Thursday, October 11, 2012

All About France, the Unforgettable French Riviera

So much of my initial impression of the French Riviera was set by my favorite author, F. Scott Fitzgerald.  I’ve always imagined la Côte d'Azur in its full glitz and glamour of the Jazz Age, a sophisticated place where  high society retreated to and where the beautiful and the damned vacationed.

However, the French Riviera I saw was quite the contrary.  For the most part, the atmosphere was provincial, full of tourists and families with children on summer holidays, and most of the clubs and discothèques filled with retiree reliving their youth … a bit like the Key West.  

I realized a lot of the image that I and most tourists have of the French Riviera are that of the past, an illusion of the bygone era that symbolized something that reality couldn’t quite live up to … another Hollywood concoction glossed over in Technicolor. 

The truth of the matter is that aside from the few highly publicized glitzy events liked the Cannes Film Festival, the region serves as a popular vacation spot for hordes of tourists and retirees. 

Nevertheless, what makes the French Riviera intriguing isn’t the illusion of glitz and glam, but the provincial charm behind this facade: the beautiful outdoor market in Nice, the wonderful little cafes and restaurants in Cannes and Saint Tropez, the unforgettable drive and the view of the coastline, and the quaint little villages along the way.

It truly is a lyrical landscape filled with spectacular cliffs overlooking the bright-blue sea … hence, appropriately called la Côte d'Azur (the blue coast), and its beauty far exceeds anything that anyone, even my favorite author, can write about.

Beaulieu sur Mer
a breathtaking drive along the coast of the French Riviera leads into this charming village

Roquebrune Cap Martin
Saint Tropez
St Paul de Vence
Tourrettes sur Loup
Recommended Hotels & Website: Côte d'Azur Tourism, Hotel Bellaudiere (Grasse), Hotel le Victoria (Grasse), Auberge de Seigneurs (Vence)


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