Of mermaids and the idle rich.

So we didn’t make it to Cannes for dinner last night. The bus system was a joke (only gave you the times they started and finished in Nice and Cannes, not the stop you’re at). So after waiting an hour, we went to the train station 900m down the road – no bus to be seen during that time either – we discovered that the trains in both directions were delayed, and stopped running at 8:30. It was now 7:15. We looked at each other and gave up, deciding to see what Antibes had to offer, and found a preoccupation with elephant sculptures, a casino, and a video game arcade. I was very restrained and didn’t go into the arcade. It was difficult.

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Elephant on stilts?

All in all, Antibes was a lovely place to stop: it had ambiance, character, and a laid back atmosphere. I must thank the lovely French baristas back home who recommended the little town halfway between Nice and Cannes.

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looking towards Cannes at sunset

We decided at dinner that we would drop our stuff in Nice, have lunch in Monte Carlo, and dinner in Cannes instead. And that’s what we did.

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this is your only clue as to where you are...

The train to Monaco-Monte Carlo took us along some amazing coastline: Villefranche-sur-mer, Beaulieu-sur-mer, Mer d’Eze… And then you arrive at this cavernous station and have to take several travelators to get to to the sun.

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hello Monaco.

Monaco was getting ready for a boat show, so we couldn’t see the marina for the tent city being constructed. So, we walked around, and there were the boats. Not just boats. Yachts. Superyachts to be exact. Floating cities. And James was entranced.

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hello superyachts

I was entranced. But not with the vessels, but with the glass-like water, it’s clarity and colour, and the schools of fish cruising around. And suddenly all those dreams of growing up to be a mermaid came flooding back, and it was surprisingly difficult to not dive right in and never come back.

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Would you look at that? I want gills and fins just looking at that.

As for the entire length of coastline from Villefranche through to the Italian border: it could be the Atlantic seaboard of Cape Town. I’m not detracting from either, but given the money and Sea Point could be a Monaco, and there are shades of Clifton and Llandudno in Villefranche-sur-mer, and Kalk Bay in Le Port. The air, the landscape, the colour… It was all familiar.

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Casino bend. One of my favourite F1 corners.

Anyway, we wound our way up to the place where fortunes were made, and dreams crushed. The Monte Carlo casino. I didn’t see Mr Bond’s Aston Martin, but we did think about gin martinis, before settling for gelato at the fountain instead.

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Formula One is everywhere here.

We had seen everything we wanted to see, and decided to head back down the coast to Cannes. Along with 90% of Monaco’s population, or so it seemed. An hour of being a sardine in the train, stopping at every station between Monaco and Cannes, and we arrived.

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Cannes.

What a disappointment. First of all, there was a boat show at the exhibition centre, so we couldn’t walk around the boardwalk, and quite frankly, the rest of Cannes was hotels, high end shops, and restaurants. And the service, as we have found with most of our trip, has been abysmal, but I’ll let James blog about that, because he has some very strong opinions on the matter.

And with a quieter train trip back into Nice, James has gone for an amble, while I prepare for an early morning at the olympic pool for the last day of the freediving team world champs. So an early night for me!

Au revoir!

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