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Gearing Up for May in France

Cat on a windowsill of a house in Biot, France
Enjoying the scenery in Biot, France

Last week I spent four days filming our 56th House Hunters International episode and it was one of the most fun ever.

The “contributors” were a mother (Erica) and daughter (Jewel) from Santa Monica, California, who are in France for one reason—for the daughter to attend the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Biot (where tennis star Serena Williams trained, among others). This is Jewel’s senior year of high school, so Erica came to accompany her…all very logical. For both of them, this is a very special once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and they are making the most of it. Jewel is a lucky girl.

The Mouratoglou Academy

The Mouratoglou Academy

The reason the filming was so much fun, in spite of the extraordinary cold and often wet weather, was first and foremost, Erica and Jewel were delightful. Jewel lives up to her name—a gorgeous young, smart and talented woman, not to mention sweet. She is truly a gem. Erica, her adventuresome mom, was incredibly supportive. they have a very loving relationship. I could relate, always thinking of my own daughter (also named “Erica”) who is my own “jewel.”

House Hunters International contributor Jewel and Erica

On top of really enjoying getting to know them, where we filmed was nothing short of eye candy. The three properties took us to Antibes, Biot and Valbonne—three absolutely beautiful towns and villages along the Riviera and in the hills up above the Mediterranean Sea that all ooze charm. The properties were all fabulous, too, and will make you want to pack your bags and head for France.



We also dined really well. Lunch break is usually only about an hour or a bit more, and normally just somewhere close, but decent. This time around, we managed to score big time.

In Antibes we fell into Chez Mô near where we were filming—a fishmonger’s family-run restaurant offering seafood specialties, grilled fish, gourmet traditional French cuisine, sushi and Asian dishes. Everything is home-cooked with fresh, quality ingredients, all offered with a sea view on the terrace or as we did, enjoyed the large comfortable air-conditioned dining room. It was delish! I recommend you make a special trip to Antibes just for Mô!

Chez Mo facade in Antibes

Asparagus at Chez Mô

Asparagus at Chez Mô

In one scene we had the pleasure of being served fresh herbal tea at Les Terraillers in Biot, a one Michelin star restaurant. A cart of fresh herbs in their pots was wheeled to the table. A few different herbs (verbena, marjoram and lemon balm ) were clipped and put into a teapot of boiling water. The taste of the freshly-made tea was so heavenly I couldn’t stop drinking it.

A village house in Biot

A village house in Biot

Les Terraillers is led by a young chef, Michael Fulci, who honed his skills at Verge and Ducasse, offering a cuisine infused with a Provençal touch. Housed in a 16th-century pottery building, the restaurant exudes historical charm with a beautiful summer terrace, adorned by a pergola of vines. The dining room has a unique cave-like ambiance characterized by spacious arches made of Biot stones and the tables are decorated with hand-blown glass “galets” (stones) crafted in Biot. If you venture toward Biot, be sure to put this on the agenda!

Les Terraillers in Biot

Les Terraillers in Biot

The hand-blown "galets" at Les Terraaillers

The hand-blown “galets” at Les Terraaillers

In Valbonne, we dined on the upper level of Auberge Provençal situated in the heart of the town on the Place des Arcades. It began as a village café run by the owners’ great-grandparents, where card players used to meet. It later becoming a hotel-boarding house for holiday-makers who came to enjoy the tranquility of the town. Now it’s a typically Provençal restaurant. The auberge has stood the test of time. The chefs have joined the adventure inspired by this Provençal heritage, offering simple, creative cuisine prepared with fresh, seasonal produce.

Chalkboard menu for Auberge Provencal in Valbonnes, France

Roasted Scallops at Auberge Provencal

Roasted Scallops at Auberge Provencal

The town of Valbonne is a special treat, because it’s so unusual. The architectural layout sets it apart from many other southern French villages, which typically spiral around a hill. The construction of the village spans over a century, and its layout remained largely unchanged until the mid-20th century. The village follows a grid pattern, influenced by Roman military camps, with two main avenues intersecting each other at right angles, and the forum situated at their junction. In the 17th-century, arcades were added to the central square, which later became known as la Place des Arcades. Initially, the grid comprised ten streets intersecting with ten others, but over time, the village has expanded outward from its center. Filled with artisan boutiques, it’s a must visit, as is the Auberge Provençal.

Place des Arcades in Valbonne, France

Place des Arcades in Valbonne,

Now, I’m back in Paris and gearing up for Labor Day May 1st and all of the May holidays. The month may or may not be a good time to visit France as the French “faire le pont”—bridge the days to create a three or four-day weekend. Labor Day is a Wednesday this year, so it’s tough to make a bridge of that one, as is Victory Day on May 8th. However, Ascension Day is Thursday, May 9th and for sure, you can count on them taking Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. Whit Monday is May 20th, so don’t be surprised if they add Tuesday to the equation.

Muguet sellers in Paris, France

Muguet sellers in Paris

May 1st in France is also known as La Fête du Muguet—Lily of the Valley Day. It is customary for people, particularly in Paris, to exchange flowers with loved ones on this day. This tradition traces its origins to the 1560s when King Charles IX of France received a bouquet of lily of the valley flowers as a gift on May 1st. Impressed by the gesture, the king initiated the tradition of presenting lily flowers to the ladies of his court each year on May 1st. Although this tradition predates the existence of trade unions and is unrelated to workers’ rights, it holds a distinct romantic significance that coincides with the same day. If you find yourself in France on May 1st, be sure to share a small bouquet of the flowers with your loved one, and remember not to work!

Picnicking at Place des Vosges in Paris, France

To ensure that we don’t work on May 1st, friends have agreed to meet for a picnic, weather permitting. One must always have a back-up plan in Paris since you can’t count on the sun to warm you up.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds on the lawn on a warm summer day in ParisAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

P.S. Did you know we have filmed over 55 episodes of House Hunters International?! Newer episodes frequently re-air, so we work to keep you informed when they’ll air. You can also review all the episodes and see if they’ll be shown again by going to our HHI page.



  1. Suzy M. on April 29, 2024 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Adrian! We just LOVE all your episodes on HHI!! ❤️❤️
    Is there a way to see all the old episodes on tv? 🙏🙏
    Best wishes, Suzy in Michigan

    • Adrian Leeds Group on April 30, 2024 at 5:13 am

      Thank you! Most episodes are available on the HGTV app.

  2. Joi Tannert on April 29, 2024 at 5:57 pm

    Yikes! We will arrive in Paris from the US on May 8. Will be traveling for 6 weeks and exploring many places in France through the month of May and third week of June, with about 10 days in Italy in early June. I didn’t realize all the holidays in May when we booked. Just wanted to go when weather was nice but be out of there before the Olympics. I hope we won’t find a lot of places closed for all the holidays and bridge days.

    • Adrian Leeds Group on April 30, 2024 at 5:13 am

      Now you know! May is a fabulous time to visit!

  3. Jillian Holmquist on April 29, 2024 at 7:31 pm

    Hey Adrian…What a charmed and interesting life you lead! I want to be you!

    Thanks for all the interesting news and inspirational stories!

    Jillian H.

    • Adrian Leeds Group on April 30, 2024 at 5:12 am

      Thanks so much!

  4. Arlene Lester Presser on May 1, 2024 at 4:24 pm

    Hello, Adrian:) Great information! Thank you for keeping us ‘credibly’ in the know. #16monthsandcounting

    • Adrian Leeds Group on May 14, 2024 at 4:37 am

      Thank you!

  5. Keith Cooley on May 6, 2024 at 9:17 am

    Love the Nouvellettre and actually look for it among my emails regularly.

    My wife, Dee, and I will be cruising in December with Viking and plan on stopping in Nice (maybe see you?) while the ship is in Villefranche-Sur-Mer. We are planning for a move to Nice … 2025/2026 and this cruise will be our first step forward.

    BTW … dumb question. Do apartments and homes in Nice have screens on the windows and doors? While in Avignon (1986) there were none and I got eaten up … literally! 🙂

    Stay safe

    • Adrian Leeds Group on May 14, 2024 at 4:36 am

      Thanks so much! Window screens are not common in France – but you can add them! Enjoy your trip and let us know how we can assist with your upcoming move.

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