Today, one of the hottest days yet on our trip, we visited the exquisitely scenic and beautiful peninsula of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (SJCF), which lies directly across the harbor from Villefranche-sur-mer (VSM).
SJCF is home to estates of the who’s who of the world’s rich and famous (including Seattle’s own Paul Allen) and is surrounded by blue skies, blue waters and superyachts bobbing offshore. If you are ever visiting this part of France, it is well worth a visit (in my opinion), just for the spectacular vistas of the Côte d’Azur and views of the manicured lawns and architecture of the multi-million dollar villas.
As we didn’t want to be mistaken for celebrities, we decided to leave our own yacht at home and instead take the public bus for the 15 minute ride from VSM to SJCF.
It had to easily be 85 degrees and we were all glistening profusely by the time we climbed the hill from our apartment to the nearest bus stop. Unfortunately, the non-air-conditioned bus didn’t provide much relief, but at least we were out of the hot sun.
Our first stop was the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild located at the high point of the peninsula and surrounded by magnificent gardens. The vast estate was formerly a residence, but is now a museum open to the public for a nominal fee. While the mansion was undoubtedly quite the place in its day and is open for wandering about, the real attractions in my mind were the nine beautiful gardens that were designed so that something would be in bloom year round. The gardens are world-class and not to be missed if you are visiting the area.
Next we headed down by the seashore to catch some shade and hopefully cooler breezes. Jill and Dawn took the bus, while Rich and I decided to walk the mile or so down the hill to the harbor. We were hoping to catch Paul Allen retrieving his mail from his curbside mailbox as we passed by, so that we could introduce ourselves, but no such luck.
We finished out our tour of SJCF enjoying a couple of carafes of chilled Provençale rosé by the water. We then hopped on the bus for the ride back to VSM where we got home just in time to catch the end of today’s stage of the Tour de France.
But later in the day was the truly big sporting event. Today France beat Germany in the semi-finals of the Euro2016 football (soccer) games. That was a BIG deal here! A huge roar went up from the crowds in the streets of Villefranche about 11:00 PM when France won the game. This Sunday evening is the championship where France plays Portugal. Go France!