One of my favorite memories from my time on the Côte d’Azur was the hiking path along the Mediterranean at Cap d’Antibes. In the 19th century, millionaires built fabulous homes along the coast that ran right down to the water. In the 80’s, the municipalities co-opted a strip of land a few meters wide and almost three kilometers long between la Garoupe and Eilen Roc, right next to Juan les Pins. I found much of the French Riviera artificial and superficial, but that wasn’t the case here. This was a totally beautiful place. I was almost completely alone for the two hours of my hike, remarkable in an area that is always crawling with tourists. The sky and water were incredibly blue and the emerald-green pines fragranced the air. The only sound was the pounding surf, the cry of the gulls, and the song of cicadas. At points, the pathway was easy-going, with lovely steps and handrails. At other points, I was jumping from rock to rock. If you know me, you know that I was wearing heels at the time – I always am – but that frankly wouldn’t be my footwear of choice the next time. And I certainly hope there will be a next time.
Today’s expression, le droit chemin (luh drwah chumahn) literally means “the straight path,” but we’d say “the straight and narrow.” The path at Cap d’Antibes is never straight, although often narrow, but it certainly seems to be the way to find paradise – at least on the Côte d’Azur.