Friday, July 16, 2021

Pink Parade 2021!

It’s back! After well over a year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Pink Parade (Pride) will take place in Nice on the afternoon of July 24, 2021!

Everyone is to gather on Boulevard Jean Jaurès at Place Toja in Nice at 4 pm to start the parade. (see map)

*Update* New route change as of July 22, 2021.
Wearing a mask is recommended due to crowd size and this date is subject to governmental modifications. At the end of the march, everyone is invited to the Pink Party at the Théâtre des Verdures from 6:30 pm to 11:30 pm.

Access to the after-event is based on the presentation of your health pass, so bring everything required in order to attend the party.

This year, the parade is shorter due to the ongoing pandemic situation but as usual, instead of watching from the sidelines, everyone is welcome to join in the march to stand in strength, solidarity, and love with each other.

And as you know, summer in the French Riviera means it’s going to be hot, so come prepared with a refreshing liquid of choice to keep hydrated.

If it’s your first time at the Pink Parade in Nice, you’ll notice immediately this is very much an LGBTQI community-minded event. There are no corporate sponsors in attendance, only the individuals and local businesses that help make up the region.

Enjoy!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Nightlife is Back in France!

It feels like it has been forever but as of today, July 9, 2021, the nightclubs, bars and outdoor LGBTQ events in France are back in business!

It is time to party and dance!

When the pandemic restrictions were coming into effect, quite literally by the hour in France on the evening of March 14, 2020, any public gathering place such as a nightclub or bar was at first limited to the number of people inside those establishments. Only to be told at 10 pm that night they had to close by midnight (when most nightclubs don’t even open until that time). All for legitimate safety reasons due to Covid19.

It’s been a long haul for the owners and managers of those entertainment venues but as of this evening, they are opening and just in time for summer!

There were a few nightclub and bar owners, like with those in the bathhouse world, who were testing the government rules and restrictions the past week or so by opening with limited capacity and without a lot of fanfare but now the all-clear has arrived.

Months and weeks ahead of the proposed date, owners have been posting online the updates and overall changes they have been making in anticipation of the opening date and now they will be back in force for everyone to enjoy.

The city of Nice has always been the central hot spot in the Cote d'Azur region for those in the LGBTQ community with any number of venues to enjoy. With these restrictions being lifted, because there is still some cause for concern, especially with the new variants popping up, some rules will still be set in place.

Such as, you will need to show that you have been vaccinated with your health pass (QR Code) to enter, expect to be checked with a monitor on your forehead for your temperature upon arrival, don't forget your identification no matter where you are from and all staff must wear a health mask among any other requirements an owner or manager may feel necessary to the safety of everyone, at least for the next while.
Also, don’t be surprised if you see government inspectors coming into the venues to make sure everything is up to current health standards.

So the nightlife is back, who knows for how long at this point but be safe and have fun!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Bathhouses, Saunas and Cruising Bars in Covid19 Times

As of today, July 1, 2021, another Covid19 restriction has been lifted in France, that being where gathering spaces such as bathhouses (otherwise also known as gay saunas) and cruising bars which were closed for well over a year, are now open.

Hooray!

There were a couple of bathhouses in the country testing the waters and opening once or twice a week before the restriction was technically lifted but now it’s game on again.

Rules for who can come inside during these unusual times will be guided by what the government still currently dictates but also with what an owner of these establishments wants to include for their own precautionary measures for the safety of everyone at the moment.
For those that live in France and those lucky tourists visiting, it is suggested you arrive at these venues prepared so that you don’t get turned away.

France loves paperwork, so bring along your passport or other nationality identification and anything related to confirming that you are double vaxxed, that being any documents preferably with a QR Code or have the QR Code of your vaccination through the Tous AntiCovid App available

Apparently, as of today, there will be a European Health Pass app available for those traveling that might help with proving you have had your vaccination shots.

Upon entering one of these premises expect to have a fever monitor device set on your forehead to check your temperature as an added precaution and you may be asked to use some of their hand sanitizer gel also before venturing around inside.

What each owner decides to do is totally up to them, the ones I know of though here in the French Riviera will be very on top of things with added precautions in place as they will not want to risk having to close again.

Word is that on July 9th, the nightclubs will reopen, I’ll post an update as more news and information comes in.

Enjoy yourself and stay safe

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Cannes Film Festival Selection 2021

 

The Cannes Film Festival makes its return this year for its 74th edition, from July 6th to 17th after the Covid-19 pandemic put a pause on the world's leading film festival for its 2020 edition.

An extensive list of past Palme d'Or winners and art house favorites are set to return to the seaside city of Cannes as organizers announced the official selections for the competition on Thursday.

Among the 24 directors whose films are heading to the Cote d'Azur is Sean Penn for his new film "Flag Day", Italy's Nanni Moretti with "Tri Piani" and France's Jacques Audiard with "Les Oympiades".

They will be joined by three big influential directors that had already been announced: Wes Anderson for "The French Dispatch", Paul Verhoeven for "Benedetta" and Leos Carax for "Annette".

"Annette" is the first film in a decade from French arthouse darling Carax and his first in English. It stars Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard as a celebrity couple awaiting a mysterious child.

Dutch filmmaker Verhoeven – who has often married art and salaciousness with movies like "Basic Instinct", "Showgirls" and "Elle" – is being recognized for his latest offering "Benedetta", about a lesbian nun in a 17th-century Italian convent.

Normally the Cannes Film Festival takes place in the month of May but this year the festival was postponed until early July. France will have lifted the evening Covid-19 curfew by then, although travelers from specific locations may still face quarantine measures, including those from Britain although things appear to be on the positive side.

Festival director Thierry Frémaux stated there will be the usual parties and dinners as well as events to give holidaymakers on the Cote d’Azur a chance to enjoy the event, such as screenings on the beach.

Covid-19 precautions will still be in force, however. “We won’t be kissing at the top of the [red carpet] steps,” Frémaux said.

Oscar-winner Jodie Foster, who first walked the red carpet at Cannes as a 13-year-old when she starred in “Taxi Driver”, will be presented with an honorary Palme d’Or.

One silver lining from the disruption of the past year has been a backlog of cinematic gold that gave organizers some 2,000 films to wade through as they made their selection for the 74th edition.

Another past Palme d'Or winner returning to the Croisette is Thailand's Apichatpong Weerasethakul with his first English-language film "Memoria", starring Tilda Swinton.

Iran's two-time Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi will also return with "A Hero" while Russia's renowned director Kirill Serebrennikov – who has lately faced significant pressure from authorities – will be in competition with "Petrov's Flu". 

Here are the 24 films competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or prize, to be awarded by a jury headed by US director Spike Lee.

- "Annette" by Leos Carax, France

- "The French Dispatch" by Wes Anderson, US

- "Benedetta" by Paul Verhoeven, Netherlands

- "A Hero" by Asghar Farhadi, Iran

- "Tout s'est Bien Passé" (Everything Went Well) by Francois Ozon, France

- "Tre Piani" (Three Floors) by Nanni Moretti, Italy

- "Titane" (Titan) by Julia Ducournau, France

- "Red Rocket" by Sean Baker, US

- "Petrov's Flu" by Kirill Serebrennikov, Russia

- "Par un Demi-Clair Matin" (now known by the title "France") by Bruno Dumont, France

- "Nitram" by Justin Kurzel, Australia

- "Memoria" by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand

- "Lingui" by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Chad

- "Les Olympiades" (Paris' 13th District) by Jacques Audiard, France

- "Les Intranquilles" (The Restless Ones) by Joachim Lafosse, Belgium

- "La Fracture" by Catherine Corsini, France

- "The Worst Person in the World" by Joachim Trier, Norway

- "Compartment No 6" by Juho Kuosmanen, Finland

- "Casablanca Beats" by Nabil Ayouch, France-Morocco

- "Ahed's Knee" by Nadav Lapid, Israel

- "Drive My Car" by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Japan

- "Bergman Island" by Mia Hansen-Love, France

- "The Story of My Wife" by Ildiko Enyedi, Hungary

- "Flag Day" by Sean Penn, US

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

June 2021 Coronavirus Update

 

Well, it’s looking like things are finally getting back to some sense of normalcy, almost.

As of May 19, 2021, the curfew in France was moved from 6 pm to 9 pm with restaurants and cafes being allowed to open their terraces at 50% capacity.

As of this evening, June 8, 2021, the curfew gets moved from 9 pm to 11 pm, although those out between 11 pm and 6 am will still need an attestation filled out citing an essential reason for being outside.

More welcoming changes include the reopening of indoor seating in restaurants and cafés. Customers will now be welcomed back inside, albeit with a 50% percent limit on capacity and a six-person maximum per table. Customers must, however, provide contact details in order to take advantage of indoor seating, with many cafés offering a scannable QR option to make the process simple.

Rules on terraces will also change, allowing establishments with outdoor space to operate at full capacity, though the six-person per table restriction will still be in effect.

There will also be the introduction of the travel ‘traffic light’ system that also goes into effect on June 9th. This program entails a green, orange and red list of countries who are allowed into France under differing criteria based on the current health situations in their nations.


Also, to begin with, are the health passports. Already operational via the TousAntiCovid app, users can scan vaccination certificates or recent negative Covid tests from the My Wallet section. From June 9th, this will be an entry requirement for certain large events, such as concerts and sports matches.

With the advent of the health passport, events of up to 5,000 will also be allowed once more, subject to rules regarding social distancing and the usual protections.

Tourist sites, cinemas, shops, and museums will also be able to welcome the public back with an increased capacity. Theatres and cinemas can have up to 65% normal capacity, with a maximum of 1,000 patrons, or 5,000 with a health passport.

Guests at weddings and civil ceremonies are limited to 50% venue capacity and funerals can have up to 75 attendees. Currently, nightclubs will remain closed but there is talk of them opening possibly around July 1st, so fingers crossed there.

Also, some gay saunas are slowly up again in places like Marseille but I'll keep you updated on other locations as time moves on.

Gatherings of more than 10 people in public spaces are still discouraged, and masks are still mandatory in public indoor spaces, with a risk of a €135 fine for non-compliance. Check your local listings on rules as most cities are also still requiring masks in outdoor public spaces as well.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Summer Reading


In the middle of March 2021, announcements continued to be made practically every week in regards to what restrictions were about to be added or staying the same for us in France due to the Coronavirus situation.

This meant, our curfews were still going to stay in place and most of the shops were going to be closed again for an extended time period along with the radius of which we were allowed to travel being that of 10km. Basically, the government wanted everyone to stop movement as much as possible to protect against the spread of the virus while vaccinations have increased.
Fortunately, my work has kept me busy taking care of clients’ requests from around the world, if not for now, then in the near future once borders start opening up again.

Although I work a minimum of 12 hours a day, pretty much every day of the year, I still felt like I had some time to take on another project, and what better time than during a pandemic? This project has been in the back of my mind though for years and encouraged by others to pursue it, so that is what I have done.

I’ve written a book.

Bathhouse Babylon has been released this weekend as an e-book and paperback and tells a true, in-depth account of part of my former work and life in North America.

At that time, I managed three gay bathhouses, or gay saunas, as they are called here in Europe, over an extensive number of years. I wanted to tell a story that is more of an insider’s scoop on the inner workings of the bathhouse industry, kind of like a behind-the-scenes adventure.

During various times in that field of work, I kept diaries as a way to navigate what might have been taking place, no matter the emotion (and there were plenty), and as it was happening. I had a gut feeling it would at some point be useful for myself in the future, most of all to see how I have grown as an individual.
When you work in bathhouses, the bullshit is stripped away, quite literally at times. There is a whole social dynamic about it all that much of the outside world might not have privy to and is absolutely fascinating to observe and be surrounded by at all times.

You see how men manoeuver in that environment on a daily basis, for the most part simply because of their unending sexual desires which in turn both motivates or can dictate how men think on occasion, whether it is to their benefit or not.

You can’t have a bathhouse without sex so of course, there are extraordinary sex stories in the book but there is far more to what encompasses bathhouses than all of that and this is what I also wanted to write about, to give people background information based on my experiences.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel working on my first book, but it’s been one of the most enjoyable projects in my life and seemed to flow naturally, which is easy to do when you’re telling the truth.

It’s brought back every emotion of that time, both good and bad and it’s felt extremely cathartic in many ways. It’s given me the gift of being able to see how I was then, to how I have grown now, and to be able to realize how much of it has actually helped prepare me for my life in France and my work in the luxury real estate world.

It’s given me the education on how to observe everything at all times, negotiate better, navigate scenarios through strategic thinking, know when to speak up, know when to have decorum, and best of all, how to deal with bullshitters.

Overall, I feel that the more those of us in the LGBTQ community can contribute to our history, no matter our experiences have been, it is all a part of our story and I believe it will be beneficial for those who will come after us to learn from it all to know how to best move forward in life.

Unintentionally, as life does come at you full force, there will be things in this book that will shock people but also make them laugh, sad, infuriated, happy, and hopefully learn from to see other aspects of the world.

Please find Bathhouse Babylon on Amazon and several other online retailers to come.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

French Riviera Summer Nude Beach Update

Summer feels like it is practically here already in the French Riviera and for those not already hitting the nude beaches, I thought I’d provide a little bit of an update now that Coronavirus restrictions are slowly being lifted.

Locally, between Nice and Monaco, the most popular gay nude beach near Monaco is situated close to the family oriented, Plage de St Laurent à Eze.

https://www.gayfrenchriviera.com/2011/10/stlaurent-eze-gay-nude-beach.html

Seen by many as the obvious natural choice due to its discreet location and the best known in the area meaning men from all backgrounds, shapes and sizes will be in attendance on a daily basis. 

Having just visited this beach in early April, I was surprised how many men were there taking in the Springtime sunshine while also going for a dip in the sea. 

There are two ways to get to this beach, but please, for your safety use the directions listed in my post link above. There is another way to reach the beach near Cap Estel but it is not on a very safe path and will take you just as long to get to the beach if not longer.

Men of every nationality go to this beach and everyone is welcome. My advice, you can sun yourself on any of the large rock areas jutting out at the sea but if you want to relax on the actual beach, get there early to get your spot, no matter the day of the week, obviously weekends are busier.

Wear athletic shoes to get there for ease over the rocks on the trail and bring lots of fluids and a snack as there are no concession stands set up for obvious reasons.

Next up, the nude beaches of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat.

The most popular one of these being Plage du Phare, at the sea under the white villa by the lighthouse.

https://www.gayfrenchriviera.com/2011/12/saint-jean-cap-ferrat-gay-nude-areas.html

Very easy to get to but there have been some changes over this past winter season.


When you get to the lighthouse, head towards Villefranche-sur-Mer but almost immediately under the lighthouse you will see a small white, slightly hidden villa to your left and below it is the beach.

You used to be able to follow the fence line protecting the villa and jump a step down and into the villa owner’s stairs towards the beach. This year though he has recently updated his garden and with that has erected a new fence barrier so that people cannot get on to his stairs to the sea as easily.


It might get removed over the next few summer months and so if it has, I will update this post, otherwise, make your way along the usual hiking trail a bit further north away from the owner’s fence line and you will see a couple of stairs leading to some greenery where you will see a slight trail (that should get more worn through this summer) that will take you down to the beach.


This beach is the most popular location for nude sunbathing and although those from above near the lighthouse will be able to see you, unless they have binoculars, they won’t see much.

Since this beach is also below Villa Santo Sospir, while enjoying the sunshine and dips in the sea, keep in mind back in the day this was also a popular spot for the artist Jean Cocteau and his lover Jean Marais and their gang.

Again, further north towards Villefranche-sur-Mer, from the hiking trail you will come across the also unmarked Rochers Crau Nao, Crique Crau Nao and Plage de la Cuisse.

These beaches though are more so rocky enclaves and to be honest, I have hiked this trail for many years and have only encountered one or two nudists sunbathing. They are known but not really used by those looking to suntan nude and it’s not recommended to swim in all those locations due to the rough waters and rocks.


Plage du Phare is your best bet. There seems to always be room for lots of people yet it doesn’t get too crowded and is mainly known only in the local gay community.

Bring your sunscreen, water and enjoy your summer!

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Beauty of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

 

In all of the Cote d’Azur, there is nowhere quite as stunning and remarkable as Saint Jean Cap Ferrat.

This most beautiful and remarkable peninsula invites you to experience its lush natural surroundings in a very pristine and calming environment.

Formerly a fishing village (and still is to an extent), Saint Jean Cap Ferrat still holds much of its charm and integrity with its lovely shops, restaurants and cafes where many of those in the community and visitors alike still gather.

One of the many things that draw people to this part of the French Riviera is its respect for past history which is showcased in many of the local, grand villas still extremely well maintained and dotted throughout the peninsula where the likes of David Niven, Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Cocteau, Somerset Maughan, Coco Chanel along with many of today’s celebrities have either stayed or currently own properties.

As you leisurely walk, hike or jog along one of the numerous paths next to the sea, you can sense the respect for nature here and that also follows through to the numerous beaches and hidden spots available for swimming.

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat offers a true feeling of the French Riviera, there is an authenticity in this locale that makes it special within the region, the peninsula draws you in with its peacefulness and for many, the privacy it allows.

Prestige in being a part of this community is also why many have holiday villas here or their main or second home as it is within close proximity of both Monaco and Nice, yet offers you a more serene setting that is much different from other places.

Although there are many properties reminiscent of days gone by, there are also numerous modern homes strategically blended into the peninsula as to not disrupt the flow, views and character that makes the peninsula such a remarkable and memorable haven.

It's been said, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat is one of those places you can come to a million times and see something different on each visit and it’s absolutely true.

Now, there is no 'gay scene' here on the peninsula. There are of course those in the LGBTQ community that do live and vacation here. This area is known more for it's hiking trails, swimming areas including a nude beach of which one is known locally for in the gay community and will be touched upon in the next blog post.

If you are looking for a private setting in which to purchase your next home or if you would like to rent a luxurious villa for your next holiday or long-term stay, feel free to connect with me at: Info@experiencethefrenchriviera.com