When you book your Riviera Pebbles apartment, you get a Nice rental apartment that will far surpass your expectations of what a Nice rental could be. Because along with your apartment, you also get the assistance of the Riviera Pebbles team. Our greeters and other team members appear to be psychic in the way they will anticipate your questions and have all answers at the ready. They’ve been there, done that and know people who know people, which of course, makes you feel like an immediate local resident with an all-access passeport to what’s hip, haute and fun. In short, our greeters facilitate the Nice holiday of your dreams. They’ve got your key to the front door. And the key to your most memorable Nice holiday.—Matt and Gayle Roberts
Matthew Roberts can often be found hidden under accounting paperwork, maintenance reports and Gayle’s “helpful” to-do list. Matt has a background in renovating property in the UK (just for fun!) and over in France and knows his numbers. As well as keeping the rentals on the straight and narrow, Matt helps our investment sales clients snap up those investment bargains. He just wishes he had the funds to buy them himself! His old life in the UK as a microbiologist now seems like a distant memory—though he still remembers the rain of course. Along with Gayle, he founded the Nice Pebbles in 2006 and Riviera Pebbles in 2007.
Gayle Roberts will tell everyone that Matthew dragged her kicking and screaming from her old job as a solicitor in Manchester to the French Riviera, but really she just wanted Matthew to carry the responsibility if it all went wrong. Happily the change of career and lifestyle seems to suit her as much as Matthew. Now juggling being a mum with managing the rentals with Keely and Roni’s help, she handles everything from guest relations, new client relations, website improvements and keeps an eye on how we can improve our service to our guests and clients. Gayle holds the carte professionelle, carte 11284 from the Prefecture des Alpes Maritimes.
Michelle Riby - Originally from London, Michelle, her husband and two children moved to the Dordogne region of France in 1994 having fallen in love with French life. Before moving to Nice Michelle spent a number of years as customer service manager for the UK Visa Application Centre in France. She is now our office manager and here to help our guests get the most from their holiday. Michelle has also had a successful career as a dancer/actress here in France & the UK. She has appeared on TV, in films, summer seasons, musicals, cabaret & pantomime. A keen amateur photographer, Michelle enjoys her free time exploring the French & Italian Riviera’s taking her camera wherever she goes. She is now looking forward to her career with Nice Pebbles & life in the Côte d'Azur.
Hannah Sztumpf Born in London and educated in Brighton, Hannah has spent over six years of her life in France. She initially moved to Nice to be near her grandparents for a year, and ended up staying for a whole lot longer. Having previously helped to manage a language school in the UK, she loves meeting and working with clients from all over the world. She also enjoys languages and is currently studying Japanese. Out of work, she is passionate about food, and can be spotted every weekend in the Liberation market deciding what to cook next. As Roni’s right hand woman in our Owners’ department, Hannah will speak to many of our owners and guests alike during their stay.
Tina Fortunov The manager of our store and Ioana’s right hand woman for maintenance, Tina joined Pebbles in 2011. Originally from Bulgaria, Tina grew up between Bulgaria and Norway, cementing her love of international travel and languages. Tina converses in Bulgarian, Norwegian, French and English with ease. Also able to speak some Russian and Italian, we’re all very jealous indeed. She arrived in France where she met her Bulgarian husband and they now have a young son. Before joining Pebbles, Tina was a receptionist in a Nice hotel. When she’s not working at Pebbles, Tina can be found behind a camera or teaching our team how to look their best – having studied make up along with photography.
Alice Colyer Alice is originally from England, but moved to France to learn French for a few months after graduating from The University of Manchester. However she fell in love with France and the French lifestyle and has decided to settle in Nice in 2009. Previously working as a nanny and then for a large yacht company, she joined us at the start of 2013 as one of our receptionists. Many of our guests will speak with Alice before and during their stay with us. She enjoys being close to the sea (or preferably in it!) and loves to kayak and snorkel - which is a lot more pleasant to do in the Mediterranean than in England in winter!
Nancy Cooney Reglat has lived in Nice for several years and joined our team in 2010. Originally from the US, she moved here after she and her husband retired, but decided retirement didn’t suit her. Not many would turn down the opportunity for endless lazy days on the French Riviera, but we’re glad she has. She loves meeting new people and introducing them to Nice.
From an early age Ruth Lawler has loved all things to do with property. Originally from Sheffield in the UK, Ruth worked in another pebbled beach seaside town - Brighton. There she worked for five years as a PA/admin manager at a prestigious independent sales & lettings agent. Her family have a second home in the rural hills of Provence for a long time so she felt the calling of French life. She loved visiting for the beautiful weather and village festivities during the summer months and skiing at the local ski slopes in the winter. In 2012 she decided to make the big move with her cat Dexter, who has also taken to the French Riviera very well. She loves meeting our guests and making sure their stay is memorable - for all the right reasons.
Elena Damyanova worked as a retail manager in Bulgaria before a trip to see her sister in Nice. She fell in love with the area and decided to move and settle here in 2008. Elena became part of Malena's team in 2010 and many of our guests will meet Elena on arrival at their Nice rental apartment. When not working, Elena can be found in jazz bars in Nice. She loves jazz and with the annual jazz festivals in Nice she is in the right place! In winter she heads to the mountains where she is a keen snowboarder. Elena speaks English, German, Bulgarian and some Russian and French.
Jenny Damyanova The younger sister to our Elena, Jenny is also from Bulgaria and arrived in Nice at the tender age of 19 to finish her studies here. She felt immediately in love with the french "mode de vie" and decided to stay here permanently. Many of our guests will meet Jenny when they stay with us. Enviably fluent in English and French as well as her native Bulgarian she also speaks Russian and some German. A budding Picasso, when she is not working you will find her in galleries or sat behind a canvass. She joined the Pebbles team in 2011.
Bruno Defforge is our lovable Frenchman and after 20 years in
the US, he returned to his roots and joined us in early 2009. Often complimented on his sheer enthusiasm by our guests, Bruno is certainly larger than life and entertains us all in the office with his funny stories and huge smile. Both Nice Pebbles and Riviera Pebbles want a piece of Bruno so he divides his workload between the two arms of the business, as well as helping out with maintenance.
Emily Russel After finishing a degree in Journalism in the UK, Emily moved to Nice in 2009 for what was supposed to be a two month holiday. Like many others, she immediately fell in love with the area, and the opportunity of a different lifestyle. As you can see, she’s still here and joined the Pebbles team in 2012 and many of our guests will meet her when they arrive. Our self-confessed adrenaline junkie, she now regular found hanging from rock cliffs and wants to learn Kite-Surfing this year. In our down time, Emily likes to travel the world but feels she will always come home to Nice.
Roxana Dumitriu is Romanian and speaks impressive English, French, Italian and Spanish. We've watched on in admiration as she tenaciously gets to the bottom of maintenance, building and technical issues for our owners. Though you'd never know her scary, bossy nature if you met her with her friendly and approachable smile. She joined the team in early 2010 and manages our Riviera Pebbles Old Town properties and loves to meet new people and pass on her tips for great things to do whilst visiting.
Victoria Holding is from Devon, UK, and gained a degree in hospitality management before moving to the sunnier shores of the French Riviera five years ago. She manages our properties in Antibes, Golfe-Juan and Juan-les-Pins as well as our portfolio of Luxe Pebbles villas in St-Paul-de-Vence. Vicky is settled in Juan-les-Pins with her husband John, the friendly and helpful bank account manager at HSBC. Yes—it’s a small world here. When they are not working they enjoy walking or skiing in the mountains.
Dace Ratniece Dace arrived in France on an au-pair program in 2011 and then studied French full time in Grasse. She moved to Nice in 2012 and joined Pebbles in 2013. She arrived in France from Latvia, where she had recently completed her degree in English Philology. So, another enviable language expert – dace can converse easily in English, French, Latvian and Russian. Dace is very much a people person and loves meeting our guests in our Nice apartments.
Spiro Kartanos was born in Montreal but has Greek origins and so considers himself English, French and Greek (depending on which team is winning) – and speaks all three languages fluently. He read Mechanical Engineering at University but after a few years of working professionally, he caught the travel bug and the rest is history. Spiro met his wife in Dubai and they both now live in Nice with their young son. Spiro has worked mostly in sales and customer service in the last 10 years and now prepares and ensures our new portfolio of holiday apartments are up to standard for our guests.
Charles Shepley is our UK-based director, and an ACCA qualified accountant. Charlie is responsible for our strategic planning, budgeting and UK-based marketing.
Our Owners We choose our owners carefully. All of them are pro-active, pleasant to deal with and responsive to any problems that occur in the apartments. We all appreciate how they are continually open to suggestions by way of improvements. Without them there would be no Nice Pebbles or Riviera Pebbles and we wouldn’t be able to offer you the services we strive to give our guests.