Côte d’Azur Culture

Grab Bag: Summer 2018’s Agenda de Ministre

August 31, 2018

The end of the Côte d’Azur’s scorching canicule marks the close of French Lesson’s 2018 season.  We look back over the summer months and a fast-paced, so-called agenda de ministre, to highlight some of the season’s fun, intriguing, and jaw-dropping stories that didn’t yet make these pages.

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Tough Love: Home Upkeep in the Côte d’Azur

August 23, 2018

What’s a season of French Lessons without a look behind the scenes at home maintenance?  But far from being a tired subject, Bellevue and all her woes bring out the best stories – even if we always seem to find ourselves at the butt-end of the joke.

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RENTING A CELLO: HOGWARTS OF THE CÔTE D’AZUR

August 16, 2018

From infuriating legalese to unwritten expectations, the rental market is tricky at the best of times.  French Lessons tests the waters in the Côte d’Azur this summer with its quest to hire . . . a cello.  We leave Nice’s top stringed instrument maker humbled and charmed.

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French Roads: Putting on the Brakes?

August 8, 2018

Patient drivers and dribbling vehicle speeds are hardly hallmarks of the French Riviera’s autoroutes, but the local government does invite some offenders to courses that try to rehabilitate their skills.  French Lessons welcomes back our speed demon friend Rachael – and her quick wit.

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IT’S STILL NOT EASY: TEEN SWIMSUIT SHOPPING, DEUX

July 26, 2018

One swimsuit isn’t enough for a teenaged girl in the Côte d’Azur.  Following a heroic soul-destroying outing in Antibes to buy Lolo a bikini, my daughter still needs a suit that is a bit, well, bigger for camp in Ontario’s woodlands.  French Lessons continues its search in laid-back Juan-les-Pins.

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Les Fêtes: When the Saints Come Marching In

July 6, 2018

The Côte d’Azur is in celebratory mood.  Parades and fireworks abound, but French Lessons discovers a whole lot of confusion.  What, exactly, are we celebrating – the patron saint of fishermen, the protector of sailors, or France’s continuing wins in the World Cup?

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It’s Not Easy: Teen Swimsuit Shopping in Antibes

June 29, 2018

Lolo and I embark on a trip into our Côte d’Azur town to find a couple swimsuits.  It will be a carefree – even a joyful – mother-daughter excursion as we shop for my willowy 13-year old.  All goes well, until my easygoing teen shuts herself into the change cabin.

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Ten (More) Ways to Spot You’re in the Côte d’Azur

June 22, 2018

French Lessons is thrilled to embark on its 12th season digging into real life in the French Riviera.  As we find our feet, it’s Christelle’s heels, the climatisation (as ever!), the parking, the coffee and a couple beachcombing locals that remind us:  We are back.

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Au Revoir: Summer 2017 on the Côte d’Azur

September 2, 2017

What do a tornado, double-the-figs, police on horseback, Macron, Trump, the BBC, and Leonardo DiCaprio all have in common? As the summer of 2017 rolls up its beach towels and twists the cap back on the sunscreen, French Lessons considers what made this Côte d’Azur season like no other.

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HOW TO SURVIVE THE FRENCH CAR POUND

August 20, 2017

A dinner party at Bellevue ends badly for one guest when she discovers her car had been towed. French Lessons welcomes our friend Rachael as this summer’s guest contributor with her wrenching-but-hilarious tale about retrieving her car from Antibes’ miserable pound.

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Rosé Wine: Provence’s Most Alluring Angel

August 8, 2017

Rosé wine is as pivotal to a Côte d’Azur summer as its glorious sunshine. French Lessons gladly joins a special tour of Château d’Esclans, one of Provence’s shining stars in rosé production. Walk with us through this celebrated estate, and join us for lunch in its fairytale gardens.

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A Starbucks-Shaped Hole in the Côte d’Azur

July 28, 2017

The sudden appearance of Starbucks in Cannes tosses French Lessons back to its earliest days in the Côte d’Azur when, craving caffeine, we searched for a takeaway latte. French culture, however, didn’t embrace the grown-up sippy cup. As a mid-summer celebration, here’s a first glimpse at the big Work-In-Progress.

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