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The French Riviera: An Irreverent Review

After six glorious days in the French Riviera, I was ready to return home. Not because I had become fed up with living la dolce vita, but because I missed my brood. It was an all-girl trip in celebration of my dear friend, Shade’s birthday.

The first thing you notice about Cannes is the prevalence of palm trees. I was completely taken in since I grew up in Africa, palm trees remind me of happy days by the seaside and have a nostalgic effect on me. I have tried several times to grow different varieties of palm in my home. I have also failed woefully every single time. We stayed in a glorious apartment which had this gorgeous dwarf palm that aroused conflicting emotions of joy and pain. I think I successfully killed 5 or 6 of those over the last 10 years. You know it’s over when one of the fronds turns bleach-white overnight. Side note: I would use a cobalt blue pot with that palm.


The second thing you notice is that the older women are thin, tanned and tucked. This is not to say the younger women aren’t, it’s just that the sight of a much older woman in this state really does draw your eye in, neatly cropping out everything else.

We stayed in La Croisette which is the centre of Cannes. It was minutes away from the beach and the streets are a perfectionist’s dream come true with cafés and restaurants neatly arranged to visual satisfaction. The sidewalks were flanked by table sets with crisp, white tablecloths as everyone eats alfresco. Which helps since you are bound to be seated next to 2 or 3 smokers, which you would mind if you hate smoke, I don’t so I was happy!

I cannot sufficiently describe the sensations experienced from viewing the deep, aquamarine sea with perfectly formed ripples. The ripples seemed to move in rhythm to some heavenly music, too high a pitch for human ears. The food on the beach was not that great, but the beauty of our surroundings had deadened our taste buds, the only functioning sense being our sight. Consequently, it wasn’t until our next meal- alfresco of course, that we noticed that our first meal had been rather mediocre. I look forward to the season in my life when all my lunches will be neatly arranged like this.



Musée de la Castre

The museum is housed in medieval building set atop a hill. Thankfully, the walk up the stairs is interrupted by breathtaking views of the city of Cannes. The aged stone steps and patinated walls reminded me of my grandmother’s neighbourhood in Lagos- another blog post.


I fell in love with this painting, and promptly positioned myself right in the center in the hope that some of its beauty will become mine. The Persian style piece’s rich colours set against an unexpected backdrop did wonders for my creativity. I have never been an art aficionado, but I know a good thing when I see it, it delights my senses the way this artwork did. On the subject of art, would you say you appreciate a particular style or era, or do your tastes go wherever the wind blows? My tends to be the later, often dictated by the blend of colours and my mood.

St Tropez.

A book deal is required to accurately portray the velvet sumptuousness that St Tropez exudes.
The hilly views, architectural style with terracotta roofs roused memories of Tucson or Mexico. The roads reminded me of a scene from an old movie, the gentleman driving with a tweed, flat cap on, and his lady friend dressed in a pretty pastel dress. He is smoking a pipe, she a cigarette with an elegant cigarette holder. They’re in a convertible and driving down the winding, narrow roads of St Tropez. The sun is setting behind them, it all looks staged, but it isn’t. St Tropez is real and beautiful and the architecture, a dream.

The people in St Tropez wear white- a lot. The men are friendly and the women, thin. Life is perfect. We had a late hearty lunch at Cap 21 which had the best reviews online- all well earned. The staff, who are mostly men, are unbelievably friendly and are literally at your beck and call, without being a constant annoying presence that appears to watch how you deposit every forkful into your mouth. They walk around barefoot and dare I say, with their shirts unbuttoned. Cap 21 is on the beach, yet there is no urgency to dive into the water after eating.The shopping district, what can I say? It is a shopaholic’s delight with rows and rows of designer shops. I didn’t even know there was a Dior restaurant! The building is magnificent.

We ended our evening by the port, which was bordered by several beautiful yachts. This one caught my eye, and I wove the first line of the love story on how she came to be named Valletta- not the capital of Malta, but Valletta the love of his life. “Valletta’s beauty was as radiant as a thousand splendid suns…” 


Valletta, A love story

The cars that drove along the port appeared to watch their reflection in the gleaming yachts. They were moving at the pace one does on the M25 clockwise, during rush hour. There was so much beauty and culture to take in, six days was insufficient. Like the fact that Bentleys and Rolls Royces are the Ford Escorts and Vauxhall Corsas of Monaco. No, we didn’t spot soon-to-be-parents Prince Albert & Princess Charlene shopping for their twins. Yes, they may have been in disguise. No, I don’t have any proof.

I returned home feeling the need to paint a burnt orange feature wall in my living room and attempting to tend a dwarf plant again. seventh time lucky perhaps?
I will return with Jason and the boys, plant them on the beach in Cannes and escape to the La Reserve Ramatuelle Spa in St Tropez:

La Reserve Ramatuelle Spa, St Tropez

La Reserve Ramatuelle Spa, St Tropez

And yes, the spa really does overlook the sea.


Spa St Tropez

La Reserve Ramatuelle Spa, St Tropez

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on the South of France!

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