Thursday, March 28, 2019


A couple of weeks ago my partner and I were leaving a friend’s bar and noticed the AIDES Nice mobile medical unit van parked outside the front door.
Having seen this van at other LGBTQ venues and events, basically year round both day and night, we thought we’d chat with those working with the organization since we have known of their work in the community and although we knew the answer to our results, we thought it can’t hurt to get tested again to show support.
Outside of the van they had small banners set up and offered all kinds of health advice and free condoms. When they were ready, we each got tested separately inside the van in what feels like a clean, safe and totally discreet environment.
You answer a few questions; the staff member goes through all the procedures with you without judgement and is very professional and pleasant to talk to before, during and after the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) test.
These workers actually speak a number of languages, so if you had any questions, there is no need to hesitate and it all stays completely confidential.

The rapid diagnostic test they use is known by the brand name, HIV Combo Alere and it screens HIV1 and HIV2 infections from the previous six weeks or more.

This pack test the staff member did was extremely easy and even though it was well after midnight when they were offering this service for the location at the time, the people we met with at AIDES Nice could not be more welcoming and pleasant. At the end you get your results and they are noted on paper for your behalf.
We find this to be an exceptional and important service provided for free in the region, so if you happen to see one of the white AIDES mobile medical units at either an open event or business establishment, do yourself a favor and get tested.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

One Monte-Carlo, A Community of the Future in Monaco

There is something about the Principality of Monaco and its ever changing eye on the future.

A specific location that has been carefully watched by the public for just over the past four years is the newly inaugurated One Monte-Carlo, situated next to the recently refreshed luxury property that is the Hôtel de Paris.
You’ll find One Monte-Carlo in the Golden Square, basically one of the best areas to be in the principality.
Usually I can be apprehensive when it comes to a new developments anywhere as they tend to be constructed very quickly leaving an area without character and depth, and One Monte-Carlo was not without local controversy as in order for the project to be moved forward, the historic Sporting d’Hiver building had to be demolished.
Having said that, after a couple of recent private tours by both those in the architectural and luxury real estate fields, along with a number of true retail insiders…this is a very impressive and enticing new property development.

Nestled between the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo and the Place du Casino, luxury shopping, culture, a conference center, and real estate are now all in one place.
On one of my private tours, the biggest names in fashion and jewelry were already ensconced such as Louis Vuitton and Fendi with Celine, Prada, Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Valentino and Hermès currently setting up shop with a total of 24 big name brands to be made available.

Many of these high end boutiques offer either one level of shopping space up to three levels available for the ultimate shopping experience.
This development certainly feels like a city within a city and quite a community already where wide, new pedestrian areas are lined with trees and seven expansive buildings where transparency and the Green movement is the key to this new eco-friendly architectural environment.
One Monte-Carlo comprises of 6 top quality residential buildings with between 5 and 13 floors that in total include 37 apartments. The principality, not known overall for offering large living accommodations seems to utilize everything one would require very well here. On my private tour of a number of properties, they all seemed expansive, thought out, with beautiful terraces and tons of windows letting in plenty of light.
This new residential district, offers international clients an exceptional living space with surface areas of between 60m2 and 800m2, six of them covering three floors with private swimming pools on the upper storeys of the buildings and up to six bedrooms, all luxuriously finished with unique facilities and of course, 5-star service.
The development also offers a 7th oval-shaped building that includes offices and a ground floor restaurant. One of the things I personally found impressive was the use of every inch of space throughout the development, it was stunning to see walking over the passageways between the buildings how many more levels for offices and shopping were also constructed below ground level yet filled with natural light, like a world unto its own.

And in a few short weeks the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer will open the doors to an exciting new conference centre. In homage to its Art Deco predecessor, One Monte-Carlo will feature a hall identical to that of the Sporting d’Hiver with individual venues within the complex that will be inaugurated gradually.
One such space is an enormous conference centre, covering an impressive 1,445 square metres. With this, Monte-Carlo SBM is actually doubling the space dedicated to business and conference tourism around Casino Square, currently made up of the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo and the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo.
Within this new area will be a 301 square metre plenary room, an identical reproduction of the legendary Salle des Arts in the former Palais des Beaux-Arts. Capable of hosting up to 300 people, this hall is Monte-Carlo SBM’s way of preserving the Art Deco architectural footprint and in turn including a bit of history back into the complex.
There will also be a multipurpose room of 178 square metres, an auditorium with a capacity of 80 seats, three modular rooms, and a large foyer which will offer a variety of uses. Each of these 10 spaces will bear the name of an artist who has made a mark on Monaco’s history.
To help manage all future congresses, the conference centre will have a 2-tonne service lift to facilitate exhibitions of cars during product launches or events.

After years of design proposals, local concerns and development, One Monte-Carlo is an exquisite community with a relaxing and inspiring atmosphere that will certainly continue to attract visitors and investors from around the world for years to come in Monaco.

Photo credits: @MonteCarloSBM @JamesonFarn

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Lou Queernaval 2019

The Nice Carnival is a tradition in the city that has taken place as records indicate as early as 1294 when the Count of Provence, Charles Anjou, wrote that he had passed "the joyous days of carnival."

In 1873, a committee was created for the Carnival, headed by local artist Alexis Mossa, with later contributions from his son Gustav-Adolf Mossa. The Carnival was reinvented into a parade, adding masquerades, satirical floats and competitions.
This exciting annual event takes place during a two week period in February with the celebrations starting this year on February 16th until March 2nd.

The carnival is the second biggest in the world after the Brazil Carnival and today the event attracts over a million visitors to Nice within that time period.

Every year, a special theme is chosen with this year being the “King of Cinema” reflecting the various shows and movies filmed not only in the Cote d’Azur but other familiar faces and locations from around the world. 

Here traditional artists create over 18 massive floats and other figurines in traditional papier-mâché for the colorful parade which takes place both day and night and is full of music and life.
It is also very pleasing to hear that this year Lou Queernaval will be back! As part of the spirit of the carnival and the extensive LGBTQ community, a special evening will be held on February 24 starting at 7pm, this will be the prime party of the carnival basically turning it all into a massive dance floor!
Celebrating diversity and tolerance among 15,000 expected visitors, you will to see an array of sequins and rhinestones attached to some amazing costumes along with rainbow flags and an extravagance and overall surge of happiness and love for all.
This is the third edition brought to the Nice Carnival by the local LGBTQI community volunteers in the city and is open for all to attend the most festive of event.

Tickets can be found here: