"" Writer's Wanderings: France - The French RIviera

Monday, November 30, 2009

France - The French RIviera

The French Riviera, the area along the Mediterranean Sea, has always been romanticized as the place to be in Europe. While Nice is nice (taxi drivers groan when you say that) it wasn’t the kind of beach I would have chosen to spend time on. It was pebbled! Perhaps in season, the bathers bring air mattresses? The beach at Cannes was sandy however, and I believe the beaches around St. Tropez may have been as well but our side trip there left little time to explore any beaches in the rain.

Nice is a bustling city with a huge boardwalk that extends from the city harbor a far as you can see to the other end of town. I imagine during the summer it is packed with people. While the temperatures were only in the lower 50s F, there were still a couple of swimmers who seemed immune to the chilled winds when they toweled off after their swim.

Lots of restaurants and a couple of casinos line the waterfront as well as large old hotels and condominiums. The section of Old Town we explored had a large pedestrian area lined with outdoor cafes and restaurants that seemed to specialize in seafood. So many dishes to try—so little time.

On our side trip to St. Tropez (made famous by Bridget Bardot) we wandered through the old town area and then up to a fortress. It was an interesting medieval structure with a dry moat and all. The best part was the view looking down on St. Tropez and out at the sea. The drive to St. Tropez and back to Nice took us through some beautiful coastal area. Perhaps that is the Riviera everyone is so in love with.

Of course Cannes is famous for the yearly film festival and our mini bus stopped long enough there for us to wander down to the place where it happens and take a picture. On the return we stopped in a McDonald’s and took advantage of the free WiFi then paused to watch the groups gathered in the sandy area of the central park as they played boules, a French version of bocce ball played with metal balls. We never did figure out the rules.

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