Did you know that around 80% of American tourists in France only go to Paris? Which is a crying shame as the rest of France is so spectacularly beautiful, so deeply fascinating and so incredibly varied from region to region.
Gelateria at sunset on the Menton waterfront
I was fortunate enough to be invited to lunch in Seattle last week by the France Tourism Development Agency and several regional French tourist boards, as they keen to spread the word in the US that France has much more to offer for travellers than just Paris.
As long time readers of this blog or followers of my Instagram feed know only too well, I have a very soft spot in my heart for Menton, the gracious old city on the very eastern edge of the Cote d’Azur, a hop, skip and jump from the Italian border.
The beach where we swam every day
We rented an apartment there for three weeks last summer and it occurs to me that, what with one thing and another, I never shared any photos with you. So these are for those of you who might be planning your summer vacations and may need some encouragement to get out of Paris.
It’s the colours of Menton that get to me most. The warmth of the coral, ochre, mustard and terracotta, punctuated by bursts of brilliant blue from shutters, sky or sea. And everything bathed in the most astonishing clear dancing light.
We rented an apartment full of antique furniture in a cute residential neighbourhood just behind the casino, about fifteen minutes walk from our favourite beach.
The Minx learned to sail (it’s so useful that she’s at the French immersion school here as we can put her in cool French camps).
And we spent endless days just hanging out on the beach, and endless warm evenings watching night fall over the Mediterranean. That sea. It does something for my very soul.
Tomorrow we’ll be visiting Menton’s fabulous covered market. I have a lot of holiday snaps to inflict upon you get through. (What is a blog for after all?)