carnaval de nice

Parismarais Newsletter
Issue 66 march 2011



Every European city has their own petit Marais to discover. Let me take you to the one I discovered on the Riviera. Paris’s Marais is definitely the place I’ll live forever, even though I love to travel everywhere in Europe. And I’ve kept London in my heart those two wonderful years I lived their under Margaret Thatcher’s dictatorship (LOL). But I particularly love the places where I grew up with my fabulous godmother. She was a kind of fairy godmother to me. A woman who was rich, beautiful, intelligent and tolerant, most of my knowledge of art, culture and savoir vivre can be traced back to her. Much of my childhood was spent on the Côte d’Azur in Monaco and Nice in her company. For many years she was a VIP client at the Hermitage Hotel in Monte Carlo. Then she decided to buy herself a nice little one bedroom holiday apartment in one of the first tower block buildings in Monaco in the sixties. It was called Chateau Perigord. She purchased her seventy square meter apartment flat in 1960 for a grand total of 30 000 Euros. Nowadays the price is 30 000 Euros per square meter. In the “Carré d’Or”, close to the Casino, prices reach 50,000 Euros per square meter: total madness! No need to say, it’s absolutely unaffordable now, but still there are some wonderful affordable addresses to discover where you can stay for a few days. Naturally, I’ll share some great tips that will prove you don’t need to have millions to enjoy a great life on the Riviera.

If you plan a week in Paris, right now, you’ll enjoy the end of the sales, the beginning of spring and a rather mild climate, with great deals in most hotels and guesthouses. Better still, why not extend your stay for a week or more on the French Riviera right now where you can eat out at lunch wearing shorts and T shirts and enjoy four star hotels with a 60 to 70% discount.

The Nice Carnival is about to begin as well as the Fête des Citrons in Menton:  It’s a great fun with accents of gay pride and Rio Carnival mixed together. Not to be missed is the final parade when the Carnival King is set to sea and burned until the next year’s celebration.

Check = http://www.nicecarnaval.com/



If you rent a car with Renault that we highly recommend for their price and High quality models you be just 30 minutes to the italian boarder in Menton and then ventimiglia ( it means 20 000 ) definitely the place to go for the fabulous food market ( fresh fruits from mama’s garden at half price than in france ) on Friday wher  you can buy delicious organic bye negatables and fruits, proscuito, and italian cheeses like parmesan and also alcools like Amareto and other italian specialiality like campari at less than 40% the standard french price( you can also go buy train 30 minutes from nice and there is a regional train every 20 minutes - if you re lucky you’ be enterering one of the 5 luxury trains colured red and white offered buy Albert II the Prince of Monaco to the french railways to conribute to improve public transport in région.

Of course, if your name starts with a “C”, you may be planning to become a princess and marry a nice prince, just like in every fairy tale. My friend Frédéric Latty manages the Institut de Français. His team will teach you the perfect French you need to know in a monthly intensive course. ( Even if you’re not Charlene ) It’s something very few people achieve in years in standard language schools. That about sums up L’Institut de Français in Villefranche Sur Mer:


Further away from Nice, a region half way between Nice and Barcelona, you’ll find Montpellier, the most Parisian city in the South of France with a beautiful 16th and 17th century area that is actually a little Marais, too.
Next to Montpellier, go to Aigues-Mortes, the first French City conquered by King Louis 9 in 1250. He’s more familiarly known as Saint Louis since the Vatican beatified him 50 years after his reign. This king was adored and did a lot of good things for the poor considering the harsh medieval context. Aigues-Mortes was the first French city on the Mediterranean coast. Nestled between Royaune d’Aragon (Spain) on one side, and the remains of the Roman Empire on the other side, its strategic position on the sea was perfect for launching the Crusades against the Muslims (come to think of it, this is nothing new. Too bad it’s not a laughing matter) Aigues-Mortes has kept its fantastic Medieval aspect for the past 800 years.

Inside Aigues-Mortes, the most romantic and friendly hotel we recommend is the villa Mazarin. The master of the house is called Henri, a king’s name, of course, except that this Henri is a wonderful Siamese cat. Villa Mazarin is the number one cat friendly hotel in the world as far as I can see. (I’m surprised Simon’s cat has not stayed in Villa Mazarin yet)

henri cat

The house was built in the 15th century, and it’s a gay friendly hotel, too. But of course everybody is welcome to Villa Mazarin, even straight dogs, if they’re kept on a leash not to annoy his majesty, Henri. Villa Mazarin is classified as a 3 star hotel, but easily deserves four, as the restaurant, run by chef Stephen Rouville, is a one star Michelin and is absolutely divine. 3 gastronomic menus are offered starting at only 29 Euros for 3 courses. Double Rooms start at around 120 and you can easily get a discount when recommended by Parismarais. com (when I told Henri I also have a Siamese cat called Sissi (like the former Empress of Austria who was immortalised by Romy Schneider in 3 great films), we immediately hit it off. Henri promised me to give a very special RRRRRRRRRRR and MRRRAOWWW to all Parismarais visitors.


PS: for those who don’t yet know Simon’s cat: visit http://www.simonscat.com/
Pascal Fonquernie
Editor, Parismarais.com



Italy: Vintimiglia
The food market on Friday is not to be missed : everything half price smoked ham, parmigiani, Local drinks and ice creams, leather shoes: do not take the risk to buy in the street cheap copies of Vuiton or Gucci, you ll be trapped at the border with a very high fine equivalent to the price of the real model !

Visit the old medieval city on the hill, still in poor condition but amazing for its character and old roman and medieval churches…

Menton :

Used to be called the city of the retired ... But things are changing and it’s now a great medium size city with local shopping opportunities such has hand made lemon jams and provencal table ware, a casino, cinemas and soon to be opened the new Jean Cocteau Museum

Hotels in Menton:


Roquebrune Cap Martin ( between Monaco and Menton)

Vista Palace Hotel

On its eagle's nest 333 meters above overlooking the Principality of Monaco and the Cap Martin, the breathtaking "Vista Palace Hotel" has an extraordinary history…
Built in 1870, the "Vistaero" presages what would become a remarkable destiny. Originally a tea room, later it was transformed into a hotel to adapt to the changing times. In 1986 it became a 70 room palace known as the "Vista Palace Hotel".
Recognized for its excellent position dominating the Mediterranean from the Grimaldi Rock to the Ligurian Coast, the "Vista Palace Hotel" offers one of the most spectacular views on the French Riviera. Combining comfort and quality service, the hotel offers a feeling of being somewhere special. From the moment you arrive our friendly staff will look after your every need. All our rooms have spectacular views, our discreet suites with private pools, a fitness centre, a terraced garden, and a private helipad provides business friendly access, or  “something more romantic”! Directly from Nice Côte d’Azur Airport or the heart of Monaco.

Read past newsletter and enjoy the most amazing view on the Riviera

Restaurant : le Vistaero

The Vistaero gastronomic restaurant is not only amazing for its view but for the originality of its cuisine ( try Filets de Saint Pierre with vegetable casserole, fabulous chocolate cake ) and great service , Evening menu for less than 50 euros. Champagne Drappier they are serving is particularly divine.

Monte Carlo and Monaco city

Stars ‘n bars : the friendly and affordable American restaurant on the harbour

Le Saint Nicolas : Next to the cathedral, the cheapest restaurant with a terrace you can find and enjoy a very decent menu at less than 20 euros including mixed fried seafood
6, rue de l' Eglise - 98000 – Monaco Ville

La rose des vents : the sea food place…we adore it !

Buddha Bar : new in Monaco, more chic and glamorous than the Paris one of course!

Le Louis 15 : Alain Ducasse most VIP address in the fabulous Hotel de Paris

Café de Paris :  The institution to watch the VIP’s and the most amazing collection of Rolls Royce and Ferrari – à la carte around 50 Euros
Le Saint Benoit : Best terrace overlooking Monaco Harbour and decent prices

La Rascasse : Vip sea food restaurant and bar

La Vigie : During the sad years of the Nazi occupation, this place was Monaco’s “Kommandantur” headquarters. Then it was abandoned and presumed haunted for several years before Karl Lagerfeld bought it for himself in the 80s. But he didn’t come down enough and resold it just a couple of years later to the Société des Bains de Mer. They revamped it and made a fantastic restaurant and club house attached to the famous Monte Carlo beach Hotel recently repainted and completely refurnished. La Vigie is now one of the top restaurants in Monaco.
Do not even try to get a hotel for the Prince’s wedding week. The first week of July everything is already sold out… but you may find something in other cities like Nice where there is a larger selection of hotels.

All hotels in Monaco are top of the range, but you can get them at very affordable rates now with our special offers : Monte Carlo Bay where the great film “ L’arnacoeur ” with Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis was shot, starts at 215 per night, Hotel Hermitage and Hotel de Paris at just around 250… dreams are affordable in low season.


Book now!


Beaulieu sur mer

La Réserve : one of the top 10 hotels on the French Rivierra
Villa kerylos : The unique copy of an antique greek villa, not to be missed as well as the following
Villa Ephrusi de Rothschild
( you can rent it for privates parties and weddings)


Villefranche sur Mer

Riviera Experience apartments : my dear friend Shelley rents the best flats you can book on the cote d’azur, often fully booked – weekly only saturday to saturday - book many months in advance.
mention parismarais.com when booking she’ ll welcome you even better!

Institut de Français : The Chic and top level school to learn French under orange trees overlooking the see ( even if you re not a princess, you can access it)

institut francais
old nice
palais lascaris nice


Cours Saleya in Old Nice : tons of restaurants, the flower market and antique market as well depending on the day. Next to old Nice who is just recently French… 160 years ago it was Italian and that’s why it looks very much like old Genova or Roma… Do not miss the Palais Lascaris from 15Th century , the oldest medieval palace in town, now one of the City Museum.

Hotels : the top selection is naturally on parismarais.com, we love the Negresco, West end and Beau Rivage, but all our selected addresses are great!

Book now the best rooms of the best hotels :

Nice is also a very gay friendly city even if the scene is rather small, the new mayor is very cool and tolerant.

Find all the south of France gay addresses in Nous magazine
The South of France’s best gay free magazine is where you’ll find out everything you need to know day by day.  Eric Seroul is the manager and he is very much committed to promoting alternative tourism on the Riviera as well as health care. 

Top gay places in Nice :
Sauna and fitness: les bains-douches
Night Bar on the Promenade des Anglais: Le Fard (next to hotel West End)
Dating and video bar: Malabar Station, the friendliest one - open until 2:30 a.m.
Ty Jeff : coffee shop, day bar and small restaurant
Beach : Coco beach , under the fish restaurant that has the same name



It s time to book your hotel now for Cannes festival in may as well as Monte-Carlo grand prix, do not wait, most hotels are already booked.

Best rates garanteed with parismarais.com



The Roman city who used to be called Massilia is worth to be discovered : Try the local fish soup and dish called “bouillabaisse” ( pronounce bu- ya- bess)

Hotels : cheaper than in most cote d’azur cities, it’s also a much more popular and less upscale destination, but do not miss it.


The most parisian city just next to the famous beach resort of la Grande Motte and the historical city of Aigues-Mortes.


Restaurant and Hotel : Of course, the best hotel managed by Sir Henri The Cat, rooms from 85 euro in low season – fabulous gastronomic restaurant with 3 menus from 29 to 77 euros. One star Michelin. Stunning decor and service. Exquisite creativity of Chef Stephane Rouville. ( read article in French on our blog : http://www.parismarais.fr/blog/comments.php?y=11&m=02&entry=entry110215-185552 )


Et voila, c’ est tout pour aujourd’hui !

Many thanks for their contribution to Damien, Villa Mazarin Paris, Fabien (and Henri, King of the cats) from Villa Mazarin, Aigues-Mortes, to Audrey and Salvatore from Vista Palace Hotel and to the SBM Société des Bains de Mer de Monaco, and to Alain Hirchfeld and Clémence Mathieu from Fast booking Hotel service who permited us to offer you such wonderful hotels at the best price.

villa mazarin
villa mazarin

villa mazarin


To prepare for your trip to Paris, you can download the exclusive Parismarais map of le Marais for free! Be sure to print out both sides A and B of the map by clicking on the following links:


You can also visit the following page where you will find more maps of Paris and le Marais as well as selected places to visit—photos and addresses will “pop up” as soon as you click on the colored dots. Fabulous, n'est-ce pas?


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Parismarais Newsletter, march 2011

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