The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

Posted by on in Children/Family

10 Top Indoor Activities on the French Riviera

There are times when you need to find an activity or something to do indoors, as a family or for a group of children, even on the Côte d’Azur.  Our climate is famed for its 300 days of sun a year but that still leaves another 65 or 66 when it could be wet.  And when it rains in the South of France it really rains! You need to get out of the house/hotel or holiday rental and do something, but what?

indoor activities on the French RivieraRead on, I’ve picked 10 fun things to do indoors on the French Riviera, all tested by my boys or trusted friends.  I’ve chosen a selection of activities to cater for all ages, from toddler to adult. For more information such as addresses and opening hours click on the links.

HiTech2Move, Villeneuve-Loubet

hitech2move Villeneuve Loubet

An original concept that combines loads of fun for all ages (from 6 to adult) with real health benefits, HiTech2Move is a place where you move to hi-tech!  There are several different multi-sensorial activities on offer using an electronic floor or wall, involving physical exercise / dancing with video games and interactive electronics.  Without realising it your kids are burning calories, working their reflexes, motor skills, coordination, memory and even social skills.  All while having a brilliant time.  HiTech2Move can be booked for birthday parties or groups of family or friends as well as individuals.  Check the website (in French) for opening times, booking essential.  You will find video demonstrations of the activities on offer on the website which explain the concept more.

Classical Arts Museum, Mougins

Museum of classical art Mougins near Cannes France

The Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins (MACM) is an excellent award-winning museum, showcasing art from Ancient Egypt, Greece and the Romans.  The beautifully displayed pieces are juxtaposed with modern and contemporary art by artists as diverse as Salvador Dali, Calder, Picasso, Chagall and Damien Hirst (amongst others).  The collection, including sculpture, vases, coins, mosaics and jewellery, along with the world’s biggest private collection of armour and a beautiful sarcophagus  is housed on four small floors.  There are interactive touch screens and all descriptions are in English as well as French.  A lift makes it fully accessible.  Its small size and inspired displays meant my kids very much enjoyed their visit despite their initial misgivings and any child into the Romans and Gladiators will love the armoury. Afterwards I highly recommend a delicious hot chocolate at Le Petit Fouet just up the road in the main square.

Royal Kids, Antibes 

soft play Antibes French Riviera

A soft-play area with the unusual addition of a disco and small football pitch.  Royal Kids is suitable from tiny to 12, with an area dedicated to under 4s.  Socks are obligatory and if you forget them you will be charged 3€ a pair to enter.  Food brought from outside is not allowed but there is a snack bar on site. 

Nautipolis Aquatic Centre, Sophia Antipolis

Nautipolis indoor pool Sophia Antipolis near Nice

Nautipolis is the largest indoor swimming and fitness complex in the central area of the Côte d’Azur and surrounds.  You’ll find a slide, fountains, massage jets and a small outdoor pool with current. There’s a lane pool for serious swimmers and a shallow baby pool too.  During school holidays there are often fun activities with inflatables to climb on, ropes to swing off etc.  There are also aqua gym classes for more serious sport (and a fitness centre, sauna etc not open to children). Nautipolis opened in 2012 so it’s still reasonably newly decorated and in good nick.  The changing rooms (men and women mixed, you choose your own private cubicle and locker which makes going with children and only one parent easy) are (usually) clean.  There’s a restaurant next door and a snack bar inside the pool area open during school holidays.  As with all public pools in France all males (even young boys) must wear tight fitting trunks “speedo style” not board shorts and you won’t be allowed in without.  There is a reasonably well stocked shop if you forget!

Escape Room or Lock-Out Game, Nice, Antibes, Cannes, St Laurent du Var

Escape room

Room escape games are good for the brain, kind of like fun mental workouts, where you are locked in a room with a group (between 2-6, ideally 4 or 5) of friends/colleagues/family and have to find your way out using clues to solve puzzles.   Team work, problem-solving and initiative are all put to the test.  There is a time limit of an hour and don’t worry, if you are a little claustrophobic you aren’t actually locked in, you’re free to leave at any point.  There are many different themes for the rooms in this area including Sherlock Holmes, Cold War Bunker, Dream, Space, Egyptian Relics, Mental Asylum, Zombie Lab, Bank Robbery and many more.  These games suit from about 13/14 up but younger children are welcome in family groups.  They just might not find it as fun.  My teen, 16 years old at the time, said it was the best thing he’d done in years and has since gone on to do many more.  When booking check whether French is required as there are some where there's no need to speak/read French, the written clues are in English too, and others where it's necessary. Click through to the rooms my boys have escaped from and can highly recommend: I Lock U NiceCrazy Rooms St Laurent du VarCurious World CannesPlanet Experiences Antibes and Lock Out Antibes.  *Update April 2018: These games are now so popular they are in most sizable towns on the Riviera.  (Photos aren't allowed inside.)

Ice skating, Nice

ice skating rink Jean Bouin Nice France

Patinoire Jean Bouin is an Olympic size ice rink open all year.  Gloves and trousers are obligatory, skates can be rented on site.  The rink is located in a sports complex with a pool and gym as well, and a very convenient carpark.  Events such as birthday parties can be catered for and on Sunday mornings there’s a free skating workshop.  There are evening skating parties with music and themed sessions at certain times of the year, for Halloween, Christmas etc.  The Facebook page is more up to date than the website for events.

National Sports Museum, Nice

sports museum nice france

Le Musée National du Sport is located in the Allianz Football Stadium along the Var valley in outer Nice.  This modern, interactive museum is divided into 4 sections: individual sports, team sports, one on one and the final section is dedicated to pushing the limits to extremes with crazy stuff like mountaineering, sailing solo around the world and motor racing as well as the amazing achievements in parasports.  It claims to house one of the most important collections of sporting memorabilia in the world  but the place isn't big; I'd say it's just about the right size for both sport fanatics and ordinary folk like me.  There are several games and machines to try out, such as fencing, a F1 simulator and a giant table football which my gang really enjoyed.  Most notices are in English as well as French.  I’ve written a full review of the museum here.

Salto Trampoline Arena, Mougins

Salto trampoline park Mougins

Salto is a trampoline park which opened in late October 2015.  There’s an area for little ones, dodgeball, tightrope, and lots and lots of trampolines on the floor and wall to bounce off.  You need to have some form of ID (driving license will do) to leave at the front desk to note your time of arrival.  When you leave your time is calculated and you pay accordingly.  Anti-slip socks are obligatory and available to buy for 2€ if you don’t have your own.  Snacks are available and birthday parties can be organised.  It is highly recommended you book at busy times. 

Urban Football, Villeneuve-Loubet

Urban Football Villeneuve Loubet Nice

Urban Football isn’t so urban in its wooded setting in Villeneuve-Loubet, but what it offers is 2 covered football pitches (and several outdoor ones) that you can hire for a game or birthday party. They run clinics and (non-residential) holiday camps “stages” during the school holidays especially for children, but this place is available for all ages throughout the year.  There is a pleasant restaurant/bar over-looking the pitches.  To play you need to be in a group of 10 or join the league, reservation is obligatory.

Vesubia Mountain Park, St Martin Vésubie

sports centre St Martin Vesubie

My last choice is a little further inland, not really "Riviera" but well worth the effort of getting there even in good weather.  Vesubia Mountain Park located in the lovely mountain village of St Martin Vésubie is a new sports centre (opened late 2016) housing an enormous climbing area (the photo only shows a very small part of it), a swimming pool and, most impressively, an indoor canyoning and caving circuit.  A day out here can be combined with a visit to Alpha Parc wolf sanctuary.  St Martin Vésubie is about 90 mins from Lou Messugo and only an hour from Nice airport.

 

All of these activities are within 30 minutes of Lou Messugo gite, some are only 10 minutes away (except Vesubia see above). Don't forget I've written about plenty of other ideas for things to do on the Côte d'Azur, for toddlerschildren, young teenagers and rainy days and I always love to get further suggestions, so please let me know if you've got any in the comments below.

 

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Top 10 Indoor Activities on the French Riviera

 

 
 
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Comments

  • Guest
    Joanna Painter Malnoë Thursday, 12 April 2018

    These suggestions are perfect for right now. We're so spoilt here aren't we !! Vesubia looks amazing, we must go and check it out.

  • Guest
    Jennifer Tuesday, 09 February 2016

    Thank you very much for all of the amazing ideas!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Thursday, 18 February 2016

    My pleasure Jennifer :)

  • Guest
    MTM Tuesday, 24 November 2015

    What great tips - even though I would never have thought you'd need to go indoors :) Think my son and I would really love the aquatic centre and the Hi-Tech move! Actually me more so than him!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 24 November 2015

    Even on the Riviera we get days when we don't want to go outside Ting!

  • Ellie
    Ellie Saturday, 21 November 2015

    Thank you for the list Pheobe ! have booked marked it for a wet day ! xx

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 24 November 2015

    My pleasure Ellie.

  • Guest
    Richard Thursday, 19 November 2015

    I think I'd be inclined to accompany Catherine to the Mougins museum (for the same reason), or perhaps just read a good book in the comfort of Lou Messugo.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 24 November 2015

    Good plan Richard!

  • Guest
    Charlie Tuesday, 17 November 2015

    Thanks for putting this list together. I've lived in the area for 13 years and didn't know about half of these things, which genuinely look good fun. Thanks!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 17 November 2015

    It's always fun putting these lists together. I'm glad you find it useful.

  • Phoebe
    http://Phoebe Monday, 16 November 2015

    A great list of things to do. I have to say I'm tempted to go to France and take my hubby to a public pool just to see him in a pair of speedos! Haha

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 17 November 2015

    You get used to it when you're here!! But I reckon you should go for it!

  • Guest
    Oana79 Saturday, 14 November 2015

    My goodness, what a wonderful area to live in, sunshine most of the year and a wealth of activity centers for rainy days, no wonder you love it there!xx

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 17 November 2015

    You're spot on Oana, I really do love it here. We are very lucky with the climate.

  • Guest
    Kara Saturday, 14 November 2015

    Love the look of the electronic floor. As a child we used to have inflatables in our local pool but they don't do them anymore :0(

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 17 November 2015

    That's a shame they've stopped the inflatables. I wonder why?

  • Guest
    Jaime Oliver Saturday, 14 November 2015

    WOW the national sports museum would totally have my husband and son hooked! i am loving the idea of Pap’Ô bear workshop, it sounds similar to Build a Bear here and i love it :-)

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 17 November 2015

    I figuered Pop'ô would be similar to build-a-bear which I've heard about but not been to.

  • Guest
    Jen Friday, 13 November 2015

    What fab activities. My boys would love a lot of those!

  • Guest
    Catherine Friday, 13 November 2015

    Not being sporty I would go for the museum. Sounds very good.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 17 November 2015

    You mean the classical art museum Catherine? I think you'd rather like it!

  • Guest
    Sonia Friday, 13 November 2015

    Love the look of the Nautipolis, my kids would have a ball on that inflatable :)

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 17 November 2015

    My little kid adores it and spends hours till his lips are blue on it!

  • Guest
    Sarah Bailey Friday, 13 November 2015

    Oh wow it looks like there is so much to do! I love the look of the swimming!

  • Guest
    Nell@PigeonPairandMe.com Friday, 13 November 2015

    What a fantastic list! The water park sounds good - it's difficult to beat the ones you get in France. We're going on an English version of the room escape soon. Can't wait!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 17 November 2015

    I hope you enjoy the room escape adventure Nell :)

  • Guest
    Ness Friday, 13 November 2015

    I don't think of rain when it comes to the French Riviera but you're right you do need a plan for those soggy days! Love the sound of the sports museum.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 17 November 2015

    Well we do have an overwhelmingly sunny climate, but when you live here those 60-odd days of rain can seem long...

  • Guest
    Rosie @eco-gites of Lenault Friday, 13 November 2015

    Great list - I may have to think about a Normandy one now ;). Would cuddling piglets in a barn count?

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 17 November 2015

    only while they're tiny Rosie :o

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