28th of June 2009

Côte d’Azur

After spending a brief day in Paris, culminating in an evening visit to the Notre Dame for a short but touching service, the girls and I boarded a train heading south. I wasn’t too upset at the duration of my stay in Paris since I knew that within a month I would be returning there for a more complete visit. Overnight, I was more than happy to catch up on some desperately needed sleep.

Arriving into Cannes, it appeared that we were entering a fairly typical resort zone. This suspicion has lingered with me throughout our stay in the Riviera, and my conclusion is that unlike Paris, the south does not feel like the France I had imagined. Firstly, it seems to be fairly devoid of culturally interesting sights — but this may be due to the nature of our travel, which is heavily focused on swimming in the Mediterranean and lounging on the beach. Secondly, whenever I (rarely) encounter a man in a burette playing the accordion or some such typically French sight, it just feels un-authentic in such an vacation-centric atmosphere.

I should clarify some things about beaches. One is that I really enjoyed our focus on swimming in the sea, especially since the water is quite warm and the air about 30C. Another is that beaches are everywhere, and our daily routine consists of hopping on a train or ferry and visiting some exotic island or coastal town. So far, we’ve visited the splendid beaches of St. Margarite, St. Tropez, St. Raphael, Cannes, Nice, and Antibes — with the latter being my favorite thus far. Also of note is the not unexpected laziness of windsurfing institutions. I attempted to louer a windsurfer in Raphael and was surprised to find that one school was closed on Saturday, and the other was on lunch break from 12-16.

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