Name: Jean-Marc HAENEL
Passionate about: The Good Life (sailing, eating out & family time)
Joined the Friend in France Team: Spring 2015
Why we're proud to have Jean-Marc in our team:
Jean-Marc has over 6 years experience as a French Riviera guide. He is not only knowledgable and professional, but also a joy to be around. Our clients and partners rave about him!
As a team player with a great sense of humour, he's a hit with our team too. A true asset to the company on all levels!
What is the most important advice you give to friends and family when they visit you on the French Riviera?
Picking my brain is a good start! I have plenty of useful hints and tips to help them avoid tourist traps and get them off the beaten tracks.
What is your favourite spot on the French Riviera?
A tricky question, but I’ve managed to whittle my list down to just two places:
1) The coast road leading to Antibes during winter season, with the dark blue Mediterranean sea in the foreground, the ramparts of the Antibes' fortress just behind and the snow covered French Alps in the background. The light is so special, and the colours more bright and intense than in summer.
2) The "Corniche d'or" coastal road overhanging the bay of Cannes and the Lérins Islands, where the red rocks of the Esterel hills plunges into turquoise blue water.
How would your family and friends describe you?
Curious, cultivated, polite, fun, and always ready to help.
What is your favorite restaurant?
"La Pinède"(pine grove) close to Monaco, overlooking the sea and Cap Ferrat. Their seafood is great and reasonably priced.
"Le Rocher" located on Garoupe beach near "billionaire's cove" on the way to Cap d'Antibes. A little beach restaurant, where you enjoy the same view as billionaires but not the same prices! You can order a huge fresh Mediterranean salad or a local fresh fish simply grilled and finish your alfresco meal with a home made"tarte Tatin"!!!! Hummmm!!!
What is your favorite time of year on the Riviera?
Autumn, September and October. The temperature is still high enough to have fun on the beaches which are far less crowded than during the summer. And if you prefer mountains, it is also the perfect time to go hiking in the countryside around Nice.
What do you think is the “must” visit attraction on the Riviera?
Another difficult question to answer. I think the "must" visit attraction is not so much one particular place, but more the general atmosphere of the Riviera. The intensity of the colours from the unique “azur” blue sea and sky to the green of the mountains and the special light that made the region so attractive to artists including Renoir, Seurat, Bonnard, Pissarro, Matisse, Chagall, Picasso, etc...
Which is your favorite tour?
My favourite tours are the ones that enable me to leave the crowded coastal roads to show my customers the countryside with its hilltop villages: Gourdon (the balcony on the Riviera) and Tourrette sur Loup (the city of the violets). Two of the most picturesque villages of the hinterland.
Your favorite spot where you go to relax on days off?
It depends on my mood, sometimes I like to find a small creek tucked away in the Esterel near Cannes, just to relax. If I’m feeling more active, I enjoy hiking in the" Mercantour mountains". But I’m never very far from the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.