The Top Eight Must-visit Events on the French Riviera for 2016

It’s 2016 and another glorious spring has arrived to cast a soft and gentle spell on the land in the South of France. It is also that time of year to look ahead at some of the most exciting events that are set to take place in this beautiful region, over the coming months.

French Riviera

Better known as the playground of the rich and famous, the French Riviera is not only famous for its beautiful weather, but also plays host to a number of highly-acclaimed festivals, carnivals and sporting events that attract high-profile visitors and celebrities from around the world. It is well worth a visit, if you are planning a memorable and exciting holiday.

Here, at St Tropez House, we have put together a list of the top 8 events that you just absolutely cannot afford to miss.

1. Monte-Carlo Rolex Cup
Venue: The Monte-Carlo Country Club
Dates: April 9th to 17th

One of the most popular events on the international tennis circuit is the Monte-Carlo Rolex Open. It takes place at the Monte-Carlo Country Club every April. The setting is indeed incredible. Fans get to enjoy the fast-paced action of dare-devil tennis matches while simultaneously breathing in the breathtaking, panoramic view out over the gorgeous, azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The ATP tournament attracts some of the biggest names in tennis such as Novac Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

2. Top Marques Monaco
Dates: April 14th to 17th

The adrenaline-pumping, supercar show “Top Marques” takes place during the last weekend of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Billed as the most exclusive supercar show in the world, it is the ultimate, luxury supercar show. You just don’t want to miss this if you are a die-hard fan of luxury cars. The four day exhibition is primarily a supercar event, where every car is for sale. But there are also areas dedicated to other gizmos and accessories that make for a luxury lifestyle such as super exclusive watches, unique designer jewellery and superboats for adventure lovers. The event takes place in and around the Grimaldi Forum which is an award-winning exhibition centre in the heart of Monaco, located just a short walk from Casino Square and a stone’s throw from the Mediterranean. You may get to test drive the supercar of your dreams on a Grand Prix circuit.

3. Cannes Film Festival
Dates: May 11th to 22nd

Cannes Film FestivalThis event definitely needs no introduction. The Cannes film festival is arguably the biggest movie extravaganza anywhere in the world which takes place at the Palais des Festivals on the promenade in Cannes. This will be the festival’s 69th edition and more than likely to attract the biggest names in the film industry from around the world. They come not just to premier their movies, but also to see, be seen, and have fun.

4. Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix
Dates: May 26th to 29th

Monaco Formula 1 - Grand PrixAnother hugely popular event on the Cote d’Azur is the Monaco F1 Grand Prix, which takes place around the streets and Port of Monaco. The circuit winds its way through tunnels and hairpin bends in the world’s second smallest country, watched by thousands of fans who throng the course on constructed stands or balconies of the principality’s prime real estate. Then there are also the lucky ones – who get to watch the vehicles race around the circuit from the decks of their private superyachts berthed in the Port of Monaco.

5. Bastille Day
Date: July 14th

This quintessential French public holiday is celebrated across the country regardless of the day of the week. La Fete Nationale, or Bastille Day, commemorates the storming of the Bastille, a French prison, on July 14th 1789 which started the French Revolution. It is marked in almost every French town and village, no matter how small, with parades, red, white and blue flags and fireworks. One of the best spots from which to admire the fireworks is Pampelonne beach in St Tropez. Or even better, the holiday villas overlooking Pampelonne beach.

6. Cannes Yachting Festival
Dates: September 6th to 11th

The Cannes Yachting Festival is widely reputed to be Europe’s leading in-water exhibition with more than 500 boats on display. It annually draws crowds of more than 40,000 and is an exciting event for seasoned yachtsmen and amateurs alike. It is also the first yacht show after the hugely busy charter season in the Med and takes place in the Vieux Port and the more modern Port Pierre Canto, in Cannes.

7. Monaco Yacht Show
Dates: September 28th to October 1st

Less than an hour down the road, and just over two weeks later, the world’s leading, annual superyacht show takes place in a blaze of glory at the heart of Monaco. The Monaco Yacht Show or MYS is where some of the newest luxury yachts are on display. It hosts more than 100 superyachts, a superb selection of toys for boys and some pretty cool tenders which are all proudly showcased in and around the waterfront in Monaco.

8. Les Voiles de St. Tropez
Dates: September 24th to October 2nd

The last event on our ‘must-see’ list happens at St. Tropez and is one of the most spectacular sailing events on the globe. Les Voiles de St. Tropez is one of the most eagerly awaited regattas in the sailing fraternity and takes place on the beautiful waters of the Bay of St Tropez. Organised by the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez, the regatta attracts a dazzling array of yachts ranging from day sailers to superyachts and some of the finest-looking maxis and performance cruisers in the world. But what really catches the eye are the bevy of beautiful classic yachts of all sizes, daintily lined up for display, stern to the quayside in the harbour of St. Tropez, providing an amazing and colourful spectacle of nautical beauty for the thousands of visitors who come to view the regatta each year.

Beautiful “Cerise” - Villa for rent overlooking the scenic St Tropez Bay
Beautiful “Cerise” – Villa for rent overlooking the scenic St Tropez Bay

Gorgeous “Amourai” - A Waterfront villa for rent in St Tropez
Gorgeous “Amourai” – A Waterfront villa for rent in St Tropez


India – Luxury, Culture, Adventure… You Name It

India is not for the faint of heart. Besides, you are not visiting the sub-continent because you want to experience everything as cool and comfy, and exactly as you have it at home.
If it’s adventure that you crave, we give you the mighty, majestic Himalaya from kashmir and Ladakh to Bhutan and onwards, to the wild and remote, pristine beauty of Arunachal Pradesh. It’s in the rugged wilderness of the himalaya that the men get separated from the boys.
If it’s mind-boggling culture and colour you’re looking for: discover Hinduism in all its glory. Hinduism is not so much a religion, as a way of life. It is more of an all-encompassing system of governance that gives the seemingly chaotic confusion of everyday life in the sub-continent a semblance of balance and sophisticated poise that keeps the nation moving ever onwards despite the play of conflicting forces.
Hinduism permeates the life of the average Indian at every level. It is a close-knit society, but it is never about the individual. It is always about how the individual is guided to immerse himself in the greater identity of society.
 Taj Mahal - The Stuff of Legend
Taj Mahal – The Stuff of Legend

Unlike in western society, the individual in India is focused more towards his fundamental duty towards society in the various roles he plays as father, son, brother, husband and citizen, than his individuality.

If it’s historical and architectural grandeur you’re looking for, why then, India is a living repository of recorded history that goes back 5,000 years and more. There are historical monuments to be discovered at every step along your visit here.
And the Taj Mahal? Of course you’ve heard of it. It’s the stuff that legends are made of. If you’re visiting here for the first time, you just have to visit Agra… and Jaipur!
We can give you world-class luxury. We’ve spent centuries in finely honing the concept of fine living and unimaginable luxury in the courts of Mughal Emperors and royal families that ruled kingdoms and civilizations in former princely India, such as Mysore, Hyderabad, Travancore, Rajasthan and more.
And don’t forget the vibrant colors of the festivals.  It’s a rich diversity of events that celebrate every imaginable aspect of life on the sub-continent from the festival of colors to the festival of lights.
If you are game for an experience that will absolutely change the way that you look at the world, we invite you to build an India holiday for yourself with our expert advice.
They say that travel is the mother of all learning experiences!
I say come, bask in the unique experience that is India…

Travel Smart, Travel Safe in India

Traveling in India can be a most exciting experience. It doesn’t offer fantastic luxury or superior comfort. But it never fails to attract record numbers of tourists from all walks of life from around the world. The reason for this is that travel in India is like a journey into the ancient mists of time.
Peace Pipe Bonhomie – It’s a Guy Thing

India is like a living museum; home to colourful arts, crafts, timeless traditions and beliefs, and a way of life that has more or less died out in the more developed countries of the world. The quaint cultures and lifestyles that have flourished for centuries in the rural heart of India seem blissfully unperturbed and impervious to the ravages of western ideas and culture brought in with the advent of satellite TV in the cities.

While the quaint and idyllic settings can seem romantic from far, it is necessary for you, the traveller to be sensitive to the customs and traditions of the local communities. Understanding the finer nuances of social mores and customs that have been developed over centuries can be a little tricky.
A little advance preparation and a genuine, healthy respect for the differences you will witness here, could well be the tipping point between having a happy holiday or a frightful experience. Ignorance would be no excuse for a holiday gone haywire.
This short article will try to give a few common-sense tips, primarily for women, to keep you safe while traveling in India. So, let us take a peep below the surface into the mysterious thought processes that shape life and tradition in India.
Women Traveling in India
India has seen an unusual spate in recent incidents of rape and attacks on women travellers in various parts of the country.
It is essential to realize that, culturally speaking, around 70 per cent of India is just belatedly waking up to the awareness of their arrival in the 21stcentury.  They may look and behave like your average, peace-loving citizen. But inside their heads they could be living way back in the deep, dark recesses of primordial time, with survival being the only consideration. Weakness then, in any form, is an opportunity that must be exploited. 
How far the individual will go in his efforts to exploit will depend on his threat perception from the situation and his fear of getting caught.
Brilliant Colors – Village Scene

Traditionally, persons perceived as soft targets in any country in the world have always been children, women and foreigners or travellers/tourists. As a woman traveller, this puts you at twice the risk of being targeted. You do have a definite need to be alert at all times.

It is my experience that danger to life and limb lurks everywhere; even in the safest corners of our homes. But, to live life joyously is a protection in itself. However, a little common-sense preparation and studying up on the culture and customs of the regions you plan to visit, will definitely add a lot of happiness to your trip.
Some of the tips I have for the ladies comes from my own personal experience of wandering around in not-so-safe places. These are by no means exhaustive. But, they are helpful nevertheless.
I won’t say that the men in India are bigoted. It’s just that the poor guys are still trying to come to terms with the shock of the fact that women can now dare to assert their independence; that they can dare to be proud of their sexuality; AND show it off, too.
1.       Single women travellers attract unusual attention in India.  One, or even two more travel companions definitely makes for a fair amount of peace of mind. Stick together at all times, even for a short walk from your hotel to the corner Dominos’ or MacDonald’s. It is not an acceptable situation in any strong, self-respecting woman’s opinion. But then, prevention is always the better part of valour. (Sorry for mixing up two clichés!)
2.       Do not hasten to trust the men you encounter, no matter how distinguished he may look or gentle he may seem. I am not saying the guys you meet would all be untrustworthy. It would be prudent to be cautious at all times. I remember an old saying I grew up with: “Just because a man might look like your father, it does not necessarily mean that he would have fatherly feelings toward you.”
3.       Do not eat or drink anything offered by strangers or fellow travellers. Do not leave your drink unattended while at a bar or disco. And definitely do not go back to a drink that you may have left unattended, even for a brief moment.
4.       Dress sensibly and modestly at all times, but especially if you are visiting a monument or religious place. Most religious places in India would also require women visitors to cover their heads while visiting.
5.       While travelling at night especially, avoid traveling in buses, train-compartments, autos, tuk-tuks and other forms of public transport when you see that there is not a single, other woman passenger on board. The more women you see on board, increases the level of safety you will enjoy.
6.       Traveling like the locals do, will definitely add local flavour to your trip. But do try to get a first-hand account from the locals about the pitfalls and inconveniences associated with the different modes of transport.
7.       Do be polite, definitely.  But do not be afraid to snub that annoying and persistent male attention on the streets or in public places. Do be prudent and alert at all times, though. And definitely do be prepared to fight tooth and nail, single-handedly – if need be, should push come to shove and the persistent booger turns out to be one of those nasty punks with a bad case of the overbearing ‘male chauvinist pig’ syndrome. Do not try to be overly brave. Do your damage. And then run like the wind… as fast and far away as possible. Should such an incident ever occur, do not continue staying in the area. Shift hotels immediately.
8.       Areas around railway stations the world over are usually dens of iniquity. They are crowded, impersonal and packed with migrants, drug addicts, prostitutes, pimps and other colourful characters from the lower levels of society. Try to choose your accommodation in better areas. Safety over savings is the catch-phrase here.
9.       If you need to seek directions, don’t just approach the first set of people you encounter on the street. Avoid individuals that are unkempt, unwashed, un-bathed and dirtily dressed. They could be hobos, vagabonds, beggars or worse still, drug addicts. Definitely people you don’t want to interact with. In any case, avoid approaching random persons on the street. It would be better to walk into a reasonably busy shop or local business. Addresses are always easier to trace than random passers-by.       
For All Travellers in India
And now, we can go on to cover some of the more general situations that could face all travellers.
The Rich Ochre of The Thar Desert

1.       The touts, the shysters and the street-side carpet-curio salesmen! Do not get swayed by these sweet-talking, suave, pretty boys. They are not as innocent as they look. They are to be found in every down-town city center or in and around historical monuments frequented by tourists. They usually target young, single, women travellers or gullible, elderly women and couples. They are usually pretty-looking, street-smart young men, skilfully skirting the borderline of the law and propriety in order to sell curios, carpets, package tours or even buy or sell black market foreign currency. They usually pay hefty kick-backs to corrupt elements within the local authorities for turning a blind eye to their scams. So don’t expect a sympathetic hearing should you need to report an untoward incident at the hands of any one of these pretty boys.

2.       Those pesky auto and cab drivers that hang out outside almost every hotel and restaurant up and down town… They hassle you with their demands for outrageous fares and persistently try to get you to visit their favorite carpet showroom before you even agree to get into their vehicle. Don’t let them faze you. Check the fare to your destination and fix it in advance. Forget any detours for a shopping stop, no matter how attractive it may sound.
3.       The carpet and curio shops, usually privately owned, will generally sell you traditional handcrafted items at outrageous prices. It happens all around the world. Aside for a hefty margin for the establishment, the prices will also include a cut for your friendly cab driver and guide and of course, your friendly neighbourhood tour operator who has planned all your local travel arrangements. Beware; bargain, for all you are worth. But, at the first suitable opportunity that presents itself… cut and run.
4.       Should you still be interested though, in shopping for local handicraft items and gifts to carry home from your trip, then do check out the local guide books, conveniently placed in your hotel room. But, getting there could be a bit of a challenge trying to avoid the ubiquitous, friendly, overly enthusiastic auto and cab drivers who would be happy to take you to every other shop but the one you wish to go!
5.       Religion is a highly sensitive topic in India. Strict neutrality is the key here. Especially if you are visiting the myriads of temples and religious monuments of different faiths, that make up the religious milieu.
Finally, the real purpose of your travel away from home surroundings is to get an experience that is different. Experiencing difference may sometimes stretch the limits of your tolerance. But it surely does not need to be a dangerous or an unsafe experience.

The basic guarantee of a happy travel experience boils down to a simple formula: Be informed; be alert; be safe.