COLOURFUL PORTO IS A PHOTOGRAPHER’S DREAM

Article sur mon voyage à Porto pour Riviera Buzz. Article about my trip to Porto for Riviera Buzz.

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Porto, Portugal’s second city, is the real deal when it comes to beautiful architecture, magical atmosphere, and delicious wines.

In recent years, Lisbon has become one of the favorite destinations of European travellers, and while the Portuguese capital rarely disappoints, its northern counterpart, Porto, is also well worth considering for a visit.

As one of Europe’s oldest cities, Porto is indeed all about colourful tiled buildings, quaint cobbled streets, baroque monuments, Romanesque churches, vibrant plazas, and art nouveau cafes. Its riverfront and old fishing district, Ribeira, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, looks like a picture perfect postcard as you cross the Don Luis bridge over the Douro river. The many hills provide for beautiful views of the red roofs and various architectural styles. But these are just a few of the many highlights of a trip to Portugal’s second city.

Almost everywhere you go, a building or a detail will capture your attention. The 1916 São Bento Railway Station, for instance, boasts a beautiful hall decorated with some 20,000 azulejo ceramic tiles, and Livraria Lello is considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, thanks to its stunning red staircases. Meanwhile, the Café Majestic is a definite must-see attraction for both its façade and beautiful interior.

Porto may have a rich history, but it also has a modern outlook as evidenced by its thriving art scene and the futuristic spectacle offered by the daring Casa da Música, its new House of Music, which was designed by acclaimed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.

This cultural diversity can be found as well in the gastronomic specialties. Aside from the classic Portuguese staples such as bacalhau (cod), and pastéis de nata (custard tarts), you will be able to enjoy fresh seafood, a great variety of cheese and Porto’s unique dish, the “francesinha”, literally “Little French One”, a sandwich stuffed with sausage, ham and steak, and covered with cheese and a special hot sauce made of tomato and beer.

Even if you do not drink, a trip to Porto would not be complete without a visit to one of the city’s numerous cellars or one of the many vineyards in the neighbouring Douro Valley … to sip, of course, some Port wines.

 

 

LES NUITS GUITARES STRIKE ALL THE RIGHT CHORDS

Une belle alternative aux festivals de jazz de Nice and Antibes/Juan-Les-Pins cet été. A nice alternative to the jazz festivals of Nice and Antibes/Juan-Les-Pins this summer.

Les Nuits Guitares, the annual music festival in Beaulieu-sur-mer, returns this July for more finger-picking fun!

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July on the French Riviera is all about jazz, but every year the city of Beaulieu-sur-Mer likes to stand out from its neighbours by celebrating the wonderful instrument that is the guitar with Les Nuits Guitares, a festival that has attracted many of the finest players from across the world. Stephan Eicher, Patrick Bruel, Calvin Russell, Buena Vista Social Club, Joe Satriani, John Butler … since its creation in 2000, the programme has always been eclectic, and very international.

The upcoming 16th edition of Les Nuits Guitares will be no different, with a line-up that should appeal to almost any local music fan. Serbian director and winner of two Palme d’Or in Cannes, Emir Kusturica, will kick off the festivities on Thursday, 21st of July. Reuniting with his group, The No Smoking Orchestra, the cult filmmaker makes his comeback to the music scene with the soundtrack of his upcoming movie Love and Peace (starring Monica Belluci), which combines the influences of both rock and Balkan and gypsy cultures.

The following evening we have enigmatic French singer Christophe, who has been topping the charts for months with his latest album Les vestiges du chaos. At 70, the artist is nothing short of a pop legend in his native country. His rich and poetic repertoire, which spans more than five decades, includes beautifully crafted hits such as Aline, Les Marionnettes and Les Mots Bleus.

The final night belongs to singer and jazz guitarist Thomas Dutronc, son of the much beloved artist Françoise Hardy and musician/actor Jacques Dutronc. With the release of his three albums, Comme un manouche sans guitar,  Silence on tourne, on tourne en rond and Eternels jusqu’à demain, the young man has successfully managed to make a name for himself in a relatively short space of time, to become one of the leading figures of gypsy jazz.

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So, this summer, if you are looking for an alternative to the hugely popular jazzfestivals of Nice and Antibes/Juan-les-Pins, look no further. Held among olive trees in the spectacular setting of the delightful Jardin de l’Olivaie, Les Nuits Guitarespromise three great nights of music for all guitar aficionados from near and far.

Les Nuits Guitares takes place from Thursday 21st, to Saturday 23rd of July in the Jardin de l’Olivaie in Beaulieu. Tickets can be bought in all usual outlets, and may also be reserved online. Single day tickets cost from €26.20 and a three-day pass is also available, costing €61.54.

CONTACT DETAILS
Les Nuits Guitares
Le Jardin de l’Olivaie
Rue Jean Bracco
06310 Beaulieu-sur-mer

IT’S KOREAN SEASON THIS SUMMER IN NICE

Dernier article en date pour Riviera Buzz. Latest article to date for Riviera Buzz.

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France has been celebrating Korean culture as part of a year-long cultural exchange programme which started last September.

This cultural exchange programme marks the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations with the Land of Morning Calm. Throughout France, concerts, performances and retrospectives have been organised.

In Nice, not one, but three exhibits are being held at the Musée Départemental des Arts Asiatiques this summer, entitled ‘Saison coréenne’ (Korean season).

Kokdu, compagnon de l’âme

The first exhibition, “Kokdu, compagnon de l’âme” (Kokdu, Companion of the Soul)focuses on those small wooden-caved figurines so popular in South Korea. Used to decorate biers, the purpose of the Kokdu was to accompany the deceased into the next world, making their final journey as pleasant as possible, and to cheer up the loved-ones left behind. Among the preserved Kokdu sculptures, one can find aristocrats, soldiers, acrobats, monks, and servants, depending on the role the deceased played in society, while the afterlife is represented by dragons and the Phoenix.

Intérieur coréen, œuvres d’In-sook Son

Running concurrently, the exhibition “Intérieur coréen, œuvres d’In-sook Son” (Korean Interiors, the Works of In-sook Son) pays tribute to the skills and know-how of In-sook Son, shown for the very first time outside of South Korea. Revisiting traditional embroidery techniques with a modern approach, this contemporary artist has created pieces that include many different genres, from hanbok (traditional costumes) and pojagi (wrapping textiles) to folding screens and furniture.

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Apesanteur enchantée, œuvres de Seund Ja Rhee

Finally, “Apesanteur enchantée, œuvres de Seund Ja Rhee” (Enchanted weightlessness, the works of Sund Ja Rhee) presents the unique creations of Seund Ja Rhee. She is a South Korean painter, printmaker and ceramist who moved to the Tourette-sur-Loup in 1958 where she built the “Milky Way”, a large atelier and exhibition room. In partnership with the Seund Ja Rhee institution and the Mediterranean Union for Modern Art, this exhibit offers a glimpse of this artist’s prolific artworks with many paintings, engravings, ceramics and bronzes on display.

Apesanteur enchantée, œuvres de Seund Ja Rhee runs until the 12th of September.Kokdu, compagnon de l’âme and Intérieur coréen, œuvres d’In-Sook Son both run until the 7th of November.

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The museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm (5pm after the 16th of October), and closed Tuesdays.

CONTACT DETAILS
Musée des Arts Asiatiques
405, promenade des Anglais
06200 Nice

Tel: +33 4 92 29 37 00

5 OF THE BEST: LEBANESE RESTAURANTS IN NICE

Petite critique culinaire pour Riviera Buzz. Little culinary review for Riviera Buzz.

Considered to be among the best in the Arab world and the Mediterranean, Lebanese food is all about flavours, freshness and sharing.

If we are to believe TripAdvisor, Nice has made it in to third place in France for the quality of its Lebanese restaurants … just behind Paris and Grenoble.

So, to celebrate this great news for all the region’s food lovers, we have decided to share with you our five favorite Lebanese addresses in Nice.

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DI YAR – 9, rue de la Préfecture

Right by the always busy Cours Saleya, Di Yar is nothing short of an institution. For nearly 20 years, this quaint and popular restaurant has been offering authentic Lebanese cuisine, including a large selection of oriental dishes and plenty of complimentary snacks, as well as a good amount of vegetarian and vegan choices.

The portions are generous, the prices reasonable and the staff very friendly. And the icing on the cake, it is open 24/7.

With its long dining room and its great outdoor seating area, Di Yar is definitely the perfect place to relax and enjoy all the hustle and bustle of the old town.

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LE SOCRATE – 2, rue de Suisse

Much more than just a restaurant, Le Socrate is an experience. Located on a pedestrian street just a stone’s throw from avenue Jean Médecin, this Lebanese eatery perfectly blends tradition and modernity .

Every day, for both lunch and dinner, Le Socrate offers a long list of hot and cold mezze to share with your table, such as moutabal (eggplant mashed with olive oil) and fatayers (pastry stuffed with spinach), as well as Lebanese specialties such as Kefta kebabs, tasty desserts, a large selection of French and Lebanese wine, and of course, mint tea.

And with belly dancing performances every Friday and Saturday evening, there is a real One Thousand and One Nights atmosphere about this place.

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YA HABIBI – 6, rue du Congrès

This wildly popular Lebanese canteen, takeaway, and deli has been offering Lebanese food for nearly 30 years. Just a few steps away from the Promenade des Anglais, you will find yourself transported miles away from the French Riviera thanks to its glitzy design.

The owner will welcome you with a smile, and while there is plenty of choice on the extended menu that includes hummus, falafels, mezzes and grillades, you will also be able to enjoy a nice selection of great wines from the Bekaa valley.

And if that was not enough, there is also a resident singer to accompany you on your culinary travels!

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BEYROUTH CAFÉ – 12, rue de la Buffa

Despite its relatively small size, this restaurant located on rue de la Buffa in the centre of Nice manages to turn out a sizeable menu of mezze, grilled dishes, and delicious desserts, freshly made to eat on site or to take away.

With only limited dining space available on the small terrace, the interior of the Beyrouth Café more than makes up for it, decorated in an oriental style that will make you feel like you are in Lebanon. Baked pitas, kebbe (a mix of minced lamb, onions, and cracked wheat), falafel, hummus, shish taouk (grilled chicken), kafta (beef kebabs) … everything that makes Lebanese food so popular is on offer, with adequate portions and reasonable prices.

For affordable and consistent Lebanese fare, the Beyrouth Café is not to be missed.

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AU PETIT LIBANAIS – 2, rue Vernier

Located on rue Vernier away from the touristy districts, Au Petit Libanais could easily be overlooked, but what it lacks in atmosphere, it more than makes up for with the scrumptious dishes on offer at this family restaurant.

Inside, you will immediately feel at home. The mother cooks, her children wait the tables, and the food does all the talking. From the extensive mezze selection and grills to delightful desserts and catering options, everything is made using the freshest ingredients. And while the prices are very reasonable, the portion sizes are more than ample, and full of flavour.

Sometimes, simplicity is just the way to go!

Lead and first image courtesy Di Yar Facebook page; interior of Le Socrate via their Facebook page; interior shot of Ya Habibi © Mike Colquhoun; photo of Beyrouth Café from their website; photo of Au Petit Libanais via Yelp!

BEN HARPER REUNITES WITH THE INNOCENT CRIMINALS THIS FALL IN NICE

Ben Harper revient à Nice cet automne! Ben Harper is coming back to Nice this fall!

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals are back on the road for a new tour that sees them play Nice’s Palais Nikaïa this October.

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Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals haven’t played together in nearly 10 years, but reunited in 2015 to release a new album, ‘Call It What It Is. This is Harper’s 13th offering, but only the first one with the band he helped found since 2007’s ‘Lifetime’,which was recorded in Paris.

Harper and band have always been like a family, but it seems like they needed to come full circle in their own way before being able to pick up where they left off. The American singer and songwriter threw himself into new musical adventures that included ‘Get Up’, a collaboration with harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite.

This long hiatus has definitely done them good, as this new record, released last April, radiates vitality and a new sense of purpose with its mix of blues and soulful rock ‘n’ roll.

Tackling topics such as racial profiling and police brutality (the title track is a reference to the infamous Rodney King and Michael Brown killings, starting with the line  “They shot him in the back / Now it’s a crime to be black”), gender diversity and aging, this album proves that the multiple Grammy winners are still on top of their game.

For this new tour, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals will play both new and old tunes from their common repertoire, as well as some of the singer’s solo hits. Among the many fan-favorites, one can expect to hear “Burn to Shine”, “Steal My Kisses”, and “Diamonds On the Inside”, during what should definitely be one of the musical events of the fall.

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals play the Palais Nikaïa in Nice at 6pm on Sunday, 9th October. Tickets cost between 39,60 € and 49,50 € and may be purchased online and through all usual outlets.

CONTACT DETAILS
Palais Nikaïa
163, boulevard du Mercantour
06200 Nice

Picture courtesy Ben Harper website

Grand Prix des Lectrices ELLE : Remise des prix

Voilà ! Après 28 livres (10 romans, 9 policiers et 9 documents) répartis sur 12 mois, de septembre à avril, l’aventure du Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle 2016 s’est achevée mercredi avec la remise des prix aux 3 lauréats.

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Les heureux gagnants ?

  • «  Je vous écris dans le noir » de Jean-Luc Seigle dans la catégorie roman ;
  • « Les infâmes » de Jax Miller dans la catégorie policier ;
  • «  Et tu n’es pas revenu » de Marceline Loridan-Ivens.

Un palmarès qui m’a réjouit tant j’ai aimé ces trois livres!

Pour cette soirée, le magazine Elle avait bien fait les choses. Quelques heures avant la remise des prix, les 120 lectrices ont ainsi été conviées à échanger avec les lauréats dans les magnifiques salons de l’hôtel Le Marois- France Amérique ; l’occasion de parler anglais avec Jax Miller, une américaine déjantée à la verve fleurie, de découvrir Marceline Loridan-Ivens, un petit bout de femme de 88 ans qui a su nous émouvoir avec sa lettre courte mais poignante adressée à son papa, déporté avec elle à Auschwitz , et enfin d’entendre Jean-Luc Seigle, le seul homme présent, nous parler de sa passion pour Modiano.

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Après une photo de groupe et quelques discours, nous nous sommes ensuite tous retrouvés ( lectrices, auteurs, éditeurs et journalistes) autour d’un délicieux buffet, au son d’un piano, ce qui a donné lieu à de belles rencontres et permis à de nouvelles amitiés de se lier.

Une merveilleuse expérience qui s’achève donc sur une note parfaite, avec toutefois un petit pincement au cœur. Il me faudra en effet attendre 3 ans avant de pouvoir postuler à nouveau . Finis les petits paquets chaque mois dans ma boite aux lettres ainsi que les notes et commentaires à envoyer. Même s’il était parfois compliqué de respecter les délais,  cela va me manquer. Heureusement, il reste le groupe Facebook qui a été créé par une des lectrices pour nous accompagner dans cette aventure et qui continue à être une formidable plateforme de partage avec toutes mes nouvelles copines de lecture !

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PS : Pour celles qui seraient intéressées, rendez-vous en avril 2017 sur le site du magazine Elle. Il vous faudra alors remplir un formulaire d’inscription et envoyer la critique d’un livre récent.

LOSE YOURSELF IN BOOKS AT NICE’S FESTIVAL DU LIVRE

The festival du livre de Nice est de retour. The Nice Book Festival is back!

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History lessons is the chosen theme for the 21st edition of the Festival du Livre that takes place from 3rd to 5th June in Nice.

The march of history is never steady and linear. Rather, it is a series of stumbles, falls, errors, recoveries … And often, the same mistakes are made over and over again, because we fail to learn from the past. Welcome to the Festival du Livre 2016.

Under the presidency of French doctor, novelist and former ambassador Jean-Christophe Rufin who, as president of Action Against Hunger and one of the founders of Médecins Sans Frontières knows a thing or two about human rights around the world, some 200 journalists, historians, philosophers and people from the world of entertainment will share their vision of the world, and the lessons they have learned from history.

Many are regulars, like Nice-born writer Didier Van Cauwelaert, whose book Un Aller Simple won the Prix Goncourt in 1994, while others will be present for the first time. Among those newcomers, one should be a big draw: Olivier Bourdeaut. The young author has taken France by storm this winter with his debut novel, En Attendant Bojangles, an off-the-wall tale of a boy growing up in an eccentric household, which has seduced readers and critics alike, won three popular French literary prizes, and already sold in excess of 160,000 copies.

Aside from the always popular book signings, there will be public readings of famous literary works, roundtable debates, and concerts organised in various venues around the city before and during the festival, while the now famous literary prize, le Prix Nice Baie des Anges, will be awarded on Friday to Akli Tadjer for La Reine du Tango, a novel that shows that tango is much more than just a passion.

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Year on year, the festival continues to establish and re-establish itself as a uniquely vibrant and inspiring gathering of readers and writers, and this latest edition shouldn’t be any different.

The Festival du Livre de Nice takes place from the 3rd to the 5th of June (10am to 7pm each day) on Boulevard Jean-Jaurès, Place Gautier (Cours Saleya) and Place du Palais de Justice. Admission is free.

 

Images courtesy Festival du Livre de Nice