Category Archives: Riviera

What Happened In Nice, France?

July 14 Holiday in resort of Nice, France. Big fireworks display. Piece of trash Tunisian take giant white truck . Drives along main beach road: the Promenade de Anglais. Kills 84 and wounds 331. Half killed not from Nice. Two Americans. Quite a few children.

Yes you saw it on your television! There were over 60 news agencies covering the story. Not repeat story or get into why we did not pubish our blog for a whole week.

Our thrust is HOW DID A HUGE TRUCK GET ON PROMENADE????? All vehicles were banned! At first, we were the only “news agency” raising the question!!!

Police officers and rescued workers stand near a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. The mayor of the French city of Nice said dozens of people were likely killed after a van rammed into a crowd marking Bastille Day in the French Riviera resort today and urged residents to stay indoors.  / AFP / VALERY HACHE        (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers and rescued workers stand near a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016.
The mayor of the French city of Nice said dozens of people were likely killed after a van rammed into a crowd marking Bastille Day in the French Riviera resort today and urged residents to stay indoors.
/ AFP / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers and rescued workers stand near a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016. The mayor of the French city of Nice said dozens of people were likely killed after a van rammed into a crowd marking Bastille Day in the French Riviera resort today and urged residents to stay indoors.  / AFP / VALERY HACHE        (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers and rescued workers stand near a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 14, 2016.
The mayor of the French city of Nice said dozens of people were likely killed after a van rammed into a crowd marking Bastille Day in the French Riviera resort today and urged residents to stay indoors.
/ AFP / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

Publicity was handled by the government in Paris. All they were talking about was what brand of  Islam did the killer come from. Finally the head of the police union talked. Simply there were not enough police “available” for the huge crowd.

This consisted of 20 French Army soldiers (walking in groups of 4); 64 National Police and 42 Municipal Police. Most of the National police were CRS (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité).  The task for which they are best known is crowd and riot control and re-establishment of order.

 Remember the police killer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana? He was armed with an “assault rifle”. What does it take to stop a big truck? Right! an “assault rife”. Or a grenade. Only police in Nice with “assault rifles” were the Army.
At the point the truck entered the Promenade (rue Gambetta) there were wooden barricades. Truck just drove around them. It took a National Policeman to climb on truck and shoot driver.
Truck finally stopped outside “our” office at La Canne à Sucre. Two kilometers past the barricades

American Memorial Day 2016 – Rhone American Cemetary, Draguignan France

Been here before and always loved it. This year a little different: Thunderstorms rolling through the region. Ceremony moved to high school gym. But still impressive. Congratulations to Mrs. Alison Libersa who manages the cemetary for the American Battle Monuments Commission. It still was a roaring success. 

It is a bi-lingual event. Some speakers are more bi-lingual than others. Mr. Richard Strambio, Mayor of Draguignan, is one. Besides his staff serves a great lunch.

Highlight of the event is United States of America participation. This year was General Arlan M. DeBlieck who is the “mission support” guy for US in Europe. He brought the Navy European Band with him. A great choice!

Like most ceremonies, all kinds of presentations. For instance, the Riviera Chapter of Democrats Abroad France lays a memorial wreath.

Thank you also to the French Ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs and Interior, including regional, departmental and communal governments.

From Manchester to Marseille: What can the promise of high speed rail do to a city?

Alighting at Marseille’s Saint-Charles railway station on a balmy August evening, a colleague and I made our way to the head of the grand stone staircase which sweeps leisurely down to street level. As we paused momentarily to appreciate the sprawling city beneath us, I cast my mind back to earlier in the day – 7.15am, in fact – when I had left another major city back in the UK, Manchester, then still shrouded in gloom.

Perhaps more importantly than where we had ended up was the way in which we had arrived: not by some ubiquitous budget airline with tedious transfers and a cosy cabin, but by train – station to station, city centre to city centre. What had started out as a rail journey of stop/start frustration between Manchester and London had ended with an easy saunter through the French countryside aboard one of SNCF’s revered Train Grand Vitesse (TGV) services.


Sat in the bar carriage, amid the convivial conversation of my fellow passengers, I soon shrugged off the day’s earlier stresses and gazed contentedly at the speeding scenery, safe in the knowledge that with each passing minute the mercury outside would continue to rise.

The chance to bask in a little Mediterranean sun was just a bonus. The real reason behind my foray south was the compulsion to test a few theories – theories concerning both Manchester and Marseille, arguably the emerging second cities of their respective countries, and the means by which they may soon be connected via a High Speed Rail line.


Read more on connection

Picturesque French Riviera hit by deadly flash floods

In a matter of minutes, torrential rains transformed the postcard-perfect French Riviera into a terrifying flood zone, leaving at least 16 dead, trapping hundreds of railroad passengers and halting car and train traffic Sunday along the mud-drenched Mediterranean coast.

President Hollande thank elected officials, police, firemen, and volunteers. Forgot to mention the many “public works” employees of Alpes-Maritimes Conseil General (county government). Guess they get their overtime in three months for a thank you.


Victims were found dead in a retirement home, campsites, and cars submerged in a tunnel. Residents, stunned by the ferocity of the brief downpour Saturday night, described it as the worst flooding they’d ever seen — so dramatic that President Francois Hollande paid an emergency visit Sunday to promise government aid for victims.


Helicopters patrolled the area and 27,000 homes were without electricity Sunday after rivers and streams overflowed their banks and fierce thunderstorms poured more than 18 centimeters (6.7 inches) of rain in Cannes and some other areas, according to the Interior Ministry. The Cannes region saw the equivalent of two months of rainfall in less than two hours.


Hollande said the overall death toll by midday Sunday was 16, with three still missing. Government officials gave conflicting reports about casualty figures throughout the day, as emergency services fanned out across the region to check homes, stores and overturned cars for victims.

“It’s not over,” Hollande said, visiting the flood-stricken retirement home in the town of Biot and meeting with emergency workers.

He expressed condolences to families of victims and urged residents to remain cautious, especially on the region’s roads, many of which remained impassable Sunday. He promised aid for residents hit by the flooding and lamented serious damage to local stores and other businesses.


Some residents criticized authorities for not doing more to prevent flood damage in the region, which is prized by tourists and residents for its mild year-round climate but which has seen increasing flooding in recent years. Local firefighters and meteorologists said the amount of rain Saturday was unusual for the region this time of year, but were especially shocked by the intensity and speed of the storm.

People were found dead in the towns of Cannes, Biot, Golfe-Juan and Mandelieu-la-Napoule in the southeast.

Three elderly people were killed in the retirement home, Hollande said. Three others were found dead in their car after entering a flooded tunnel, authorities in Golfe-Juan said. Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said the dead included victims who had been trapped in a parking lot and campsites.

Winds and rain whipped palm trees along the famed Croisette seaside promenade in Cannes. Some cars parked near the Cannes shore were swept away and overturned by high waves.

In nearby Antibes, campsites along the Brague River were suddenly inundated with muddy water, leaving cars overturned.

Several trains were stopped because of flooded tracks, and traffic remained stopped along the Mediterranean coast between Nice and Toulon all day Sunday. Several roads were closed.

The newly rebuilt Cannes railroad station was completely flooded.

Pope Francis offered his prayers for the victims during his weekly Sunday blessing from St. Peter’s Square.

“We express our nearness to the hard-hit populations, including with concrete forms of solidarity,” he said.

The flooding also disrupted a French league soccer match in Nice, forcing the stadium to shut down in the middle of play.

Hundreds of emergency workers were involved in rescue efforts Sunday, helped by bright sun contrasting sharply with the sinister skies the night before.

A Great Weekend For Rail Fans in Southern France

On the weekend of July 18/July 19 there was a fantastic agenda for railfans. It was held in St André les Alpes, France.

A steam train (Train des Pignes à Vapeur) ran several trips to Thorame Gare.

annot st André les Alpes 2015 Steam Train 03

There was a great model railroad show in the village of St André les Alpes. There was something for everyone. We bought several postcard-sized paintings from artist Geneviève Aujoulat.

In “real life, Ms. Aujoulat is a “chef de train” for the Chemin de Fer de Provence railroad. This narrow-gauge railroad runs from Nice to Digne.

Finally there was a model railroad exhibit run by the IETB.

This fantastic exhibit included a G-Scale garden railroad and an inside HO-Scale layout.

G Scale Railroad
G Scale Railroad
HO Scale Railroad
HO Scale Railroad

Location of Democrats Abroad Meeting Changed

Due to a last minute logistical limitation with our host, Le Comptoir de l’imaginaire, Democrats Abroad France – Riviera Chapter is changing the location of our elections.  The new location is listed below and is where previous Political Wines have been held.  The date and time remain unchanged.  We apologize for any inconvenience this change may cause.

La Canne à Sucre / Sports 11
11 promenade des Anglais 06000 NICE

Please join us on 12 JUN 2015 (Friday evening) at 19h00 to cast your ballot.  Immediately following our voting, we will host a unique film screening of California State of Mind directed by Sascha Rice. If this change prevents you from submitting your ballot in person, you may still send your signed ballot (see PDF attached) and a photocopy of your American passport to our official Elections Monitor by midnight 11 JUN 2015:

6 bis Placette Saint Antoine

She is able to accept your ballots by either post or electronically via e-mail.

Parking: Palais de la Méditerranée or Palais Masséna

Public Transport: several bus lines serve bus stops: Congrès/Joffre, Grimaldi, Congrès Promenade (all in walking distance)


Penney Vanderbilt’s New WebSite. Great WebSite from World’s Greatest Blogger!

Well readers, I just finished my newly renovated WebSite: WWW.OMINOUSWEATHER.COM/Penney.html

The first feature we like is Penney”s Best Blogs. The ranking of these sites is from YOU, not me. We start out with the Troy Union Railroad.

It does not exist anymore so maybe it is a “folk lore” attraction? There are several other railroad blogs on the most popular list.

“Folk lore” is very popular. Check out “

The Tobin Packing Company of Albany (Makers of First Prize Hot Dogs)

Don’t forget that in addition to my very popular blog, that we have three other popular blogs. I am the “big mama” of the group and decide what I want to publish. KC Jones picks up some of the blogs I can’t get to. The Ancien Hippie marches to his own drummer. Being the oldest and wisest in the group. Yes he can be opinionated, but he is loveable. Our young Crazy Pasta Child looks for new and different topics.

There are over 400 Web Pages you can reach from my WebSite!!!!!

Some have been blogged, some not.

GrandCentral1965Grand Central19216070-sb-on-h-l-bridge

Saratoga and North Creek, which operates passenger trains between Saratoga Springs and North Creek, and freight trains between Saratoga Springs and Tahawus, also runs snow trains in the winter months and the Polar Express during the Christmas holiday period. The railroad is looking at expanding service to the Albany-Rensselaer train station. While it connects with Amtrak’s Adirondack services at Saratoga, the Rensselaer station has far more Amtrak service. Saratoga & North Creek Railway is looking into the feasibility of extending passenger train service to Rensselaer to better serve passengers aiming to head north.

December 10th Births in Monaco: Monaco joy as twins are born

After great anticipation and excitement the royal twins  in Monaco have arrived, with Princess Gabriella born at 5:04 PM on December 10, quickly followed two minutes later by her brother Jacques, who is now first in line to the throne, with his sister second. The Princely palace were pleased to announce that the twins and Princess Charlene are all doing well. The births took place at the maternity unit of the Princess Grace Hospital Monaco. The Prince Jacques, Honoré, Rainier, to give him his full name, is the Crown Prince. In accordance with the historic custom established by the treaty of Péronne in 1641, he shall receive the title of Marquis of Baux. The Princess Gabriella, Thérèse, Marie, second child in the line of succession, shall receive the title of Countess of Carladès. Cannons were fired, yacht horns sounded, cathedral bells rang, and people celebrated outside the palace as the news was announced.

Monaco’s Princess Charlene had a girl first and a boy second, but the boy will be the principality’s future ruler, reflecting the male priority of Monaco’s laws of succession.

The royal twins Gabriella Therese Marie and Jacques Honore Rainier born to Charlene, 36, and Prince Albert II, 56  are heirs to the centuries-old Grimaldi dynasty that rules the wealthy principality.

Monaco is a two-square kilometer (0.8 square mile) enclave of ritzy apartments and luxury shops on the French Riviera with a population of around 30,000.

Albert, son of the late and famous American actress Princess Grace (Grace Kelly) , had some subjects worried by his long bachelorhood and his lack of an heir since his two previous children were born out of wedlock and are not eligible for the throne. Then the prince married Charlene Wittstock, a Zimbabwe-born, South Africa-raised former Olympic swimmer, in 2011.

Now the tiny royal state on the Riviera has two reasons to rejoice.

“This is going to create an immense joy. Immense!” said Monaco resident Isabelle Roux. “They are awaited like the messiah. … Everyone is talking only about that.”

“Two babies for the price of one. I think it’s very good for the image,” said Adelaide de Clermont-Tonnerre, editor-in-chief of the celebrity weekly Point de Vue. “With twins, there’s always an extra interest.”

Only one woman has ever reigned over Monaco, Princess Louise-Hippolyte, but she died months after assuming the throne in 1731.

In 2002, with no heirs in sight, Monaco’s parliament quietly changed its constitution to allow royal power to pass from a reigning prince with no descendants to his siblings ? potentially Albert’s two sisters. That ensured the continuation of the Grimaldi dynasty, one of the oldest royal houses in Europe, even if Albert never produced an heir.



Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco

By palace decree 42 cannon shots were fired to announce Wednesday’s births, instead of the 21 that would boom for a single baby.



Charlene’s pregnancy was announced on May 30, and it was later revealed in September that she was expecting not one, but two new heirs to the crown.

Though these are the princely couple’s first children, Albert has had several children with different women out of wedlock. He has publicly recognized two other children.

The gender of the twins had been kept a secret – even from their father – during Charlene’s pregnancy.

But Prince Albert – whose late mother was the Hollywood superstar Grace Kelly – had earlier said that if the twin were a boy and a girl, it would be the boy who would succeed him.

Prince Albert succeeded his father, Prince Rainier, in 2005.

He had a daughter, Jazmin, 22, after a fling with former waitress Tamara Rotolo. He denied being her father for years before DNA tests proved otherwise when she was a teenager.

The prince also has a younger son, Alexandre Coste, 11, from an affair with Nicole Coste, a former Air France hostess.

Under Monaco’s inheritance laws, neither of them have any claim to royal titles or to be considered as heirs to Prince Albert because they were born outside of marriage.

They do however have legal rights to a share of his huge personal fortune, estimated by Forbes magazine to exceed $1 billion.
The Grimaldi Family once had an even larger presence in the French Riviera. Their “empire” once extended even more: West to Antibes, East to Menton, where they operated “toll booths” between what is now France and Italy, North into the Mercantour. But the “ROCK” of Monaco has survived to this day.

Oregon Tourists Enjoyed La Canne à Sucre in Nice, France

La Canne à Sucre in Nice, France (on the Promenade des Anglais at the corner of rue du Congres) is known as the friendliest restaurant in Nice.

La Canne à Sucre
La Canne à Sucre

Shown enjoying the great food are Oregon tourists Jan Haverly and Vicki Swain. They had a great dinner too.

They stayed in Nice on the way from Italy to Spain.

La Canne à Sucre
La Canne à Sucre

Find out about FEATS and Fairpromise


Old Bus from the 1970’s Returns to Nice, France

HERITAGE – Gone for nearly 30 years, a former Line 4 bus is back to Nice where restoration will be completed. It complements the already rich collection of the Association of Tramophiles Côte d’Azur.

This is an old acquaintance for regulars on line 4 and is back in Nice, a true relic for enthusiasts. This “Saviem SC type 10 L” operated on the route connecting the Pasteur Hospital and Saint-Sylvestre for over a decade, from 1975 to 1987. “It spent its entire career on the line, one of the most important in the networks of Nice” stated Frédéric Giana, President of the Association of Tramophiles Côte d’Azur.

These enthusiasts have saved this bus from demolition to restore it. The body and pneumatic system for suspension and brakes have been redone in Lyon, where the machine arrived at nine Tuesday morning in cream and green livery of it’s origin. It is at the garage of the ST2N in Nice suburb Drap. This is where the volunteers of the association will spend long hours doing the interior restoration.

The majority of the collection is open for the public from May to September at the Ecomusée in Breil sur Roya. In addition, restored vehicles are operated a couple of times a year in regular service on the Nice system. We will update this blog when dates are available.