The Riviera HHH had a run in Antibes. It was a most enjoyable run on the whole. A bit urban perhaps, but compensated for by some magnificent views of scenary (and at this time of year I'm talking about the views of the Alps not the, ahem, mobile scenery that makes the beaches so easy on the male eye during summer) and so on.
We ran around quite a lot of the port and admired the yachts. They inspired guesses about just how many zillions of €uros are in fact afloat in the Port Vauban, no one came up with a good answer other than "if you have to ask you can't afford even one of them". The Fort Carré at the far end of the port - the castle in the background of the photo to the left - was duly ran around at various levels, although it probably doesn't impress everyone it is a remarkable example of 17th fortifications and extremely well preserved.
And then we came back through the middle of "Vieux Antibes". There is something ever so slightly tacky about having a "Marché de Noël" complete with Santa, masses of fake snow and ersatz Germanic huts in a Mediterranean seaside resort, but Christmas is tacky everywhere and one is at least spared the joys of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" and Slade playing as background musack. Still this is surely just quibbling - I have no doubt that all 2 of my readers from colder climes are saying "stop whining" about now. Indeed it is just that, a minor complaint to help set the mood for what really irritates me.
The fact that on a cool December day the most prominent smell down certain alleys is rotten dog turd pretty much explains why, despite the magnificent scenery, historic buildings etc. etc., I tend to avoid the coast. Somehow the smell sums up the worst of life on the Riviera. It is the feet of clay beneath the glitz and glamour of B-list celebrities, Russian mafiosibusinessmen and other shady characters. It is an odd contrast between the visual pleasures of the picturesque coastal towns and the olfactory displeasures. In my more idle moments I wonder if this could just be the reason that Grasse remains the centre of the perfum business. Somehow I suspect the French Riviera is not so satisfying to the blind...