Excerpt 4 from “Uncorked”- memoir by Paul Shore

Uncorked by Paul Shore




Excerpt from Chapter 14: Il a le Sens du Jeu

There were several matches going on in parallel and a typical assortment of tourists and locals watching from the edges of the grounds. One elderly local onlooker was familiar because I had noticed him playing from time to time, and seen him watching frequently; yes this was the old man of the hilarious “Canada Dry!” barb. I met eyes with him as he stood on the sidelines, arms crossed over his chest and brow furled, surprised to see me playing without Hubert. I would lock eyes with him many more times during this match than usual, probably because Hubert wasn’t my teammate and I therefore had much less in-game conversation to occupy my full attention, though possibly because he was trying to size me up now that I was playing without my coach.


I had become a fairly skilled pointeur, but an even better strategist. A moment emerged in the match when I didn’t play the obvious shot, instead opting to park my ball very close to one of my others that was already in scoring position, so as to protect it from the skilled tireur of the other team. I managed to uncork a beautiful shot, my ball gradually rolled its way across the dusty ground with purpose, bouncing over little pebbles and curving towards my other ball until it came to rest directly in line and only millimeters away from it—an outstanding defensive execution, if I do say so myself. As the ball came to a stop, the elderly pétanque connoisseur spoke up quietly but clearly, saying to nobody in particular, yet in a way to everybody within earshot, “Il a le sens du jeu [He has a sense for the game].”


I smiled graciously to the old man and nobody else added anything to his remark, though I noticed a few nodding heads. At this point Hubert strolled towards me from the sidelines and while passing by he whispered, “Tu as entendu ça? [Did you hear that?]” I gave the slightest of nods and an even slighter smile, without so much as making eye contact with him. With that Hubert continued his stroll past me and back to his viewing position with a bounce in his step like that of a proud father seeing his son bring home his first date to introduce to his parents.


Hubert’s behaviour confirmed what I had been thinking; the fact that the old gentleman had said these words out loud was an immense compliment that I should treasure. He didn’t say that I was good at the game, but that I really understood it deeply, and with that he was communicating that he knew how difficult it was to reach that level and was congratulating me for having had the chutzpah and determination to get there. So it hardly mattered to me that Roget and I did not go on to win the match. This was the closest I had come yet to experiencing a ‘nearly accepted’ moment, while in the middle of playing a match, and I was going to bask in the glow of that feeling. Arguably it was the zenith of my acceptance into French culture—“Il a le sens du jeu”—wow!

Excerpt 3 from “Uncorked”- memoir by Paul Shore

Uncorked by Paul Shore




Excerpt from Chapter 11: Canada Dry



We had played a winning first game in a match against a couple of solid players, and then, for some inexplicable reason, I lost my touch and went cold in the second game, making uncharacteristically bad shot after bad shot for several rounds in a row—yes, it happens to even the best of us high-performance athletes. A weathered old local, who played often and quietly watched from the edge of the grounds even more often, clearly knew who I was and had a good sense for how I played. I had never heard him utter a word; he just watched with his arms folded and smirked from time to time without ever passing comment. Yet on this day, he couldn’t resist the urge to blurt out a zinger when I missed a very easy shot, the latest in a long string of misses. His interjection was like a blindside tackle in football; I didn’t see it coming and it stunned me badly and left my ears ringing and my chest hurting for several minutes due to the gut-wrenching laughter it provoked inside me.


Without warning, immediately after my bad shot stopped rolling, he snapped out just two words with strong emphasis from his perch several steps behind us: “Canada Dry!” It nearly dropped me to the dirt; whoa, that was clever and funny, and 100% unexpected. It caused Hubert to make a guttural noise from gulping in a mouthful of air that he hadn’t planned on inhaling during the normal course of breathing, which only amplified its impact on me. I still don’t think the older gentlemen was cheering for our opponents or meant any ill will towards me; he just couldn’t resist letting his clever thought out of his cranium, and was probably curious to see if I had the fortitude to absorb it and rebound. I laughed loudly, gave him a nod and a wink to show how much I appreciated his wit, then tried to dry my eyes so I could carry on playing. We made the game close, but I never regained my form completely and we lost the match, though I would never credit his jest for any part of that loss, of course. So the verbal mind games can even come from the peanut gallery. Watch your back!

Excerpt 2 from “Uncorked”- memoir by Paul Shore

Uncorked by Paul Shore





Excerpt from Chapter 12: Je Suis Chaud



When I joined the call and heard my thirty-or-so colleagues on the line back in Vancouver, we exchanged a few sarcastic boy-I-wonder-what-this-is-about jokes as we waited for the founder to walk into the room. I had prepared myself the exquisite meal of a baguette and a couple cheeses, plus a bottle of cheap, yet decent, red wine. I finally tired of waiting for our boss and decided to pull the bouchon from the bottle, but neglected to mute the phone. When the ensuing “pop” of the uncorking echoed around the inside of my cave, the line went silent and after a pause the cofounder asked, “Was that a cork?”



Uncharacteristically I blurted out, “Yep, and I’m sitting here in my underwear waiting for this meeting to get underway.” Despite how important I knew the meeting was going to be and how much a lot of the people in that room looked up to me as one of the leaders of the group, I couldn’t help from spontaneously being smug, entertaining, and raw with the gang—hmmm, it seemed France really had rubbed off on me; actually, it had really gotten into my bloodstream, just as the red Bordeaux was about to. A roar of laughter came blasting through the crackly speaker of my home phone, and just as it died down the founder entered the room back in Vancouver, so I never did have to comment more about doing a team meeting while drinking in my undies.

This change in demeanour and self-confidence must have had something to do with the influence this country and its people had been having on me for a little over half a year. And the change didn’t come only from life in Saint-Paul playing pétanque. Another source of influence came from some of the young Frenchmen (and French women) with whom I worked and socialized.



My best friend in my age bracket was a kind-hearted young woman named Sophie, who seemed to recognize  my need for companionship (platonic that is) and regularly invited me to join her and her friends on outings. Weekend trips to the Maritime Alps with Sophie and her friend, Monique, were a fun way to relax and put my French to the test. One such day, I snowboarded while they skied, and during a pause on the hill I peeled off a layer of clothing and said, “Je suis chaud,” which I thought meant “I’m hot,” as in “I’m too warm and need to take off my jacket to cool off.” My two cute young lady friends fell down laughing in the snow, and after catching her breath, Sophie said, “Oh, you think you are, huh?” and then went back to laughing. Eventually she managed to explain that the correct phrase would have been, “J’ai chaud,” which indicates that you are overly warm rather than “hot,” as in sexually attractive.


Excerpt 1 from “Uncorked”- memoir by Paul Shore


Uncorked by Paul Shore
Uncorked by Paul Shore




Excerpt from Chapter 3: La Puff


The next time I saw Hubert I asked what I knew to be a stupid, yet necessary, question: “Hubert, do you play pétanque?” This is when I got my formal introduction to that somewhat rude French gesture I refer to as la puff. It involves taking a slow deep inhale on a cigarette, rolling the eyes back in the head, and then exhaling the smoke (either rapidly or slowly) in the general direction of the question asker. The best I have been able to interpret this gesture to means is, “The question you just asked is so stupid that the only response it deserves is an exhale of smoke in your face!”


After I had dodged the smoke cloud and still looked puzzled, Hubert finally said, “Of course I play pétanque; I’m French.”


I took a step back to put a little more distance between us, readied myself for another la puff of smoke and dared to utter my brilliant follow-up question: “Will you teach me to play?” This was quickly met by the only grande puff I experienced the entire year I lived in France.


Offended to have been dismissed so easily I said, “Why not? I know I can be good at it!”


Hubert simply countered with the tough-to-debate, “YOU ARE NOT FRRRREENCH!!”


Not one to take Non, or any form of smoke exhalation, as an answer, I countered with “OK, then I’ll find somebody else to teach me because I AM going to learn to play this game.” And with that, I stormed off into my cave apartment, slamming my replica 15th-century heavy wooden door for effect.


After I cooled off and emerged from my self-imposed dungeon, I immediately ran into Hubert again. As I

attempted to avoid him, he said, “Attends [Wait],” which in itself seemed odd to me.


What followed was a complete shock. Hubert whispered, “OK, I’ll teach you.”


“What was that?” I replied, “I don’t think I heard you correctly.”


To which he said, “Shut up before I change my mind; you heard me.” Actually he said “Ferme ta gueule [Shut your beak]” not “Shut up.”


When I impulsively blurted out, “Great, let’s go,” Hubert replied, still whispering as if the local Culture Police might be listening, “No, not now, you fool; I’ll come find you when it’s time.”



To buy the memoir click here

Quintessential French Riviera Experiences

French Riviera


No doubt you’ve come looking for a list of things you should do on your French Riviera yacht charter: which restaurants to dine in, which clubs to dance in, which hill villages you simply must visit. You’ll certainly find that information here.


But it’s not quite as simple as that.


The magic of a French Riviera yacht charter is not really about what you do each day. It’s about how it feels – the sights, the smells, the glamour – and above all, that heady atmosphere of long summer days in the South of France. So we’ve put together a list of quintessential experiences that perfectly capture the hedonistic fizz and sparkle of life on the Cote d’Azur.
Finding Bliss on the French Riviera


    • The silky-soft feel of the summer wind streaming over bare shoulders as you take the tender ashore for a night out in Monaco, the lights of the Riviera sparkling before you.


Monaco by night
Monaco by night
    • The celebrity star-power of a mid-summer lunch at the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, surrounded by fragrant pines and endless Mediterranean views.


    • The indulgent fun of an afternoon’s shopping along the Croisette in Cannes, where hotel heiresses and pop stars come giggling out of flagship stores clasping armfuls of bags.


    • The famous, heartbreaking light of the French Riviera as the sun hits the pastel facades of Saint Tropez in the late afternoon.


St Tropez
St Tropez
    • The jaw-dropping decadence of the Louis XV dining room at Alain Ducasse’s three-Michelin-star restaurant at Monaco’s Hotel de Paris.


    • The bustle and clamour of the Provencal market in Antibes, stallholders calling out in French as they cut giant wheels of cheese and shuck oysters straight from the sea.


The Provencal Market in Antibes
The Provencal Market in Antibes
    • The happy sound of a magnum of champagne being lifted from an ice bucket at Cannes’ Z Plage beach club; the soft fizz as the waiter fills up your glass.


    • The anticipation of dressing up in cocktail gowns and tuxedos for a night at the glittering Casino de Monte Carlo, where million-dollar supercars pull up under the palms.


    • The blissful afternoon breeze anchored off Ile de Porquerolles, as you sit down on deck for an elegant lunch of grilled langoustines and fresh salads, served with a bottle of crisp Chablis.


    • The laughter and music of a night at the Brasserie des Arts in St Tropez, beautiful people spilling out across the cobblestones.


    • The taste of summer in a glass, sipping Provencal rose with the palest pink blush at Paloma Beach Club, Cap Ferrat.




    • The simple pleasure of an early morning snorkel around the rocks of Cap d’Antibes, drying off on one of the bathing platforms carved into the rock above the crystal clear Mediterranean.


Port Vauban in Antibes
Port Vauban in Antibes
Plage Keller Cap d'Antibes
Plage Keller Cap d’Antibes
    • The midsummer debauchery of Caves du Roy and VIP Room in Saint Tropez where the DJs play until dawn, celebrities dance in a writhing, sweaty mob, and champagne sprays cool and sticky across the crowd.


    • The breathtaking Mediterranean views from the 360 rooftop bar in Cannes, the Alps shining in pink and mauve in the long dusk, before the moon rises and paints the sea silver.


Cannes Yachts
Cannes Yachts
    • The nostalgia of the Belle Epoque that lives on in the palatial Hotel Negresco in Nice, its iconic green domed roof dominating the Promenade des Anglais.


    • The smell of jasmine oil during a massage on deck on a lazy summer afternoon, the Mediterranean sparkling before you as your stress drifts away on the afternoon tide.


    • The excitement of dancing under the palms at Baoli in Cannes, and drinking cocktails on a daybed with white gauze curtains that float and shimmer in the warm night breeze.


    • The clinking sound of pétanque balls in the dusty square in Place des Lice, St Tropez, where medieval knights once jousted and centuries-old trees shade the pavement cafes that line the square.


    • The opulence and celebrity history of the Carlton Intercontinental in Cannes, the most famous hotel of them all.


Cannes Carlton Hotel
Cannes Carlton Hotel


    • The artistic immersion of dining at Colombe d’Or in St Paul de Vence, where artworks by Matisse, Picasso, Léger, and Chagall are hung all over the walls, from the dark wartime days when these struggling artists paid their bills with their artistic endeavours.


Cafe Place St Paul de Vence
Cafe Place St Paul de Vence
Colombe d'Or
Colombe d’Or
    • The delicious coolness of diving off the yacht’s swim platform for a refreshing pre-breakfast swim.


    • The bewitching sense of summers past at Club 55, where Brigitte Bardot once stopped for lunch and changed Saint Tropez forever.


    • The sheer astonishment of the view from the clifftop village of Eze, the vertiginous coastline plunging away into the cobalt blue Mediterranean, sprays of pink bougainvillea contrasting vividly with sky and sea.


    • The smell of pine trees on the tranquil Cannes islands, and the soporific sound of buzzing cicadas: that endless symphony of a summer in the South of France.


    • The history that is all around you, echoing down the centuries from the Ancient Greeks to Napoleon, from marauding pirates to black plagues.


    • The grinning adrenaline of a morning’s water sports: jet-skiing off Pampelonne, diving off Cap Ferrat, parasailing above Monaco.




    • The sounds of fireworks exploding above the city of Cannes, their blazing trails lighting up the grand facades of art deco hotels, and reflecting their wild colours across the still surface of the Mediterranean, where hundreds of yachts gather to watch.


Cannes Port
Cannes Port


    • The sight of the French Riviera floating by under the mighty backdrop of the Alps, the salt spray in the air as you drift along the coastline in your luxury charter yacht.


St-Tropez Superyacht
St-Tropez Superyacht


A holiday on the Cote d’Azur is a feast for the senses. Savour every moment on a French Riviera yacht charter with Bespoke Yacht Charter.


Nice Carnival 2017 : Let’s celebrate the reign of His Majesty the King of Energy.


Nice Carnival 2017 is now just days away: we can’t wait to celebrate the reign of His Majesty the King of Energy.



Carnival Nice French Riviera
Carnival Nice French Riviera


Though the organisation of this new edition has been a bit challenging, especially since the parades could not take place on the Promenade des Anglais this year, we are very much looking forward to welcoming the King of Energy and his royal court… As well as many visitors from all over the world, of course! Check out the new route of the parades.


We are very happy to welcome the Shademakers from Isle of Wight 
with their spectacular illuminated lion marionnettes on the Carnival parades during the first week!



Free entrance and special deals
Nice Carnival is free for children under 5 and for everyone who is fully dressed up.   

Upon showing their Carnival tickets, clients can also enjoy a 10% discount on the purchase of a French Riviera Pass or a ski pass in the ski resorts Isola 2000 and Auron. 


Vira la roda
On Friday, February 17, Nice’s most renowned chefs organise their annual charity lunch at 12pm on the giant wheel on Massena square. A delicious lunch in a unique setting, with breathtaking views over the city and the sea, all for a good cause!


Security measures
We’d like to remind you that security measures are increased during Carnival season. The parade route is an entirely closed area with security checkpoints at each entrance. Bottles, cans, false weapons and sharp objects are strictly prohibited. For the clients’ own comfort, we recommend that they arrive at least one hour prior to the start of each event in order to pass the security checkpoints.


Coach parking
For groups staying at least 2 nights in Nice, the city offers free coach parking for the duration of the stay. For more information, please contact your hotel in Nice.
For groups staying outside Nice, coaches can park on the southside of Promenade des Anglais for the duration of the parades. Parking fee is 50 € per coach.


Carnival Nice French Riviera
Carnival Nice French Riviera


For more info click here





The Route du Mimosa : All starts in Bormes-les-Mimosas

The Route du mimosa

Annual festivity: The Route du Mimosa- 8 places to discover on the French Riviera

When: from January to March


The Route du Mimosa is an annual inter-village festival celebrating mimosas trees in blossom.


You should schedule your journey from end-January to March accordingly to synchronised mimosa festivities taking place in each of the 8 mimosa villages on the French Riviera: Bormes-les-Mimosas, Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer, Sainte-Maxime, Saint-Raphaël, Mandelieu-La-Napoule, Tanneron,Pégomas, Grasse.


Did you know: Bormes-les-Mimosas is a flowered town on the French Riviera, located east of Toulon and Hyères, West of Saint-Tropez, just behind Le Lavandou.


  • Calendar of mimosa festivities in Bormes-les-Mimosas:
  • Visit the Pépinière Cavatore, a nursery that has 180 varieties of mimosa- recommended time to visit: end of January
  • The Mimosalia- a sales-exposition of plants
  • Flower parade ‘Corso fleuri’, one of the oldest in the region-recommended time to visit:end of February
  • Botanical Park Gonzalez labelled ‘remarkable garden’

French Riviera New Year’s Eve Countdown ! Things to do on New Year’s Eve -Where to watch fireworks on the French Riviera

New Years Eve fireworks in Cannes

On New Year’s Eve, the French Riviera comes alive with celebrations, fireworks and parties. Make French Riviera New Year’s Eve 2016 a special one by booking ahead for a memorable dinner or a party and enjoy a fun night out.


Don’t miss out free fireworks in Cannes on New Year’s Eve so you can see in 2017 with a bang!


As Cannes celebrates 70 years of the Cannes Film Festival in 2017 (“Canness fête 70 ans de festival”), on this occasion this years New Year’s Eve fireworks’ theme is ‘cinema’.

Venue: The Bay of Cannes

Schedule: music at 11pm and fireworks at midnight.


On New Year’s Day, Juan-les-Pins hosts free fireworks.

Venue: The Bay of Juan-les-Pins

Schedule: starting at 6.30pm.



Christmas on the French Riviera | Things to do on the French Riviera in December

Christmas on the French Riviera - St Raphael
Christmas on the French Riviera – St Raphael Fêtes de la lumière

Get into the festive spirit by visiting one of French Riviera’s many Christmas villages ! -Things to do on the French Riviera-Côte d’Azur throughout December.


The Côte d’Azur is a great place to be in December with its fabulous Christmas markets and other events taking place throughout the festive period.


Here is our selection of the best Christmas markets and Christmas Villages on the French Riviera with among its attractions festive chalets selling gift ideas, wine and gastronomy items, fairy decorations,merry-go-round, poney rides for children, ice skating rinks, a Ferries wheel, Nativity scenes, a Santa’s grotto, live shows…and much more!


Antibes : Esplanade Du Pré-Aux-Pêcheurs- From 10 Dec to 15 Jan, 11.30 to 13.30 and 16.30 to 19.00, except special days when shorter opening hours.


Cannes : Allées de la Liberté -From Fri 25th Nov to Mon 2nd Jan 10:30 to 20:00; Late opening on Friday and Saturday nights.


Fréjus:  Historical center of Fréjus, Port-Fréjus, From 3 to 31 December.


Hyeres : Place Clemenceau – From 26 Nov to 31st Dec , open daily 10.00 to 19.00
Fri and Sat  10.00 to 20.00.


Le Lavandou : Seafront- From 19 Dec to 10 Jan.


Menton : Esplanade Francis Palmero – Quai de Monleon – From 3 Dec to 1 Jan, open daily 10 .00 to 19.00.
Monaco : Port Hercule in Quai Albert 1er- From 2 Dec to 2 Jan, open daily 11.00 to 21.00, Fri &Sat till 22.00 ; except special days: 24th ( 11.00-19.30), 25th Dec and 1st Jan ( 14.30 -21.00).
Nice : Place Masséna – Jardin Albert 1er – From 02 Dec to 01 Jan, 11.00 to 20.00 , Fri&Sat till 21.00.
Saint-Raphaël: Promenade des Bains ( From 10 Dec to 2 Jan- Christmas Village stalls ) ; Esplanade Delayen ( From 3 Dec to 15 Jan -Ferries wheel ); Lights show at Basilique on 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 Dec &1 Jan ; Place Coullet – Féeries des Automates- Clockwork figures exhibit –  from 10 Dec to 2Jan.