The Age of Innocence Remains in an Idyllic Garden

When we drew your attention to some of the most beautiful “Gardens of the Riviera” a few weeks ago, we failed to mention any garden to the west of Grasse. Not because there were no gardens in this part of the world but only for the reason that we had never visited any.

Now, however, that we have strayed sufficiently far away from our base in the French-Italian borderlands of the Riviera, we

The Age of Innocence Remains in an Idyllic Garden

The Question is Where Does the Riviera Start?

Themed Walk: Historic Hyères Minds much greater than my own have wrestled with this question without ever finding a conclusive answer: Where does the Riviera start?

It does not take a great mind to see where it ends. Even I can see that it comes to a grinding halt at Cinque Terre, southeast of Genoa. As to its start on the French side, however, there are many different theories. Culturally, the Riviera’s heartpiece

The Question is Where Does the Riviera Start?

In Search of the Hidden Gardens of Monaco

Oman, Qatar and San Marino are, officially, the least green countries in the world. In these three states – and in the territory of Greenland (clearly a case for the Trades Descriptions Act) – forests make up exactly 0.0 % of the surface area: none of them have any woodlands at all. But what about Monaco?

We go to Monaco fairly regularly, and if there are any forests over there,

In Search of the Hidden Gardens of Monaco

A Sporty Hike on the Hilltop Backcountry of the French Riviera

Once they were giants – Breil and the Roya River From the train, Breil-sur-Roya looks incongruously large and imposing, with its tree lined riverside avenue and two large churches in the centre of town.

Located in that part of the border country between France and Italy that is characterized by perched hilltop villages and their nervous huddles of buildings, Breil comes across not only as much bigger but also as much bolder, saying

A Sporty Hike on the Hilltop Backcountry of the French Riviera

Do You Think Mougins is Worth the Climb?

Picasso spent the last 12 years of his life here, but there are many other reasons to visit this hilltop village north of Cannes If the French Riviera is not exclusively famous for being a playground of people with more money than sense – from 19th century Russian aristocrats via eccentric East Coast heiresses during the “Jazz Age” to the oligarchs of today – it owes this to the great modern artists who chose to

Do You Think Mougins is Worth the Climb?

Get a Taste of Provence in the French Riviera

Walks in the South of France On a country walk from St Paul-de-Vence to Vence, you can experience three different flavours of the fabled French “South” One of the French things that foreigners often struggle with is the fine distinction between the different regions in “the South”, a large area sometimes misunderstood as a single cultural unit where old men play boule between the ruins of Roman temples and lavender fields that were once painted

Get a Taste of Provence in the French Riviera

Ancient History Between Cannes and Antibes

Easy Hikes in the South of France What have the Romans ever done for the French Riviera? Not much, it appears. For our first proper walk of the year – one involving a forest, “big sky views” and mud under our feet – we picked a theatre of ancient local history.

You would be surprised how difficult it can be to find real “history” on the French Riviera. Don’t get

Ancient History Between Cannes and Antibes

The French Riviera on Canvas

Artists in the French Riviera Our sadly incomplete collection of picturesque views from Cagnes-sur-Mer Many of the 20th century’s most famous painters spent some time – occasionally the most fruitful years of their lives – on the French Riviera. On good, sunny and clear days, of which there are many, the whole area looks like a painting, and there is practically not a single town along the coast which has not been immortalized in a

The French Riviera on Canvas

The Wild West of the French Riviera

Easy Hikes in the South of France Théoule-sur-Mer may lack the glamour and urban flair of some of its coastal neighbours in the East, but has a nice little walk attached to it Looking back over the Easy Hiker posts from the last six months or so, it strikes me how few of them refer to anything that we have done on our home turf.

On the one hand, this is good, I

The Wild West of the French Riviera

The Final Act for the Irish Bard

Urban Walks in the South of France Walk to the villa on the French Riviera where W B Yeats died In general, I don’t believe in the theory that you can acquire an understanding of literature through a process of natural osmosis in the places where it was once written – in other words that you can replace, for example, the effects of reading or watching Shakespeare’s plays by bumping your head on low-hanging Elizabethan

The Final Act for the Irish Bard