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Beaches, islands and film festivals – living #thejamesway

Beaches, islands and film festivals – living #thejamesway

­After the glitz and glamour of Monaco we wanted to spend some time exploring other parts of the Côte d’Azur and, of course, on the beach with the little ones building sand castles and enjoying the beautiful coastline. It’s not a holiday without beach-time as far as they’re concerned!

The Lérins Islands (in French: les Îles de Lérins) are a pair of stunning little islands just a short boat ride from the port in Cannes, which itself was only a 40 minute drive from our James Villas holiday-home, Villa Camiole. Cannes is of course  home to the famous annual film festival which unfortunately was over before we arrived (always the bridesmaid!) so I’ll leave you to read my gorgeous friend Vicki from Honest Mum’s wonderful post about attending this year.

Instead we packed a picnic and our buckets and spades and boarded the Trans Côte d’Azur boat to the larger of the two islands – Île Sainte-Marguerite – home of the 17th century fort where the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned but also to pebbly beaches with rock pools and a nature research teeming with bird-life and the beautiful smell of pine and eucalyptus perfuming the air.

Trans Cote D'Azur boat to Sainte Marguerite

Little Man looking at the lighthouse in Cannes harbour

Sainte Marguerite Island


Sainte-Marguerite island

Nature reserve at Ile Sainte Marguerite

We meandered through the trees along marked trails that take you on a botanical and historical tour of the island and picked a spot on the beach with stunning views of the Cannes coastline and yachts crossing our eyeline all morning.

Shady paths on Ile Sainte Marguerite

Beach at Ile Sainte-Marguerite

The little people spent a few happy hours picking their favourite stones, hunting for little fish in the rock pools and searching for crabs. The water was crystal clear and just warm enough to paddle in and they loved it.

Littles on the beach at Ile Sainte-Marguerite

Once we’d had lazy picnic lunch (and a couple of ice-creams of course) we headed up to the fort for a play on the cannon and a wander around this historical landmark. Part of the fort is now a holiday centre – Cannes Jeunesse – which organises custom-made holidays with (or without) activities for schools and corporate groups.

The fort at Ile Sainte-Marguerite

Back in Cannes we just had to walk the famous seafront boulevard and visit the Croisette where the stars leave their handprints. It turns out my hands are the same size as Angelina Jolie – who knew?

Cannes film festival poster

Cannes harbour

Angelina Jolie's handprint

The next day we headed just down the coast towards Frejus and St Raphael for two beach mornings. We eschewed the large bustling beaches and instead chose the smaller and more intimate Le Dramont. With the sand lapping at our toes and the sun beating down it was hard to tear ourselves away!

Beach near St Raphael

Family time on the beach

Playing on the beach

But there’s something about the sea air that always makes us ravenous so we grabbed a table at Le Bahai, one of the local restaurants just off the beach, and feasted on two huge and delicious salads – Salade Vegetarienne for me and Salade de fruits de Mer for hubbie – and home-made pasta for the kids. Little Man is a such a big fan of French bread he ate almost a whole baguette by himself!

Salade Vegetarienne

Salade de fruits de mer

Little Man and his French bread

Curly girl tucking into home made pasta

There’s so much to do along the Côte d’Azur and we really only scratched the surface on our week away – there are still things on my must-do list that we didn’t manage to fit in. Monaco was amazing and the Provencal countryside took our breath away. We’d thoroughly recommend taking the trip out to Île Sainte-Marguerite and taking some time out in one of the pretty coastal villages too.

Thank you Provence and James Villas for an amazing week away in the South of France – we can’t wait to go back and live #thejamesway again!

Bonus feature and giveaway

There are some products that just make going on holiday that little bit easier!  I was lucky enough to be gifted these two to try out on our travels in Provence…

The Footsea

Sometimes a product comes along and you immediately think “why has no-one thought of this before?” I feel that way about the Footsea which is such a simple and clever idea!

It’s an inflatable foot bath that you can use to wash the sand off your feet at the beach – genius! It packs flat so it can squeeze into the smallest of suitcases and blows up in seconds.

The Footsea

Footsea on the beach

Great for san free feet on the beach

We think it also has lots of other uses too – here’s my top 4:

#1 Kids toy – Little Man totally took ownership as soon as I stopped snapping photos of our Footsea and both kids loved playing with it all day on the beach, filling it with sand, collecting pebbles and shells in it and making us delicious ‘soup’!

#2 Portable Baby Bath – much easier than the sink!

#3 Portable Washing up Tub (great for camping too)

#4 Sand/water free store for phones/tablets on the beach

I also think it could be a great promo item for resorts and hotels – how lovely would it be to receive one of these when you arrived on holiday?

Little Man playing with Footsea

Little Man playing with the Footsea


The curl towel from Bouclème

If you’re a regular reader here you’ll know that I have very unruly curls! The common terry towel is a curly girl’s nemesis. It draws moisture from the hair, ruffles the hair cuticle and messes up the curl pattern. Moisture is the antidote for frizz so it’s important to preserve as much of it as possible in your curls after washing.

Boucleme curl towel

Bouclème, makers of my favourite curl cleanser, moisturiser and styling glaze have created a super soft jersey Curl Towel made from 46% organic cotton, 46% bamboo and 8% elastane, which absorbs only the excess water on the hair so your curls retain maximum hydration.

Boucleme curl towel out

Here’s how to use it: first place the towel on a flat surface. Lower your curls then your head onto the middle of the towel. Flip the towel over the back of your head and twist to tie. Your curls are now concertina’d on top of your head, encouraging curl formation as they dry. I love the Curl Towel and it was a real saviour on holiday where the sun and sea air can cause havoc with my curls.

Michelle using the Boucleme curl towel

I’m delighted to have a Bouclème curl towel to give away to one lucky reader. To enter just use the Rafflecopter widget below – don’t forget to read the terms and conditions – and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking up with #MondayEscapes at Packing My Suitcase, Competitions at Life in a Breakdown, Blog Giveaway Directory, Competitions Linky at U Me and the Kids

Find more competitions at ThePrizeFinder


  1. A camera, you never know when you need it!

  2. Spray sun cream

  3. Having quality time with the family!!

  4. A nice big suitcase!

  5. Going all inclusive that way I don’t have to worry about how much money we have for food and drink each day

  6. always have baby wipes and spare tea bags to help cope

  7. Hand sanitizer xx

  8. travel sized hand sanitiser

  9. face wipes and lots of curl products for my hair



  1. Enter to win one Boucleme curl towel – ends 6/30/15 | Blog Giveaway Directory - […] Enter Here: […]

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