JUAN LES PINS, FRANCE
|WHAT CHANCE HAS THE SMOKING MESSAGE GOT WHEN IT'S UP AGAINST BEING COOL.|
When you go on your summer vacation
You go to Juan-les-Pins
With your carefully designed topless swimsuit
You get an even suntan on your back and on your legs
The topless swimsuits are still here but as the French are probably outnumbered by the Russians on the beach there are not so many perhaps as the swinging 60's. Speaking of swinging and speaking of the 60's the women on the beach who are topless are mostly those who were there in the 60's and call Juan les Pins their summer home. Being Australian and sun aware, I dodge the sun but these old ducks are leathery tanned and work on it daily.
We have a great little downstairs flat a bit less than ten minutes walk from the beach. Anne stirs me every morning trilling her question "coming for a swim?" I'm not a morning person, I'm lucky if I get a coffee before I groggily schlepp down to the beach and drop in the Med. Frankly, it's too cold for me at the moment. Yeah, I know, it's lovely to swim once you're in but I'm only good for two hundred metres and I'm out to leave Anne to do a few more laps of the beach.
It's more crowded and more touristy here. I'll refrain from saying the beach is tacky but I don't think it is dry to the touch. We are only 15 minutes walk to Antibes old town with it's stunning marina and a good little cafe so we've done that walk several times and also cycled and walked the Cap D'Antibes, a beautiful cape with probably some of the most expensive real estate in the universe. Big 'For Sale' signs in front of palatial mansions are in Russian.
If you've got the flash car Juan le Pins is a good place to flaunt it when you've worn out the circuit in Antibes. Antibes old town is really quite charming but I'm glad we didn't rent a place there, it's very tight and noisy. We wandered down to Antibes on the day of the 'Les Voiles D'Antibes', the classic timber yacht race event over four days in June. Stunningly expensive, sparkling timber yachts on display, many having been sunk once or twice or left to rot before being rescued and restored to their classic glory. We watched them all cast off and parade out to a start line somewhere in the glittering sea of sails.
French Wine: I have no idea. One, it's all in French and Two, they often don't tell you the grape variety, I'm just expected to know what they pump out of Bordeaux or what goes in to the Bordeaux style. All I can do is go roughly on price and what the person next to me is choosing. I even got the supermarket wine man to help me find a Cabernet Sauvignon, you know that French sounding name that was coined here around the 17th Century when by accident Cabernet Franc was crossed with Sauvignon Blanc. In fact that is not far from here where I type which is not far from where Hemmingway typed. I'm steeped in history but back to the wine. He gave up, he couldn't find one! It's actually a prominent part of Bordeaux wines where it's blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. I found that out later but I have no idea whether there is much straight Cab Sauv around.
But wait! I have actually discovered a cheapie that is head and some of it's shoulders above it's price point. For five euros I have found a wine that although short on length, does have some very nice liquorice notes and a little bit of body. It's got Merlot, Cab Franc and Cab Sauv, the Bordeaux Mix, and I present it here as my one and only cheap wine travel tip.
Our hosts here are very nice. Shona is seriously fit and swims distance every day. Pablo is a sailing megayacht captain, a collector of windsurfers and has given me tips on sailing locations in Turkey. They invited me to a great little evening picnic at their favourite beach when Anne was at a conference in London where I discovered that their 11 year old daughter has the same camera as me, a Canon G15. I think back to the Kodak Instamatic I had when I was 11. Sheesh!
We leave here in a moment for the UK. Anne has said almost every time we walk back from a swim in the morning with a fresh warm baguette in hand that she could live here. The place has it's points.
|ARRIVAL AT THE GATED STREET OF OUR NEW DIGS|
|THE BINOCULARS HAVE BEEN VERY HANDY FOR YACHT SPOTTING|
|OUR ANTIBES COFFEE HAUNT|
|SHONA ABOUT TO HEAD OUT AFTER DOING THE SCHOOL RUN|
|STEVE, SHONA AND PABLO AT 'LES PECHEURS' BEACH|
|CRUISE LINERS OFF CANNES|
|JUAN LES PINS SUN WORSHIPPERS|
|THE CACTUS JUST FLOWERED OUTSIDE OUR ROOM.|
|ABRAMOVICH'S 'ECLIPSE'. WAS THE LONGEST MEGA YACHT IN HISTORY, NOW THE SECOND LONGEST.|
ANTI MISSILE SYSTEM, TWO HELICOPTER PADS, TWO SWIMMING POOLS, HOT TUBS, DISCO, MINI SUBMARINE, 70 CREW.
|THE HOME OF THE MIGRAINE?|
|ON OUR BIKE RIDE AROUND CAP D'ANTIBES|
|FIFA FEVER AT MICHAEL'S|
|DAMN! SOMETIMES MY CAMERA JUST GOES OFF.|
|SOMEONE HAVING FUN ON DRILLS|
|THE KIND OF NEIGHBOURHOOD ON CAP D'ANTIBES|
|WOODEN BOAT CLASSIC|
|SOME MONSTER HEADING OUT|
|SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE|