Straight from New York

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There is nothing quite like a Ligurian mercatino, a traditional farmers market. Several times a week, local farmers descend from the hills and diligently set up wooden stands in coastal towns to sell their produce. It's not just the fruits and vegetables, beautifully imperfect, that make these places special. It's also the hands that sell them, belonging to men and women who have been farming locally for generations, who smile with pride when they get to add to your shopping bag their pezzo forte (e.g. a bunch of juicy apricots or the first, tender artichokes of the season).Read more

A petite poupette in Paris

“That iz it!” the Belgian artist spluttered. “I am no longer going to waste my time on the provincial and the small-minded.” I held the receiver away from my ear a little. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated his point: he’d overcome the snow and the second-class train travel to appear at his vernissage at MAMAC the week before, only to be rudely set upon by an unruly youth who had taken offence at his tattooed pigs.Read more

Valentine’s Day massacre

I moved to France 18 months ago and have to admit that by now I thought I would be so immersed in the culture I would have trouble pro-nouncing my own name without a French accent. I would have several lovers called Pascal and Pierre and, most importantly, I would have mastered the art of French cooking, whipping up a Bouillabaisse like it was nothing, and all the local market vendors would know me by name.Read more

New access route opens in Monaco

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Not so much a “voie rapide”, as the country’s too small to really pick up speed, but rather a “dorsale” or backbone running through the centre of Monaco is taking shape. Yesterday saw the official opening of another step in this grand project to ease traffic congestion for commuters and visitors in the Principality.Read more

Villa Leopolda Russian loses

A court in Nice has ruled that the cool 39 million euro deposit put down by a Russian nickel magnate on the world’s most expensive property is not reimbursable.Read more

Parlez vous Anglais?

How often have you found yourself saying these three seemingly harmless words? The idea of speaking French in France shouldn’t seem alien but somehow, sometimes it does.Read more

Snow joke

For most of Northern Europe a little snow in February is hardly headline news. However, the Riviera is not the rest of Europe and when it’s snowing in February in Nice something’s wrong. I mean this is a part of the world where people come to escape the miserable climate in their own country; they don’t come here to fight against icy winds and snow gales as they stroll along the Promenade des Anglais.Read more

Midem and musos

Since adolescence, I’ve been clinging to a distant dream that one day I’m going to be a rock star. I’m not on my own here: nearly everyone I know has a not-so-secret desire to be in a band. However, whilst most other people my age have accepted their lack of musical talent and are satisfied winning a game of Guitar Hero, I have decided that it’s never too late and have recently started learning how to play the bass guitar I got for Christmas… 15 years ago.Read more

Train strike today

A strike by members of several trade unions means there will be fewer trains operating today in France, with many services being severely disrupted until 8 am tomorrow morning.Read more

Casting a shadow over the Côte

The beauty of the Riviera has long attracted visitors to its shore: the brilliant blue sea, the palm tree-lined promenades and the endless sunshine brushes this part of the world with an achingly alluring shimmer.Read more

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