Côte d’Azur Culture

Madame Lucienne Frey: How to be ageless

August 30, 2022

Good genes, a positive attitude, and a formidable streak of independence – Madame Lucienne Frey offered the mayor and cardiologist alike these essentials for a long and beautiful life. To round out this season’s tête-à-têtes with people in Antibes, French Lessons celebrates the grande dame’s life and her enduring wisdom.

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Yoko the Poodle: The Trials of a Lady’s Dog

Yoko and ball

August 13, 2022

When our poodle’s teddy-bear cut began to wilt in the Côte d’Azur sun, we searched for a salon de toilettage offering a bit of necessary, canine pampering. But as Yoko’s human relishes the vision of walking a fluffy dog in Antibes’ streets, the pooch herself tries to scupper the dream.

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Judy: Life behind Antibes’ Dreamiest Vrbo Rental

living room of Place de Rêves

July 29, 2022

Judy never considered herself a Francophile. The American who found herself in Antibes by chance has turned a bleak situation into a blossoming one. She and husband Jonathan now host Place of Dreams, a best-loved Vrbo rental, where she welcomes the world and magics up their dreams.

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L’encadreuse de fersen: the art of the frame

walnut transom with cherub

July 14, 2022

When a precious sketch, mottled and sullied with time, recently came into my hands, I knew just who to call. Caroline, known in Antibes as “l’encadreuse de Fersen,” could turn a forgotten relic into a masterpiece. She also teaches me, for a second time, about authentic, French ways.

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Christelle of Antibes: The World from a Taxi

July 2, 2022

Bienvenue to the 16th season of French Lessons! This summer we answer readers’ requests to “meet” the people who populate our lives in Antibes. We test drive the new series with the fabulous Christelle in her red taxi – from a Présidential tête-à-tête to a dash of Stephen Colbert.

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August 27, 2021

As French Lessons bids readers au revoir from its 2021 edition, we review Lolo’s choice to immerse herself in real French life over the summer. Certainly our teen found the option more palatable than the alternative, an online French class, but with what results?

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Why is the Riviera razing its beach restaurants?

August 15, 2021

The Côte d’Azur has been bulldozing its beach restaurants. The demolition began a few years ago, wiping out celebrated haunts and their too-permanent installations. The image is shocking – but as ever, this coin has two sides. As the upheaval moves closer to home, French Lessons tries to understand.

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Domotique: Small firms light up French life

August 1, 2021

Returning home from dinner late one night, French Lessons found our home worryingly dark. Somehow Bellevue’s electricity had been cut. An improvised gadget, a can-do spirit, and neighbourly ties eradicate our latest gremlin and cast light on the ongoing dilemma of local business owners.

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Luck in Antibes: It’s not for the birds

Yoko and Rocky poodles

July 22, 2021

When Philippe got plastered by a well-fortified seagull, we laughed over his dumb luck. After Lolo’s and my near-misses – and a couple four-leaf clovers in the garden – we wondered: Did these things mean bonne chance in France? And why did we need so much of it? We soon found out.

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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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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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