How to Spend the Hours Before Your Flight from Nice

Why would you want to go into a public park on the French Riviera when nature in its untamed variety – more coastal walks and mountain hikes than you could possibly pack into a long holiday – is only ever a bus ride away?

On most days, admittedly, any argument in favour of a trip to the public park will indeed seem a trifle weak, but there are also circumstances under which it

How to Spend the Hours Before Your Flight from Nice

Get to the Greatest of All Riviera Gardens

Riviera gardens are, in a number of ways, like London City churches: there are so many of them that only the truly obsessive can name them all There are enough differences between them for you to visit more than just a single one, while, on the other hand, they are sufficiently similar to invite informed comparisons. And just as the power and the majestic glory of St Paul’s tower above all of the other post-Great-Fire

Get to the Greatest of All Riviera Gardens

Do You Agree that Grasse is for Inhaling?

Grasse, as Joe Namath very nearly said, is not for visiting, it’s for smoking. And you’d be surprised how many locals share this opinion, at least the first half of it: that your time would be better spent going somewhere else (not to put too fine a point on it.)

Nice-Matin, our local rag, recently dedicated a photo spread to the refutation of this very idea that Grasse is ugly, that there is

Do You Agree that Grasse is for Inhaling?

Sniff Your Way to the Garden of Scents

What Made Grasse Famous Has Made a Smell-O-Rama Convert Out Of Me Few people have ever regretted that Hollywood failed to further evolve its 1950s format of Smell-O-Rama which allowed the movie houses to pipe in scents for the purpose of highlighting the cinematic narrative.

Full disclosure: I have always been one of those Smell-O-Rama skeptics – until last weekend, that is, when we visited the garden of scents, the Musée Internationale de

Sniff Your Way to the Garden of Scents

Professional Cycling: Is it Just All Sweat and Lycra?

A Walk in Sanremo Professional cycling. Don’t you just love it?

Sprinter Alessandro Petacchi winning Milan-San Remo in 2005

You don’t? Too much lycra, too much sweat running down contorted faces, too much time-where-not-very-much-appears-to-be-happening-at-all?

Races remind you of those depression era dance marathons where the last guy standing wins? Of who-can-hold-his-breath-the-longest contests?

Oh well. That is certainly one way of seeing it. But there is another way, too. Plenty of

Professional Cycling: Is it Just All Sweat and Lycra?

So You Want Off the Beaten Path But Charming

Villeneuve-Loubet is an attractive and charming little village, perhaps not the most spectacularly beautiful in the French Riviera region but one of the most alluring. This may have to do with the fact that it is located a little off the beaten track and has therefore been allowed to preserve its Provencal character more than most.

It is a place where the barber and the baker stop each other in

So You Want Off the Beaten Path But Charming

In Search of the Hidden Gardens of Monaco

Oman, Qatar and San Marino are, officially, the least green countries in the world. In these three states – and in the territory of Greenland (clearly a case for the Trades Descriptions Act) – forests make up exactly 0.0 % of the surface area: none of them have any woodlands at all. But what about Monaco?

We go to Monaco fairly regularly, and if there are any forests over there,

In Search of the Hidden Gardens of Monaco

Care for a “Sculptour” in a Modern Art Hotspot?

Münster is one of western Germany’s most favourite day trip destinations and also happens to be a modern art hotspot. People from the region and beyond like to come here partly to experience the town’s ancient and interesting history: in 1535, the Siege of Münster ended the tyrannical regime of the eccentric Jan van Leiden, a sort of medieval Pol Pot, and in 1648, this was where the Peace of Westphalia was

Care for a “Sculptour” in a Modern Art Hotspot?

A London Walk That is Not for the Fainthearted

If you want to see the largest number of ghosts crammed together into the smallest possible space to get the biggest spectral bang for your London-walking-buck so to speak, go to the City of London. After all, before the square mile became a business district, it was pretty much all of London there was. While cows were grazing in what today is the West End and while South London was nothing but a wilderness (North

A London Walk That is Not for the Fainthearted

A Brave Walk in the Haunted City of London

Ready to meet more of London’s undead? Good, they have been dying to meet you – in some cases waiting for you for hundreds of years in the haunted City of London.

We start the second part of our walk on Trafalgar Square, right underneath Nelson’s Column. Take a good look at the Admiral so you can recognize him when we meet his ghost a little further down our route.

A Brave Walk in the Haunted City of London