LESSONS FROM A PADDLEBOARD: The Riviera’s 2020 Season

paddle boarding beside old Antibes

August 25, 2020

Gliding over Antibes’ bay on a paddleboard, French Lessons sizes up the unusual 2020 season. The pandemic may have deflated the Côte d’Azur’s legendary froth, but in these waters the spectacular and the princely still mingle among simple pleasures and a renewal of humanity.

 

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Chez Mirazur: French Gastronomie with a teen

August 13, 2020

Once we’d confirmed our flight to the Côte d’Azur this strange summer, our next call was to Mirazur.  Miraculously – at least by last season’s standards – the world’s #1 restaurant had space.  Two adults, and a teenager, pull up chairs at a celebrated table.

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PRINCES AND AN ANTIPOPE: THE 1300s RETURN TO ANTIBES

July 31, 2020

Antibes is the lucky new owner of four, long-lost parchments from the princely House of Grimaldi.  French Lessons is the first visitor to glimpse these priceless pieces of heritage – decorative 14th-century documents, negotiated between princes and an antipope, and now on display at the city’s Archives Municipales.

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Seeing blue: July 2020 in the Côte d’Azur

July 20, 2020

What’s life is like in the Côte d’Azur during this extraordinary 2020 season?  French Lessons readers want to know.  To answer travelers’ queries, or to bring the season closer to francophiles around the globe, we offer a glimpse of the area from our first days back. 

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A Return to Antibes – Ready or Not

July 13, 2020

As the pandemic continues to mushroom and borders come cautiously down, we wave au revoir to a quiet, socially-distanced life in Toronto and thank our lucky stars as we return to Bellevue, our summertime home in France’s Côte d’Azur.  French Lessons returns – ready or not.

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Grab Bag: Bloopers and More from Summer 2019

August 31, 2019

As French Lessons wishes readers au revoir until Summer 2020, we share a few stories from this past season that didn’t make our feed.  Gossip, blackout, and glut: Did the springtime omen of nesting doves on Bellevue’s rooftop bring the sort of luck we needed?

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Antibes 75th: What happened at Libération?

August 24, 2019

As Antibes marks its 75thanniversary of Libération from occupying forces during World War II, French Lessons shares details we have gleaned over the years from websites, books, and the local archives.  We bring you into the streets on this pivotal day:  August 24, 1944.

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Geoffrey’s of Antibes: You are what you eat?

Geoffrey's

August 13, 2019

It’s called Geoffrey’s of London, but the British commissary of the Côte d’Azur, based here in Antibes, is more than a place to stock up on impossible-to-find essentials and favourite foods.  Is the shop also a reflection of our true selves?

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Côte d’Azur Heartbreak: Ode to the Fig

August 1, 2019

. . . or shall we call this post “Fugue to the Figue”?  When we planted Bellevue’s figuier 13 years ago, we’d unwittingly reconnected our home with its past.  This year’s stupendous crop of figs yields its traditional, French delights – and new heartbreak.

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Les Fêtes: The Côte d’Azur’s Space Festival

July 19, 2019

France is known for its fêtes, which pay homage to everything from jazz to the simple chestnut, but one festival is simply out of this world.  Join French Lessons at the biennial Nuit Coupoles Ouverts, the Night of Open Domes, when the Riviera’s research telescopes welcome public eyes.

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Antibes’ Gilets Jaunes: Chaos, nuisance, or rien?

July 8, 2019

When French Lessons returned to France this summer, we didn’t know what to expect.  Could the gilets jaunes – the famous demonstrators-turned-vandals – block our taxi on the way to Bellevue?  Had the rebellion ripped the heart from our beloved Antibes?  The answer depends on who you ask.

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Antibes Again: How Friends Erased our “Ants”

June 29, 2019

When we creaked open Bellevue’s walnut door – officially launching French Lessons’ 2019 summer season – the house alarm worked.  So did the internet, the air-conditioning, and the lights.  What possibly could go wrong with this year’s homecoming to the sunny Côte d’Azur?

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