Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pink Parade 2012

Events of all kinds took place this past weekend in the French Riviera to celebrate Pride and the 9th annual Pink Parade.

The support for the LGBT Community was overwhelmingly fantastic!  Gay, Straight, Bisexual…whoever you are, everyone joined in the celebrations for how far things have come and a strong message was sent out as to how much more still needs to be done in terms of same sex rights, etc.

Reports from the media are that the Pink Parade held in Nice on June 16, 2012 drew up to 5000 participants, but organizers and friends say that number was more like 10,000 people.


I’ve mentioned this before but what I really like about this type of parade is the community spirit involved, the people at the Pink Parades are not just enjoying the floats and activities from the sidelines but are also active participants throughout the parade route itself.

Instead of just watching a parade, the people are the parade!

People of all ages, backgrounds and sexual preferences were united for the same causes.

Another thing that I think is wonderful is how the various gay and gay-friendly businesses got together and instead of building their own floats showing their individual business support, it was not uncommon to see two, even three businesses all sharing one float.

This wasn’t done just for the Pink Parade either, many nightclubs had cross-promotional events supporting one another throughout the weekend from one end of the region to the other,  and it was usually done also to support many LGBT associations such as the EGL (Establishment of the Gays & Lesbians of the Cote d’Azur).


LGBT Community Centre


By all accounts, it sounds like the whole weekend was a great success!  Everyone should be very proud!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gossip Bar

If you are in Nice and happen to be walking in the area between Place Garibaldi and the port, you will likely stumble upon a business painted a striking yet gorgeous shade of red with matching awnings by the name of Gossip Bar.

Gossip Bar is a very gay-friendly establishment located in the heart of the ever popular "le petit Marais" district of Nice at: 7 rue Bonaparte

Actually, it should be noted that the owners of Gossip Bar are the ones who came up with calling the area, "le petit Marais".  It started as a private joke, which eventually ended up in newspapers, locally first, then national and now international.

Gossip Bar really stands out, every time I am in the area I cannot help but to be drawn to it.  One of the many things I like about Gossip Bar is if I’m looking for a place to take a break from my venturing around during the day, I can just relax and have a drink at one of their sidewalk tables and am still able to people watch.  But the difference here is I am watching the locals go about their day as the area doesn’t seem to be overrun with tourists which can be a welcome change.

During the evening Gossip Bar is very much alive.  Not only is it intimately lit inside and its interiors infused with even more touches of red here and there, but the space seems to cast off a wonderful glow that illuminates out on to the street where people also continue to socialize on a beautiful night.

Friends and I have stopped by to take part in the vibrant atmosphere, usually on a whim for drinks and a bite to eat and have ended up staying until closing.  Here we know we will get great service from an exceptional and well trained staff, and there is so much to choose from on the delicious and varied menu, along with the drinks that are nothing short of spectacular!  I’m not one to drink mojito’s but their special mojito’s are out of this world!

Gossip Bar is full of life yet it is also one of those places where you could go with someone special.  Just find a cozy corner in which to have a wonderful dinner or choose to get to know the people at the tables around you and enjoy the evening together making new friends.

Another thing I like about Gossip Bar is how it is truly supported by the locals, it is not unusual to see other recognizable LGBT business owners in the community having something to eat, drink and perhaps sharing a laugh with a friend.

Gossip Bar Nice

Gossip Bar is open seven days a week from morning until late at night.
  It’s that popular, it’s that good, and it’s that much fun!

As of 2018 Gossip Bar has now closed.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

HI Beach & HI Hotel (as of April 2017 now Spity Hotel)

On yet another glorious, sunny day in the South of France, I met a friend for lunch at HI Beach along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, which is part of HI Hotel, a very short walk away.

HI Beach

It was another one of those beautiful days in the French Riviera where life doesn’t seem to come with a rush attached to it.

As if the beach and breeze from the stunning blue sea wasn’t enough, the restaurant setting at HI Beach is wonderfully inviting and relaxed.

My friend and I were seated in a cozy little cabana area and next to us were people in lounge chairs tanning and going for the occasional swim in the sea.  If you wanted, you could even go for a professional massage in one of the huts at the end of HI Beach or do some yoga.  

By the way, this is also one of the other gay-friendly beaches in Nice so expect to see some eye candy.

The service at HI Beach was prompt and the choice of drinks available were conceived by the restaurant in such a way that they could enhance whatever mood you were in or going for, you could have a concoction made to naturally zap you with some extra energy or a special blend to keep you calm and confident throughout the rest of your day.

The food was also a total match.  I had a seafood salad (thinking waistline), it was scrumptious and filling, it seemed simple yet intricate, and was uniquely presented on the plate.  I thoroughly enjoyed the lunch; it was all very fresh and organic.

One of the many other things I appreciated about HI Beach is that there is never a feeling that you needed to hurry and place your order, eat, drink and then get out, and this makes for a nice way to spend some time with a friend.  HI Beach is also very adaptable for a variety of events; space can be made for large groups for lunch or cleared for a dance area at night.

You really must experience HI Beach.

While we were enjoying lunch, my friend was surprised to find out I had never been inside the HI Hotel before.  I remember when the hotel first came on the scene in Nice, and heard about the fun parties held inside the hotel and on the rooftop, but for some reason I had never been.

Fortunately my friend was quickly able to get us a tour, so of course I went for it, having heard about the hotel’s daring design features forever, I wasn’t going to pass this up.

HI Hotel

After leaving HI Beach, we walked a couple of blocks to HI Hotel located at: 3 avenue des Fleurs.  I like this part of the city; it’s a real neighborhood without the suburban feel.  It’s quiet, close to everything you would need and not overrun with tourists, and of course, by the beach.  There’s even a charming park a couple of buildings away from the hotel, which I adore.

As we walked into the hotel the staff greeted us with genuine smiles, they were very welcoming and attentive.  I loved the whole idea behind this concept style hotel right away, the natural flow of the lobby, use of color and the large glass windows behind the reception that looked on to an outdoor terrace area that seemed very serene.

In conversation with the staff I was told that HI Hotel is a gay-friendly, seven story, 4-star hotel, with the eighth floor being the rooftop terrace area that has an outdoor pool, and that each floor of HI Hotel has different types of rooms of which to choose from to suit your needs, design tastes, and mood.  I was curious to see more.

One thing I noticed right away, and my friend remarked on it too, was the engaging scent as we toured the hotel.  The aroma wasn’t overwhelming, just subtle, awakening, real and almost sensual.  Turns out it is part of their eco-friendly products line infused throughout the air system but only in the communal areas so don’t worry about it being overpowering in your hotel room.

Eco-friendly is not just a buzzword that is thrown around here.  HI Hotel is serious about it, and it is integrated throughout the hotel in such items as bathing products, cleaning products, bicycles available for guests to use, and even in the wooden utensils in the restaurant area, to name just a few.

HI Hotel also has a spa called HI Body, where every aspect of you is taken care of with a variety of personal packages to choose from.

As we made our way into the heart of the hotel, near the outdoor terrace, we were shown the very spacious Happy Bar that has many uses, you can eat from the self-service canteen in here, have a small meeting in the seating areas, and in the evenings the whole mood is enhanced by various types of events that take place with the DJ’s on the turntables in the upper loft.

This is truly the gathering place of HI Hotel.  And if you needed more space to book a meeting, the hotel has a conference room available.

Each floor in the hotel was certainly an experience to tour, being told ahead of time that HI Hotel has nine different concept rooms to choose from for the 38 rooms they have was intriguing to me.

As we were shown the types of rooms available, I’m sure I was repeating myself to the others by saying, ”I like this one.  Wait, I like this one!”  As I honestly could not make up my mind on which room I liked best, I really did like them all, they each offered everything I would want or need, and in visualizing a stay, they suited my every mood with their cool color choices and layouts.

The rooms are all more than decent-sized with large beds and unique bathroom features, you can see that use of space is very important in the design concepts here.  The rooms are clutter-free and have every convenience you could want, free Wi-Fi, safe, air conditioning, flat screen TV, etc.

If I was to book a room at HI Hotel and wanted something a little extra special, I would recommend the White & White room as it feels like your own world in which to draw inspiration from, this type of room is completely white, with your own spiral staircase that leads to your own private rooftop terrace and Jacuzzi.

Nearing the end of the tour, we made our way to the roof and what has to be one of the most absolutely breathtaking views in Nice amongst all the historic architecture, the sea and hillsides!

A total 360 view with the pool smack dab in the middle of the rooftop surrounded by an incredible area to lounge, suntan or lunch if you choose. This is truly a feast for the eyes and what a way to end the tour.

With HI Hotel and HI Beach, this is obviously a popular destination hotel where your every need is catered too, not only on the outside but the inside too.  Book early!