Le Pitchoun is a free guide about the shops, bars, hairdressing salons, restaurants,...on the Riviera and more particularly in Nice.
You'll usually find it in public places, sometimes you'll see the volunteer students who create it distribute it in the streets, and if you can't find any (and you speak French), you'll find most of the infos online.
I think it is very useful and honest (the volunteers act as mystery shoppers to test the places) and if you've got the paper version, you also get a card that can get you some deductions or bonuses. http://www.pitchoun.com/
Socca - a local delicacy
Socca is a large pancake made of chick pea flour, olive oil and black pepper. It is shaped into a large thin pancake and is cooked in a very hot oven. There are a lot of kiosks , cafes and restaurants that sell socca. There are many recipes online if you want to try this yourself. One of them is http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/512747. For a tip on where to eat socca, see my "restaurant tips".
Before you leave on a trip (no matter how long you'll be away), do list the complete contents in your luggage (that's EVERYTHING... including your make-up, books and medications). If you can, try and Carry a photo of your suitcase as well as a description of it (i.e. make, type, etc.). Should your bag be lost or stolen, you'll have everything you need with you in order to expedite a claim.
My rule of thumb is to take enough clothes for one week OR for the length of the trip PLUS two days, whichever is shorter.
Try to take different colors of shirts/blouses; mixing and matching might fool people into thinking you brought more clothes than you did. That's the whole idea, isn't it?
If you are going on an extended trip, pick one color and stick with it... like say black. If you are part of the Generation X (ahem!).... REJOICE!
Why? Because black travels very well. You can get ketchup stains all over
your black jeans or coffee stains on your black t-shirt... and nobody will ever notice! Just make sure they don't stand too close to you to catch a whiff of the... er... Well, I'm sure you know what I mean! :-))
And lastly, I've learnt from my well-traveled and well-heeled buddies/ colleagues over the years to ALWAYS roll your clothes when packing.... and you'd never have to worry about ironing again when you reach your destination!
But how do the clothes stay rolled up, you wonder?
Here's another trick I've picked up: Just cut off the legs of old panty hose. Put your hand inside one of the cut-off legs, grab that rolled up t-shirt and pull it through. And, Voila! My things stay rolled up like assorted sausages.... I ALWAYS, ALWAYS bring along at least 2 camaras with me... just in case one breaks down. My friends used to laugh at me.... until their one and only camera broke down. When when they have to RELY SOLELY on me and my amateurish photographic skills, they stopped laughing. Yes, immediately. Serve them right! :-)) If you are going to do lots of walking and sightseeing, do remember to put the following items into your tote bag or backpack: Maps and perhaps a French phrase book, your all-important Guidebook, water bottle, sunglasses.... etc.
DON'T forget to bring along your much-treasured ATM card to withdraw cash. Yes, no need to rush to the
money-changers to change all your money into French Francs before your trip.
And DON'T use your Visa or Mastercard to withdraw cash. This is considered a CASH ADVANCE and you'd be slapped with a HEFTY fee whereas if you were to use YOUR own ATM card, you will NOT be charged for any fees.
In fact, you WILL benefit and enjoy from the low interbank exchange rates. Trust me (I used to work for an American bank).
Just ensure that you adhere to the following steps:
(1) Flip to the back of your local ATM card, do you see the logos 'Cirrus', 'Plus', 'The
Exchange' etc. on it?
(2) If the answer is 'yes', then you have absolutely nothing to worry about!
(3) Why? Because you can withdraw cash from any ATM machines in France and Monaco, no matter how obscure the town you're at is.
(4) If you use this method, you'd also save alot from the interbank exchange rates. Money changers will charge you much, much more compared to a bank.
I've been using this method countless of times before and so far, no ATM machines in this world have failed me.... yet. Yes, even in the remotest village of Africa!
Have a great trip!
Photo Below: Antibes again... A lovely, lovely town.
'There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.' - Nelson Mandela
Queen Victoria's favourite destination: Cimiez
Take the Bus No 22 from Place Massena to Cimiez. See the monastery with its fine views over Nice, and then walk back towards Nice (downhill - thats why you take the bus up!) through the area of Nice that was the favourite of Queen Victoria and British royalty at the turn of the century - Cimiez. La Regina is now upmarket apartments.
All around are streets named after the Victorian royal family - Rue de Prince des Galles, for example - populated with grand villas. Also there are the ruins and antiquities where the Nice Jazz Festival is held each year.
A short walk brings you to the impressive Musee Matisse, and a grove of olive trees, where you can sit a while
the definitive name in French luxury goods
Should be titled 'a scarf costs HOW much'?
Hermes (pronounced 'er-mezz', with a French accent) is a world-recognised leader in luxury goods. Originating as saddlers in Paris, many of the newer designs still reflect the equine beginnings.
Under the recently appointed artistic director, Jean Paul Gaultier, it will be interesting to see how he exerts his personality onto the new range.
Hermes in Nice is on avenue de Verdun behind the Albert 1er Gardens just around the corner from rue Paradis and very much at home alongside all the other designer shops here.
OK, it IS expensive but have you noticed how chic those French women look ? have another look - they accessorise nearly all their outfits with a scarf, tied beautifully and the scarf is from, well, you've guessed it. If you can brook the expense, one luxury item that is perfect and will last a lifetime (you WILL take care of it at that cost!) is good value. The French may get a few things wrong, but their sense of style is beyond reproach. Theirs is a motto of 'less is more' and they apply this philosophy to their outfits (though not to the prices!) Scarves mainly. Hermes is very fashionable at the moment, a fact over which the staff are slightly disparaging; Hermes has always been a classic name in France and rises above the vagaries of fashion. Anyway, it IS popular right now and their classic handbags, the Kelly (Grace) and the larger Birkin (Jane) both have several years' waiting lists. And at several thousand euros a bag, you need this time to save up. (Either that or hot-foot it to Ventimiglia market in Italy on a Friday morning where you can pick up a decent copy for under 200 euros) tip: try www.bagladies.co.uk too.
In Hermes, you can also buy ready to wear clothes for men and women plus leather goods, jewellery, shoes, towels, beachwear and perfume. The new perfume for women, 'eau de Merveilles' is rather good actually (hope the husband reads this)
The staff in Hermes are always very helpful and friendly and will spread out any number of scarves to admire with no pushiness. You do need to have the scarves spread out to take in the designs. There is a very clever one at the moment (in the window but I don't know for how long) called 'cheval surprise' - horses theme again. An apparently random pattern contains about 15 horses, some with riders, and you can start to pick them out after a while. This design has a few different colour variations and comes in scarves, pareos (sarongs) and even some of the clothes.
I am sure you will find something covetable here. Have a look, they don't mind if you do not buy. The sales are good in Hermes, although in Nice, the scarves are never in the sale -they don't need to be. Sales are in January and July and the you may pick up a bargain in the clothes, shoes and gloves section. It's worth buying clothes out of season as they will be life-time classics. Leave something for me though!
The website below allows a very small number of Hermes items to be bought on the internet in the USA only. It is useful though as a store locator and to see some of the designs and colour ranges in the scarves and ties. Anyway, briefly, you are here to admire and buy the scarves which come in silk, cotton, chiffon and pleated silk. Silk squares come in two sizes, the smaller one (about 100 euros) for neck and handbag, the larger one (about 280 euros) is more versatile and can even be tied cleverly into a summer top. 'Twillies' which are a new-ish idea, are small, silk, tie-shaped scarves that go around the neck, wrist or handbag or hair and are fairly reasonably priced, about 70 euros. They make delightful presents as they come in a miniature hat box in the Hermes signature orange and tied with the signature brown ribbon. It would be very easy to take one home as a present, even in hand luggage; imagine the pleasure you will be giving...I have to say that I am always VERY grateful to my gorgeous husband when he has treated me. (all those cheap meals in the Old Town do pay off eventually!)