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

Friday, March 19, 2021

Coronavirus Lockdown #3 France

Although it never went away, it feels like it’s back with a vengeance, the Coronavirus situation continues here in the French Riviera along with the rest of France.

A third wave of the epidemic is sweeping much of France including the Alpes Maritimes. with Prime Minister Jean Castex announcing last night a new four-week confinement from Friday, March 19th at midnight for the Alpes-Maritimes, in the face of the progression of the Covid-19 epidemic. It also applies to fifteen other departments.

You could tell it was going to come back strong as the rules over summer seemed not as strict as usual with our numbers then spiking again in September, to the point that all cafes, bars and restaurants have been closed since October, along with museums and basically anywhere else in buildings where people can gather.

With the ski season not happening at all, it felt like no one was going to stay home during Christmas and New Year's, the amount of people sneaking across borders and then posting pics of their travels was crazy and continues to be and we are constantly being asked to help with possible loopholes to get into the country which we are refusing. Shortly after the holiday season our numbers in France started to hit high again in the new year and this was with a curfew that had already been in place for at least a month that we continue to have to adhere too.

Although now instead of 6pm to 6am where we are supposed to stay home, it will be moved to 7pm to 6am this weekend because of the days starting to be longer.

According to Jean Castex, there is confirmation that the epidemic is accelerating rapidly and we are in a third wave at a time when France is approaching 100,000 deaths. Us here in the French Riviera and a couple of other departments, except for Paris (which is surprising) have had the past few weekends as partial confinements but it has not been enough the stall the epidemic.

It probably didn’t help that when a lockdown weekend would approach, thousands traveled to other regions that didn’t have a lockdown situation and the news is stating today that after the announcement was made last night about a four-week lockdown, the trains to leave Paris became completely booked with those planning on leaving the city.

This lockdown though, after tonight, no one will be allowed to slip in and out of other regions without having the proper documentations stating why, such as moving or part of your work.

Stores and supermarkets that do not fit into the list of those “selling essential goods and services” will have to close during these 4 weeks of this new confinement.

The Prime Minister also specified that the areas of stores that are open selling non-essential products will no longer be accessible. One thing that was worrying with this new lockdown was if like the last one, we would only be allowed outside one hour a day for exercise and only within a 1km radius from home.

Thankfully that is not the case this time, you still have to fill out your attestation app to show you are going out for exercise but the time to do so is unlimited between curfew hours and you can go up to 10kms from home.

Which, in this beautiful part of the world, even to get 10km radius gives you plenty of outdoor options and everything that comes with it, so this will be better for the mental health of individuals out there.


Vaccinations with Astrazeneca will also resume immediately as the European regulator has judged this vaccine “safe and effective”.

Goals are to have vaccinated, by mid-April, at least 10 million people, all over 75 years and, among people over 50 years, those who present extra risk factors.

The objective is also to have vaccinated by mid-May at least 20 million people, or the entire volunteer population over 50 and by mid-June, 30 million people.

There are so many theories behind this new lockdown, many of us here are thinking this will be one last hard push before summer. Tourism is such a huge market in France and you could tell last summer some borders shouldn’t have opened when they did but it seemed done to get some movement in the economy.

So please everyone, if our border opens to your country, stick with the local rules governed for not only your safety but others if you are visiting.

With more people vaccinated, more people following rules, eventually we will all get there. The local LGBTQ community has been very supportive of each other and look forward to getting back to normal life again, in whatever capacity that might be.

Stay safe everyone!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Happy Anniversary To Us!

 

As of today, February 11, 2021, it’s been 10 years since Experience The French Riviera first began and just over a week from when Gay French Riviera also started!

What started as a small idea to help those traveling to France from North America has grown exponentially to now serving people from every part of the world!

The six months before Experience The French Riviera initially started, in observance at the time, I had noticed some local key elements missing in what visitors were looking for in planning a trip to the French Riviera, and so after speaking with some close friends about some ideas I had in mind, the steps were taken for the journey to begin.


What really got the ball rolling was some friends who owned a villa in the perfume capital of Grasse and had been using the usual platforms at the time to try and get bookings for their holiday rental. A bit disappointed in how it was all working with those online platforms, they wanted more of a human touch.

This is when the importance of building a network came into place. Utilizing social media along with speaking with new and old friends, by word of mouth I managed to quickly book up their villa for the whole season.

They in turn told their friends about my more hands-on approach to help with their villa rental, who in turn told their friends and so on and so on...to the point we now have over 200 villa rentals throughout France and in neighboring countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece to where we expanded to The Villa.

To combine my initial ideas surrounding villa rentals, I thought it was important that a shared economy network also be set up and now it’s to the point we have now exceeded easily over 60 legal partnerships.

To be honest, the first couple of years were tricky learning how to navigate the bureaucratic system and getting people used to an idea of sharing work to benefit each other was no easy task but now as the years have moved forward, with many lessons learned, even during these Covid19 pandemic times, things seem to be have gone tremendously well so we continue to feel positive for the future.

Some of the key lessons learned is to stay focused, always move forward and be consistent and open to new ideas, take risks, don’t be afraid to meet as many people as you never know who will open a new door for you. It’s always important to expect change and to evolve in any circumstance.

Even though my small team and I feel we have a wealth of information and an extensive network of business partnerships in most any field imaginable. You cannot stop learning and growing.


If it’s tickets to a VIP event, private car service, charter jet and helicopter bookings, wedding and event planning, tours, yacht charters, hand-holding immigration services, holiday and long-term villa rentals, luxury real estate sales...whatever you require, including in the LGBTQ community, we can help you acquire. We have definitely seen and heard it all which makes every day different and most enjoyable.

From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of my team, thank you for all the ongoing support throughout the years and here’s to many more in the future!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Saint-Tropez Living

 

For some reason it seems a bit strange to be writing about Saint-Tropez in January as that’s the time of year the area goes back to the locals in a sense but it is a beautiful place to visit in any given season.

Living near Monaco, it can be tricky for me to get the opportunity to visit Saint-Tropez and the area as often as I would like, also because of my busy work schedule but it is one of those must visit places if you have never been.

If it is your first time traveling to Saint-Tropez, it should be noted that trains do not go into Saint-Tropez itself, however, you can take the train to Saint-Raphael train station, and from the Saint-Raphaël bus station (right behind the train station) where there are regular buses (more frequently in the summer) to the Saint-Tropez bus station which can take 1 1/4 hours (depending on traffic).

Alternatively, in the summer months there are ferries that can take you from places such as Nice, Golfe-Juan and Cannes to Saint-Tropez daily. Those trips can take at least two hours so plan ahead but it is a spectacular way of seeing the coastline with its varying colors and landscapes, you might even see dolphins.

If you are driving, also factor in your time. There is only a two-lane stretch to get right into Saint Tropez and at the height of the season, traffic can be a nightmare.

Saint-Tropez has a very long history and was a military stronghold and fishing village until the beginning of the 20th century, it was and still is to an extent a small town but surrounded by lush greenery in the hills.

It was also the first town on the coast of France to be liberated during World War II. After the war, it slowly became an internationally known seaside resort, renowned principally because of the influx of actors such as Brigitte Bardot (who still lives in the area) and Alain Delon amongst many others. Its laid back summer lifestyle helped make it became a resort for the European and North American jet set and tourists.

To this day St.Tropez is still a very much sought-after place. When the Covid19 restrictions were slowly being lifted after the first lock down here in France during the Springtime, it was the first area getting booked out by the nationals looking for a summer villa retreat through our own luxury villa rental business experience, with a stream of people from other countries clamoring to get there but couldn’t because of borders being closed.

To purchase a property there is also a great investment given the heated rental season.
But I digress...

The local beaches in the Saint-Tropez and Ramatuelle area are also a huge draw for everyone. Compared to other seaside places in the region, here places like Pampelonne and Tahiti beach offer miles of sand with the clear blue waves of the Mediterranean Sea enticing you in for a swim.

The beach restaurants are the places to see and be seen in the summer months and if yachting is your thing, here you will see yachts of every brand, make and model on show.

The town of Saint-Tropez is a highly regarded tourist destination. The colorful buildings at the edge of the sea are quaint and offer much charm. The port itself was once a very commercial destination but now is more of a place for tourists and for those with yachts to moor while they decide on their next destination or enjoy the local amenities.

Saint-Tropez is also an artist's haven because of the history and ever-inspiring natural beauty. Here you can step into an abundant choice of artist galleries to suit everyone’s tastes. Speaking of tastes, the town has an amazing selection of top-notch restaurants for your culinary delight.

Known for its glam component, for all you fashion fiends, if it is luxury goods you are after, every imaginable, highly regarded designer shop can be found here for you to discover and often behind the gates of magnificent mansions: Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel, Hermès, to name a few.
As for the nightlife, that is also ever-changing seasonally with the parties being all night events, filled with hedonism and eye candy, although there is no gay-scene per se, the area does attract those internationally from the LGBT community so if you play your cards right, a party can be had.
Overall, whether you want to relax and retreat or have a most enjoyable and entertaining time, Saint Tropez can’t be beat.