Côte d’Azur (November 2016)

So, back to the Côte d’Azur for one last blink of sunshine and warmth, before the long dreary descent into Scottish winter. Not much to add, really, to my previous report from the same area in the spring of this year.

We stayed in Juan-les-Pins for a few days, a location that (for those of a certain age) irresistibly brings back the 1969 Peter Sarstedt song, Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?

That was back in the day when the Côte d’Azur was an impossibly exotic location. But during our visit Juan-les-Pins seemed quiet and lazy, a little superannuated, distinctly unfashionable and well beyond its peak season. So we fitted right in.

We stayed in a hotel that used to be a villa owned by the novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda. So we did our best to act like Scott and Zelda as we strolled Juan-les-Pins’s beach front—except without the affairs, arguments, attention-seeking behaviour and the final descent into alcoholism and madness, obviously. We largely succeeded.

Hotel Belles Rives, Juan-les-Pins
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Scott & Zelda’s place © The Boon Companion, 2016
Kite surfers, Juan-les-Pins
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Kite surfers © The Boon Companion, 2016
Waterfront, Juan-les-Pins
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Another bleak November day © The Boon Companion, 2016

Then on to Cap Ferrat. We were handily located at the neck of the peninsula, roughly equidistant from Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. So it was an easy stroll almost every day for a baguette or a salad for lunch, and then a local restaurant for dinner. (Isn’t it nice when the humblest pizza place also does a decent glass of champagne?)

Cap Ferrat and Rade de Villefranche-sur-Mer
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Cap Ferrat © The Boon Companion, 2016
Harbour at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
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Harbour at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat © The Boon Companion, 2016
Mackerel sky over Beaulieu-sur-Mer
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Mackerel sky over Beaulieu © The Boon Companion, 2016
Ephrussi Gardens, Cap Ferrat
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Ephrussi Gardens, Cap Ferrat © The Boon Companion, 2016

And the weather was unseasonably fine—shirtsleeves almost every day for two hardy Scots, and only one day of rain. I was pleased to see that French men are still wearing their sweaters tied around their necks by the sleeves, just the way Charles Aznavour was doing it in the 1960s. It’s good to see that an otherwise stylish nation is still keeping one deeply naff sartorial trope alive.

British Airways managed to wreck the relaxed ambience by cancelling our flight home and sending us an urgent text message to say that we had to get to the airport pronto if we weren’t to miss their alternate routing. So we were tumbled back into Scottish darkness, drizzle and single-figure temperatures feeling slightly frazzled, with a vague impression that it might all have been a dream.

Red Admiral
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A Red Admiral deciding whether it’s time to hibernate yet © The Boon Companion, 2016

 

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