VIA FERRATAS OR HOW TO SAFELY EXPLORE THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Entre randonnée et escalade! Between hiking and climbing!

Ever wanted to try outdoor climbing, but didn’t quite feel ready or brave enough to bite the bullet? Well, we might just have the perfect solution for you – Via Ferrata trails!

Italian by origin, the Via Ferrata trails were created to help infantry travel safely through the Dolomites. These “iron roads”, situated on rock faces, are equipped with cables, ladders, steps, grips and bridges, making them the ideal cross between footpath and vertical rock climb. All you will need is a helmet to protect yourself against falling rocks, a harness that clips into the cable safety system as you progress along the trail, as well as some gloves for a firm grip, and appropriate footwear for stability.

This assisted climbing activity is a great way to admire the valley from high above and to experience the wilds in complete safety, but nonetheless it does require hard work and not all the routes are for everyone. So, depending on whether you are a total novice or an experienced climber, here is a short list of the most popular Via Ferratas in the Alpes-Martimes, classified according to their level of difficulty.

Via Ferrata Balma Negra – Roubion (Easy/moderate)

Just 70 km north of Nice in the Mercantour National Park, this relatively short and straightforward Via Ferrata is ideal for beginners. Located on a 40 to 50 metre cliff, the route overlooks the Tinée valley and does not present any difficulties, aside from a 20 m high crossing towards the end.

Time required: 1.5 hours
Max altitude: 1,450 m
Height gain: + 50 m.
Route length: 300 m
Season: April – October

Via Ferrata Les Canyons de Lantosque – Lantosque (Moderate)

With its 5 monkey bridges, 5 suspension bridges, a 100 metre wall and a fun zip line to end the adventure, this Via Ferrata is an all-time favourite among climbers. Its popularity probably has a lot to do with the fact that the route is located in a beautiful canyon and gradually increases in difficulty.

 

Time required: 3 hours
Max altitude: 500 m
Height gain: + 100 m
Route length: 950 m
Season: April – October

Via Ferrata Le Baus de la Frema – La Colmiane (Difficult)

The oldest and most famous Via Ferrata in the Alpes-Maritimes is also one of the most difficult. The route, which leads to the summit of Baus de la Frema, is full of exposed ladder sections, high ropes crossings and vertical slabs, and takes nearly 5 hours to complete.

Time required: 4.5 hours
Max altitude: 2,246 m
Height gain: + 501 m
Route length: 1,600 m
Season: May – October

Via Ferrata L’Escale – Peille (Very difficult)

 

Just a few miles from Monaco and about 30 minutes from Nice, the Escale Via Ferrata is a challenging and physically demanding route that is divided into four sections, each lasting 45 minutes. It provides beautiful views over the village of Peille, but definitely requires some previous climbing experience.

Time required: 2.5 hours
Max altitude: 750 m
Height gain: + 230 m

Route length: 800 m
Season: Year round
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Via Ferrata Les Hérétiques – Tende (Very difficult)

Probably the most spectacular trail, this Via Ferrata offers a fun 120 m zip-line as well as a wonderful panorama over the Mercantour massif and the mediaeval castle of Chapelle St-Sauveur. This is the reward for overcoming this sporty 1km long route.

Time required: 3.5 hours
Max altitude: 1,338 m
Height gain: + 330 m

Route length: 1,000 m
Season: April – October

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LAGERFELD’S FORMER MONEGASQUE VILLA HOSTS NOMAD DESIGN FAIR

Une des plus belles villas de la Côte d’Azur. One of the most beautiful villas on the French Riviera.

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The inaugural Nomad Design Fair, which ran from the 27th to the 30th of April, provided the visitor with a unique opportunity to discover what is widely considered as one of the most beautiful properties on the French Riviera – La Vigie.

Built in 1902 for Sir William Ingram, the villa boasts magnificent panoramic views of the Mediterranean, the Principality, and the bay of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. At the time of its construction, the gardens were full of rare animals, tropical birds and predators, including eagles and condors, and served as the perfect location for the owner’s extravagant parties.

The atmosphere, however, changed dramatically during World War II when the villa became an observation post for the occupying German forces, who did not think twice about turning the gardens into trenches covered with barbed wire and mine fields.

Thankfully, the grounds were restored to their former glory in the 1950’s and the villa became home to the Grimaldi family. Later on during the 1990’s, it was the residence of one of the world’s most famous fashion designers, Karl Lagerfeld.

These days, La Vigie is an exclusive hotel catering to high society guests, and can be rented on a weekly or monthly basis.

With its monumental entrance hall, impressive staircase, high ceilings, its many columns and fireplaces, large terrace, tree-covered park and private road, the property definitely provides for a chic and trendy getaway.

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As for Nomad, it will now live up to its name, travelling to different destinations each year in order to offer art aficionados an original experience, and create “an event that is bespoke, intimate and that presents work in a radically new context”. Nonetheless, with their choice of La Vigie this year, the organizers have well and truly set the bar very high for future venues to follow!

 

All images courtesy Nomad Monaco

ALL THAT GLITTERS: THIRTY-NINE IS MONACO’S FIRST LIFESTYLE CLUB

Toujours quelque chose de nouveau à Monaco! Always something new in Monaco!

F10 Studios Ltd

One of the newest additions to Monégasque nightlife, Thirty-Nine, offers its clientele something quite exceptional, but it does come at a price.

When it comes to luxury accommodations, the Principality of Monaco knows no shortage of glamourous locations, but somehow it has long been missing a private members club similar to the ones that exist in the United Kingdom. With the opening of Thirty-Nine last September, this void has now been filled.

Conceived by ex-rugby player and local resident Ross Beattie, and meticulously designed by the renowned Morpheus London, the elegant space offers all the best in health, beauty, food, and lifestyle over four floors, creating a real social hub “where people can get to know like-minded people”.

Sports fans now have access to an 800m2 state-of-the-art fitness suite that includes altitude training, group cycling, and Pilates studio, and can benefit from individually tailored training programmes.

 

The spa and beauty salon provides high-end personalised care assessments and treatments, thanks to highly skilled hairdressers, doctors, and biologists. For those who want to work in peace, a conference suite is also available, while those who just need to chill out can enjoy the cigar terrace or have a delicious meal prepared by chef Gualterio Marchesi, founder of modern Italian cuisine. And if that was not enough, the beautiful crafted decor, such as the custom-build chandelier above the reception area, pays tribute to the timeless glamour of the French Riviera.

As Beattie himself explains, “you should be able to achieve from the club what you want to achieve. If that’s becoming the healthiest person in the world, looking a certain way, improving times or scores of whatever discipline you’re in, we can do that. But if you just want to relax, socialize and have a meeting somewhere, then you can do that as well”.

F10 Studios Ltd

Of course, all this does come at a price. For a mere €4,900 per year, you will be able to enjoy this “home away from home” that looks after both the body and the mind of its members.

CONTACT DETAILS
Thirty-Nine
39, avenue Princesse Grace
98000 Monaco

Enquiries – info[at]39montecarlo.com

All photos courtesy Thirty-Nine

LA COLLE NOIRE, THE BEAUTIFUL DIOR SUMMER ESTATE IN MONTAUROUX

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

Château de la Colle Noire, the summer estate of the late French fashion designer Christian Dior, has been restored to its former glory.

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In September 2015, the House of Chanel proudly announced that it had re-acquired “La Pausa”, the beautiful villa overlooking Cap Martin that “mademoiselle” had specially designed, built and decorated for her. Now, less than a year later, it is the House of Dior’s turn to celebrate the purchase and restoration of the Château de la Colle Noire, the summer estate its creator owned in Montauroux.

Located near Grasse, the splendid property set on several hundred hectares, is where the French couturier found the inspiration to craft some of his most famous fragrances (miss Dior, Diorssimo, Eau Sauvage).

It is in 1951, while at the height of his career, that Christian Dior began restoring the 12,900 square foot château, creating his “haven of peace”. There, he wrote his autobiography, Dior by Dior, entertained famous friends such as March Chagall, and planted olive trees, vines and a large array of fragrant flowers, from roses and jasmine, to lily-of-the-valley and lavender in the grandiose garden he designed.

Sadly, the place was sold shortly after the fashion legend’s death in 1957 and changed hands many times in the following decades. It even hosted rock band Oasis as they recorded their album “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” in 1999, and was purchased back by Christian Dior Parfums in 2013.

After nearly three years of works conducted with the aid of landscape designers, Dior’s cherished residence and garden have been given a new lease of life, and have even inspired the latest fragrance launched by the fashion house, “La Colle Noire”, last May.

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Bearing the name of the 19th century Provençal château and created by perfumer François Demachy, a Cannes native whose laboratory is located nearby at the Fontaines Parfumées, La Colle Noire scent is a contemporary rose perfume which, according to the “nez” himself  “conveys all the raw and sun-drenched beauty of this region in the south of France”.

Interestingly enough, La Colle Noire is the second fragrance inspired by the stunning estate, following on from Eau Noire which was created by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, and released in 2004.

CONTACT DETAILS
Château de la Colle Noire
220 Route de Draguignan
83440 Montauroux

Lead image of Château de la Colle Noire by DandineTravail personnel, CC BY-SA 3.0; other image courtesy Dior

THE TROOPS OF SAINT TROPEZ GET THEIR OWN MUSEUM

Louis de Funès et ses gendarmes ont enfin leur musée à Saint-Tropez. Louis de Funès and his gendarmes finally have their museum in Saint-Tropez.

Louis de Funès

Saint Tropez’s Gendarmerie Nationale has been transformed into a museum dedicated to the gendarme Cruchot and his henchmen, as well as to French cinema.

With one of the most photographed facades in Saint Tropez, and made famous by the highly popular French comedy “Le Gendarme de Saint Tropez” (The Troops of Saint Tropez), the old Gendarmerie Nationale has been given a new lease on life as a museum.

After an 18 month reconstruction and renovation, the two storey building located on Place Blanqui not only pays tribute to the national police force and the famous troop starring the much beloved actors Louis de Funès (The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob) and Michel Galabru (La Cage aux Folles), but also to the history of the septième art in France’s most famous little fishing village.

Since the 1950’s, Saint Tropez has attracted some of the world’s most famous filmmakers, as well as many iconic actors. Everybody, of course, remembers “Et Dieu créa la femme”, which turned the then relatively unknown Brigitte Bardot into the ultimate sex-symbol. Shot in 1955 by Bardot’s first husband, director Roger Vadim, the film definitely put the sleepy enclave on the map, as it followed an out-of-control 18-year old orphan who shakes up Saint Tropez.

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There is another glamourous celebrity couple closely linked with the village, Romy Schneider and Alain Delon. The pair starred in the 1969 classic “La Piscine”, a beautifully-shot drama of sexual jealousy and possessiveness that takes place entirely in a villa overlooking the gulf of Saint Tropez.

As for the gendarmes, there are no less than six movies that follow their adventures as they deal with issues like skinny dipping, reckless driving, and even extra-terrestrials!

The museum is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm, except on the following days: the 1st of January, from the 15th of January to the 1st of February, the 1st of May, the 17th of May, and the 25th of December. Tickets cost €4 (free for children under 12 and only €2 for students under 26, gendarmes and jobseekers).

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CONTACT DETAILS
Musée de la gendarmerie et du cinéma
2, Place Blanqui
83990 Saint-Tropez

Tel : + 33 4 94 55 90 20

Images courtesy Musée de la gendarmerie et du cinéma

LA PAUSA IN CAP-MARTIN ACQUIRED BY HOUSE OF CHANEL

Premier article de l’année pour Riviera Buzz. first article of the year for Riviera Buzz.

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A splendid villa overlooking both the Mediterranean and Cap-Martin, uninhabited since 2007, and recently acquired by the House of Chanel.

88 years after one Gabrielle « Coco » Chanel purchased the land to built her dream vacation home, La Pausa, the House of Chanel has acquired the property and after renovation work to restore the villa to its original spirit, the famed fashion house is planning to dedicate the place to the brand and its values. The villa is the only of her houses that Mademoiselle had specially designed, built and decorated for her.

 

Chanel fell in love with the French Riviera during the 1920s while vacationing in the company of the Duke of Westminster with whom she had a long affair. Together, they commissioned architect Robert Streitz to build a villa in their image and likeness. So, while the duke’s bedroom was somber, Coco Chanel’s suite was full of colour, decorated with a pink canopy, mirrors and chandeliers. It was furnished in a simple and modern way and had many references to the the architecture of Aubazine, the former abbey transformed into an orphanage where Chanel spent a large part of her adolescence.

In La Pausa the couple would welcome some of the biggest artists of the time such as Jean Cocteau, Serge Lifar, Salvador Dali, Pierre Bonnard and Winston Churchill.

In 1954, following the Duke of Westminster’s death, Mademoiselle sold the villa fully furnished to Emery Reves, an American writer and publisher, who kept much of the decor in its original condition but brought a new burst of life back to the residence inviting friends such as Greta Garbo and Jackie Onassis.

The villa has however always held an important place in the fashion designer’s life and one of the perfumes of the collection Les Exclusifs is even called 28 La Pausa, with is not only a reference to this special place, but also to the year in which its story began.

 

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Lead image The Great Hall of La Pausa (as reconstructed at the Dallas Museum of Art) By Photo: User:FA2010Own work, Public Domain; image of La Pausa perfume courtesy Chanel website

 

LA FÊTE DE LA TRANSHUMANCE IN ROUBION, WHERE THE SHEEP IS KING

Récit dans riviera Buzz d’un dimanche ensoleillé à Rubion pour la Transhumance. Story in Riviera Buzz of a sunny Sunday in Rubion for the “Transhumance”.

Roubion

Every autumn, thousands of sheep leave behind the upland pastures where they spent a peaceful summer to find shelter in the low-lands.

And every year, this procession gives rise to the traditional Fête de la Transhumance in the village of Roubion, a perched village located on the descent from the Col de la Couillole.

Last Sunday, just a few hours after torrential rains transformed most of the French Riviera into a terrifying flood zone, the sun was back and people turned out in large number to cheer on the farmers, their dogs and their adorable woolly quadrupeds as they passed through the 12th century old village on their way to the Var.

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The festivities started at 8:30 am with the baking of bread, some traditional dancing and a craft market. Then it was time for everybody to gather on the main square to welcome the colourful and noisy procession (the sheep wore tags and the few goats that accompanied them tinkling collars) in a friendly atmosphere.

A bit behind schedule, the animals finally arrived around 11:45 am to the applause of the waiting crowd. If today most flocks are moved by large double-decker trucks, this annual celebration offers a unique opportunity to witness the sheep being herded down the small roads and to walk with them from the village to the station of Roubion Les Buisses, just a couple of kilometers away, to the sound of traditional Provençal music.

The hike is easy and takes about half an hour but for those who cannot walk, free shuttles are also available.

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Once in the station, the sheep continued grazing on the lush green pasture but the festivities did not end for the bipeds. Many stalls offered delicious food (cheese, sausages, ham, socca…), home-made jams and local wines, while a small farm provided for some great entertainment.

Roubion has been hosting this annual transhumance fête since 2003 and this year’s celebration once again offered a breath of fresh air – a nice parenthesis in a somewhat difficult weekend on the Côte d’Azur.

AND GOD CREATED LA TARTE TROPÉZIENNE!

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

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The tarte tropezienne has just turned 60 earlier this month, and we just couldn’t let this glorious occasion pass without paying homage!

Each town in France seems to have its own culinary speciality: Marseille has its famed bouillabaisse, Nice its pissaladière, socca and farcis among many others…and Saint Tropez its tarte tropézienne.

Often imitated but never equaled, the original and delicious desert, whose recipe is a jealously guarded secret, is a combination of two velvety creams used to fill a delicious brioche-style cake with a generous coating of sugar. The tart can be found in basically every bakery in St. Tropez but it has also given its name to a chain of patisseries of the same name that is slowly taking over France.

Of course, the success of the Tarte Tropézienne has as much to do with the fact that it is still made today entirely by hand using only the freshest ingredients, as with the colourful story of its creation. Indeed, it all started in 1955 when Alexandre Micka, a recent immigrant from Poland, opened a small bakery on Place des Lices, right in the heart of the little Provencal fishing port, and started making some of his grandmother’s recipes. Asked to cater for a film crew working in nearby Ramatuelle on a film called “Et Dieu créa la femme (And God Created Woman), featuring the then unknown actress Brigitte Bardot, he brought with him his “cream cake”, which soon became a hit on set. Rumour has it that Bardot herself was so in love with the desert, she suggested that Micka rename it “la tarte de St. Tropez” (the tart of St. Tropez). The rest is history… In 1985, Micka passed his business on to his manager, Albert Dufrêne, but the popularity of his creation just keeps on growing.

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And great news now for the Niçois; if you fancy a piece of Bardot’s favorite tart, you don’t have to brave the hordes of tourists that inevitably flock to St. Tropez at this time of year: you can simply head to our very own Tarte Tropézienne in Terminal 2 at the airport. So, Bon appétit!

All images courtesy La Tarte Tropézienne

AU GOÛT THÉ D’ANTAN – NICE’S NICEST OLD-FASHIONED TEAHOUSE

Une belle découverte à Nice pour une pause gourmande. A nice discovery in Nice for a sweet break

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A new teahouse recently opened in Nice is guaranteed to take you on a trip down memory lane, a real déjà vu experience!

Remember what it felt like to go to your grandmothers for afternoon tea? The smell of freshly baked pastries, the family pictures on the wall, the old style crockery, the embroidered tablecloths…all the childhood memories that bring a smile to your face!

Well, you can now relive them all, at least for an hour, thanks to Priscilla (pictured below), a young niçoise who opened her own salon de thé just over a year ago in Borriglione, the neighbourhood where she was born and grew up.

For as long as she can remember, Priscilla has always loved to bake and spend quality time catching up with her mother over a cup of coffee. When you step into Au Goût Thé d’Antan, you get just that, a cozy and inviting atmosphere, with an impressive choice of cakes as well as hot and cold beverages.

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The pastries change on a daily basis, depending on Priscilla’s mood and the fruits that she finds each morning at the market. And even if she does not always have her own creations on display – she has spent months perfecting her now famous fondant tout chocolat, and has brought back some English recipes from time spent in Londonbanoffee and cupcakes – she likes nothing better than sharing with her customers those old-fashioned cakes her two grandmothers taught her how to make. Her gateau de pain and Flognarde aux pommes are definite crowd pleasers.

To accompany the pastries, there is a large selection of teas, coffees and, of course, mouth-watering hot chocolates on the menu. Adding to the old-fashioned atmosphere, the tiny place is decorated with mid-century furniture, dolls and vintage appliances. Even Priscilla plays the part. With her little dresses, her apron, her hair bow and her permanent smile, she is the perfect hostess. Customers feel at home here, enjoying a sweet break in a relaxed setting. Sometimes, happiness is as simple as that!

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CONTACT DETAILS
Au goût thé d’Antan
31, avenue Borriglione
06100 Nice

Open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 1pm to 7pm
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9am to 7pm

REGISTER NOW FOR THE 2015 PINK RIBBON MONACO ANNUAL WALK

Petit article dans Riviera Buzz sur la prochaine marche organisée par Pink Ribbon Monaco. Little article in Riviera Buzz about the upcoming walk organized by Pink Ribbon Monaco.

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Monaco will turn pink this coming March in support of Pink Ribbon Monaco and their ongoing fight against breast cancer.

It has become one of those not to be missed events in the Principality and for the 4th consecutive year, Monaco will turn out in support of Pink Ribbon Monaco to fundraise and help raise awareness about this terrible disease.

Breast cancer is the most common form of feminine cancer worldwide, comprising 16% of all female cancers, but it can be beaten. When detected at an early stage, it can usually be cured, but the chances of survival rapidly decrease as the tumour spreads. It is for this reason that information and early detection save lives.

So this 15th March, you can too participate in the annual walk organised by Pink Ribbon Monaco and join hundreds of other people wearing pink tutus, pink wigs or pink hats. The walk is open to everybody – women, men, children, the elderly, babies, cancer survivors and even dogs – and will take you on a 5km loop around Port Hercule and its environs.

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Pink Ribbon 3

Pink Ribbon is a worldwide campaign and you may have already heard about the numerous walks that are taking place regularly all across the globe.

However, Pink Ribbon Monaco, which was founded in the Spring 2011 remains an independent charity that focuses its actions on the region and the Principality. Through various fun events (Poker tournament, introduction to paddle board…), and under the guidance of the Centre Hospitalier Princesse Grace, its goal is to educate people on the importance of early detection and the necessity to create an environment where women who have found a lump in their breast do not have to wait too long to have a biopsy or receive treatment.

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The Pink Ribbon Walk will start at 10:30 pm on Sunday, 15th March and entry costs €30. You can register online, pay by cheque, or sign-up at the Running Expo the day before the event, from 9 am to 5 pm.

CONTACT DETAILS
Port Hercule / Port de Monaco
Route de la Piscine
98000 Monaco