Côte d’Azur History

WWII: Antibes’ 75th Tribute for HMS Unbroken

August 24, 2017

As World War II parades and wreath-laying ceremonies dot the Côte d’Azur this week, we mark 73 years since the area’s Libération from the occupying forces. Antibes, though, already has celebrated a 75th wartime anniversary, thanks to a daring, undercover operation that unfurled in its inky bay.

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Unexpected Email: Bellevue’s Earliest Residents

July 22, 2016

French Lessons receives an unexpected gift: an out-of-the-blue email that introduces us to the earliest residents of our seaside home, Bellevue. After years of research and forged connections, often from unlikely places, we introduce readers to the family who may have been Bellevue’s first occupants.

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Profile: Tania Laveder, World War II Survivor

August 28, 2015

In a special post to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Côte d’Azur’s Libération, French Lessons interviews a local woman who was drafted and captured, and who ultimately survived the war to reestablish her life here, four countries later, on the Cap d’Antibes. Her story is, at last, in print.

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Bellevue: A Tale of Two 10-Year Olds

August 21, 2015

When my daughter Lolo tags along on a visit to elderly friends, we compare the lives of two 10-year-old girls living within the walls of our home, Bellevue – stories that are separated by a full 75 years. An iPad and a runaway apple remind us of today’s prosperity.

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Photo Essay: Côte d’Azur by Sea (Part 2)

August 13, 2015

French Lessons sets sail on Part 2 of our photographic journey along the Côte d’Azur, this time leaving Antibes’ port in the direction of St-Tropez. Colourful histories, offbeat innovations and a secluded beach pepper our sun- and salt-soaked journey – as do James Bond and a small-time king.

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French Cooking: A Fish Story

July 7, 2015

It takes a (French) village to teach this Canadian-American how to cook. A simple trip to buy fish at the poissonnerie in Antibes’ Place Nationale turns into a full-blown meal, thanks to unsolicited recommendations, serial pieces of wisdom and a stern warning or two from passionate local vendors.

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Cap d’Antibes: Real Estate Revolution

June 30, 2015

Amid international headlines to the contrary, French Lessons discovers that Cap d’Antibes’ real estate market is floundering with the latest Russian exodus. We search for green shoots with Angela, our colourful property agent, while recalling the glory days when our northerly neighbours lived large on the peninsula.

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Antibes Remembered: The Joy of French Food

August 22, 2014

On this 70th anniversary of Antibes’ Libération from its occupying forces, French Lessons offers a taste of everyday life in Antibes during World War II through the lens of one basic and cherished commodity. We dive into Antibes’ municipal archives and gather residents’ distant memories about food. Then as now, it remains a pillar of French life.

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Profile: Madame Lucienne Frey, Centenarian

August 15, 2014

Alternatively, this post could be entitled The 100-Year Old Woman Who Endured Both World Wars and Still Dreams About Golf. Madame Lucienne Frey has enjoyed a century’s worth of family and travel, books and sport. She has spent nearly seven decades visiting or living in Antibes. No matter what we call this post, this centenaire hardly lets age define her.

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Photo Essay: A Simple Love Letter to Antibes

August 8, 2014

From Donna Tartt’s latest novel The Goldfinch to a small library in the wilds of Botswana, French Lessons is reminded that our summer hometown has a certain reputation. Antibes may see its share of bling, but this nook of the glittering Côte d’Azur has managed to retain its genuine charm.

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Côte d’Azur Property: Hot, or Not?

July 18, 2014

A Côte d’Azur property magazine arrives in Bellevue’s postbox, offering rare vistas and gobsmacking price tags. As talk about real estate never seems to simmer down, French Lessons slips into a quick bout of “property shopping” ourselves on the Cap d’Antibes – but a notable local visitor puts the area’s property craze into perspective.

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Bellevue: On the Heels of World War II

August 9, 2013

A postscript in the story of Bellevue:  A local man who grew up within our grande dame by the sea pays us a visit.  He brings stories from the end of World War II, when daily meals were created from the simplest ingredients and, down in Bellevue’s gardens, German prisoners of war performed a most relentless and dangerous task.

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