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Riviera Towns
by Herbert Adams Gibbons
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A reader of this manuscript declares that the chapter on Vence ought to be struck out.

"They [I suppose she means the home folks] will never understand," she insists.

I am adamant.

"When they come to the Riviera, they will understand," I answer.

Between Saint-Raphael and Menton the most sacred responsibilities do not weigh one down all the time.



CHAPTER VI

MENTON

In architectural parlance the cornice is the horizontal molded projection crowning a building, especially the uppermost member of the entablature of an order, surmounting the frieze. The word is also used in mountaineering to describe an overhanging mass of hardened snow at the edge of a precipice. In the Maritime Alps it has a striking figurative meaning. There are four corniches—the main roads along the two sections of the Riviera, Menton to Nice and Theoule to Saint-Raphael, where the mountains come right down to the sea and nature affords no natural routes. The Grande Corniche and the Petite Corniche run from Nice to Menton, and the Moyenne Corniche from Nice to Monte Carlo. The Corniche d'Or or Corniche de l'Esterel is the new road from Theoule to Saint-Raphael. The word is incorrectly used, for the most part, concerning the two coast roads, the Petite Corniche and the Corniche l'Esterel. For although these beautiful roads do at many points stand high above the sea, they descend as often as possible to connect with the coast towns. But the analogy with the architectural term is perfect in so far as the Grande Corniche and the Moyenne Corniche are concerned. At every point these wonderful roads, undisturbed by tramways and unbroken by towns (except La Turbie on the Grande Corniche and Eze on the Moyenne Corniche), you feel that you are traveling along a horizontal molded projection above temples built with hands and the activities of humankind.

From Nice to the Italian frontier the railway, darting in and out of tunnels, keeps near sea level. A small branch climbs from Monte Carlo to La Turbie. The tramway from Nice to Menton follows the Petite Corniche, with a branch to Saint-Jean on Cap Ferrat.

For tourists, Nice is the center of the Riviera, the place to come back to every night after day excursions. Everything is so near that this is possible. Nice is the terminus of railways and tramways east and west. It is the home of the ubiquitous Cook. You can buy all sorts of excursion tickets, and by watching the bulletin posted in front of the Cook office on the Promenade des Anglais, it is possible to "cover" the Riviera in a fortnight. But this means a constant rush, perched on a high seat, crowded in with twenty others, on a char a banes, and only a kaleidoscopic vision of Mediterranean blue, hillside and valley green and brown, roof-top red, wall gray and mountain white. At the end of your orgy, instead of distinct pictures, you carry away an impression of the Riviera in which the Place Massena is a concrete image and the rest no more than dancing bits of colored glass. Saint-Raphael and Menton are the luncheon breaks of two days, and the Grande Corniche is a beautiful vague mountain road over which you whizzed.

And yet there are those who go to the Riviera every year for a daily ride over the Grande Corniche, and who dream during ten months of two months at Menton!

Sitting with our legs daggling over the stone coping at the entrance of the port in Nice, the Artist and I figured out—on the basis of just time for a glimpse and a few sketches—how long it would take us to wander through the Riviera. Reserving March and April each year, we discovered that the allotted three score and ten, seeing that we had already come to half the span, would be inadequate. And there were other parts of the world! So we decided to see what we could, eschew the "day excursions," draw on the memories of former years, and let it go at that. Grande Corniche and Moyenne Corniche would be explored afoot on sunny days and gray; shelter would be sought at Menton; and on the return to Nice, Monte Carlo and Villefranche would be the only tramway stops for us.

To Ventimiglia, as if he foresaw what part of the Riviera would eventually fall to France, Napoleon I was the builder of La Grande Corniche. His engineers, planning for horse-drawn vehicles in an age when time was not money, made the ascent easy by striking inland for several kilometers up from the valley of the Paillon and circling Mont Gros and Mont Vinaigrier. For the first two miles you have Nice and Cimiez below you. Then the road turns, passes the observatory of Bischoffsheim (who won posthumous fame by his having built the house where Wilson lost the battle of Paris in 1919), and goes over the Col des Quatre Chemins. Here begins the matchless succession of views of the loveliest portion of the Riviera coast. Below you is the harbor of Villefranche, between Montboron, which hides Nice, and Cap Ferrat jutting far into the sea with Cap de l'Hospice breaking out to the left. The sea is always on your right as you continue to climb. Ancient Eze is on a lower hill midway between you and the Mediterranean. If you have made an early start from Nice, La Turbie will come most conveniently in sight a little before noon.

The only town of the Grande Corniche high up from the sea is on the line given in ancient maps as the frontier between Gaul and Italy, and it is evident that the Roman road followed here the route chosen by Napoleon. For here the Senate raised the trophaeum Augusti to commemorate the subjugation of the Gauls and the new era of tranquillity from invasion for the Empire. On its site one of the most interesting medieval towers in southern France was the ruin par excellence of the Riviera until a few years ago. It is now "restored" so well that it leaves nothing to the imagination—a crime quite in keeping with the spirit of the new age of the "movies." Its architect wanted you to see at a glance just what it used to be. You feel that he would have put arms on the Venus de Milo! As we stood there, a guide came up and began to tell us the history of the tower. We moved over to the terrace. From Montboron to Bordighera the Riviera lay below us, a panorama which commanded silence. Up came the guide fellow, and started to name each place.

"I am about to commit murder," I cried.

"I'll save you the bother by telling him to chase himself with this franc," said the Artist, pulling out the coin. "If only the restorer of the Tower of Augustus were around, he'd come in for a franc too."

La Turbie is not a town to hurry away from after lunch. Its old gateways and leaning houses brought out the Artist's pencil. I tried to explore the paths up the Tete du Chien. Defense de penetrer—and then selections from the Code about how spies are treated. The same fate met me on the Mont de la Bataille. France may love Italy just now—but she is taking no chances! As far as I could judge, every high slope was fortified. I had tea at one of the hotels perched above the town, counted my money, and suggested to the Artist that we slip down to Monte Carlo for the night.

The next morning we took the little railway back to La Turbie and continued our walk. From La Turbie the Grande Corniche makes a gradual descent behind the principality of Monaco to Cabbe-Roquebrune, and joins the Petite Corniche at Cap Martin. Three miles farther on the Promenade du Midi leads into Menton. This is the most beautiful stretch of the Grande Corniche; and it is paralleled by no other road, as the new Moyenne Corniche ends at Monte Carlo. The view is before you as you go down. The vegetation becomes more tropical. You are nearer the sea, and the feeling of dolce far niente gets into your bones as you approach Cap Martin.

Mont Agel's limestone side gives you back the heat of the sun. It is a radiator. No wonder lemons flower all the year round, and you discover on the same tree buds, flowers, green and yellow fruit. No wonder the palms are not out of their setting as at Cannes and Nice. Locusts, flourishing where there is seemingly no ground to take root in, live from the air, and give forth pods that almost hide the leaves in their profusion. The undergrowth of myrtle and dwarf ilex above becomes aloes and sarsaparilla and wild asparagus as we go down to the sea. We have left the cypresses and cork-trees, and eucalyptus struggles in our nostrils with orange and lemon. Even the ferns are scented! The Artist looks with apathetic eye on the rocks and ruined castle of Roquebrune. When we reach Menton we are willing to sink into cane-seated rockers on the Hotel Bristol porch, call for something in a tall glass with ice in it, and let the morning walk count for a day's journey.

The tourists who know Menton only as a mid-day luncheon break have robbed themselves of an experience that no other Riviera town offers. The Promenade des Anglais at Nice is interesting in the sense that the Avenue des Champs-Elysees is interesting. The Mediterranean is accidental—an unimportant accessory. The Promenade du Midi at Menton is another world. And this other world, with its other world climate, reveals itself to you with increasingly keen delight, as you ride (you do not walk at Menton) around Cap Martin, up the mountain to old Sainte-Agnes, in the gorge of Saint-Louis, along the Boulevard du Garavan, and out to the Giardino Hanbury. You say giardino instead of jardin because Mortola is just across the Italian frontier. The eccentric Englishman chose this spot, without regard to political sovereignty present or future, as the best place to demonstrate the catholicity of the Riviera climate to tropical flora. I simply mention these drives; for you do not ride at Menton any more than you walk. The man who wants to keep his energy and work on the Riviera must not go farther east than Nice.

But why another world? And another world even from that of the rest of the French Riviera? It is partly the climate and the consequent flora, but mostly the light. The general aridity of the Riviera, with the prevalence of everbrowns and evergreens, strikes unpleasantly at first the visitor from the North. Sunshine and riotous colors of flowers and blossoming trees do not make up for the absence of water-fed green. When it rains, the Northerner's depression cannot be fought off. The chill gets to his soul as well as to his bones. He prays for the sun he has come south to seek. But when the sun returns, the dust annoys him. The high wind gets on his nerves.

The casual tourist, whose stay is brief, even if he has come in the most favorable season, is "not so sure about the Riviera, you know." He is impatient with himself because, after the first vivid impression, panoramas and landscapes leave him unsatisfied. There is no compensation for the absence of water-fed green in the canvas of nature until one becomes responsive to other colors. I do not mean particular patches of color in flowers and blossoms. These are of a season. Often they pass in a week. The sun that gives rich life kills quickly. The glory of south lands, especially along the sea, is the constant changing of colors. These colors you will drink in only when by familiarity you have become sensitive to lights and shadows.

If you stay long enough at a place like Menton you will be ready for Southern Italy and Greece. You will be able to drink in the beauty of landscapes without foliage. And when you have acquired this sense, your own country will be a new world to you. Never again, as long as you live, will you tire of any landscape.

The sun veils and unveils itself more often and more quickly and more unexpectedly at Menton than at any place on the Riviera. And the setting for watching the changes is perfect. Menton can say, in the words of the old sundial,

"Son figlia del sole, Eppure son ombre."



CHAPTER VII

MONTE CARLO

San Marino and Andorra have maintained their independence from the Middle Ages, but as republics. The only reigning families who kept their domains from being engulfed in the evolution of modern Europe are those of Liechtenstein and Monaco. What will happen to Liechtenstein with the disappearance of the Hapsburg Empire is uncertain. Wedged in between the Vorarlberg portion of the Austrian Tyrol and Switzerland, Liechtenstein is almost as out of the way, as forgotten, as unimportant, as San Marino and Andorra. Monaco is in a different situation. The smallest country in the world covers only eight square miles, and never was very much larger than it is today. Until half a century ago Monaco was an Italian principality and not at all an anomaly. For Italy had been broken up into small political units from the Roman days. At the time of the unification of Italy, the Italians had to part with a portion of the Riviera to France. Monaco lost a bit of her coast line—the Menton district—and became an enclave in France.

Because of the traditional friendship of the Grimaldi family for France, the principality was saved from extinction when the protectorate of Savoy (established by the Congress of Vienna) was withdrawn in 1861. In fact, the male line of the Grimaldi died out just after the War of Spanish Succession, and the present house is of French descent. But whether Grimaldi or Matignon, the princes of Monaco have fought for a thousand years on the side of France against the British especially, but also against the Italians, Spanish and Germans. As unhesitatingly as his predecessors had always done, Prince Albert espoused the cause of France in 1914; his son fought through the war in the French army.

And there is another reason for the continued independence of Monaco. Republics have no sense of gratitude. After the fall of Napoleon III Monaco would hardly have survived save for the gambling concession. Four years before the Franco-Prussian War, a casino and hotels built on the Roche des Spelugues had been named Monte Carlo in honor of the reigning prince. The concession, granted to a Frenchman, Francois Blanc, was too valuable to spoil by having Monaco come under French law! The Republic tolerated Monaco—on condition that no French officer in uniform and no inhabitant of the Departement des Alpes-Maritimes (which surrounds Monaco) be allowed in the gaming rooms of the Casino. It was also agreed that except in petty cases handled in a magistrate's court all crimes should be judged by French law and the criminals delivered for punishment to France.

The arrangement is admirable from the French point of view. The Riviera has its gambling place of world-wide fame with no opprobrium or responsibility attaching to the French Government. The extra-territoriality does not extend to criminals. The inhabitants of the neighboring French towns are not demoralized by the opportunity to gamble. French army officers are protected from corruption. It is presumed that the rest of the world, which can afford a trip to the principality, will be able to take care of its own morals!

The Monegasques are similarly protected by their sovereign. They, too, are forbidden to gamble. They profit from the concession in that there are no taxes to pay in the rich little principality and in that several hundred thousand foreigners come every year to give big prices for every little service. But they run no risk of being caught by the snare they set for others. Prince and people, the Monegasques are like the wise old bartender, who said in a tone of virtuous self-satisfaction, "I never drink."

When Tennyson, traveling along the Grande Corniche, saw Monaco, it was of the old medieval principality that he could write:

"How like a gem, beneath, the city Of little Monaco, basking, glow'd."

The old walled town, on its promontory, must indeed have seemed a gem in an unsurpassed setting in the time of Tennyson. For the little Port of Hercules and the other promontory, Spelugues, were tree- and shrub- and flower-lined. There was nothing to break the spell of old Monaco. Now, alas, the Casino and hotels of Monte Carlo cover Spelugues, and between the promontories La Condamine has sprung up, a town of red-roofed villas, larger than either Monaco or Monte Carlo and forming with them an unbroken mass of buildings. Monaco is simply an end of the city, distinct from the rest of the agglomeration only because it is high up and on a cape jutting out into the sea.

Unless one went up to explore the old town, one would not realize that it was more than the palace with its garden and the post-Tennyson cathedral, too prominent for the good of the medieval spell. La Condamine and Monte Carlo have reached the limit of expansion. In front is the sea, behind the steep wall of the mountain. The principality is all city. But the mountains and sea prevent the exclusion of nature from the picture. Despite the modern growth of Monaco, from the Grande Corniche the words of the poet still hold good. Monaco is no longer a predominantly medieval picture perhaps—but it is still a gem.

The old town is as attractive in walls and buildings as other rock villages of the Riviera. Three main streets, Rue Basse, Rue du Milieu and Rue des Briques, run parallel from the Place du Palais out on the promontory. They are crossed by the narrowest of city alleys, a l'Italienne, and to the right of the Rue des Briques, around the Cathedral, is the rest of the town. Nowhere does the old town extend to the sea.

On the sites of the ancient fortifications the present ruler, Prince Albert, has made gardens and built museums for his collections of prehistoric man and of ocean life. One ought never to dip into museums. If you have lots and lots of time (I mean weeks, not hours), or if you have special interest in a definite field of study, museums may be profitable. But "doing" museums is the last word in tourist folly. Yes, I know that skeletons and the cutest little fish are in those museums. I am not ashamed to confess that I never darkened their doors. Life is short, and while the Artist revels in his subjects, I find more interest in studying the living Monegasques than their—and our—negroid ancestors.

For there is a separate race, with its own patois, in Monaco. You would never spot it in the somewhat Teutonic cosmopolitanism of the Condamine and Monte Carlo tradesmen and hotel servants. It is not apparent in the impassive croupiers of the Casino. But within a few hundred yards, in half a dozen streets and lanes, the physiognomy, the mentality, the language of the people make you realize that regarding Monaco as a separate country is not wholly a polite fiction to relieve the French Government of the responsibility for the Casino. These people are different, children as well as grown-ups. They are neither French nor Italian, Provencal nor Catalan, but as distinct as mountain Basques are from French and Spanish. It is not a racial group distinction, as with the Basques. In blood, the Monegasques are affiliated to their Provencal and Italian neighbors.

What one sees in the old town of Monaco is a confirmation of the assertion of many historians that nationality, in our modern political sense of the word, and patriotism, as a mass instinct shared by millions, are phenomena of the nineteenth century. Steam transportation, obligatory primary education, universal military service, are the factors that have developed national consciousness, and the exigencies and opportunities and advantages of the industrial era have furnished the motive for binding people together in great political organisms. Today if there were no outside interests working against the solidarity of human beings leading a commonwealth existence in the same country, the political organism would soon make the race rather than the race the political organism.

San Remo and Menton and Monaco are Riviera towns all within a few miles of each other. People of the same origin have three political allegiances. In half an hour your automobile will traverse the territories of three nations. Italians and French fight under different flags and were within an ace of being lined against each other in the war. Monegasques do not fight at all. Taxes and tariff boundaries, schools and military obligations, make the differences between the three peoples. Put them all under the same dispensation and where would be your races?

In the old days the raison d'etre of the principality was the power to prey upon commerce. From their fortress on the promontory the Grimaldi organized the Monegasques to levy tolls on passing ships. Italy was not a united country. France had not yet extended her frontiers to the Riviera. This little corner of the Mediterranean escaped the Juggernaut of developing political unity that crushed the life out of a dozen other feudal robber states. And when the logical moment for disappearance arrived, Monte Carlo saved Monaco. Another means of preying upon others was happily discovered. The Monegasques abandoned pistols and cutlasses for little rakes. The descendants of those who stood on the poops of ships now sit at the ends of green tables. The gold still pours in, however, and no law reaches those who take it.

There is this difference: you no longer empty your pockets to the Monegasques under compulsion, and the battlements of old Monaco play no part in your losses. The proverb dearest to American hearts says that a sucker is born every minute. It is incomplete, that proverb. It should be rounded out with the axiom that at some minute every person born is a sucker.

So I look over to the great white building which is the salvation of the Monegasques—their symbol of freedom from taxes and military service—and know that the strength of Monaco is the weakness of the world. I return to the Place du Palais. The Artist is reluctantly strapping up his tools. We glance for a brief moment at the best sunset view on the Riviera. Ships sail by unmolested. No more have they fear of the Tete du Chien and of the huge stone boulet that Fort Antoine used to lance if a merchantman dared to be deaf to the call of the galley darting forth from the Port of Hercules. But we?

The Artist's fingers are nimble with the buckle after a day with the pencil. Pipe is filled from pouch with an inimitably deft movement of one hand. Reluctant is generally the right word to use when I speak of the Artist leaving his work. I am not so sure now. As I hope, he does not suggest a west-bound tram at the foot of the Palais or the 6:40 train; he says,

"If we alternate eighteen and thirty-six this evening, putting by half each time we win—"

"Like that English old maid we saw last week," I interrupted, "who doubled just once instead of splitting. I can see the drop of the jaw now. Even without the false teeth, it would have been hideous."

"On the red then as long as we last," conceded the Artist, who knew my horror of complicated figure systems, "and there's the sign."

He pointed to the red fringe that lit up fading Cap Martin.

"If we do not get over soon," I answered, "black will be the latest tip of nature." The Riviera towns under the lee of mountains do not have a lingering twilight.

But when we had finished dinner an affiche announcing Aida turned us from the Salles de Jeu to the Salle du Theatre. To most people gambling is a pastime not taken seriously. Only when it is a passion does one find in it the exclusive attraction of Monte Carlo. This is proved by the excellence of Monte Carlo opera. No metropolis boasts of a better orchestra and chorus; and the most famous singers are always eager to appear at Monte Carlo.



CHAPTER VIII

VILLEFRANCHE

During the heat of the war, shortly after the intervention of the United States, I wrote a magazine article setting forth for American readers the claims of France to Alsace-Lorraine and trying to explain why the French felt as they did about Alsace-Lorraine. Of course I spoke of Strasbourg and Mulhouse; but a copy-reader, faithfully making all spellings conform to the Century Dictionary, changed my MS. reading to Strassburg and Mulhauesen. Can you imagine my horror when I saw those awful German names staring out at me under my own signature—and in an article espousing the side of France in the Alsace-Lorraine controversy? Perhaps not—unless you understand the feeling of the actual possessor and the aspirant to possession of border and other moot territories. "By their spelling ye shall know them!" is their cry. Later, I happened to be in America when that dear good faithful copy-reader changed my Bizerte to the dictionary's Bizerta in an article on Tunis, and was able to go to the mat with him. I explained that the spelling was an essential part of the political tenor of the article.

All this I repeated to the wife and critic combined in one delightful but Ulster-minded person who insisted that in English Menton must be spelled Mentone.

"You write Marseilles instead of Marseille and put the 's' on Lyon too: I've seen you do it!" she cried. "And the French call London Londres!"

"But those cities happen not to be in terre irredente," I explained. "Menton lies too near the Italian frontier for a friend of France to call it Mentone, whatever the English usage may be. If we retain Mentone, why have we abandoned Nizza for Nice, Eza for Eze, Roccabruna for Roquebrune, Monte Calvo for Mont Chauve, Testa del Can for Tete du Chien, Villa Franca for Villefranche?"

"Since you have at last arrived at Villefranche, you had better start your chapter," was her woman's answer.

You may have a confused picture, you may even forget many places you have visited in your travels, but Villefranche? Never! Whether you have first seen Villefranche as you came around the corner of Montboron from Nice or across the neck of Cap Ferrat from Beaulieu on the Petite Corniche, as you came through the Col des Quatre Chemins on the Grande Corniche, or as you climbed up behind Fort Montalban on the Moyenne Corniche, the memory is equally indelible. But each corniche gives a different impression of the only natural harbor on the Riviera. The Petite Corniche, which mounts rather high around Montboron, is the near view. You see only the rade with Cap Ferrat as a background. Approaching in the opposite direction, Montboron is the background. On the Moyenne Corniche the rade comes gradually into your field of vision. You are way above the sea, but the harbor still forms the principal part of the water foreground in the picture. On the Grande Corniche, where the Riviera coast from Cap d'Antibes to Cap Martin is before you, and the Mediterranean rises to meet the sky, every outstanding feature of the picture is a cape or town, fortification or lighthouse, except at Villefranche. Here the land is the setting. The water of the harbor, changing as you look to green and back to blue until you are not sure which is the color, is the feature that attracts and holds you. Montboron, the littoral and Cap Ferrat are as secondary as the prongs and ring which hold a precious stone.

The water edge of the harbor has become conventionalized to a large extent by the artificial stone wall built at the inner end and part-way along the Montboron slope, to make possible railway and carriage road, and by the quays and breakwaters. But enough of the unimproved line remains to indicate how the harbor must have looked before the masons got to work. The rocks of Villefranche are copper with streaks of brown-gray that change in depth of color as the sunlight changes in intensity. Water and rocks are not afraid to compete with flowers and trees and mountain shades for the Artist's attention. Villefranche as a maritime picture wins. And yet foliage and flora are no mean rivals. Turning the point of Montboron from Nice has brought you from the climate where many southland growths are exotic to the beginning of the tropical portion of the Riviera which extends into Italy, with Menton and Bordighera as its most typical spots.

Villefranche comes close after Menton—and ahead of Beaulieu and Monte Carlo and Condamine—in the claim to a perennial touch of the south. From Montboron to the hills east of Oneglia the mountain wall protects from the north wind and radiates the sun. But there is no deep harbor like that of Villefranche: and no other place has a Cap Martin to form a windshield from strong sea breezes.

Climate as much as the safe anchorage attracted pirates. From the Caliph Omar to the last of the Deys of Algiers, Mohammedan corsairs swept the Mediterranean. Because the Maritime Alps deprived the inhabitants of the Riviera of retreat to or succor from the hinterland, this coast was the joy of Saracens and Moors, Berbers and Turks. It is hard to believe that up to a hundred years ago the Riverains—the inhabitants of all the Mediterranean littoral, in fact, from Gibraltar to Messina—were constantly in danger of corsair raids just as our American pioneer ancestors were of Indian raids. The lay of the land and the lack of a powerful suzerain state to defend them made the Riverains facile prey. Villefranche afforded the easiest landing. Try to climb up from Villefranche over crags and through stone-paved and rock-lined ravines to the Moyenne Corniche, and then on to the higher mountain-slopes, and you can imagine how difficult it was to get away from raiders, and why the Barbary pirates took a full bag of luckless Riverains on every raid. You comprehend the raison d'etre of the fortified hill towns, and Eze, perched on her cliff, has a new meaning as you look down on Villefranche. This fastness was held by the Saracens long after the crescent yielded elsewhere to the cross—and then became a frequent refuge for the descendants of the victors in the medieval struggle.

From the moment the French entered Algiers at the beginning of the July Monarchy, they felt that their claim to the gratitude of the Riverains justified the annexation of a portion of the Riviera. The treaty that extended French sovereignty to beyond Menton was signed at Villefranche, and immediately the little harbor was transformed into a French naval port. Until warships became floating fortresses Villefranche was useful to France. Now it sees only torpedo-boats and destroyers, and the lack of direct communication with the interior has prevented its commercial development. Better an artificial breakwater with no Alps behind than a natural harbor with a Cap Ferrat.

Occasionally a huge ocean liner, chartered by an American tourist agency for an Eastern Mediterranean tour, drops into Villefranche roadstead. These chance visits, to give the tourists a day at Nice and Monte Carlo, demonstrate that Villefranche could be a port of call for the leviathans, commercial and naval, of the twentieth century. How much easier it would be to go to the Riviera directly from London and New York, instead of having a wearisome train journey added to the ocean voyage! But freights pay a large part of passenger rates, and the routing from great port to great port is as rigid and unalterable as the fact that a straight line is not the shortest distance between two points on land. Trains and ships must pass by way of great centers of population.

A naval cemetery is the memorial of Villefranche's naval past in the last brilliant decade of the Second Empire and the early years of the Third Republic. A little American corner, which our Paris Memorial Day Committee never forgets, bears witness to the period when the American flag was known everywhere in the Mediterranean. We used to have the lion's share of the carrying trade, and Villefranche was a frequent port of call for American warships. Now we have rarely even single warships or freighters in the Mediterranean. The only American passenger line that serves Mediterranean ports is the old Turkish Hadji Daoud Line of five small and dirty Levantine ships, which ply along the coast of Asia Minor and in and out of the Greek islands, camouflaged under our flag.

The old town of Villefranche is on the western side of the harbor between the Petite Corniche and the water. Like all Riviera towns on a main road it has grown rapidly and medieval streets and buildings have almost disappeared, giving way to the banal architecture of the end of the nineteenth century. The garish brick villas of the head of the gulf are excrescences in their lovely garden setting. But after one has reached the eastern side of the harbor and gone through Font Saint Jean, the tramway road, with its noise and dust and variegated bourgeois fantasies, can be abandoned.



If we except Cap Martin, no Riviera walks are lovelier than those of Cap Ferrat. On the Villefranche side, until you have passed through Saint Jean, the alternative to the tramway road is an inhospitable though tantalizing lane. For large estates, shut off by walls and hedges, are between you and the harbor. Unless you are lucky enough to know one of the owners, you will not see the harbor of Villefranche from the best of the lower vantage points. This side of Villefranche is so sheltered that one resident, an American, has been able to transform his garden into a bit of old Japan where the cherry trees blossom in Nippon profusion and colors.

It is best to pass across the cape, not turning in at the tramway bifurcation, until you reach the Promenade Maurice-Rouvier, which skirts the Anse des Fourmis along the sea from Beaulieu to Saint Jean. After you have reached Saint Jean the peninsula is before you. A maze of superb roads tempt you, circling the fort several hundred feet above sea level, crossing the peninsula on the slopes of the fort, and following the sea. Returning to Saint Jean, there is still another walk directly ahead of you to the east. The Cap du Saint Hospice is pine-clad, with a sixteenth-century tower at its end.

The Artist and I made a mistake of twelve hours in our visit to Saint Hospice. We should have come in the morning for the sunrise. To remedy the error we decided to spend the night at the Hotel du Pare Saint Jean. But the sun got up long before we did.

"Our usual luck," said the Artist with a grin that had nothing of regret in it.



CHAPTER IX

NICE

Unless the traveler has some special reason for starting at another point, he first becomes acquainted with the Riviera at Nice, and radiates from Nice in his exploration of the coast and hinterland. The Artist confessed to me that in student days the Riviera meant Nice to him, with the inevitable visit to lay a gold piece on the table at Monte Carlo. And it was Nice of the Carnival and Mardi-Gras. I in turn made a similar avowal. We knew well the Promenade des Anglais, the Casino and the Jardin Public opposite, the Place Massena beyond the garden, where you take a tram or a char a banc to almost anywhere, and the Avenue de la Gare. The Artist had the advantage of me in his intimate sketching knowledge of the old Italian city back from the Quai du Midi, while I knew better than he the Avenue de la Gare. How many times have I pushed a baby carriage up and down that street while my wife shopped!

Nice was to us a resort, cosmopolitan like other famous playgrounds of the world, and where one strictly on pleasure bent had the same kind of a time he would have at Aix-les-Bains or Deauville, Wiesbaden or Ostend, Brighton or Atlantic City. You strolled among crowds, you bought things you did not want, you could not get away from music, you danced and went to the theater or opera, and you spent much too much of your time in hotels and restaurants. If you went on excursions, you enjoyed them, of course. But you always hurried back to Nice in order not to miss doing something of exactly the same kind that you could have done any day in the place you came from.

You have to give Nice time, and get out of your rut, before you awaken to its unique characteristics. Then, if you detach yourself from the amusement-seekers, the time-killers, the apathetic, the bored, the blase and the conscientious tourists, you begin to realize that the metropolis of the Riviera (including its suburbs and Monte Carlo) is a world in itself—an inexhaustible reservoir for exploration and reflection. Because it is the only place in Europe where Americans (North and South) can honestly say that they feel at home, because it was made for and by everybody and caters to everybody, Nice stands the test of cosmopolitanism. Every great capital and every seaport at the cross-roads of world trade is cosmopolitan, but in a narrower sense than Nice. Capitals and seaports have the general character, in the last analysis the atmosphere, of the country they administer and serve. None has the sans patrie stamp of Nice. If Edward Everett Hale had allowed his hero to go to Nice, the man without a country would not have felt alone in the world.

I was on the Suez Canal when the Germans heralded the Verdun offensive. I hurried back to France, and spent a couple of days with my wife at Nice before going on to the front. They were, perhaps, the most critical days of the war, when one watched the communique with the same intensity as one tried to read hope into serious bulletins from a loved one's bedside. After leaving Nice, I discovered that the pall of death did hang over France. But in Nice there seemed to be no mass instinct of national danger, no sickening anxiety. On the Avenue de la Gare I noticed hundreds pass by the newspaper bulletins without displaying enough interest to stop and read.

Two years later, at another critical moment when the Germans were once more closing in on Paris and bombarding the city with the long-distance cannon, I spoke at the Eldorado. The meeting, organized by the Prefet and Maire, drew a large and sympathetic audience. Among residents and visitors are to be found thousands of intense patriots. But when I left the theater and walked back to my hotel, I realized that Nice in 1918 was like Nice in 1916. The population as a whole, inhabitants and guests, had no French national consciousness. When I delivered the same message in the municipal casino of Grasse the next day, I knew that I was again in France. Frenchmen themselves attribute the lack of war spirit in Nice to the general indifference and lesser patriotism of the Midi! But this is because Nice means the Midi to most of them. They are unfair to the Midi. In no way does Nice represent the Midi of France except that it basks in the same sun.

The common explanation of the failure of France to assimilate Nice is that only sixty years have passed since the annexation and that a large portion of the Nicois are Italian in blood and culture and instincts. There may be some truth in all this. But two generations is a long time, and France has proved her ability to make six decades count in attaching to herself and stamping in her image other border populations. Two factors have worked against the assimilation of Nice: the maintenance of the independence of Monaco, with privileges and no responsibilities for its inhabitants; and the enormous number of foreign residents, who have lost their attachment to their own countries and who do not care to give or are incapable of giving allegiance to the country in which they live. Add to these demoralizing influences, at work throughout the sixty years, the flood of tourists and temporary residents of all nations; and is it to be wondered at that the Nicois, native and alien, have so little in common with France?

When you stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, with its hotels and palm-surrounded villas, the Mediterranean coast line extending alluringly from the distant lighthouse of Antibes in the west to the Chateau, set in green, in the foreground to the east, you feel that you are in one of the fairy spots of the earth. The sea, the city climbing up the hill to Cimiez, the white-capped mountains beyond, and on the handsome promenade the best-gowned of Europe, all in the brilliant sunshine of a soft spring day—what could be more charming? And then, suddenly, your unwilling nostrils breathe in a strong whiff of sewage. Have you been mistaken? Surely you are dreaming. The Casino dances on the water. A bevy of girls come out of the Hotel Ruhl to join the Lenten noon-day throng. Nothing disagreeable like sewage—but there it is again! Whew! Where can that sewer empty? Fault of French engineering, an American would say.

But the sea has brought me that smell on the boardwalk in front of the Traymore at Atlantic City. It is difficult to get ahead of nature, and the undertow does bring back what you thought you were rid of.

Figuratively speaking, the surprise on the Promenade des Anglais meets you every day in your study of Nice. The city charms: and it repels. You have been drinking in its beauty and its fascination. Suddenly something sordid, ugly, disgusting, breaks the spell. On the Promenade des Anglais sewage greets the eye as well as the nose. Not vicious women and poor little dolls alone, but cruel and weak faces, shifty and vapid faces, self-centered and morose faces, leech faces, pig faces, of well-tailored men—you watch them pass, you remember what you have seen at the tables, in near-by Monte Carlo, and the utter depravity of your race frightens you. Except clothes and jewels and the ability to get a check cashed, what is the difference between these people and the sailors from a hundred ships, making merry with their girls in the narrow streets back from the Vieux Port of Marseilles?

The law of compensation often comforts and cheers. But as often it is remorseless. Broken health and empty purses, desperation, mute suffering and madness, we saw at Monte Carlo. Where the world flocks for pleasure, agony of soul reveals itself more readily than elsewhere because of its incongruity. Nice is full of tragedy, and none takes the pains to conceal it as at Monte Carlo. The casual visitor creates his own atmosphere in Nice, and he goes away with the most pleasant memory, having found what he sought. But you cannot stroll day after day on the Promenade without marking many that do not smile. You watch them and you see unhappiness, unrest, despair, and resignation. It you become acquainted with the life and gossip of the various colonies, you will not need a Victor Marguerite to reveal to you the inner life of the world's "playground." More frequently than not it is a case of on with the dance. What a price people do pay to play!

Just one illustration. The Russians used to be an important factor in the social life of Nice. They had money and they could give an American points on spending. Attracted by the sun, many made their homes in Nice. They lived like the lilies of the field. They could count on a sure thing. The moujiks of great estates toiled for them, and from the days of their great-great-grandfathers the revenues had never ceased. During the first years of the World War, the Russians were in high favor at Nice. They were the powerful allies of France, brothers-in-arms, who fought for the common cause. Then came the Revolution. Cosmopolitan Nice would have forgiven the defection of Russia. But when the revenues from Petrograd and Moscow banks no longer came in, that was another matter! Where the pursuit of pleasure is king, there is no pity for the moneyless courtier, whatever the cause of his change of fortune. The Russians sold their jewels and their fur coats, the rugs and furniture of their villas, and then the villas themselves. Perhaps they were "accommodated" a little bit at first. But they were soon left to their own resources.

Before the end of the war, the center of the Russian colony was a soup kitchen on a side street, presided over by princesses and served by beautiful million-heiresses of the old regime. Good stuff in those girls, too, who smiled as gayly as of old and talked to me eagerly about becoming governesses or stenographers. And real noblesse in the old men who climbed up the narrow stairs with their pails, coming to fetch their one meal of the day. In one of them I recognized a former ambassador to France. The last time I had seen him he was on horseback between Czar Nicholas and President Loubet crossing the Point Alexandre III on the opening day of the Paris Exposition of 1900.

Enough of shadows! None ever went to Nice in search of them, and comparatively few stay long enough to find them. They are in the picture, and there would be no true picture without them. But they ought to stay in the background. They do stay there. You smell the sewage rarely. The all-pervading sunshine is a tonic. Speculating about why others came here and what they are doing with their lives may hold you through the rainy season. The Carnival puts you in a more material frame of mind. Unless Lent is early, the sun begins to warm the cockles of your heart on Mardi-Gras, and by May it will almost blind you on the water-front. One is not in the mood to let the misfortunes and unhappiness and evil of others cloud his joy. After all, of the quarter million pleasure-seekers who come to Nice each year, the greater part are in as good moral health as yourself, and very few of them have any more reason than you to be "in the dumps."

Unless one becomes engrossed in the study of cosmopolitan human nature to the point of being sunshine-proof, one soon tires of the foreign residential and hotel and shopping quarters of the city. They lack "subjects," as the Artist would put it. But at the eastern end of Nice, the Old Town, home of Garibaldi and many another Red Shirt, takes you far from the psychology of cosmopolitanism and the philosophy of hedonism. This is the direction of Grande Corniche, of villa-studded winding and mounting roads, of the best views (if we except Cimiez) of city and sea.



A mountain stream of varying volume, but always a river before the end of Lent, separates the ville des etrangers from the vieille ville. The Paillon, as it is called, disappears at the Square Massena, and finds its way to sea through an underground channel. From the center of the city you cross the Paillon by the Pont Garibaldi or the Pont Vieux. Or you can enter the Old Town from the Place Massena and the Rue Saint-Francois de Paule, which leads into the Cours Saleya. Here is the most wonderful flower market in the world, with vegetables and fruit and fowls encroaching upon the Place de la Prefecture. Behind the Prefecture you can lose yourself in a labyrinth of narrow streets that indicate the Italian origin of Nice. If you bear always to the right, however, you either make a circle or come out at the foot of the Chateau.

East of the Jardin Public, the Promenade des Anglais becomes the Quai du Midi, renamed Quai des Etats-Unis in the short-lived burst of enthusiasm of 1918. At least, the aldermen of Nice were more cautious than those of most French cities, and did not call it Quai du President-Wilson nel dolce tempo de la prima etade! Following the quay and keeping the Old Town on the left, you come to the castle hill, still called the Chateau, although the great fortress of the Savoyards was destroyed by the Duke of Berwick in the siege of 1706. The hill is now a park, surmounted by a terrace, and is well worth the climb to look down upon the city and the Baie des Anges, especially at sunset. At the end of the Quai du Midi (excuse my diffidence, the Quai des Etats-Unis) stands the low Tour Bellanda, the only tower remaining of the old fortifications. The Chateau is a promontory, and when you take the road which skirts it, be sure to hold tight to your hat. The Nicois call the windy corner Rauba Capeu (Hat Robber).

Now you are in still another Nice, the Port, protected by a long jetty, on which is perched a lighthouse. The Nicois, traditionally seafaring folk, are proud of their little port, with its clean-cut solid stone quays. Steam-born transportation on land and sea, demanding facilities undreamed of in the good old days and tending to concentration of trade at Marseilles and Genoa, has prevented the maritime development of Nice. But there is local coast traffic and competition with Cannes and Monte Carlo for yachts. Fishing and pleasure sailing add to the volume of tonnage. And the Nicois do not let you forget that their city is the port for Corsica.

Beyond the harbor, the Boulevard de l'Imperatrice de Russie leads to Villefranche. Another name to change! In the midst of what is most beautiful we cannot get away from tragedies, from reminders of blasted hopes.



CHAPTER X

ANTIBES

Between Menton and Monte Carlo the coast is broken by Cap Martin, between Monte Carlo and Nice by Cap Ferrat, between Nice and Cannes by Cap d'Antibes. The capes are larger and longer as we go west, just as the distances between more important towns grow longer. Although it does not seem so to the tourist, it is much farther from Nice to Cannes than from Nice to Menton. The eastern end of the Riviera is so crowded with things to see, and town follows town in such rapid succession, that you think you have gone a long way from Nice to the Italian frontier. And except for skipping the two larger promontories, railway and tramway alike follow right along the coast. From Nice to Cannes, the tramway is inland from the railway. So is the automobile road. You fly along at a rapid rate, with only rare glimpses of the sea, and pass through few villages until you reach Antibes.

From Nice, from Saint-Paul-du-Var, and from Cagnes you cannot see the Riviera coast beyond Antibes. The Cape, with its lighthouse and fort, is your horizon. This corresponds with history as well as with geography: for the Cap d'Antibes was the old Franco-Italian frontier. It is still in a very real sense a boundary line. The word Riviera, which has kept its Italian form, was applied historically to the coast lands of the Gulf of Genoa. From Antibes to Genoa we had the Riviera di Ponente, and from Genoa to Spezia the Riviera di Levante. Only after Napoleon III exacted the district of Nice as part payment for French intervention in the Italian war of liberation was the term "French Riviera" gradually extended to include the coast far west of Antibes.

What was added to France under Napoleon III has lost its purely Italian character. But it has not gained the stamp of France. From Antibes to Menton, the Riviera is more remarkably and undeniably international than any other bit of the world I have ever seen. Some of the old towns back from the coast are becoming French in the new generation. But along the coast you are not in France until you reach Antibes. You may have thought that you were in France at Menton and Beaulieu and Nice. But the contrast of Antibes and Grasse, which are French to the core, makes you realize that sixty years is not sufficient to destroy the traditions and instincts of centuries.

At Antibes and along the closely built up coast and between Antibes and Cannes, the international atmosphere is by no means lost. It requires the contrast of Cannes with Saint-Raphael to show the difference between a cosmopolitan and a genuine French watering place. But the French atmosphere begins to impress one at Antibes. A knowledge of history is not needed to indicate that here was the old frontier.

Since the days of the Greeks Antibes has been a frontier fortress. Ruins of fortifications of succeeding centuries show that the town has always been on the same site, on the coast east of the Cape, looking towards Nice. Antipolis was a frontier fortress, built by the Phoceans of Marseilles to protect them from the aggressive Ligurians of Genoa. Nice was an outpost, whose name commemorates a Greek victory over the Ligurians. At the mouth of the Var, from antiquity to modern times, races and religions, building against each other political systems for the control of Mediterranean commerce, have met in the final throes of conflicts the issue of which had been decided elsewhere—and often long before the fighting died out here. Phoenicians and Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans, Greeks and Romans, Romans and Gauls, Gauls and Teutonic tribes, Franks and Saracens, Spanish and French and Italians met at the foot of the Maritime Alps. There was never a time in history when governmental systems or political unities did not have as a goal natural boundaries, and, once having reached the goal, did not feel that security necessitated going farther. Invasions thus provoked counter-invasions.

On sea it has been as on land. Something is acquired. Immediately something more must be taken to safeguard the new acquisition.

All this comes to one with peculiar force at Antibes. You look at Nice from your promontory, and your eye follows the coast from promontory to promontory, and you can picture how the Phoceans, once established at Antibes, were tempted to extend the protective system of Marseilles. You have only to turn around and follow the coast beyond the Esterel to understand how the Ligurians, if they had captured Antibes, would still have felt unsafe. And then your eye sweeps the range of the white Maritime Alps. Hannibal had to cross them to carry the war into Italy. So did Napoleon. And Caesar, to save the Republic from a recurrence of the menace of the Cimbri and Teutoni, brought his armies into Gaul. The Saracens were once on this coast. When they were expelled from it, the French went to Africa as the Romans before them had gone to Africa after expelling the Carthaginians from Europe.

Of the medieval fortress, erected against the Saracens, two square keeps remain. The strategic importance of Antibes during the heyday of the Bourbon Empire is attested by the Vauban fortifications. The high loopholed walls enclosing the harbor have not been maintained intact, but the foundation, a pier over five hundred feet long, is still, after two centuries and a half, the breakwater. The view towards Nice from Vauban's Fort Carre or from the larger tower, around which the church is built, affords the best panorama of the Maritime Alps on the Riviera. Nowhere else on the Mediterranean coast, except from Beirut to Alexandretta or on the Silician plain or in the Gulf of Saloniki, do you have so provoking a contrast of nearby but unattainable snow with sizzling heat. This may not be always true. The day of the aeroplane, as a common and matter-of-fact means of locomotion, is coming.

Looking towards the Alps from the Fort Carre, the donjon of Villeneuve-Loubet and the hill towns of Cagnes and Saint-Paul-du-Var, where we had passed happy days, seem as near as Nice. Farther off on the slope of Mont Ferion we could distinguish Tourette and Levens side by side with their castles, and in the foreground Vence. To the left was Tourrettes. Back from the Valley of the Loup was exploration and sketching ground for another season. But just a few kilometers ahead of us, halfway to Villeneuve-Loubet, Biot tempted us. We had driven through this town not mentioned by Baedeker, and had promised ourselves a second visit to the old church of the Knights Templar. But life consists of making choices, and one does not readily turn his back on the Cap d'Antibes. In the town you are just at the beginning of the peninsula whose conical form and unshutinness (is that a word: perhaps I should have used hyphens?) enables you to walk five miles punctuating every step with a new exclamation of delight.

Only we did not walk. Joseph-Marie, who would have been Giuseppe-Maria at Nice, stopped to look over the Artist's shoulder and incidentally to suggest that we might have cigarettes. A veteran of two years at twenty, his empty left sleeve told why he was reforme. Glad to get out of the mess so easily, he explained to us laconically; and now he was eking out his pension by driving a cart for the Vallauris pottery. The express train "burned" (as he put it) the pottery station, and he had come to put on grande vitesse parcels at Antibes. Cannes was a hopeless place for the potters: baskets of flowers always took precedence there over dishes and jugs. The Artist believed that Joseph-Marie's horse could take us around the cape with less effects from the heat than we should suffer, and that for ten francs Joseph-Marie could submit to his boss's wrath or invent a story of unavoidable delay. I agreed. So did Joseph-Marie. If we proved too much heavier than pottery, we would take turns walking. At any rate, the Artist's kit had found a porter.

We took the Boulevard du Cap to Les Nielles, were lucky in finding the garden of the Villa Thuret open, and then let our horse climb up the Boulevard Notre-Dame to the lighthouse on top of La Garoupe, as the peninsula's hill is called. Here the Riviera coast can be seen in both directions. The view is not as extended as that of Cap Roux, for Cannes is shut off by the Cap de la Croisette. But in compensation you have Nice and the hill towns of the Var, and while lacking the clear detail of Cap Ferrat and Cap Martin you get the background of the Maritime Alps which is not visible east of Nice. And the Iles de Lerins look so different from their usual aspect as sentinels to Cannes that it is hard to believe they are the same islands. Near the lighthouse and semaphore a paved path, marked with the stations of the cross, leads to a chapel.

The Villa Thuret is the property of the state, and is used as a botanical nursery for the Jardin des Plantes at Paris. In variety, however, it does not rival the Giardino Hanbury near Menton, and in beauty it is surpassed by the private garden of Villa Eilenroc, near the end of the Cap d'Antibes. These two gardens, the most remarkable of the Riviera, were made by Englishmen who preferred the sun and warmth of the Riviera to their native land. The most wonderful garden on Cap Ferrat is the creation of an American. Cannes was "made" by Lord Brougham. The other important estate of the Cap d'Antibes, Chateau de la Garoupe, is the property of an Englishman. As at Arcachon and Biarritz and Pau, as at Aix-les-Bains, Anglo-Saxon ownership of villas and German ownership of hotels and the prevalence of Teutons as shopkeepers and waiters prove the passion of men of the north for lands of the south.

Twenty years ago, just after Fashoda, there was a strong current of uneasiness among British residents on the Riviera. The experiences of civilians caught by Napoleon and kept prisoners for years had passed into English history and literature. British consuls were surprised to find that thousands of their compatriots, of whom they had had no previous knowledge, were living all the year round on the Riviera. These people came to make inquiry about what would be done to them if France did declare war suddenly against Great Britain. Would they be given time to leave the country? Fifteen years later the calamity of a sudden interruption of a peaceful existence, basking in the sun, did fall upon foreigners, but statesmen had shuffled the cards around, and this time the civilians caught in the net were Germans and Austrians. The Napoleonic principle still held. Italy could be seen with the naked eye. But none were allowed to pass out. Tourists and residents, subjects of the Central Powers, were arrested and imprisoned on the Iles de Lerins, where they remained five years, many of them in sight of their villas on the coast and the hotels they had built and managed. They stayed longer than Marshal Bazaine, who managed to escape, but not as long as the mysterious Man with the Iron Mask.

One of the keepers at the Antibes lighthouse had been an auxiliary soldier in the fort of Sainte-Marguerite during the early years of the war. He told us that some of the trapped tourists were very restive, but that most of the German civilians who were residents of the Riviera were far from being discontented with their lot. Better a prison on the Ile Sainte-Marguerite than exile from the Riviera! This was better taste and wiser philosophy than we expected of Germans. One could go far and fare worse than an enforced sojourn on one of the loveliest islands of the Mediterranean, whose pine forests are reminiscent of Prinkipo. From 1914 to 1919 life was much harsher beyond those Alps.

Saint-Honorat, the smaller island half a mile from Sainte-Marguerite, was a monastic establishment from the fourth century to the French Revolution. It passed into ecclesiastical hands again in the Second Empire and became a Cistercian monastery. Although the restoration was accomplished with distressing thoroughness forty years ago, some parts of the chapel date back to the seventh century, and a huge double donjon—the dominating feature of the island from the coast—remains from the twelfth-century fortifications. A road, on which are ruins of four medieval chapels, runs round the island. We were unable to visit Sainte-Marguerite and on Saint-Honorat pencil and paper had to be kept out of sight. But I must not wander to another day.

Joseph-Marie liked our tobacco and the horse did not mind stopping en route. It was six o'clock when we reached Juan-les-Pins, only a mile from Antibes on the other side of the cape. Two miles farther along the coast, at Golfe-Juan, where the road turns in to Vallauris, we climbed down from the cart, brushed much dust from our clothes, and started home along the coast road to Cannes. Joseph-Marie waved his empty sleeve in farewell, happy in our promise to look him up some day in Vallauris with a pocketful of cigarettes.



CHAPTER XI

CANNES

Of one-half of Tarascon the prince whom Tartarin met in Algiers displayed an astonishingly detailed knowledge. Concerning the rest of the town he was as astonishingly noncommittal. When it leaked out that the prince had been in the Tarascon jail long enough to become familiar with what could be seen from one window, Tartarin understood his limitation. My picture of Cannes is as indelible as the prince's picture of Tarascon. For most of my Riviera days were spent in a villa across the Golfe de la Napoule from Cannes. Not infrequently our baby Hope gave us the privilege of seeing Cannes by sunrise. We ate and worked on a terrace below our bedroom windows. Every evening we watched Cannes disappear or become fairyland in the moonlight.

What we saw from the Villa Etoile was the Golfe de la Napoule from the Pointe de l'Esquillon to the Cap de la Croisette. The Corniche de l'Esterel rounded the Esquillon and came down to sea level at Theoule through a forest of pines. It passed our villa. The curve of the gulf between us and Cannes was only seven miles. First came La Napoule, above whose old tower on the sea rose a hill crowned with the ruins of a chapel. A viaduct with narrow arches carried the railway across the last ravine of the Esterel. In the plain, between two little rivers, the Siagne and the Riou, was a grove of umbrella pines. Here began the Boulevard Jean Hibert, protected by a sea-wall in concrete, leading into Cannes. The town of Cannes, flanked on the left by Mont Chevalier and on the right by La Croisette, displayed a solid mass of hotels on the water front. Red-roofed villas climbed to Le Cannet and La Californie, elbowing each other in the town and scattering in the suburbs until the upper villas were almost lost in foliage. Behind were the Maritime Alps. Not far beyond La Croisette, the Cap d'Antibes jutted out into the sea. At night the lighthouses of Cannes and Antibes flashed alternately red and green, and between them Cannes sparkled. Inland to the left of Cannes were Mougins on a hill and Grasse above on the mountain side. Occasional trails of smoke marked the main line of the railway along the coast and the branch line from Cannes to Grasse. In the sea lay the Iles de Lerins, Sainte-Marguerite almost touching the point of La Croisette.



But unlike the Prince, we did have a chance to see Cannes at other angles. Cannes was the metropolis to which we went hopefully to hire cooks, find amusement, and buy food and drink. Theoule had neither stores nor cafes, and after the Artist came we were glad to vary the monotony of suburban life. It is always that way with city folk. How wonderful the quiet, how delightful the seclusion of the "real country"! But after a few weeks, while you may hate yourself for wanting noise and lights, while you may still affect to despise the herding instinct, you find yourself quite willing to commune with nature a little less intimately than in the first enthusiastic days of your escape from the whirl and the turmoil of your accustomed atmosphere. Not that Cannes is ever exactly "whirl and turmoil;" but you could have tea at Rumpelmayer's, you could dance and listen to music and see shows at the Casino, and you could look in shop windows. On the terrace of the Villa Etoile we thanked God that we were out in the country, and we loved our walks on the Corniche road and back into the Esterel. But it was a comfort to have Cannes so near! We were not dependent upon the twice-a-day omnibus train, which made all the stops between Marseilles and Nice. An hour and a half of brisker walking than one would have cared to indulge in farther east on the Riviera took us to Cannes, and the cochers were always reasonable about driving out to Theoule in the evening.

From our villa to La Napoule we were still in the Esterel. Then we crossed the mouth of the Siagne by a bridge, and came down to the sea on the Boulevard Jean Hibert. Between the mouth of the Siagne and Mont Chevalier are the original villas of Cannes and the hotels of the Second Empire. Here Lord Brougham built the Villa Eleonore Louise in 1834, when Cannes was a fishing village, not better known than any other hamlet along the coast. Here are the Chateau Vallombrosa (now the Hotel du Pare), the Villa Larochefoucauld and the Villa Rothschild, whose unrivaled gardens are shut off by high walls and shrubbery. They are well worth a visit: but you must know when and how to get into them. As you near Mont Chevalier, the sea wall, no longer needed to protect the railway (which for a couple of miles had to run right on the sea to avoid the grounds and villas laid out before it was dreamed of), recedes for a few hundred feet and leaves a beach.

On Mont Chevalier is the Old Town, grouped around a ruined castle and an eleventh-century tower. The parish church is of the thirteenth century. The buildings on the quay below, facing the port, are of the middle of the nineteenth century. But they look much older. For they were built by townspeople, and serve the needs of the small portion of the population which would be living in Cannes if it were not a fashionable watering place. Despite its marvelous growth, Nice has always maintained a life and industries apart from tourists and residents of the leisure class. Cannes, on the other hand, with the exception of the little Quartier du Suquet, is a watering place. It needs Mont Chevalier, as Monte Carlo needs Monaco, to make us realize that Cannes existed before this spot was taken up and developed by French and British nobility. The square tower and the cluster of buildings around it, the hotels and restaurants of fishermen on the Quai Saint Pierre, dominate the port. This bit out of the past, and of another world in the present, is at the end of the vista as one walks along the Promenade de la Croisette: and the Boulevard Jean Hibert runs right into it. The touch of antiquity would otherwise be lacking, and the Artist would scarcely have considered it worth his while to take his kit when we went to Cannes.

The port is formed by a breakwater extending out from the point of Mont Chevalier, with a jetty opposite. Except for the fishermen, who are strong individualists and sell their catch right from their boat, the harbor's business is in keeping with the city's business. Its shipping consists of pleasure craft. Among the yachts whose home is Cannes one used to see the Lysistrata of Commodore James Gordon Bennett. How many times have I received irate messages and the other kind, too, both alike for my own good, sent from that vessel! In the garden of his beautiful home at Beaulieu, between Villefranche and Monaco, the Commodore told me of the offer he had received from the Russian Government for this famous yacht. Not many months after the Lysistrata disappeared from its anchorage at Cannes, the man who had been the reason—and means—of Riviera visits to more journalists than myself died at Beaulieu.

Only on the side of Mont Chevalier has the harbor a quay. The inner side is bordered by the Allees de la Liberte, a huge rectangle with rows of old trees under which the flower market is held every morning. At the Old Town end is the Hotel de Ville and at the east end the Casino. Running out seaward from beside the Casino is the Jetee Albert Edouard. To its very end the jetty is paved, and when a stiff sea wind is blowing you can drink in the spray to your heart's content. Behind the Casino is a generous beach. This is one great advantage of Cannes over Nice, where instead of sand you have gravel and pebbles. The Riviera is largely deserted before the bathing season sets in, but one does miss the sand. At Cannes kiddies are not deprived of pails and shovels and grownups can stretch out their blankets and plant their umbrellas.

The Promenade de la Croisette runs along the sea from the Casino to the Restaurant de la Reserve on La Croisette. The difference between the Promenade de la Croisette and the Promenade des Anglais was summed up by an English friend of mine in five words. "More go-carts and less dogs," he said. "More wives and less cocottes," the Artist put it. Of course there are some children at Nice and some cocottes at Cannes. And where fashion reigns the difference between mondaine and demi-mondaine is unfortunately not always apparent. Gold frequently glitters. But Cannes is less garish than Nice in buildings and in people.

Doubling the Cap de la Croisette, we are in the Golfe Juan, with the Cap d'Antibes beyond. Here Napoleon, fearing his possible reception at Saint-Raphael, landed on his return from Elba. A column marks the spot. Bound for the final test of arms at Waterloo, Napoleon little dreamed that twenty years later his English foes would begin to make a peaceable conquest of this coast, and that within a hundred years French and English would be fighting side by side on French soil against the Germans. How much did the Englishman's love of the Riviera have to do with the Entente Cordiale? What part did the Riviera play in the Franco-Russian Alliance? British and Russian sovereigns always showed as passionate a fondness for this corner of France as their subjects. There were even English and Russian churches at Cannes and Nice. Men who played a vital part in forming political alliances were regular visitors to the Riviera. At the beginning of the Promenade de la Croisette, only three miles from the Napoleon column, stands Puech's remarkable statue of Edward VII, who spoke French with a German accent, but who never concealed his preference for France over the land of his ancestors.

One charm of Cannes is the feeling one has of not being crowded. At Nice and along the eastern Riviera hotels and villas jostle each other. Around Cannes the gardens are more important than the buildings. Striking straight inland from the Casino past the railway station, the broad Boulevard Carnot gradually ascends to Le Cannet. This is the only straight road out of Cannes. All the other roads wind and turn, bringing you constantly around unexpected corners until you have lost your sense of direction. Branches of trees stick out over garden walls overhung with vines. Many of the largest hotels can be reached only by these chemins. You realize that the city has grown haphazard, and that no methodical city architect was allowed to make boulevards and streets that would disturb the seclusion of the villa-builders, who plotted out their grounds with never a thought of those who might later build higher up. So roads skirted properties. The result does not commend itself to those who are in a hurry. But it gives suburban Cannes an aspect unique on the Riviera. Many of the hotels thus hidden away are built on private estates, and if you want to get to them you have to follow all the curves.

The labyrinthine approach adds greatly to the delight of a climb to La Californie. If you go by carriage, unless you have a map, you are tempted to feel that the cocher is taking a roundabout route to justify the high price he asked you. But if you go afoot—and without a map—you may find yourself back at the point of departure before you know it. But however extended your wanderings, the beauty of the roads is ample compensation, and when you reach at last the Square du Splendide-Panorama, nearly eight hundred feet above the city, you are rewarded by a view of mountains and sea, from Nice to Cap Roux, which makes you say once more—as you have so often done in Riviera explorations—"This is the best!"

After lunch at the observatory we decided to walk on to Vallauris and look up our friend of Antibes at the pottery. A cocher without a fare persuaded us to visit the aqueduct at Clausonne en route to Vallauris. He painted the glories of the scenery and of Roman masonry. "You will never regret listening to me," he urged. We followed the wave of his hand, and climbed meekly aboard, although at lunch we had been carrying on an antiphonal hymn of praise to the pleasure and benefit of shanks' mare.

We did not regret abandoning our walk. I managed to get the Artist by the Chapelle de Saint-Antoine on the Col de Vallauris and to limit him to a hasty croquis of the Clausonne Aqueduct. We were out for pleasure, with no thought of articles. When you feel that you are going to have to turn your adventures to a practical use, it does take away from the sense of relaxation that a writer like anyone else craves for on his day off. On the road to Vallauris we were more struck by the heather than any other form of vegetation. The mountains and hills were covered with it, and whatever else we saw, heather was always in the picture on the hills and mimosa along the roadside. From the roots of transplanted Mediterranean heather—and not from briar—are made what we call briarwood pipes. When a salesman assures you that the pipe he offers is "genuine briar," if it really was briar, you would think it wasn't. When names have become trademarks, we have to persist in their misuse.

Vallauris was called the golden valley (vallis aurea) because of the pottery the Romans discovered the natives making from the fine clay of the banks of the little stream that runs into the Golfe Juan. For twenty centuries the inhabitants of Vallauris have found no reason to change their metier. They are still making dishes and vases and statuettes, and there is still plenty of clay. Moreover, modern methods have not found a substitute either for the potter at his wheel or for the little ovens of limited capacity when it comes to turning out work that is flawless and bears the stamp of individuality. We can manufacture almost everything en masse and in series except pottery. Joseph-Marie was not in evidence at Vallauris: but we found the potters glad to show us their work, seemingly for the pride they had in it. Of course you did have a chance to buy: but salesmanship was not obtrusive.

The great industry of Cannes is fresh cut flowers. The flower market of a morning in the Allees de la Liberte is richer in variety than that of Nice. There is less charm, however, in the sellers. In Nice you simply cannot help buying what is offered you. Pretty faces and soft pleading voices draw the money from your pocket. You look from the flowers to those who offer them: and then you buy the flowers. At Cannes, on the other hand, you ask yourself first what in the world you are going to do with them after you have them. Perhaps this difference in your mood is the reason of the enormous industry that has been developed in Cannes. You are not asked to buy flowers because a seller wants you to and is able to lure you with a smile. You are told that here is the unique chance to send your friends in Paris and London a bit of the springtime fragrance of the Riviera.

"Three francs, five francs, ten francs, monsieur, and tomorrow morning in Paris or tomorrow evening in London the postman will deliver the flowers to your friend."

Pen and ink, cards, gummed labels or tags are put under your nose. You are shown the little reed baskets, in rectangular form, that will carry your gift. If your Paris or London friend knows Latin, and thinks a minute, he will realize that Cannes is living up to her name in thus utilizing her reeds to send out over Europe an Easter greeting, jonquils, carnations, roses, geraniums with the smell of lemons, orange blossoms, cassia, jessamine, lilacs, violets and mimosa.



CHAPTER XII

MOUGINS

We were about to enter the Casino at Cannes. The coin had been flipped to decide which of us should pay, and we were starting up the steps when a yell and a clatter of horses' hoofs made us look around. A victoria was bearing down upon us. The cocher was waving his whip in our direction. We recognized the man who had driven us to Grasse.

"A superb afternoon," he explained, "and Mougins is only twelve kilometers away. With Mougins at twelve kilometers, it is incredible to think that you would be spending an afternoon like this in the Casino. I would surely be lacking in my duty—"

"What is Mougins?" I interrupted.

"All that is beautiful," explained the cocher enthusiastically. "A city on a hill. A glorious view."

"That settles it," said the Artist, turning away. "Every city is on a hill, and all views are glorious."

"But Mougins is different," insisted the cocher, "and the view is different. Besides, the wine is unique. It is sparkling, and can be taken at five o'clock with little cakes. There are roads you have not seen, and pretty girls at work in the rose fields. We shall drive slowly."

There had been much wandering during the past fortnight and we were ready for a quiet afternoon at the Casino. But we allowed ourselves to be persuaded. The Casino was always there, and we had never heard of vin mousseux on the Riviera. Baedeker, as if in duty bound to miss nothing, records the existence of Mougins, three kilometers east of the Cannes-Grasse road after you pass the ten-kilometer stone on the way to Grasse—then gives the next town. Mougins is not starred, and nothing around Mougins is starred. Was not that a reason for going there?

English royalty used to come to Cannes, and every season more middle class Britishers woke up to the fact that it would be pleasant to write home to one's friends from Cannes. Hotels and villas increased rapidly. When English royalty went elsewhere, Russian Grand Dukes and Balkan princelings saved the day for the snobs. Consequently, the town has spread annoyingly into the country. A row of hotels faces the sea, and on side streets are less pretentious hotels, invariably advertised as a minute's walk from the sea. A mile inland is another quarter of fashionable hotels for those whom the splashing of the waves makes nervous. Then the interminable suburbs of villas and pensions commence.

When city people seek a change of climate, they do not always want a change of environment. They are intent upon living the same life as at home, upon following the same round of amusements. They cannot be happy without their comforts and conveniences, and this means the impossibility of getting away from streets and buildings and noises and crowds. The class that has monopolized the Riviera has tried to recreate Paris in the Midi. If one wants to find the country right on the sea coast, one must get off the train before reaching Cannes. Between Cannes and the Italian frontier, one does not have the sea without the city. Only by going inland can one find the country without missing the sight and feel of the sea. For everywhere the land rises. The valleys rise. Roads keep mounting and curving to avoid heavy grades, and foothills do not hide the Alps and the Mediterranean. After escaping from Cannet, the outermost suburb, the road to Mougins goes through a valley of oranges and roses. There are stone farmhouses with thatched roofs and barns that give forth the smell of hay. There are cows and chickens.

We were congratulating ourselves upon having given up the casino long before we reached Mougins. We forgave the cocher his exaggeration about the workers in the rose fields. When one sees in paintings and in the cinematograph pretty girls engaged in agricultural pursuits, it is more than even money that they are models and actresses in disguise. I am enthusiastic in my cult of the country, but I have never carried it to the point of becoming ecstatic over country maidens. There must be, of course, as many good-looking girls in the country as in the city. But could a chorus of milkmaids to satisfy New York or Paris be recruited outside New York or Paris?

When we reached the uncompromising stretch of road that led up to Mougins, we took mercy upon the horses. The cocher had not driven them as slowly as he had promised. We walked a mile through olive orchards, and were in the town before we realized it. Unlike other hill cities of the Riviera that we had visited, Mougins has no castle and no walls. Few traces remain of outside fortifications. All around Mougins the land is cultivated. One does not realize the abruptness of the hilltop, for the city rises from fields and vineyards and orchards. Saint-Paul-du-Var and Villeneuve-Loubet remind one of the days when self-defense was a constant preoccupation. Mougins long ago forgot feudal quarrels, foreign invasions and raids of Saracens and Barbary pirates. The peasants still live together on a hilltop, going forth in the morning and coming back in the evening. But they have taken the stone of their walls for fences, and of their towers for barns. They have brought their tilled land up the hillside to the city.

On the main street, we had the impression that the medieval character of Mougins was lost by rebuilding. Ailanthus trees and whitewashed walls and red-tiled roofs greeted us. The church and the market-place were of the Third Republic. Sleepy cafes displayed enameled tin advertisements of Paris drinks. The signs in front of the notions shop declared the merits of rival Paris newspapers. But when we were hunting out a vantage point from which to get the view of Cannes and the Mediterranean, the Artist saw much to tempt his pencil. Back from the main street, old Mougins survived, none the less charming from the constant contrasts of old and new.

The arch of a city gate, perfectly preserved on one side, lost itself in a modern building across the street. A woman, leaning out of a window, wanted to know what the Artist was doing. I explained our interest in the arch. Had there been a gate in her grandmother's time? Why, when so much of a former age had disappeared, did this half-arch remain? The woman was puzzled. It was incomprehensible that anyone should be interested in the arch, which had always been there. I thought I would try her on other subjects.

"Did many travelers come to Mougins from America?" I asked.

"Oh, yes. And you are an American, aren't you?"

Obviously America was a more interesting subject than archaeology.

While the Artist was finishing his sketch she chatted pleasantly with me. Yes, she had often talked with American visitors. She revealed, however, the French provincial's customary ignorance of our life and asked the usual questions about our wealth and our skyscrapers. I am not altogether sure that I set her right about her fabulous misconception when the Artist's drawing was completed.

Mougins lives in medieval fashion, if not wholly in medieval houses. Dependent upon occasional water from the heavens for carrying sewage down the hillside, Mougins has no use for gutters and drains. Rubbish is thrown from windows, and tramped down into last year's layer of pavement. Goats enjoy the rich pasturage of old boots and cans and papers and rags and vegetables that had lived beyond their day. Although, as we walked through the alleys, we saw no one, heard no one, the houses were inhabited: for much of the garbage was painfully recent, and clothes flapped on lines from window to window over our heads. The Artist suggested that the townspeople might be taking a siesta. But it was late in the afternoon for that. Then we remembered that Mougins was an agricultural community, and that the work of the town was in the fields. This explained also why we saw no shops and no evidences of trade. Olives, flowers, wine, fruit and vegetables are taken to the markets of Cannes and Grasse, and the people of Mougins buy what they need where they sell. Mougins has only bakeries and cafes. Bread and alcohol alone are indispensable where people dwell together.

We circled the city, and came out on the promenade across which we had entered Mougins. Every French town has an illustrious son, for whom a street is named, on whose birthplace a tablet is put, and to whom a monument is raised. Our tour had taken us through the Rue du Commandant Lamy. We had read the inscription on his home, and were now before his monument, a bust on a slender pedestal, with the glorious sweep of La Napoule for a background. The peasants of Mougins, as they go out to and return from the labor of vineyard, orchard and field, pass by the Lamy memorial. Even when they are of one's own blood, is there inspiration in the daily reminder of heroes? How many from Mougins have followed Lamy's example? I have often wondered whether monuments mean anything except to tourists.

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