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BONJOUR, I'M RICK STEVES,
BACK WITH MORE OF THE BEST OF EUROPE.
THIS TIME, IT'S YACHTS, CASINOS, AND FANCY VILLAS.
FUN IN THE SUN ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.
IN EUROPE IS HERE ON THE COTE d'AZUR,
OR THE FRENCH RIVIERA.
AND AFTER SOAKING UP MORE THAN OUR SHARE OF SUN, WE'LL SEE
HOW THIS GLITTERING STRETCH OF FRANCE'S MEDITERRANEAN COAST
OFFERS MORE THAN JUST A FIRST-CLASS BEACH BREAK.
BUT DON'T GET ME WRONG.
WE WILL ENJOY THE BEACH, FROM HIGH-END RESORTS
TO HIDDEN JEWELS OF THE COTE d'AZUR.
WE'LL WANDER THE GARDENS OF A 19th-CENTURY VILLA,
ZIP UP THE CORNICHE
TO SEE A TROPHY OF THE CONQUERING ROMANS,
REFLECT ON THE LIGHT AND COLOR OF MODERN MASTERS,
GO POSH WITH THE GLAMOUR SET,
RELAX IN ANTIBES
AND THEN FEAST ON BOUILLABAISSE.
WHEN EUROPE HEADS FOR THE BEACH,
IT OFTEN ENDS UP ON THE SOUTH COAST OF FRANCE,
THE COTE d'AZUR.
WE'LL START IN NICE,
CHECK OUT VILLEFRANCHE AND CAP FERRAT,
RACE OVER TO MONACO,
VISIT CANNES
AND FINISH IN ANTIBES.
IN THE 19th CENTURY, ARISTOCRATS FROM LONDON TO MOSCOW
FLOCKED TO FRANCE'S SUNNY COTE d'AZUR, OR BLUE COAST.
MUCH LOVED FOR ITS BLUE SEAS AND BLUE SKIES,
THIS WAS THE PLACE FOR NORTHERN EUROPEANS
TO SOCIALIZE, GAMBLE AND ESCAPE THEIR DREARY WEATHER.
WHETHER YOU'RE RICH OR NOT, NICE,
WITH ITS ETERNALLY ENTERTAINING SEAFRONT PROMENADE
AND FINE MUSEUMS, IS THE ENJOYABLE
BIG-CITY HIGHLIGHT OF THE RIVIERA.
IN ITS TRAFFIC-FREE OLD CITY, ITALIAN AND FRENCH FLAVORS MIX
TO CREATE A SPICY MEDITERRANEAN DRESSING.
NICE MAY BE NICE,
BUT IT'S HOT AND JAMMED IN JULY AND AUGUST.
WE'RE HERE IN EARLY JUNE,
BEATING THE SERIOUS HEAT AND CROWDS.
THE BROAD PROMENADE des ANGLAIS,
LITERALLY, THE "WALKWAY OF THE ENGLISH,"
WAS PAVED IN MARBLE
FOR BLUE-BLOODED 19th-CENTURY ENGLISH TOURISTS
WHO WANTED A SAFE PLACE TO STROLL AND ADMIRE THE VIEW
WITHOUT GETTING THEIR SHOES DIRTY
OR SMELLING THAT FISHY GRAVEL.
TODAY, IT'S A FUN PEOPLE'S SCENE
WITH A BIKE AND ROLLER BLADE PATH
THAT LEADS ALL THE WAY TO THE AIRPORT.
THE BEACH, WHILE PEBBLY, IS POPULAR.
WHETHER YOU'RE LOOKING FOR AN ADRENALINE RUSH
OR JUST WORKING ON YOUR SUNTAN, THIS BEACH HAS IT ALL.
TAN LINES CAN BE HARD TO FIND
AS EUROPEANS ARE RELAXED ABOUT TOPLESS SUNBATHING.
WHILE MAJOR STRETCHES OF THE BEACH ARE PUBLIC,
MUCH OF IT IS PRIVATE, WHERE YOU PAY TO RENT A SPOT,
COMPLETE WITH MATTRESS, LOUNGE CHAIR AND UMBRELLA.
FOR A PARTICULARLY SCENIC LUNCH,
YOU CAN EAT ON THE BEACH.
I'M HAVING A salade niçoise, THE HEARTY LOCAL STANDARD
WITH ANCHOVIES, TUNA, HARD-BOILED EGGS
AND TASTY LITTLE niçoise OLIVES.
GRACEFUL BUILDINGS FROM THE TURN OF THE LAST CENTURY
LEAD IN FROM THE BEACH, REMINDERS OF THE Belle Epoque,
LITERALLY, "THE BEAUTIFUL AGE,"
WHEN THE WORLD SEEMED TO REVOLVE AROUND THE UPPER CLASS
AND INDULGENCE WITH ABANDON WAS A LIFE-STYLE.
NICE'S GRAND OPERA HOUSE
ILLUSTRATES THE BEAUTIFUL EXTRAVAGANCE OF THIS ERA.
IMAGINE THIS OPULENT JEWEL
BURIED DEEP IN THE OLD TOWN OF NICE WAY BACK THEN.
WITH EUROPE'S ELITE WINTERING HERE,
THE ROUGH-EDGED TOWN NEEDED SOME HIGH-CLASS ENTERTAINMENT.
A PRIME EXAMPLE OF Belle Epoque LUXURY
IS THE MAJESTIC HOTEL NEGRESCO.
IT OFFERS SOME OF THE CITY'S MOST EXPENSIVE BEDS
AND A CHANCE TO STEP BACK
INTO THAT AGE OF EXTREME REFINEMENT.
THE EXQUISITE ROYAL SALON COMBINES Belle Epoque GRACE
WITH ENGINEERING BY THE GREAT FRENCH ARCHITECT GUSTAV EIFFEL.
THE CHANDELIER IS MADE OF 16,000 PIECES OF CRYSTAL.
IT WAS BUILT IN FRANCE FOR THE RUSSIAN CZAR'S MOSCOW PALACE;
BUT, BECAUSE OF THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION,
HE COULDN'T TAKE DELIVERY.
MANY OF NICE'S EARLY VISITORS WERE RUSSIANS,
AND THE CITY'S RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH CLAIMS TO BE THE FINEST
THIS SIDE OF THE VOLGA.
FIVE HUNDRED RICH RUSSIAN FAMILIES WINTERED IN NICE
AND NEEDED A WORTHY ORTHODOX HOUSE OF WORSHIP.
CZAR NICHOLAS THE SECOND GAVE THIS CHURCH
TO THE RUSSIAN COMMUNITY HERE IN 1912.
A FEW YEARS LATER, RUSSIAN COMRADES,
WHO DIDN'T WINTER ON THE RIVIERA, SHOT HIM.
HERE IN THE LAND OF OLIVES AND ANCHOVIES,
THE CHURCH'S PROUD ONION DOMES SEEM OUT OF PLACE.
BUT, I IMAGINE, SO DID THOSE RUSSIANS.
[ Orthodox choir singing ]
THE INTERIOR IS FILLED WITH ICONS AND CANDLES.
THE ICON WALL
DIVIDES THE TEMPORAL WORLD OF THE WORSHIPPERS
FROM THE SPIRITUAL WORLD BEHIND IT.
THE ANGEL, WITH RED BOOTS AND WINGS,
IS THE PROTECTOR OF RUSSIA'S RULING ROMANOV FAMILY.
THE HAMMERED-COPPER CROSS COMMEMORATES THE MASSACRE
OF THE CZAR AND HIS FAMILY IN 1918.
THE ICON OF THE VIRGIN AND CHILD
IS DECORATED WITH SILVER AND SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES.
A PRIEST HERE TOLD ME THAT, AS THE WORSHIPPER MEDITATES,
STARING DEEP INTO THE EYES OF AN ICON,
HE ENTERS A LAKE, WHERE HE FINDS HIS SOUL.
NICE WAS BORN ON ITS EASY-TO-FORTIFY HILL.
FROM THERE, AND INLAND FROM THE BEACH,
SPREADS ITS COLORFUL OLD TOWN.
THE OLD TOWN SQUARES FEEL MORE ITALIAN THAN FRENCH BECAUSE,
UNTIL 1860, NICE WAS RULED BY AN ITALIAN KING.
UNTIL THE MID-1800s, THE PEOPLE HERE SPOKE AN ITALIAN DIALECT.
STREET SIGNS ARE STILL IN TWO LANGUAGES
AND PASTA IS STILL A FAVORITE.
NICE'S ITALIAN RULERS LIVED IN THIS PALACE.
AS THE MODERN NATION OF ITALY WAS BEING CREATED,
THIS REGION WAS GIVEN A CHOICE:
JOIN THE CHAOTIC NEW COUNTRY OF ITALY,
OR JOIN WEALTHY FRANCE, WHICH WAS ENJOYING GOOD TIMES
UNDER THE RULE OF NAPOLEON THE THIRD.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE VOTED TO GO FRENCH, AND voilà.
THE OLD TOWN OFFERS
A CULTURAL SCAVENGER HUNT OF OPPORTUNITIES.
FROM ITS MEDIEVAL MARKET SQUARE WITH FRESH SEASONAL PRODUCE,
TO A PASTA SHOP SHOWING NICE'S ITALIAN ROOTS,
TO THE NEARBY PATISSERIE AUER.
ITS Belle Epoque STOREFRONT BRAGS THAT IT'S BEEN RUN
FROM FATHER TO SON SINCE 1820.
QUEEN VICTORIA SATISFIED HER SWEET TOOTH RIGHT HERE.
Socca, A THIN CHICKPEA CREPE,
SEASONED WITH PEPPER AND OLIVE OIL,
IS A PEASANT'S STAPLE PREDATING TOURISM
THAT'S STILL DEAR TO LOCAL HEARTS.
AT THIS BUSY STAND, THE socca ARRIVES BY MOTOR BIKE,
HOT OUT OF THE OVEN, AND IT'S SOLD AND GOBBLED UP
AS QUICKLY AS THEY CAN SLICE IT.
FLOWERS SEEM TO GROW EFFORTLESSLY AND EVERYWHERE
IN THIS IDEAL CLIMATE.
THIS HAS LONG BEEN
THE RIVIERA'S BIGGEST FLOWER MARKET.
FRESH FLOWERS ARE A FINE VALUE IN THIS OTHERWISE PRICEY CITY.
AND WITH SUCH AN ABUNDANCE OF FLOWERS,
IT'S NO WONDER PERFUME IS A LOCAL INDUSTRY.
THE MOLINARD FAMILY HAS BEEN MAKING PERFUME
FROM COTE d'AZUR FLOWERS FOR A CENTURY.
PERFUME IS DISTILLED LIKE COGNAC
AND THEN AGED LIKE WINE.
IT TAKES MORE THAN 400 POUNDS OF LAVENDER
TO PRODUCE JUST ONE QUART OF PURE ESSENCE.
FOR THE FRENCH,
FINDING JUST THE RIGHT PERFUME IS A PERSONAL QUEST.
BECAUSE SO MANY GREAT 20th-CENTURY ARTISTS
CHOSE TO LIVE AND WORK HERE, THE RIVIERA IS STUDDED
WITH WORLD-CLASS MODERN ART MUSEUMS.
HENRI MATISSE, MARC CHAGALL, PABLO PICASSO AND MANY OTHERS
RAVED ABOUT THE REGION'S LIGHT AND VIVID COLORS.
THEY WERE CHARMED BY THE SIMPLE LIFE-STYLES
OF FISHERMEN AND VILLAGERS.
THE ARTISTS' COLORFUL AND SEMI-ABSTRACT WORKS
REFLECT THE SLEEPY, MORE DREAMY RIVIERA
BEFORE ALL THE DEVELOPMENT HIT.
THEY SETTLED HERE IN THE SUN
AND PAINTED WITH WIDE-EYED WONDER.
THE MATISSE MUSEUM OFFERS A FASCINATING INTRODUCTION
TO MODERN ART INSPIRED BY THE FRENCH RIVIERA.
HENRI MATISSE OPENED A WINDOW ONTO PARADISE.
ARMED WITH THE BRIGHT COLORS OF THE IMPRESSIONISTS,
MATISSE CAPTURED THE RADIANT RIVIERA OF THE 1920s:
SEASCAPES, FRUIT, FLOWERS AND CURVACEOUS WOMEN.
MATISSE WAS THE MASTER OF LEAVING THINGS OUT,
LETTING US FILL IN THE REST.
MATISSE PAINTED THE THREE-DIMENSIONAL WORLD
AS A TWO-DIMENSIONAL PATTERN OF VIBRANT COLORS.
YOU DON'T LOOK THROUGH MATISSE ART LIKE A WINDOW;
YOU LOOK AT IT.
YOU CAN TRACE HIS WORK AS IT EVOLVES.
IT BECAME SIMPLER WITH TIME, FROM DETAILED REALISM,
TO A COLORFUL IMPRESSIONISTIC STYLE,
TO BOLD BLOCKS OF BRIGHT COLORS,
TO EVER SIMPLER FORMS,
PARING IMAGES DOWN TO TWO BASIC ELEMENTS:
LINE AND COLOR.
HIS SERIES CALLED JAZZ, LIKE THE MUSIC,
CELEBRATES ARTISTIC SPONTANEITY
AND THE OTHERWORLDLY BEAUTY THAT ART CAN CREATE.
MATISSE ENJOYED A LONG AND CONTINUALLY EVOLVING CAREER.
IN HIS 70s, FIGHTING CANCER AND CONFINED TO A WHEELCHAIR,
HE TRADED EASEL PAINTING FOR A NEW MEDIUM:
PAPER CUT-OUTS.
THE CUT-OUTS ARE A SINGLE COLOR WITH A STRONG OUTLINE.
SCISSORS IN HAND, MATISSE SAID,
"I CUT STRAIGHT INTO THE COLOR."
THE CHAGALL MUSEUM IS NEARBY.
STARTING IN THE 1950s,
MARC CHAGALL PAINTED A CYCLE OF CANVASSES
DESIGNED FOR THIS BUILDING.
EVEN IF YOU'RE SUSPICIOUS OF MODERN ART, THIS MUSEUM,
WITH THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF CHAGALL'S WORK IN CAPTIVITY,
IS A DELIGHT.
SEVENTEEN BIBLICAL SCENES MAKE UP THE NAVE, OR CORE,
OF WHAT CHAGALL CALLED "THE HOUSE OF BROTHERHOOD."
EACH PAINTING IS A LIGHTER-THAN-AIR COLLAGE
OF IMAGES INSPIRED BY CHAGALL'S RUSSIAN FOLK VILLAGE YOUTH,
HIS JEWISH HERITAGE, BIBLICAL THEMES AND HIS FEELING
THAT HE EXISTED SOMEWHERE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH.
CHAGALL PAINTS A WORLD THAT'S HIDDEN TO THE EYE:
THE MAGICAL, MYSTICAL WORLD BELOW THE SURFACE.
HE BLENDS PERSONAL IMAGERY,
PARTICULARLY FROM HIS CHILDHOOD IN RUSSIA;
THE HASIDIC JEWISH PERSPECTIVE HE ABSORBED AS A CHILD --
THAT'S THE IDEA THAT GOD'S EVERYWHERE,
IN NATURE, ANIMALS AND EVERYDAY THINGS;
GRAVITY-DEFYING COMPOSITIONS,
WITH LOVERS, ANIMALS AND ANGELS TWIRLING BLISSFULLY IN MIDAIR;
AND CHILDLIKE SIMPLICITY -- SIMPLE, HEAVY OUTLINES,
OFTEN SPILLING OVER WITH CRAYOLA COLORS.
CHAGALL SAW THE BIBLE AS A SYNONYM FOR NATURE.
HIS BRILLIANT BLUES AND REDS
CELEBRATE NATURE AND ITS CREATOR.
HIS COUPLES ARE ENCHANTING.
TO CHAGALL, HUMANS LOVING EACH OTHER
MIRRORED GOD'S LOVE OF CREATION.
HE WROTE, "IN ART AS WELL AS IN LIFE,
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, PROVIDED THERE IS LOVE."
THE SNUG PORT OF VILLEFRANCHE,
IN SPITE OF THE LUXURY YACHTS GLISTENING IN ITS BAY,
OFFERS TRAVELERS AN EASYGOING SLICE
OF SMALL-TOWN MEDITERRANEAN LIFE
JUST MINUTES FROM THE BUSTLE OF NICE AND JET-SETTY MONACO.
THIS TOWN FEELS ITALIAN, WITH SOFT ORANGE BUILDINGS,
STEEP, NARROW STREETS
AND ITS PASTEL HARBOR.
WHEN THE ORIGINAL ANCIENT PORT WAS OVERTAKEN BY PIRATES,
ITS VILLAGERS FLED INTO THE HILLS.
LATER, IN THE 13th CENTURY, THE KING WANTED TO REINHABIT
AND THEREFORE STRENGTHEN HIS COASTLINE.
TO ENCOURAGE THE VILLAGERS,
HE GRANTED THE TOWN TAX-FREE STATUS AND THIS PLACE BECAME
"VILLE," TOWN, "FRANCHE," WITHOUT TAXES...
VILLEFRANCHE.
VILLEFRANCHE WAS PROTECTED BY AN IMMENSE CITADEL.
TODAY, BECAUSE MOST OF ITS 8,000 PEOPLE CALL THIS
THEIR PRIMARY RESIDENCE,
VILLEFRANCHE FEELS MORE LIKE A REAL COMMUNITY
THAN NEIGHBORING RIVIERA TOWNS.
ONLY A FEW FAMILIES STILL FISH FOR A LIVING.
BUT HUGE YACHTS CALL THIS BAY HOME.
THIS STRETCH OF COAST
IS STUDDED WITH THE FLOATING TOYS OF MULTIMILLIONAIRES.
LOCALS KEEP TRACK OF THE WORLD'S BIGGEST YACHTS
AND TALK ABOUT THEM
LIKE THEY'RE PART OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHOSE STERN LINE YOU MAY BE CATCHING.
HERE'S THE LADY MOURA.
MOURA IS AN EX-WIFE OF SAUDI ARABIA'S KING FAHD.
SOME OF THE RIVIERA'S PRICIEST REAL ESTATE
STRETCHES FROM VILLEFRANCHE TO MONACO.
CAP FERRAT, AN EXTREMELY EXCLUSIVE,
LARGELY RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY, FILLS A PARK-LIKE PENINSULA.
WHILE YOU'LL NEVER GET PAST ANY OF THESE GATES,
YOU CAN SPEND A DELIGHTFUL DAY HERE JUST STROLLING,
AND THIS AIN'T YOUR AVERAGE JOGGING TRAIL.
FOLLOWING ITS WELL-GROOMED PATH,
YOU CAN STUMBLE UPON A HIDDEN LITTLE BEACH...
GET A GLIMPSE OF DAVID NIVEN'S HOME...
WANDER THE RITZY PORT OF ST. JEAN-CAP-FERRAT,
AND TOUR THE ULTIMATE RIVIERA MANSION AND GARDENS:
THE ROTHSCHILD EPHRUSSI VILLA.
THE EXTRAVAGANCE OF VENICE, VERSAILLES AND THE COTE d'AZUR
ALL COME TOGETHER IN THIS VILLA.
ITS LAVISH Belle Epoque INTERIOR OFFERS A PEEK
INTO THE LIFE OF THE RICH AND ECCENTRIC
BARONESS de ROTHSCHILD.
BUILDING THIS PALACE,
THE BARONESS WENT THROUGH TEN ARCHITECTS.
HER FURNISHINGS WERE FIT FOR A QUEEN.
IMAGINE THE CORRESPONDENCE COMPOSED
AT HER PERSONAL LETTER-WRITING DESK.
LADY ROTHSCHILD'S SENSE OF STYLE
SPILLED INTO HER BACKYARD, A MANY-FACETED GARDEN.
SHE DREW INSPIRATION FROM HER TRAVELS ABROAD:
A FRAGRANT ENGLISH ROSE GARDEN,
AN EXOTIC FANTASY OF CACTUS,
A MYSTERIOUS GOTHIC STONE GARDEN,
AND A TRANQUIL JAPANESE GARDEN.
OVERLOOKING EVERYTHING:
"THE TEMPLE OF LOVE."
THIS REGION'S BREATHTAKING COASTLINE
IS TRAVERSED BY THREE COASTAL ROUTES:
THE LOW, MIDDLE AND HIGH CORNICHE.
THE LOW CORNICHE STRINGS PORTS, BEACHES AND VILLAGES TOGETHER.
IT WAS BUILT IN THE 1860s, ALONG WITH THE TRAIN LINE,
TO BRING PEOPLE TO THE CASINO IN NEARBY MONTE CARLO.
THE MIDDLE CORNICHE COMES WITH VIEWS OF IMPRESSIVE VILLAS
AND THE GRAND CORNICHE CAPS THE CLIFFS
WITH STAGGERING MEDITERRANEAN VISTAS.
WHILE HAILED AS NAPOLEON'S
CROWNING ROAD CONSTRUCTION ACHIEVEMENT,
IT ACTUALLY SITS UPON THE VIA AURELIA,
A ROAD BUILT BY THE ANCIENT ROMANS
AS THEY CONQUERED THE WEST.
A TOWERING ROMAN RUIN CELEBRATES THAT CONQUEST.
CAESAR AUGUSTUS BUILT "THE TROPHY OF THE ALPES"
TO COMMEMORATE HIS DEFEAT
OF THE REGION'S MANY HOSTILE TRIBES.
WITH THIS VICTORY, THE COMPLETION OF THE MAIN ARTERY
CONNECTING ITALY AND SPAIN WAS MADE POSSIBLE.
THIS OPENED THE WAY FOR THE CONTINUED EXPANSION
OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE.
THE INSCRIPTION TELLS THE STORY:
IT WAS ERECTED BY THE SENATE AND THE PEOPLE
TO HONOR THE EMPEROR.
CARVED BELOW IS AN INVENTORY OF ALL THE FEISTY BARBARIAN TRIBES
THAT PUT UP SUCH A FIGHT.
AND ON EITHER SIDE ARE THE VANQUISHED IN CHAINS
AT THE FEET OF THEIR CONQUEROR,
A REMINDER TO ANY WHO WOULD CHALLENGE THE EMPIRE.
NEARBY, STANDING HIGH ABOVE THE SEA,
IS TOURISTY BUT MAGNIFICENT EZE.
THE ONCE-FORMIDABLE TOWN GATE,
DESIGNED TO KEEP RAMPAGING PIRATES OUT,
LEADS INTO THE MEDIEVAL VILLAGE.
THIS SELF-PROCLAIMED VILLAGE OF ART AND gastronomie
MIXES PERFUME OUTLETS, UPSCALE BOUTIQUES, COBBLED LANES
AND SCENIC PERCHES PERFECT FOR SAVORING A DRINK.
THE MORE ADVENTUROUS CAN CLIMB EVEN FURTHER UP
TO THE SCANT RUINS OF THE EZE CHATEAU.
THE PATHS LEADING THERE HOST A PRICKLY FESTIVAL
OF OVER A HUNDRED VARIETIES OF CACTI.
LOOKING BEYOND THE FLOWERS,
YOU'LL ENJOY A COMMANDING RIVIERA VIEW.
JUST BELOW SITS MONACO.
WITH BARELY ONE SQUARE MILE OF TERRITORY,
IT'S ONE OF THE WORLD'S SMALLEST COUNTRIES.
OF ITS 30,000 RESIDENTS, LESS THAN 10,000
ARE TRUE monegasques, AS LOCALS ARE CALLED.
MANY OF THE REST CALL MONACO HOME
BECAUSE THERE'S NO INCOME TAX.
DESPITE OVERDEVELOPMENT, HIGH PRICES AND MOBS OF TOURISTS,
A VISIT HERE IS A RIVIERA MUST.
AND MONACO IS A WORK IN PROGRESS.
THE DISTRICT OF FONTVIEILLE WAS RECLAIMED FROM THE SEA.
IT BRISTLES WITH LUXURY HIGH-RISE CONDOS.
THE NEW BREAKWATER, CONSTRUCTED ELSEWHERE AND TOWED IN,
ENABLES CRUISE SHIPS TO DOCK.
AND CARS STILL RACE, AS THEY HAVE SINCE 1929,
AROUND THE PRINCIPALITY
IN ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS AUTO RACES,
THE GRAND PRIX OF MONACO.
THE MINISCULE PRINCIPALITY HAS ALWAYS BEEN TINY,
BUT IT USED TO BE LESS TINY.
IN THE 1860s, IT LOST MOST OF ITS TERRITORY TO FRANCE.
BUT THE PRINCE BUILT A CASINO AND MANAGED TO CONNECT
HIS DOMAIN TO THE REST OF THE RIVIERA
WITH A NEW ROAD AND A TRAIN LINE.
HUMBLE MONACO WAS SUDDENLY ON THE GRAND TOUR MAP,
THE PLACE FOR THE VACATIONING ARISTOCRACY TO PLAY.
TODAY, THE PEOPLE OF MONACO HAVE ABOUT THE WORLD'S HIGHEST
PER CAPITA INCOME, WITH PLUSH APARTMENTS TO MATCH.
ITS FAMOUS CASINO ALLOWS THE WEALTHY
TO ENJOY LOSING MONEY IN EXTREME COMFORT.
IF MONACO IS A BUSINESS, THE PRINCE IS ITS CEO.
WHILE THE CASINO GENERATES ONLY A SMALL PART
OF THE STATE'S REVENUE, ITS MANY BANKS, WHICH PROVIDE
AN ATTRACTIVE WAY TO PROTECT YOUR MONEY FROM THE TAX MAN,
EARN MUCH MORE.
THERE IS NO INCOME TAX HERE, BUT THE PRINCE COLLECTS
PLENTY OF MONEY IN VALUE-ADDED TAXES, REAL ESTATE TAXES
AND CORPORATE TAXES.
NEARLY ALL OF MONACO'S SIGHTS ARE PACKED
IN A CINDERELLA NEIGHBORHOOD ATOP ITS FORTIFIED HILL.
ITS IMPRESSIVE AQUARIUM,
WHICH PROUDLY CROWNS THE CLIFF LIKE A PALACE,
WAS DIRECTED BY JACQUES COUSTEAU FOR 17 YEARS.
A MEDIEVAL CASTLE SAT WHERE MONACO'S PALACE SITS TODAY.
THE PALACE GUARDS PROTECT THE RULING GRIMALDI FAMILY 24/7
AND THEY CHANGE WITH THE PAGEANTRY
OF AN IMPORTANT NATION.
EVERY DAY AT ABOUT NOON,
TOURISTS PACK THE SQUARE TO WITNESS THE SPECTACLE.
[ Marching music playing ]
THE PALACE SQUARE FEATURES A STATUE OF FRANCOIS GRIMALDI,
A RENEGADE ITALIAN WHO CAPTURED MONACO
DISGUISED AS A MONK IN 1297.
THIS FIRST RULER OF MONACO ESTABLISHED THE DYNASTY
THAT STILL RULES THE PRINCIPALITY.
TODAY, OVER 700 YEARS LATER,
THE CURRENT PRINCE IS HIS DIRECT DESCENDANT.
MONACO'S CATHEDRAL HOLDS THE TOMBS
OF CENTURIES OF GRIMALDIS, THE MOST-VISITED ONE:
THAT OF PRINCESS GRACE.
THE GLAMOROUS ROMANCE AND MARRIAGE
OF THE AMERICAN ACTRESS GRACE KELLY TO PRINCE RAINIER
ADDED TO MONACO'S FAIRY-TALE MYSTIQUE.
GRACE KELLY CAME TO MONACO IN THE 1950s TO STAR IN A MOVIE.
SHE FELL IN LOVE WITH THE PRINCE,
MARRIED HIM AND ADOPTED THE COUNTRY.
TRAGICALLY, MONACO'S MUCH-LOVED PRINCESS GRACE
DIED IN A CAR ACCIDENT ON THE CORNICHE IN 1982.
EXPLORING THE RIVIERA BY TRAIN IS FASTER,
LESS EXPENSIVE AND SAFER THAN BY CAR.
WHILE TRAFFIC IS EXASPERATING AND PARKING IS COSTLY,
THE REGION SEEMS DESIGNED TO BE EXPLORED BY TRAIN,
FREQUENT TRAINS LINKING NEARLY EVERYTHING WE'RE SEEING
IN A SCENIC SNAP.
WE'RE CONNECTING THE EAST AND WEST EXTREMES OF OUR VISIT,
MONACO AND CANNES, IN JUST OVER AN HOUR.
CANNES IS FAMOUS FOR ITS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL.
ITS SISTER CITY, NOT SURPRISINGLY, IS BEVERLY HILLS.
THIS CITY HAS HOSTED THE FAMOUS CANNES FILM FESTIVAL
ANNUALLY SINCE 1946.
EACH MAY, AS THE WORLD LOOKS ON, THE CITY'S PACKED
WITH FILM PRODUCERS, CELEBRITIES AND PAPARAZZI.
WITH EXCLUSIVE HOTELS LINING MOSTLY PRIVATE STRETCHES
OF SANDY BEACH, CANNES IS FOR STROLLING,
DREAMING OF MEETING A MOVIE STAR
AND LOUNGING ON THE SEAFRONT.
DON'T LOOK FOR ANY ACTUAL SIGHTS TO TOUR.
IF YOU MISSED THE FILM FESTIVAL,
THERE'S LITTLE TO DO OTHER THAN SHOP...
AND ENJOY THE BEACH.
WHILE THERE IS A PUBLIC BEACH,
THE MAJORITY OF ITS BEACHES COME WITH A FEE.
THE REAL CANNES EXPERIENCE SEEMS TO BE PAYING TO SUNBATHE
WITHOUT COMMONERS MUCKING UP YOUR SPACE.
WHILE THOSE ENAMORED
WITH LIFE-STYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS
FLOCK TO RESORTS LIKE CANNES
OR THE INSUFFERABLY CHIC SAINT TROPEZ,
I PREFER ANTIBES.
NESTLED BETWEEN NICE AND CANNES,
ANTIBES HAS A DOWN-TO-EARTH AMBIANCE RARE FOR THIS AREA.
ITS OLD-TOWN CHARMS
ARE WRAPPED IN A RAMPART
AND WATCHED OVER
BY TWIN MEDIEVAL TOWERS.
ANTIBES WAS "DISCOVERED" AFTER WORLD WAR I.
IT ENJOYED A PARTICULARLY ROARING '20s,
WITH THE HELP OF PARTY ANIMALS LIKE RUDOLF VALENTINO
AND THE ROWDY, YET EVER-SILENT CHARLIE CHAPLIN.
THEY SAY FUN SEEKERS EVEN INVENTED WATER-SKIING
RIGHT HERE IN THE 1920s.
BEFORE 1860, WHEN NICE WAS UNDER ITALIAN RULE,
ANTIBES WAS FRANCE'S LAST FORT BEFORE THE ITALIAN BORDER.
THE FRENCH KING MADE SURE THE RAMPARTS
WERE STRONG AND WELL-DEFENDED.
TODAY, THE FORT PROTECTS
A PRICELESS COLLECTION OF PICASSOS.
IN 1946, 65-YEAR-OLD PABLO PICASSO WAS REBORN.
WORLD WAR II WAS OVER AND PICASSO COULD FINALLY ESCAPE
THE GRAY SKIES AND GRAY UNIFORMS OF NAZI-OCCUPIED PARIS.
ENJOYING WORLDWIDE FAME
AND THE LOVE OF 23-YEAR-OLD FRANCOISE GILOT,
PICASSO MOVED TO ANTIBES.
HE LIVED AND WORKED IN THIS CASTLE AND ON THIS TERRACE.
HE PAINTED LIKE A MADMAN,
SWAM IN THE MEDITERRANEAN IN THE MORNING,
PARTIED WITH HIS FRIENDS IN THE EVENING
AND PAINTED AGAIN LATE INTO THE NIGHT.
EVER RESTLESS, PICASSO HAD FINALLY FOUND
HIS GARDEN OF EDEN, HIS JOY OF LIFE,
AND HE PAINTED IT.
IN HIS JOIE DE VIVRE,
WE SEE HIS FLOWER CHILD, FRANCOISE.
SHE KICKS UP HER HEELS AND DANCES ACROSS A RIVIERA BEACH.
FLUTE-PLAYING SATYRS, CENTAURS AND FAUNS
ANNOUNCE THE NEWFOUND FREEDOM OF A NEWLY LIBERATED FRANCE
AND A NEWLY LIBERATED PICASSO.
AFTER DECADES IN THE CITY,
PICASSO REDISCOVERED THE JOYS OF VILLAGE LIFE.
SHOPPING IN THE ANTIBES MARKET,
HE'D RETURN HOME AND TURN GROCERIES INTO MASTERPIECES.
WITH HIS DISTINCT CUBIST STYLE, HE CAPTURED SUNBATHERS
AND MUNCHING LOCALS.
HE WAS FASCINATED WITH THE SIMPLE LIFE OF FISHERMEN.
PICASSO PAINTED A PAGAN PARADISE,
WHERE CIVILIZED PEOPLE COULD LET THEIR HAIR DOWN
AND INDULGE IN SIMPLE, ANIMAL PLEASURES.
FOR AN EDIBLE JOIE DE VIVRE,
WE'RE FINISHING BACK IN VILLEFRANCHE
WITH BOUILLABAISSE, THE RIVIERA'S MOST FAMOUS DISH.
THIS SPICY FISH STEW IS BASED ON RECIPES
HANDED DOWN FROM SAILORS IN NEARBY MARSEILLE.
A TRUE BOUILLABAISSE MUST CONTAIN
AT LEAST FOUR TYPES OF FRESH FISH,
THOUGH MOST HAVE MORE.
THE FISH IS COOKED IN A TOMATO-BASED STOCK,
FLAVORED WITH SAFFRON AND WHITE WINE.
THE BOUILLABAISSE IS TOPPED WITH A DOLLOP OF GARLICKY SAUCE
AND CRUNCHY CROUTONS.
TRAVEL, LIKE A FINE BOUILLABAISSE,
IS THE HAPPY RESULT OF GOOD THINGS COMING TOGETHER.
FOR THE FRENCH RIVIERA, TAKE A VARIETY OF BEACH TOWNS,
SPICE WITH MODERN ART,
TOSS IN A PINCH OF HISTORY,
SPRINKLE IN SOME GLAMOUR
AND LET SIMMER UNDER THE MEDITERRANEAN SUN.
ALL THESE TASTY EXPERIENCES COMING TOGETHER
MAKE THE COTE d'AZUR A CORNER OF FRANCE
ANY TRAVELER CAN ENJOY.
I'M RICK STEVES.
UNTIL NEXT TIME, KEEP ON TRAVELIN'.
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French Riviera: Uniquely Chic

3695 Folder Collection
Jane published on September 27, 2015
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