Nina Burleigh’s article in The New York Times really got me thinking of my plans for the summer and craving for spending some time under the sun in Juan-les-Pins, a little town in the commune of Antibes, right between Cannes and Nize in the French Riviera, where the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald spend two full years that Scott would later call the happiest of his life.
“Unless you happen to be on a billionaire’s yacht requiring a deepwater port or are a paparazzo stalking Leonardo DiCaprio along the Riviera, you might have no reason to find yourself near Antibes or its charming little sister village, Juan-les-Pins, on a summer evening. And that would be unfortunate, because among the legendary diversions of Cap d’Antibes is exploring the rocky playground peninsula on the French Riviera that inspired one of America’s greatest writers.
It’s been almost a century since F. Scott Fitzgerald lived here, in a rented seaside house called the Villa St. Louis with his almost-mad wife, Zelda, and their towheaded daughter, Scottie. A few years after the Fitzgeralds left in 1927, the house on the sea wall in Juan-les-Pins was expanded into a hotel called the Belles-Rives, now with 40 rooms and five stars.
Fitzgerald and the rest of his Jazz Age set have been “borne back ceaselessly into the past,” as he predicted in the most famous of his “Great Gatsby” lines, but the essential nature of Cap d’Antibes outlived them. The “diffused magic of the hot sweet South … the soft-pawed night and the ghostly wash of the Mediterranean far below” that Fitzgerald described in “Tender Is the Night” is as palpable now as then, even as the demographics of the rich set that so intrigued him are now less Anglo-American and more Russian, Chinese and Arab.”
Read full article in The New York Times.
Photo: Sandro di Carlo Darsa via The New York Times