John Harris, from sunny Newcastle in the United Kingdom, is a regular tennis visitor with his wife Carol here in Los Gigantes.
Actually you could call him a tennis freak as not only does he love playing the game, but he also loves watching it.
Earlier this year I noticed on Facebook, that John had been to watch the Monte Carlo masters, and then went for a few days to the French Open.
As a top web site owner, I thought this may make a good story, so I asked John to write a few words as to how he plans this trips, and so for anyone out there wishing to make the same trips next year, here is how you do it.
So below is John's story of "How To Watch Class Tennis Live, Without Breaking The Bank"
"Wimbledon is upon us once again, accompanied by the scramble for tickets and all the travel and accommodation hassle that goes with it.
Have you ever considered the pleasure of dropping down into France to watch either the Monte Carlo Masters or the Roland Garros French Open?
We did several years ago and were very pleasantly surprised how easy and comparatively inexpensive it is .. even from the Siberian Wastelands of Newcastle upon Tyne.
The Monte Carlo Rolex Masters was the first venture about 6 years ago : this is a quick summary.
1) EasyJet flight from Newcastle to Nice -- end of April - fairly inexpensive with flexibility on dates.
2) Bus no 23 to Nice centre then bus 100 to Beaulieu -sur-Mer ( 4 euros combined )
3) Usually stay at Carlton Hotel ( Beaulieu ) which was 80 to 90 euros per night (but this year big hike in price ) so stayed in a Logis which was brilliant ( about 75 euros per night B and B)
4) Option to watch Junior International tennis at the local Clay Court Club in Beaulieu or jump on a bus or train into Monaco ( 30 mins for 2 euros )to watch Nadal, Federer etc. Tickets can be acquired from website which are quite reasonable.
The programme from the junior tennis event in Beaulieu-Sur-Mer
The grandstand at the Rolex Masters in Monte Carlo
5) The local transport on the French Riviera is superb with Cannes, Antibes, Menton all easily accessible by rail and very cheap too.
6) Unless you are very unlucky, the weather tends to be very good in April although darkness falls around 7 o clock.
7) Tennis courts can be booked at Beaulieu or Villefranche which is 15 walk away but is quite pricey at around 50 euros per hour( not too bad if playing doubles. )
The French Open.
1) We decided to utilize a 4 day package Holiday with Riviera Travel to include 4 days in Paris, sightseeing with a day at Roland Garros.
2) Train from Newcastle Central Station to Kings Cross - ( 3 hours ) Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris then short coach ride to Ibis Hotel in Alesia district of Paris.
3) Riviera lay on a number of guided tours including -Palace of Versailles, Seine River Cruise, Paris by night , visit to Sacre Cour etc. so we were happy to drop out of the Monday afternoon event and make our own way to the French Open
4) As long as you have a good Paris Metro Map the movement around this great city is both incredibly easy and unbelievably cheap. An integrated public transport system means you can move from Metro to Bus onto a tram with the same ticket and all for a couple of euros. By the 3rd day we had complete confidence to travel to any quarter of Paris and back home for supper.
5) The tickets for the French Open are much more difficult to come by and immediate booking on the French Tennis Federation Website is required or you will have to pay a substantial "mark up " to a third party seller. Also because of previous problems with forgeries etc , proof of identification at security is required which is a bit of a hassle.
6) We thoroughly enjoyed our day out at The French Open and saw Nadal,Del Pottro, Berdych, Venus Williams and Almagro but as regular attenders will testify .... the second week was the coldest and windiest ever recorded. Lets hope that is a one off.
John, standing next to the famous statue in Roland Garros.
7) I have the highest praise for Riviera Travel . They supply all travel tickets, book hotels give you very non-pushy options on whether you turn out on guided tours or not ...... and all at a price that you would not get near to if booked independently. The atmosphere at both of these events is very special and helps make for a great occasion. If you love watching ( or playing ) tennis ... I would recommend you give one of the above a shot "
Thanks John, and Carole