On the shore of the French Riviera… stood a large, proud, rose-coloured hotel. Deferential palms cooled its flushed facade and before it stretched a short dazzling beach. Now it has become a summer resort of notable and fashionable people…In the early morning the distant image of Cannes, the pink and cream of old fortifications, the purple Alp that bounded Italy, were cast across the water and lay quavering in the ripples and rings sent up by sea-plants through the clear shallows…
F Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, 1934
Fitzgerald romanticised the ‘French Riviera’ in perpetuity. His fictional Hôtel des Étrangers in Tender is the Night was (and still is) the Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc, the venue for a post-WWI salon attended by Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Picasso and others, which transformed the neighbouring towns of Antibes, Cap d’Antibes and Juan-les-Pins from a winter resort to the summer playground it remains today.
Settled around the 4th century BC by Greeks from Marseille, who named it Antipolis, Antibes was later taken over by the Romans, and then by Monaco’s Grimaldi family, who ruled it from 1384 to 1608. Its position on the border of France and Savoy saw it fortified in the 17th and 18th centuries, and demolished in 1894 so the town could expand.
The contiguous towns of Antibes-Juan-les-Pins span a shimmering sweep of the Mediterranean, which unfurls like a bolt of breeze-ruffled lilac-hued silk. Antibes’ flower-filled cobblestone streets branch out from a central, covered marketplace, while Cap d’Antibes’ luxurious walled mansions are hidden amid dense pines. Juan-les-Pins sprawls along a 2km sandy beach.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
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