This Is Why I Chose to Receive Cancer Care in France

On m’a demandé d’écrire sur mon expérience avec le système de santé français lors de mon combat contre le cancer…Voici mon récit pour IHadCancer. I have been asked to write about my experience with the French Healthcare system during my battle with cancer…Here is my story for IHadCancer!

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Getting cancer is hard enough in itself and patients should never have to worry about money during those difficult times. So when I found out that I had cancer, I left behind my beloved American life to go back to my native France.

“If I ever got cancer, I would immediately go back to France.”

This is what I would always say to myself whenever I was upset or felt a little homesick. It was meant as a joke. After all, I was in my early thirties, was healthy and living the American dream to the fullest. But even though I could not imagine my life anywhere else other than in San Francisco (where I had already spent nine years), I knew that a life-threatening illness could put a serious dent in one’s budget. Little did I know then that this dreadful hypothetical would present itself to me.

I was in France when I received my cancer diagnosis and suddenly there was no other place where I wanted to be. I needed to be near my family and surrounded by people who spoke my native language. I was terrified and felt like a little girl, so I needed reassurance and the absolute certainty that I would understand every single word that would be thrown my way. But more importantly I wanted to use any and all resources I could to receive the best care through the most affordable avenue possible.

Because I am a French citizen, I was still covered by the French healthcare system. Being a welfare state that spends 56% of GDP on public spending, my higher tax rate translated into 70 percent of all my medical bills being reimbursable by France and my private insurance picked up the remaining 30 percent. The French state has more control and a commitment to transparency that affords them greater bargaining power to keep prices low.

Even though I didn’t have the “carte vitale” — the country’s method of payment for State medical expenses that provides automatic reimbursement — I was still qualified for the coverage. My only catch was that I had to pay the costs upfront, but even then, France’s medical payers system allowed me to get my reimbursement within five to ten business days. Also in France, the sicker you are the more coverage you get. So if you have a long-term illness that requires a long treatment such as cancer, all the costs for surgeries and therapies are picked up by the government. As long as I followed my doctor’s orders I did not have to spend a dime, whether it was for a medical appointment or a cab ride to the hospital.

Only the expenses that were deemed “sources of comfort,” like the wigs or an individual room, were not totally covered, but then again most of them were paid by my private insurance. And after a full year of treatment I do not believe that I have paid more than $400 from my own pocket.

I was also considered an “absolute priority” patient and thus did not have to wait for any examinations. I had a biopsy the day after my gynecologist found a suspicious lump in my breast and the surgery to remove the tumor took place barely two weeks after I was diagnosed with cancer.

A real first-rate system, yes, but the French system is first and foremost the most humane! It is regaled by the World Health Organization as the “close to best overall health care” in the world. For me, it is still almost too good to be true. When my doctor gave me the all clear I told her that having been unproductive for so long, it was high time for me to start paying my due to society. But she didn’t laugh with me. She told me in a matter-of-fact voice that “Our health care system may be expensive and the taxes raised to maintain it may be high, but seeing people as young as you getting a second chance makes it totally worth it.”

Fighting cancer is never a walk in the park, so not having to think about money during this difficult period was an enormous gift. I feel very blessed to have been able to focus on one thing only: my well-being.

Photo courtesy of Gianluca Cosetta.

JULIEN DORÉ WORTHY HEIR TO SERGE GAINSBOURG’S THRONE

Julien Doré est de retour…Tous les détails sont dans Riviera Buzz. Julien Doré is back…All the details are in Riviera Buzz.

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French heartthrob Julien Doré will be wooing his Riviera fans next March when he plays the Palais Nikaïa in Nice.

When it comes to creativity, the French musical scene has been enjoying a rich harvest over the last few years. From Daft Punk and Phoenix, who have already conquered the world with their electronic sound, and from Christine and the Queens to Jain whose first efforts are currently topping European charts, there has been no shortage of talent and originality.

ut if one had to choose the name of just one artist who perfectly symbolizes this renewed success of the “Chanson française”, it would probably be that of Julien Doré.

With his playful approach to music, his poetic lyrics, his crooning vocals and his good looks, the young singer/songwriter – he is only 34 – is the current undisputed king of French pop for fans and critics alike.

Born and raised near Nîmes, in the South of France, Julien is the great-great-great nephew of Gustave Doré, famed illustrator of the literary works of the likes of Balzac, Milton, Cervantes and Dante. After attending the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he founded two Indie rock bands before auditioning for Nouvelle Star, the Gallic version of Pop Idol, where his memorable reinventions of French, British and American classics led him to a resounding victory.

Since then, Doré’s first three albums, Ersatz, Bichon, and Løve, have produced many hits, such as Les Limites, First Lady, Paris-Seychelles and On attendra l’hiver, and the brand new one, &, which he recorded in his family’s chalet in Saint-Martin-Vésubie, promises to be as successful, if not more. The first extract from the album, Le Lac, has been the song of the last few months, thanks to the catchy lyrics and the video, which sees Doré dancing with Pamela Anderson by a lake.

His wacky music videos also contribute to what makes the singer so popular. In Les Limites, he was boogieing with a burlesque star holding a chicken, while Catherine Deneuve made a cameo appearance on roller skates in Les Figures Imposées.

As one of the heirs of the great Serge Gainsbourg, Julien Doré is definitively keeping the tradition of colourful pop music thriving in France and his 2015 Victoire de la Musique for best artist of the year will undoubtedly be followed by many more awards.

Julien Doré plays the Palais Nikaïa in Nice on Thursday, 23rd of March 2017 at 8:00 pm. Tickets range in price from 32 € to 49 € and can be purchased through all the usual outlets or booked online.

CONTACT DETAILS
Palais Nikaïa
163, boulevard du Mercantour
06200 Nice

Tel: +33 4 92 29 31 29

MEET THE HAND THAT FEEDS AT YOUR LOCAL HIVE

Une belle initiative pour manger sain. A nice initiative to eat healthy!

A pop-up farmer’s market in Nice with an online approach to selling produce is proving to be a hugely popular initiative.

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As the weeks pass, the lines of people waiting in front of Nice’s main station of a Thursday evening to receive their order of fresh fruit and vegetables are getting longer … a sure sign of success for what is probably the best food initiative of the last few years, La ruche qui dit oui! (The Hive that Says Yes!)

Created in Toulouse by culinary designer Guilhem Chéron and web project manager Marc-David Choukroun, this food assembly movement is a connected sales network, where local customers can buy quality produce directly from farmers in their region. This is done through an online platform which sets out details of the food-buying hubs, the “hives”, made up of farmers, dairies, bakers and so on, that are all based within a 100 mile radius.

Customers sign up for free and select their local hive. Each week, they can browse each producer’s personalised web page and select their items. Once their order has been placed and paid for, they receive a confirmation number and all they have to do is to turn up at the allotted time and place to collect their goods from the producers themselves.

Easy to use for customers and financially beneficial for sellers who receive a pre-tax turnover four times better than what they would receive from a supermarket chain, these pop-up markets are first and foremost a way to cut out the middlemen in order to offer organic food at a reasonable price. Customers can also get all they need at one single place while producers no longer need to spend long hours at a market not knowing how much they’ll sell. For everyone involved, it is a great way to meet face to face and create a community through food.

The movement is showing no signs of slowing down and has already spread to many other European countries, including the U.K. where it won the Best British Food Initiative at the BBC Food and Farming Awards in 2015, for “making a positive difference to how and what Britain eats, and is showing the Industry the way forward”. As for the Riviera, no less than 12 hives have been set up so far from Grasse to Beausoleil.

 

Image courtesy La ruche qui dit oui!

 

MARILYN MONROE PHOTO EXHIBITION UNDERWAY IN AIX

Eternelle Marilyn! Eternal Marilyn!

Between glamour and tragedy, a new photo exhibition in Aix-en-Provence shows how Marilyn Monroe fashioned her legendary image.

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In the mind of many people around the world, she was the ultimate sex-symbol, and decades after her death, it is undeniable that her image still remains closely linked to the golden years of Hollywood and the American Dream. And because Marilyn Monroe loved the camera and was loved in return by photographers, the Hôtel de Caumont in Aix-en-Provence is now celebrating the glamorous icon with a beautiful exhibition entitled ‘Marilyn – I Wanna Be Loved By You’. The exhibition runs until next Spring.

 

Curated by Sylvie Lécallier, head of photo collections at the Palais Galliera in Paris, and Olivier Lorquin president of the Musée Maillol in Paris, this event presents some sixty photographs, mostly on loan from private collectors. The photographs were taken by some of the most famous artists of her day, such as André de Dienes, Milton Greene, Eve Arnold, Cecil Beaton, Sam Shaw, and George Barris, as well as numerous multimedia materials, showing how the actress skillfully managed to create her own legend.

From a very young age, Marilyn had developed a strong interest in photography, devouring movie magazines to escape her sad childhood, and through the lens, we see her transforming herself from a shy starlet named Norma Jean to the sex goddess that so perfectly captured the collective imagination.

As for the blonde bombshell, posing for photographers was not only a way to enter a fantasy world in which she played a role, it also became, towards the end of her life, her only mean to set aside the fictional character she had created and show her true self. For a long time, she was seen as the embodiment of the ideal woman, beautiful beyond words and seductive, but also slightly dumb and uneducated. But through the years, she started cultivating her interest in poetry, art, and literature, reading many books, and marrying writer and intellectual Arthur Miller. And at the same time, thanks to the trustful relationship she had with photographers, she came to give a glimpse of who the real Marilyn was; a seductive and playful diva, yes, but also a fragile and vulnerable woman.

This will to control her image is clearly evident at the end of the exhibition, when on the contact sheets of “The Last Sitting”, the photo shoot the star did with Bert Stern just six weeks before her death, the pictures she did not like are simply crossed out.

‘Marilyn, I Wanna Be Loved By You’ runs until the 1st of May, 2017 at l’Hôtel de Caumont in Aix-en-Provence. Open every day from 10 am to 6 pm. Regular ticket costs 13€, and reservations may be made online.

CONTACT DETAILS
Hôtel de Caumont
3, rue Joseph Cabassol
13100 Aix-en-Provence

Tel: +33 4 42 20 70 01

 

LUCKY LUKE TURNS 70 THIS AUTUMN

Une étape importante à célébrer!  An important milestone to celebrate!

Lucky Luke is turning 70 this year, and with nearly 80 adventures under his belt, he’s definitely looking good for his age!

The lonesome cowboy Lucky Luke is back this November with a new addition to the classic series, La Terre Promise (The Promised Land), which sees the comic strip hero help a Jewish family settle in the Wild West.

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Created by Belgian cartoonist Maurice de Bevere (aka Morris), Lucky Luke first appeared in the Almanach issue of the famed comic book Spirou,before shifting to Pilote magazine after Asterix’s legendary father, René Goscinny, started collaborating on the albums. Since then, many big names of the 9th Art have been carrying out the work of Morris and today, it is French illustrator Achdé who is at the helm of the series with, for the first time this year, the help of scriptwriter Jul.

Despite all those changes, our cowboy remains a true legend in the world of comics. Known as “the man who shoots faster than his shadow” because of his tremendous speed with the gun, Luke has been cruising through the Far West all those years with his faithful companion, Jolly Jumper, the brightest horse in the world, and his somewhat way less intelligent canine friend, Rantanplan, fighting crime. His most recurring foes are the Dalton Brothers who he has put behind bars countless times, but our hero has also run into Billy the Kid, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill, Jack London, Abraham Lincoln, and many other well-known historical personalities.

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This time, in La Terre Promise, our hero is being asked by his friend, Jack, to look after his family since he doesn’t want to confess to them that he is a cowboy and not a New York lawyer. So Luke has to travel with a very religious grandfather, a mother who insists on feeding him stuffed fish, a daughter in search of the ideal husband, and a young boy more interested in the game of poker than in his bar mitzvah.

So, Happy Birthday cowboy, and here’s to many more wild adventures to come!

 

All images courtesy Lucky Luke Comics on Twitter

FOR THE LOVE OF DANCE: MONACO CELEBRATES ITS BALLET COMPANIES

Deux expositions pour le prix d’une cet automne à Monaco. Two exhibitions for the price of one this fall in Monaco.

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Two exhibitions currently underway at the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco highlight the important role played by dance in reinforcing Monaco’s standing on the international cultural scene.

It is undeniable that the history of Monaco is closely linked to that of dance. From Serge Diaghilev’s famed Ballets Russes, which revolutionized ballet at the beginning of the 20th century with its fusion of art, movement and music, to the modern-day Ballets de Monte-Carlo who are in high demand worldwide thanks to the avant-gardist works of his artistic director Jean-Christophe Maillot, the tiny principality boasts a long tradition of excellence and innovation in the field of choreography.

Two exhibitions currently underway at the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco serve to reiterate the influence of dance on the Monegasque cultural scene.

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The first one “Designing Dreams, a celebration of Leon Bakst”, which is running until the 15th of January at the Villa Sauber is bringing into focus the creations of stage-designer Leon Bakst who designed sets and costumes for the Ballets Russes in the 1910’s and early 1920’s. Drawing his inspiration from the ancient cultures of Greece, Persia and Siam but also from Russian folk art, Bask managed to perfectly combine the atmosphere of Slavonic orientalism with a more modern style. Famous for his love for bright colours and his extravagant designs with refined details, the artist’s sets and designs were definitively a huge part of the success of Diagilev’s productions, such as Cleopatra (1909), Scheherazade (1910); Narcisse (1911) andDaphnis and Chloé (1912).

In total, more than 150 drawings, models, and costumes from the collection of the museum itself and from the permanent repository of the Société des Bains de Mer, as well as works by artists such as Jean Cocteau, Valentine Hugo and George Barbier, who contributed to the diffusion of the famous “Art Décoratif de Leon Bakst”,are displayed in a unique scenography inspired by the concept of dreams.

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Simultaneously, the Villa Paloma is plunging visitors into the exciting world of choreographic creations. Inaugurated last September by H.R.H. Caroline of Hanover, the “Dance, Dance, Dance exhibit is a three-phase projects that focuses on body movements and different rhythms, from rehearsal to public performances. It thus includes various live performances but also a workshop that brings together dancers, choreographers and stage designers as well as many debates on the multifaceted aspects of this art.

Designing Dreams, a Celebration of Leon Bakst runs until the 15th of January, 2017.
Dance, Dance, Dance runs until the 8th of January, 2017.

 

The museum is open every day from 10am until 6pm. Closed on the 1st of January, 2017. A ticket for both villas costs 6€.

 

CONTACT DETAILS

NMNM – VILLA PALOMA
56, boulevard du Jardin Exotique
98000 Monaco

Tel: +377 98 98 48 60

 

NMNM – VILLA SAUBER

17, avenue Princesse Grace
98000 Monaco

Tel: +377 98 98 91 26

 

All images courtesy NMNM

MARION COTILLARD SHINES IN ROMANTIC DRAMA SET IN PROVENCE

Un beau film qui se passe en Provence. A beautiful movie set in Provence.

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Marion Cotillard’s latest offering sees her star in an old-fashioned romantic drama set in the lavender fields of Provence.

Academy award-wining actress Marion Cotillard is no stranger to strong, complicated, and deeply troubled characters. After all, she became famous the world over for her brilliant performance as the legendary singer Edith Piaf in “La vie en rose”, before playing Leonardo DiCaprio’s dead wife who comes back to haunt his dreams in “Inception”. She was therefore the obvious choice to portray a young woman yearning for sexual fulfillment in the adaptation of Milena Agus’s bestseller “Mal de Pierres (From the Land of the Moon), directed by Nicole Garcia.

In this period film set in the 1950’s, Cotillard plays Gabrielle, the wild child of a lavender farmer whose nymphomaniac outbursts are a constant embarrassment for her family. After exhibiting herself naked one evening to a group of workers, her mother threatens to send her to the madhouse if she doesn’t consent to an arranged marriage to Jose, a poor Spanish bricklayer (played by Alex Brendemühl). Unable to answer her husband’s needs, she agrees to let him find satisfaction elsewhere. Gabrielle basically lives like a prisoner bound by the constraints imposed by society, but she will get a break when she is sent away to a hospital in Switzerland to have treatment for kidney stones. There, she meets André Sauvage (played by Louis Garrel), a dashing young lieutenant who has been injured during the Indochina war, and finally experiences the love and passions she has been longing for.

Relocated from Sardinia to the South of France, Mal de Pierres is a deeply moving story of a woman in love with the notion of love. It offers Marion Cotillard another showcase role, but the actress is not the only one to shine in this languid, yet intense movie. Both Garel and Brendemulh give strong performances and the shots of both Provence and the Swiss Alps are simply sumptuous, while the story has a really interesting twist. This beautiful crafted drama has all the ingredients to be a real crowd pleaser.

Image via Allociné

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

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

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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”.

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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

Depeche Mode arrive à Nice…Tous les détails dans Riviera Buzz. Depeche Mode is coming to Nice…All the details are in Riviera Buzz.

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Some things never seem to go out of fashion and while decades may pass, Depeche Mode’s career is showing no signs of slowing down.

2017 is indeed going to be a busy year for Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher, who are not only planning to release a new record in the spring, Spirit (their 14th studio album), but also to embark on an European tour from May to July to support said album.

Definitely great news for both lifelong fans and new aficionados on the French Riviera, who will have a chance to see the UK band live when they stop at the Stade Charles Ehrmann in Nice on the 12th of May.

While we can expect to hear such classic hits as “People Are People”,Master and Servant”,Enjoy the Silence”, and “Personal Jesus”, the synthpop heavyweights will also be playing songs from their new offering, which is being produced by James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco (Foal, Artic Monkeys) and reportedly features additional programming from techno star, Matrixxman.

It will be a follow-up to their 2013’s Delta Machine, which was produced by Ben Hillier, and to their upcoming Video Singles Collection, a career-spanning anthology of music videos and comments that is due next month. Not bad for a band that has been around since 1980!

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Famous for their dark, electro sound that propelled them to global success, Depeche Mode is still one of the most influential groups in the world today, having sold more than 100 million records over the years. They have even been hailed as “the most popular electronic band the world has ever known” by Q magazine, and as “one of the greatest British pop groups of all time” by the Sunday Telegraph.

With this exciting event, the upcoming musical season in Nice is definitely off to a great start!

Depeche Mode plays the Stade Charles Ehrmann in Nice on Friday, 12th of May 2017 at 7:45pm. Tickets go on sale on the 14th of October and range in price from 62 € to 89.50 € and can be purchased through all the usual outlets or booked online.

CONTACT DETAILS
Stade Charles Ehrmann
155, boulevard du Mercantour
06200 Nice

LOIE FULLER GETS SECOND CHANCE AT FAME IN THE DANCER

Un bel hommage à Loie Fuller! A beautiful tribute to Loie Fuller!

A new movie pays tribute to Loie Fuller, a woman who was once the toast of the Belle Époque cabarets of Paris.

Most people seem to remember the San Francisco-born Isadora Duncan, the embodiment of nature and the ancient Greeks, who died in Nice in 1927 when the enormous silk scarf she was wearing got tangled in the rear hubcaps of her open car. Few however seem to remember her fellow countrywoman and contemporary, Loie Fuller, whose ‘serpentine dance’ took Paris and then the world by storm at the turn of the century.

Thankfully, a recent French movie, Stéphanie Di Giusto’s directorial debut, The Dancer, is setting the record straight, paying tribute to Fuller, who was admired by the likes of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the Lumière Brothers, and Auguste Rodin.

The beautifully crafted 19th-century drama premiered earlier this year in Un Certain Regard at Cannes, and opened last week throughout France. It offers a fictionalized account of the rise and fall of Loie Fuller, from her childhood in the mid-west to her much acclaimed performance at the Paris Opera. Portrayed by French musician-turned-actress, Soko, Fuller is mesmerizing as she whirls and twirls among hundreds of yards of silk, her arms extended by long wooden rods, until her whole body disappears into a storm of shifting shapes, be they butterflies or flowers. The American pioneer was a master of theatrical artifice and modern technology, and Di Giusto manages to turn Fuller’s iconic pieces into sumptuous dance sequences.

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The artist’s downfall, however, came when she encountered Isadora Duncan, who first saw her perform at the 1900 Universal Exposition. Both women were seen as polar opposites. Indeed, while one was perceived as androgynous, hard-working, and always experimenting with the latest lighting effects, the other was seen as highly feminine, romantic, and waiting for divine inspiration.

In The Dancer, Duncan is played by Lily-Rose Depp, the daughter of Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp, who dazzles in her first big role. The high-profile international cast also includes Gaspard Ulliel (Saint Laurent), Melanie Thierry (The Zero Theorem),Francois Damiens (Heartbreaker), and Louis-Do du Lencquesaing (Taj Mahal).