Côte d’Azur History


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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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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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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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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