Second Impressions

You've already read our first impressions of the region, so here are our second impressions, having been here for just over a month. We've visited St. Tropez, Cannes, Antibes and Nice, all seaside towns within 40 minutes' drive from our home (St. Tropez is a little further, maybe 80 minutes).

ANTIBES is the closest coastal town to us, halfway between Nice and Cannes. It was a pleasant surprise. Although its not as famous as its neighbors, its marina is known throughout France as a haven for luxury boats like these. Surprisingly, most of them don't seem to belong to French people - half of them were registered in London! The fort in the above photo is called Le Fort Carré - it was very effective over the centuries and was only taken twice.

ST. TROPEZ is a smaller town, further down the coast. Despite its international fame, it's modest, cute and charming (except in the summer, when it's overrun with tourists).

Expecting to see pictures of us on the beach? Watch this space!

We delayed visiting NICE for weeks, for everyone had told us the traffic there is awful. But in early October it was fine, just 40 minutes from our house. It's a very dynamic city, bustling with crowds and vehicles. In some streets it was so noisy, smelly and stressful, it reminded us of Hong Kong!

The old quarter (see photo below left), with its narrow streets and surprising stores, has a very Italian feeling. This is only normal, for Nice was part of Italy from the 15th to the 18th centuries.

In the good old days, when Britain was the world's only superpower and France was relatively poor, British tourists 'discovered' the south of France. The long path along the waterfront of Nice, built by the English, is still called the Promenade des Anglais. This picture (above right) was taken from there, looking east towards the location of the old chateau (it was destroyed in 706).