Summer 2012

Summer in the Côte d’Azur: The More Things Change…

June 22, 2012

Bellevue welcomes us for a seventh year.  Philippe, Lolo and I rediscover our Rivieran roots, reuniting with the people and places, sounds and tastes that make Antibes special.  But some aspects of our life here have changed in our absence, from governmental road works and campaigns to the shocking disappearance to one of French Lesson’s favourite characters.

continue reading

Central Casting: Characters of the Côte d’Azur

June 28, 2012

A simple family day out in Cannes turns into an out-and-out Côte d’Azur spectacle as a string of provocative characters – let’s call them Inappropriate Boob, Tommy Bahama, Diva, White Wig and Tarzan – populate an innocent Sunday lunch and unwittingly broaden the horizons (shall we say) of our attentive grade schooler.

continue reading

A Quebecker’s Guide to the Côte d’Azur

July 5, 2012

When the beloved Cimbali cappuccino machine at Bellevue gives up the ghost, life nearly screeches to a halt in keeping with the lethargic pace of France’s service industry.  Philippe’s innate appreciation of a Frenchman’s système D, and his perfectly executed launch into a broad Quebecois accent, prompt a round of smiles and save the day.

continue reading

French Taxes: Hardly Exceptionnelle

July 12, 2012

Under the direction of France’s newly elected Socialist président, good news about Bellevue’s French tax bill doesn’t last long.  As local residents and businesses combat the sluggish economy through cutbacks, exit strategies, online jokes, pre-planned firings and simple vows to carry on, we learn firsthand how French property taxes can be invoked exceptionally – and retroactively.

continue reading

Saint-Cézaire: The Endurance of Yesteryear

July 24, 2012

French Lessons seeks to answer a reader’s question about how the glut of pretty, little French villages survives within the country’s bloated national economy.  The route to discovery leads through cliffside villages and down a network of caves in nearby St-Cézaire – all of which serves to flip the focus back onto the offbeat ways of the Côte d’Azur.

continue reading

How a Roman Boat Exacerbates the Lure of the Côte d’Azur

August 3, 2012

As the rest of France floods south into its crowded Riviera, the discovery of a Roman boat in our hometown of Antibes receives both archeological hype from news teams and exacerbated sighs from local residents.  The hitch?  The buried treasure was discovered as diggers excavated land for the city’s new – and highly overdue – multi-story car park.

continue reading

Fast Food – à la Côte d’Azur

August 9, 2012

The glitz and glam of the Côte d’Azur even seeps into its pizzas and burgers.  Where else do you find lobster, foie gras and truffles as must-have ingredients than in this world of fast food haute couture?  Still, there’s one food we North Americans bring to the French table – even if locals put their own, tidy spin on it.

continue reading

Monaco and Taxes: Method or Madness?

August 16, 2012

To most people Monaco is the ideal spot for a daytrip.  To a few select individuals, though, the city-state is home.  Pauline tells French Lessons about real life (with kids) in the fabulously swanky principality cut into the French Riviera coastline.  Separately, a yachtsman brings Monaco’s famous tax advantages to life – or not, as it were.

continue reading

Antibes and World War II: Two Tales of a City

August 23, 2012

In a much-anticipated post, French Lessons conjures up people and stories from Antibes’ part in World War II as they are remembered – or forgotten – in modern times.  From inconspicuous plaques and unmarked addresses to monuments erected with intent, the city’s connection with résistants, artillery bunkers and a wartime submarine rests just beneath the surface.

continue reading

Rentrée: Re-Entry After a Côte d’Azur Summer

August 29, 2012

Before returning to Canada, we review the summer’s blog posts and consider how over the years we North Americans have become part of the heady mosaic of summertime Antibes.  But as our family contemplates leaving, it takes an outside voice to remind us how well-adapted we’ve become to the Côte d’Azur’s famous high-season antics.

continue reading