence.

Perpignan, France

Spectacular fields of grapevines can be seen all along the way throughout France.

Absolutely captivating views coming into Perpignan as the train follows the coastline.

What a way to start the day with fresh crusty rolls …

First sight of the day is an easy walk from the city centre to the Palais Des Rois de Majorque which is located on the hill of Puig.

The city centre of Perpignan.

The older area of the city.

Street Art can be seen throughout the city.

Funny fellows and very friendly people.

Any Aussie feeling a bit homesick, well you can always call into a pub – just a block away from the Tourism Office.

Novotel Suites are near the Theatre of the Archipel is quiet and well located – only a short walk to the old-city centre.

From Perpignan to Avignon you can take the TGV or travel on regional services and a direct service is about 3.5 hours. However, the TGV will always require a compulsory reservation with your Eurail Pass. If you decide the trip is too short to use your Pass then there are quite cheap fares available to book online. That way you can save your Eurail Pass for longer or more comprehensive journeys.

Lourdes, France

Lourdes, France – town lying at the foothills of the Pyrenees. The Blessed Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to Bernadette Soubirous on a total of eighteen occasions.

Lourdes has become a major place of Roman Catholic pilgrimage.

Famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes said to have occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous here at The Grotto.

Basilica of the Immaculate Conception



This flame continues my prayer.

Evening Procession starts at 9:00 pm and welcomes people of all faiths to join in.

See Christopher at Le Petit Train de Lourdes; he speaks several languages and will happily help you with information about the area. You can also buy tickets here for the Funiculaire.

Stunning view over Lourdes and surrounding Pyrenees.

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New-found friends Maria and Michael – here with Grace … very appropriate!

Mont St-Michel Normandy France

Upon my first sighting of Mont St-Michel, I thought I was still looking at a postcard.

It is believed that Aubert, Bishop of d’Avranches founded a sanctuary on Mont-Tombe after three successive appearances by the Archangel Michael. Consecrated in 709, the church has attracted both the curious and pilgrim from all over the world ever since.

After having been made into a prison from the time of the French Revolution up until the time of the Second Empire, the Abbey became the responsibility of the Historical Monuments Department in 1874. Since 1969 the Abbey has been home to a monastic community, ensuring the continuation of a spiritual presence.

The different stages of its construction have created a unique architectural ensemble which was classified as a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1979.





Time to reflect …

View out to the Bay.

The spring tides in the Bay have the highest range in Europe: the rising tide advances as a wave over 50 cm high, covering a distance of over 15 miles at the speed of a galloping horse.

The entrance to the Abbey is a narrow path and constantly filled with tourists.

If you’re tired at the end of the day having visited the Museums within the Abbey, you can take the Maringote back to the departure point. (This is a paid service.)

Pontorson, Normandy France

Pontorson is situated in the Manche (Normandy region) in the north of France and is 285 km from Paris and Mont St-Michel can be easily reached from this small but delightful town.

Pontorson’s café and restaurant scene is lively and vibrant – even if October is considered an off season.

Easy to just walk around and admire centuries-old buildings.


For all my cat loving frieds out there, Le Chat Perch

Best Western Montgomery was an exceptional choice for accommodation – filled with charm and character.

Very quiet and lovely to walk around the area, however I’d imagine during Summer Pontorson would swell exponentially with tourists and hotels filled.

As part of the new reception services at Mont-Saint-Michel, a direct shuttle bus runs between Pontorson railway station and Mont-Saint-Michel (3.10 Euro each way per adult). It terminates at the arrival platform of the shuttles linking the mainland to the Mount, approximately 390m from the ramparts. The shuttle’s timetable is coordinated with that of SNCF trains stopping at Pontorson railway station.

The nearest railway station to Mont-Saint-Michel is Pontorson, which is accessible via the following train lines:
• TGV from Paris Montparnasse to Rennes or Dol de Bretagne, then coach from Rennes – Mont-Saint-Michel or Dol de Bretagne – Mont-Saint-Michel.
• Train from Paris Saint-Lazare to Caen, then a TER regional train from Caen to Pontorson, then the Pontorson – Le Mont shuttle (see below).
• Train from Paris Montparnasse to Granville, change at Folligny for Pontorson, then the Pontorson – Le Mont shuttle