Tuesday, May 24, 2022

A Masterpiece Awaits in the French Riviera

It’s not usual for me to write about the luxury real estate market for the LGBTQ community on
this blog, but this being part of my work and life here in the region, I thought readers would like a taste of what is available in terms of high-end property investments in the region.

Of late, an extraordinary property on the market in the French Riviera has come to my attention,
a very special place that I can’t seem to stop thinking about on behalf of my clients.

Having worked in the luxury real estate and villa rental industry for over the past 11 years, one
gets to know the details of local properties very well, and to be honest, one can even become a little blasé after a while, no matter how obsessed you are with the market.

That is until a property comes to the forefront once again and makes you realize why you not only love the Cote d’Azur so much but it refreshes you on the many reasons you are here in the first place.

Right now, the inspiration and drive have come flooding back after my private tour of a most remarkable property in the heights of Col de Villefranche. So much so that I was even dreaming about the place later that night and couldn’t help but think about it as I woke up and throughout the next day, to the point I just had to write about it for others to also enjoy.

Originally constructed in the middle of the 19th century, over the past few years this property
was extensively and whole-heartedly revamped and renamed Villa Gabrielle.


Unlike some other properties where an estate can be completely stripped away removing its
soul so that an owner’s ego can exude a reflection of their dream. Villa Gabrielle was lovingly restored keeping all the key characteristics one expects of such a historical property, yet enhanced intelligently and thoroughly with care while integrating all of today’s modernizations expected.


The time, efforts, and details taken to give this majestic estate a new lease on life are absolutely
clear and not just for the short term but for many years to come.


As we all know, first impressions are everything, and with Villa Gabrielle that instantaneous
“Wow” factor is definitely there, yet behind the visual surface are integral touches one may not immediately expect but are in place as you explore and discover the property, ready for your
new lifestyle on this breathtaking estate.

Whatever you have always imagined in a property, it is available at Villa Gabrielle.

Here, serenely perched on what feels like the top of the world in Col de Villefranche, this substantial south-facing estate on a flat plot of 4200 sqm offers you 360° panoramic views towards Nice and the Bay of Angels, Fort du Mont Alban, down towards the Mediterranean Sea over the Bay of Villefranche and the peninsula of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat.


And while this property dominates the hillside, it still benefits from total privacy and a place
where one can watch the sunrise and set each day.


Outbuildings included, there is a total developed space of almost 1000 sqm with the main house
of 540 sqm composed of an entrance with double living room and separate expansive dining room, a modern kitchen opening onto a terrace, a fully equipped professional kitchen, a master bedroom of 110 sqm with two bathrooms and dressing rooms. Four other bedrooms with bathrooms and dressing rooms, and an office.


An independent guest house measuring 150 sqm including a 3 bedroom apartment with
bathroom, lounge, open kitchen, and dining area. Plus a full one-bedroom apartment for staff, a PC security room, and a large individual laundry room.


The splendid garden is meticulously planted with both Mediterranean and tropical essences
embellished by an outdoor swimming pool of 17x8m with an infused children’s pool along with 2 separate Koi fish ponds, plenty of lush green grass with a shaded summer lounge, and an outdoor dining area with barbecue and bar overlooking the sea making it ideal for entertaining family and friends.


Get fit and relax in the separate 136 sqm spa house set up with a fitness room, massage room, dry sauna, steam room, and indoor pool.

For all you car enthusiasts, there is an underground garage of 155 sqm which can accommodate 10 cars along with plenty more parking.


Overall, this safe and secure property currently has 9 bedrooms with the possibility of adding a
further two for a total of 11 bedrooms.

During the tour, my first reflections were that this estate has the best of both worlds. It’s a superb villa with a genuine sense of history that has been reborn and reflects everything one imagines about France and Europe in general. Best of all, it has that Cote d’Azur flair, yet gently combined with familiar aspects and designs that would make someone from any other country around the world feel right at home.

Villa Gabrielle, being a turnkey property, means you have now found your ideal place in the sun bringing consistent ease and inspiration to your life.

Price: 17,000,000 EUR

Connect with Experience The French Riviera for more details. 

Update: As of September 2022, this beautiful property has been sold. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Cinéma de la Plage Cannes 2022

It’s all about to begin, the 75th Cannes Film Festival!

In addition to all the screenings, events, and conferences of the official selection taking place at the Palais du Festival, as with tradition, each evening at 9:30 pm, at the beach along the Croisette across from the Majestic Hotel is an open-air cinema experience.

This year, the films and dates are as follows:

Tues 17 May: The Truman Show directed by Peter Weir.

Wed 18 May: This is Spinal Tap directed by Rob Reiner. Rob will be present at the screening.

Thurs 19 May: Le Pacte des Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf) by Christophe Gans.

Fri 20 May: Est-Ouest by Régis Wargnier. A French film nominated for Best International Feature at the Oscars 22 years ago.

Sat 21 May: The 50th-anniversary screening of The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola.

Sun 22 May: Un singe en hiver (A monkey in winter) - French film directed by Henri Verneuil.

Mon 23 May: La cour des Miracles (Save our school) - French film directed by Hakim Zouhani and Carine May. The directors and actors will all be present at the screening.

Tues 24 May: A screening of the Australian classic movie Strictly Ballroom by Baz Luhrmann. Baz's upcoming film 'Elvis' is taking part out of competition at Cannes this year; his past films include Moulin Rouge & Romeo + Juliet. Baz will be present at the Strictly Ballroom screening on Tuesday.

Wed 25 May: Christophe...définitement (Christophe..definitely) directed by Ange Leccia & Dominique Gonzales-Foerster.

Thu 26 May: The 40th-anniversary screening of E.T the Extra-Terrestrial, directed by Stephen Spielberg.

Fri 27 May: Fanfan la tulipe, a French film from the 1950's directed by Christian-Jaque.

Sat 28 May: The Last Picture Show directed by Peter Bogdanovich.

Be sure to arrive early for the best seats!

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Queer Palm Cannes 2022

It's back! The Queer Palm Film Festival is in full force for 2022!

Heading the jury for the Queer Palm 2022 awards is the French director,
Catherine Corsini. The winner last year for her film, ‘The Fracture (La Fracture)’. Catherine is the sixth woman to preside over the jury in the twelve years of the Queer Palm Film Festival existence following in the footsteps of Elisabeth Quin, Julie Gayet, Desiree Akhavan, Sylvie Pialat, and Virginie Ledoyen.

Catherine Corsini will be joined by four jurors: the actor Djanis Bouzyani, the journalist Marilou Duponchel, the Swiss director Stéphane Riethauser and the Australian producer Paul Struthers.

Created in 2010 by the film critic, Franck Finance-Madureira, the “Queer Palm" each year rewards one long film and one short film from the competition dealing with LGBT, queer or feminist themes, among all the Cannes selections.

As always, this is a prime opportunity to promote LGBTQ film content in the city of Cannes at a time when the eyes of the world are on the famous film festival.

Below is a list of the 17 features and 12 short movies that will compete this year for the Queer Palm from May 17 to May 28, 2022, in both English and French.


THE ALBUMS by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
LES AMANDIERS de Valeria Bruni Tedeschi

Close by Lukas Dhont
CLOSE de Lukas Dhont

ZHENA CHAILOVSKOGO de Kirill Serebrennikov
ZHENA CHAILOVSKOGO de Kirill Serebrennikov

Pacification by Albert Serra
PACIFICTION de Albert Serra


Burning Days by Emin Alper
BURNING DAYS de Emin Alper

Saim Sadiq of Joyland
JOYLAND de Saim Sadiq

CAFTAN BLUE by Maryam Touzani
LE BLEU DU CAFTAN de Maryam Touzani

Lola Quivoron ROUNDING
RODEO de Lola Quivoron


FEMINIST REPOST by Marie Perrenès and Simon Depardon
RIPOSTE FEMINISTE de Marie Perrenès et Simon Depardon




DODO of Panos H. Koutras
DODO de Panos H. Koutras

IRMA VEP by Olivier Assayas
IRMA VEP de Olivier Assayas


PASSENGER by Emmanuel Mouret
PASSAGERE de Emmanuel Mouret


CRAZY FIRE by Joao Pedro Rodrigues
FEU FOLLET de Joao Pedro Rodrigues

A VARON by Fabian Hernandez
UN VARON de Fabian Hernandez

Léa Mysius' 5 DEVILS
LES 5 DIABLES de Léa Mysius


Official selection
Sélection officielle

THE FIRE AT LAKE de Pierre Menahem
LE FEU AU LAC de Pierre Menahem

GAKJIL by Sujin Moon
GAKJIL de Sujin Moon

La Cinef (formerly Cine Foundation)
La Cinef (ex-Cinéfondation)

FENG ZHENG (The Silent Whistle) de LI Yingtong
FENG ZHENG (The Silent Whistle) de LI Yingtong

THE PASS de Pepi Ginsberg
THE PASS de Pepi Ginsberg

Ruby Challenger MUMLIFE
MUMLIFE de Ruby Challenger

Fifteen of the Makers
Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

ARIBADA of Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau and Natalia Escobar
ARIBADA de Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau et Natalia Escobar


Week of criticism
Semaine de la Critique

LAS CRIATURAS THAT MELT BAJO EL SOL (Creatures that melt in the sun)
by Diego
(Les Créatures qui fondent au soleil) de
Diego Céspedes

WILL YOU LOOK AT ME (Dang Wo Wang Xiang Ni De Shi Hou / Look at Me)
de Shuli Huang

WILL YOU LOOK AT ME (Dang Wo Wang Xiang Ni De Shi Hou / Regarde-Moi)
de Shuli Huang

WE XERXES' THRONE (On the Throne of Xerxes) by Evi Kalogiropoulou

ON XERXES’ THRONE (Sur le trône de Xerxès) de Evi Kalogiropoulou

SWAN IN THE CENTER of Iris Chassaigne
SWAN DANS LE CENTRE de Iris Chassaigne

Yann Gonzalez's ID cards
HIDEOUS de Yann Gonzalez

For more information, contact Queer Palm.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

La Connexion - The Gay Holiday Resort

Over the past decade, France has increasingly become known for the options available in terms of gay holiday resorts throughout the country.

But alas, not all resorts are the same. Some are located in a specific area with a very limited number of activities and resources both in and out of a resort.

Of late though, it has been brought to my attention, a beautiful, reasonably priced resort that offers a myriad of options for its guests, that being, La Connexion. Ideally based in the commune of Peymeinade close to the perfume capital of Grasse. 

This vacation resort is 100% gay owned and operated by Ömer and Mark, an enterprising couple of Dutch and Turkish origins who have set up this gorgeous boutique property that caters to a variety of international guests offering an unlimited amount of amenities available.

Set in the relaxing countryside surrounded by olive groves, forests, and rivers, this is your chance to retreat to a peaceful environment and start that novel you’ve always wanted to write, mingle and entertain with others or even enjoy your honeymoon with your loved one.

At La Connexion you are free to be yourself and have the perfect vacation as you wish it to be.

And whatever you have always wanted to experience in the French Riviera, is all within reach with La Connexion being your home base.

Ömer and Mark’s property can host up to 16 guests in 5 self-catering apartments and studios, each with its own private entrance and terrace. And since the resort is private with no prying neighbors, there is the magnificent heated and clothing-optional swimming pool to enjoy which is also lit up at night for those seeking the opportunity to also swim nude under the moon and the stars.

Each of the rentals has a TV with Netflix, Gay & Gay Adult TV, and WiFi. Three of the apartments contain a living room, bedroom, and bathroom. There is also a comfortable sleeping sofa in each apartment's living room for two extra guests so bring some friends. And they have two studios available with private bathrooms.

Have a dog? Bring your pet along! Mark and Ömer also have a friendly dog and understand that pets are like family and your dog will be safe while being able to exercise on their fenced property of 7500 m2 behind the villa with no traffic to worry about or you can also head to one of the hiking trails in the forest.

Ömer and Mark and no strangers to the hospitality world as they also operate GaySail, a gay sailing company offering worldwide gay nude sailing cruises, and they have also previously owned a gay B&B in Amsterdam but prefer the lifestyle of the Cote d’Azur.

When it comes to food and drinks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are on offer. Along with delicious drinks and snacks by the swimming pool. Ömer is a great chef and has many years of experience as one of the onboard cooks for their GaySail Cruises. If it is local cuisine you are after, fine dining suggestions are available in the area for your convenience.

And as they say, one of the best parts of a holiday is the new experiences. During your stay at the serene La Connexion, you will find that throughout the nearby picturesque villages of Grasse, Tourrettes, and Le Bar-sur-Loup, you can explore the local flea and food markets, and do some shopping. For nature lovers, you can hike, swim, and even go rafting at Les Gorges du Loup, La Siagne, Lake Saint Cassien, and Les Gorges du Verdon.

To add even more sparkle to your trip, the city of Cannes with its luxury shopping, sandy beaches, and that clear blue Mediterranean Sea is only a 35-minute drive away, with the city of Nice just up the coastline with its nightclubs and cruising bars. You’ll also find that the Nice International Aiport is only a 40-minute drive to La Connexion.

If skiing is your sport of choice, the Isola 2000 ski resort is only a 2-hour drive away.

Now is the best time to plan your next holiday so make sure to check out the La Connexion website and book early!