COTE D’AZUR

I  may sound very harsh but we must admit that the south of France is not any more what it used to be. It became almost a banality to say that it is degraded by mass tourism, disfigured by ruthless real estate promoters and transformed into an immense car parking and a gathering and assembly of sun oil-shining and beach baking crowds….Despite you decided to visit the Cote d’Azur with the most solid cultural intentions, you will experience that the Celts, Ligurians, Romans along the Cote d’Azur will not really captivate your interest, without even mentioning Saint-Louis or the counts of Anjou. That’s because there is no more any visible relation with the past in this world of traffic lights and hotel bunkers, sticky sand, ice-cream sellers, brutal bad restaurants and the last forest path, littered with Mac Donald leftovers. Nevertheless, the Cote d’Azur still has his unconditionals: they, who will only spend their holiday there, against all odds.
As much as I can I will try to avoid enumerating yacht harbours, beach fashion shops and water-ski rental offices and look at the Cote d’Azur with the eyes of an “old fashioned” tourist, which means as traveller who wants to know “more” than what he sees. If you have the same intention, keep reading this Cite d’Azur series. As soon as you withdraw a little bit from the coast, visit the backcountry, it becomes a land of geographic contrasts, with incredible diverse and different landscapes. There are still of beaten path hikes and excursions to do, unknown forests with rich aromatic odours, lavender fields and high perched picturesque villages. But how and when? Do NOT visit during the summer season, if it is possible. But if you have no choice, try to discover some cities EARLY in the morning like…..St.Tropez.  It can suddenly become (almost) paradisiacal. After all, some zones still remain miraculously preserved, like cute villages peopled with persons who say hello, please and thank you with a gracious smile and no financial intentions (very rare;-)). It is still possible to find, if you have the recommendations, some small little restaurants that serve generous food with conviviality and kindness and even lodgings that you can afford.