Tuesday, August 7, 2012

La Petite Plage

If you happen to be in Juan-les-Pins, and are looking for a place to eat and perhaps have some drinks, one place I’ve been to a several times already is La Petite Plage.   Set along the seafront, this gay-friendly beach restaurant certainly draws in a crowd; in fact it’s so popular that it is open year round.

La Petite Plage
La Petite Plage can easily be found along Boulevard Guillaumont, amongst the other seaside restaurants close to rue Saint-Honorat.
Stepping off the busy boardwalk down into the restaurant area, you will find yourself on the main terrace being welcomed by genuine smiles coming from the gorgeous staff, and beyond that is the beach where sunbathers are enjoying a drink while they lounge in the sun, with the gentle sea lapping practically at their feet.

As evening sets in the lounge chairs are neatly stacked away and tables are set up on the actual beach and all the tables in the restaurant are decorated with candles making for a very romantic atmosphere, especially as you are watching the sun set.
It seems no matter what time of day or night you arrive, this restaurant is very beach chic, this is not some little shanty trying to make it through the high season, yet you’ll find Le Petite Plage won’t break your bank account either.

I’ve been told that sometimes there will be a DJ spinning off to the side to add to the beachside experience and it’s certainly easy enough to figure out who owns La Petite Plage as the charming, handsome owner (with an extremely hot son) also likes to play a selection of music from time to time.
The menu selection is vast and varied, and although I’m not what you would consider a ‘foodie’, there seemed to be a lot of delicious items to choose from, along with the daily suggested menu, the food comes with a bit of a twist too, as a friend of mine had a hamburger but it had sautéed foie gras on top of the burger.  Really, everything we ate was wonderful and filling.

The same goes for the selection of drinks, we enjoyed our wine but one evening a couple of friends were changing up their drink choices and my mouth still waters visualizing the Pina Coladas they ordered at one point.
It’s been some time since I have seen staff work so hard to maintain and keep the flow of a restaurant going, on my first visit I immediately noticed the staff all had these super tight bodies and I just took that to be what it can be like on the French Riviera with many people being fit and into the outdoors, I also noticed how cheerful they all were, constantly on top of things and helpful.

The second visit confirmed it for me, taking care of the guest needs at each table, especially those staff working on the beach would get you toned legs in no time, add to that carrying the trays to and from the kitchen would totally work out your upper body.  These boys were tight!  And I’ve got to say, the women were hot as well!
A sign to me that a restaurant must doing well is when I see a consistent flow of patrons and those patrons are leaving with a smile on their face.  At La Petite Plage they don’t treat you like a tourist who will go to their restaurant once and that is it, this is a family run business and they treat you like you are a guest at their home, it’s more personal.

There is something wonderful about being in the French Riviera, spending time at a great restaurant and seeing groups of people laughing and chatting away, yet it is also nice when there is room for couples to enjoy an intimate meal and drinks.
All this and more you can experience for  yourself at La Petite Plage.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


From all the years of being a part of the French Riviera, I’m surprised I have never really explored Juan-les-Pins, a small city along the sea that can easily be found and accessed between Nice and Cannes.  I used to pass by it on the train a million times and would sometimes think of stopping in and venturing around but of course every excuse would come up as to why I couldn’t make the time.


The other night though a friend suggested that we go into Juan-les-Pins and she would show me where she used to live and we’d wonder around and go for drinks and a meal somewhere.
As we were entering the area I was in love with what I was seeing right away, the quaint shops, lively people, the way the tall palm trees stood and lined the streets next to the buildings, it all seemed very alive and filled with spirit.
Because I am so in love and obsessed with the French Riviera, I seemed to know exactly where we were going just from having looked at Google maps once or twice months beforehand when I was trying to find out more information about a hotel I was told about.
If it was that easy for me, I’m sure it will be easy for you to get around.  If you happen to be going by train, I would suggest that once you arrive and exit the Juan-les-pins train station, turn right, and keep going straight towards the sea a few blocks away and this will help you get your bearings.  
Really take the time to follow along the waterfront, you can even jump in the sea to cool down and have a swim and then continue to venture into the side streets to see even more interesting shops, restaurants, bars, etc.
And then do yourself a favor and stop into one of the seaside beach restaurants to enjoy a meal and meet the locals, it’s not unusual for the people at the next table to start up conversations with you, this area doesn’t feel big city and you’ll notice everyone seems to know one another to some extent.
Another thing that can’t help but be noticed is the amount of amazingly beautiful men, especially those on the beach or working at the beach restaurants.  No steroids here, but all natural, tight beauty.   Your head will not be able to stop spinning around to get a good look.
We happened to arrive by car a couple of hours before sunset.  A truly delicious time of day, people are still swimming in the sea, shopping and slowly making their plans for the night.  It was so cool to see people out and enjoying themselves and then as though there is a magic hour, another set of people were arriving, well dressed and off to their favorite spot for dinner.  It seemed so easy to meet new people from all parts of the world; you’ll feel as though you have been living in Juan-les-Pins for years!

All I have to say is, after my first full evening in Juan-les-Pins, I have a feeling I will be spending a lot more time there, and in fact I know I will be.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Feature 2: Patrick Moya - Artist

Anyone who has been to the French Riviera will likely recognize the name of the multimedia artist, Patrick Moya and his colorful works of art.  In fact, this artist is so busy and so popular that it’s becoming hard to keep up with what and where he will be next!

Patrick Moya tends to be more commonly known by his last name Moya, and to me that name is synonymous with the French Riviera.
  Moya’s brilliant use of color and design is as big, bright and alive as the region itself.

Moya started out in the art world as a nude model, but if you’ve seen his energy in action you’d know that he probably wasn’t content enough to settle at just one thing.  Moya is a multimedia artist who seems to be able to work with or on any type of item placed in front of him, whether he has a simple pen and piece of paper to canvas to delving into the computer world and producing imaginative and bold pieces of art.

While I was in Cannes one day, I was given the opportunity to meet Moya and have a tour of some of his artwork that at the time was being exhibited inside the beautiful Centre d’art La Malmaison located along the Croisette on the seafront.

Getting the chance to meet Moya was certainly unexpected and I actually had a hard time believing it at first because I had admired his work for so long from afar.  Even when the time came to head to the Centre d’art La Malmaison, I remember crossing the Croisette in disbelief and then I saw Moya himself going into the building with some others and for some reason it felt like I was about to meet a pop star.

I quickly (and nervously) made my way inside where there was already a small group of people admiring his floor to ceiling artwork.  Soon afterwards Moya appeared in the room with that fantastic smile of his, greeting everyone.  Slightly star struck, I’m guessing it was the PR person from La Malmaison who had found me in the crowd and brought me over to introduce us to each other.  All I can say is…what a gentleman, so friendly and funny, my French still isn’t up to par, but we seemed to understand each other, and I felt honored to meet him.

There is something about Moya that is intriguing to me, he has a gift, he has a passion and he puts that into his work, which probably explains why he is a success.  He was completely gracious and giving of his time, I was smiling throughout the tour while he showed and explained to us his thoughts behind his art, and he had a gleam in his eyes the whole time that said he was in his element.


To me, there is something innocent about his work, yet there are also parts of it and pieces that you will come across that are futuristic, strong and even sometimes dare I say, sexual.  To see his art in person just exudes happiness and a loving energy.

His natural ability shines through when he produces his art, seemingly free and on a whim, it totally amazes me.  Moya’s art can be found on the smallest of hand held items, yet you can also witness him enjoying the moment with others at events such as the Dolly Parties while he paints to the music.

This year Moya painted a race car to showcase his work as part of the Monaco Grand Prix!  And, in cities such as Nice and Cannes you will also see his whimsical genius on parts of the region's public transit system!

The best thing I can suggest you do is buy a piece of it if you see it, and gaze at it in awe if it is on display somewhere openly for the public.  I swear, he gets more famous by the month and his work is so expansive, but here are a couple of links for you to check out to see what Moya is currently working on now:

Patrick Moya

Patrick Moya Facebook News


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!