SNCF, BEWARE: DISGRUNTLED COMMUTERS DIGGING IN FOR A LONG FIGHT

Article publié cette semaine dans Riviera Buzz (Article published this week in Riviera Buzz)

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Local commuters who rely on the TER train service gathered at Gare de Nice-Ville on Saturday to say that they have had enough.

Last week in Monaco, when five upset rail-users decided to block a train that was going back to Nice empty, leaving behind hundreds of people who just wanted to get home after a long day at work, it may have seemed like a spontaneous act of despair that would have no consequences.

But when the following Saturday, nearly 200 people met in front of Nice Ville station to draw attention to the many train malfunctions that plague their daily commute, it became clear that the stranded passengers as they like to call themselves, have now decided to unite to make their voice heard.

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Indeed, for people who take the train every day to go to and from work between Grasse and Menton, there is now a more than one in three chance that their TER – the train express regional – will be delayed or cancelled. This is how bad the daily commute has become in our region on a normal day! And that of course without counting the numerous strikes, the overcrowded trains, the unexpected “technical problems”, the lack of reliable information…All in all, the journey is rarely a pleasant experience and the prospect of a train from Cagnes to Monaco every 15 minutes during peak hours (6:30 am – 9 am and 4:30 pm – 7 pm) is still a long way off.

Yet, the region is still hoping the TER will become an alternative to cars.

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The protestors, lead by Eric Saury, the man behind the 2007 blog les naufragés du TER Grasse-Vintimille – “the stranded passengers of the TER” –, or the NTGV, had hoped to talk to Guillaume Pepy, the president of SNCF, the French national rail authority, who was in town to celebrate the 5-year anniversary of the Nice-Moscow line, but received instead a flat refusal.

This did not put them off going ahead with this first demonstration. Their message to the authorities is crystal clear, they « no longer accept the unacceptable. » More demonstrations, a petition and even a class action are next on their agenda, leaving no doubt that all concerned are now in for a long fight!

CIRQUE ÉLOIZE MAKES MONACO THE HEART OF THE SHOW

Dernier article en date pour Riviera Buzz (Latest article to date for Riviera Buzz)

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Prepare to be reintroduced to the Principality with ‘Monaco le Spectacle’ presented by Cirque Éloize, coming to Nice this November.

The Principality of Monaco is known around the world for its casino, its F1 Grand Prix, its glamorous lifestyle and its scenic beauty among many other things. And now thanks to the creativity and artistic vision of the Montreal-based troupe Cirque Éloize, all those symbols will be brought together to create a unique and spectacular live show; the first ever about an entire country.

Directed by Krista Monson, who has over the years worked with the Cirque du Soleil and orchestrated more than 40 shows in Canada and the United States, including the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Monaco le Spectacle (Monaco the Show) will follow a certain François as he discovers the tiny Mediterranean country to literary immerse the spectators into the life of the Principality as soon as they step inside the theatre.

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The music is composed by René Dupéré, the man behind the famous piece Alegria for the Cirque du Soleil, while Debra Brown, who has previously worked with the likes of Madonna and Céline Dion, is charged with the choreography.

The Cirque Éloize, like Canada’s other famous circus act, the aforementioned Cirque du Soleil, knows a thing or two about putting spectacular shows and for this new creation, they will as usual combine impressive dance numbers with top levels acrobatics performed by 35 musicians, dancers, theatre actors, and even a multi-instrumentalist magician who will serve as a tour guide for the main character.

After a few dates in Brussels, ‘Monaco le Spectacle‘ will have its world premiere in Paris on the 1st October, where it will play for 6 weeks. It will then be shown in 11 French cities, including Nice, before taking on the world. No doubts that people all around the globe will be seduced by this unprecedented experience, which has already received the royal seal of approval from Prince Albert!

‘Monaco le Spectacle’ will be performed at the Palais Nikaïa in Nice from the 18th to the 21st of November at 8:00 pm. Tickets range in price from 26 € to 79 € and are on sale at all usual outlets. 

All images courtesy Cirque Éloize

THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND, THE FRENCH RIVIERA MARCHED FOR CHARLIE

“Je ne suis pas d’accord avec ce que vous dites, mais je me battrai pour que vous ayez le droit de le dire” (Voltaire).”I do not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it.”(Voltaire)

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Just a few days after the terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of 17 people in the space of three days, thousands of people all over the French Riviera took to the streets to honour the victims and support free speech. Just like in Paris where on Sunday many world leaders joined about 1.5 million French citizens in an unprecedented “national unity”rally, people marched silently and peacefully on Saturday morning in Nice, holding the national flag, big pens, posters or buttons with the now world-famous slogan “Je Suis Charlie”.

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Local police said that about 25,000 participated in the march but other estimates put that figure at over 30,000. One thing is for sure, the Azurean capital had not seen a manifestation of that scale since the end of Word War II. At the same time, there were 3,000 people on the place des Martyrs de la Résistance in Antibes while on Sunday morning, more than 10,000 people gathered in Menton and Cannes.

France has a long tradition of street demonstrations, but this time people just wanted to stand up and showed up an united front against intolerance and racism. There were Jews, Muslims, Catholics and atheists, liberals, conservatives and socialists. Some were not even big fans of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and its often controversial cartoons. But this weekend, their origins and political opinions did not matter. They just wanted to show that it was possible for all communities to live together in France and to defend all the values of the Republic, including the freedom of expression.

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BANISH THE POST-CHRISTMAS BLUES WITH LA GALETTE DES ROIS!

C’est le moment pour de la galette dans Riviera Buzz. (It is time for some galette in Riviera Buzz).

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Come the 6th of January, one French tradition is always guaranteed to please — say goodbye diet and hello la Galette des Rois!

If losing weight was one of your New Year’s resolutions, you may want to wait a bit on that one, at least until the end of the month…January is indeed still a festive time in France, and be it at home or at work, with your family, friends, colleagues or even neighbours, chances are that you are going to eat a lot of “galette des rois“, literally the Kings’ cake, over the next few weeks.

Originally made to celebrate the Epiphany and the arrival of the three Wise Men bearing gifts for the infant Jesus 12 days after Christmas, this culinary tradition which dates back to the Middle Ages and the Avignon popes, is now used by the French as a way to start the new year surrounded by loved ones to “tirer les rois” (find the kings).

The traditional cake, the so-called Parisian galette, is a puff pastry pie filled with almond paste, symbolising the return of the sun after winter, while in Provence, it takes the form of a brioche shaped like a crown with fruits confits either incorporated into the cake or used as a garnish. But no matter which one you end up sharing, there will always be a little charm, the fève, hidden inside. Centuries ago, it was just a dried bean, but nowadays, it is a porcelain or ceramic figurine that sparked the desire of more and more collectors each year, and whoever finds it, gets to carry a crown.

To avoid any cheating, the “galette” is cut into slices, one for each person around the table plus sometimes an extra one, “la part du Bon Dieu” (God’s piece), for loved ones who are no longer here, the poor or the unexpected visitor, and traditionally the youngest person crawls under the table and calls out each person’s name, randomly, indicating how the cake is to be distributed.

Being named King or Queen for the day remains great fun for everybody, young and old, even in a country that has not always treated its royals that well over the course of its history.

image © Richard Villalon on Dollar Photo Club

SAY BONJOUR TO THE NEW FONDATION LOUIS VUITTON MUSEUM IN PARIS

Premier article de l’année pour Riviera Buzz. (First article of the week for Riviera Buzz).

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A new and most welcome addition to the Paris skyline, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is finally open after a wait of more than 13 years.

From a distance, Paris’ newest museum, the Fondation Louis Vuitton, seems to be floating over the Jardin d’Acclimatation, right by the Bois de Boulogne. Some people believe it is a sailing ship. For others, it is a cloud of glass or an iceberg. But in the end, no matter what their perception of this unusual structure may be, they all agree that the recently opened Louis Vuitton Foundation building is a work of art in its own right.

Commissioned by Europe’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, the chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the famed LVMH luxury group, and designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, whose previous works include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney museum in Los Angeles, the foundation is intended as a centre of art and culture.

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The building is placed over a reflecting pool, which creates mirror effects and is composed of 12 huge glass sails, which capture the light in many different ways. Combined together, these elements provide an impression oflightness and volume, as well as a sense of movement. It is of course decorated with “L’s” and “V’s” and aside from the 11 galleries of various sizes that house Arnaud’s private art collection and temporary exhibits, it also boasts a stepped waterfall and an auditorium.

The Louis Vuitton Foundation took 13 years to build and cost more than €100 million. But if some critics have described it as a mere “vanity project” on the part of the French tycoon, it is first and foremost a great addition to theParis skyline, as evidenced by the number of people who have already lined up to visit the building since its inauguration in late October.

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CONTACT DETAILS
Fondation Louis Vuitton
8, Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi
Bois de Boulogne
75016 Paris

Open every day from 9am to 7pm