On the last day, however, this seemed wrong-headed. We should take a long walk and see something, we thought. We should go out to real a restaurant. We should do both. That's how we ended up walking halfway around Cap Ferrat, from the start of the path just at the edge of Beaulieu to the lighthouse at the tip of the cape.
Royal Riviera Hotel.
Oddly democratic, a public path winds along the Cap just above the shore, passing at one point though the front drive of a grand private villa. Up to and through the chi-chi little village of St Jean Cap Ferrat, the path is paved and quite lovely. The scent of honeysuckle and oleander perfumes the way. It's an easy walk with a bit of company from others out for a bit of exercise.After the village, however, the paved path disappears as it passes through what appears to be a construction dump. The pavement picks up again shortly, but now it runs well below the level of the villas. Suddenly it feels a little less democratic. We start to feel like intruders sneaking below the walled villas looming over us at the top of the ridge. Happily, this section is short as well, and soon we started to climb as the path twists through the tumble of jagged black and white rocks that form the point.
The point is just spectacular and the climb invigorating. Perversely we had chosen a humid, windless, and overcast day for this walk, so the horizon was limited. But it was still beautiful. It would have made a great picnic spot, but we had other plans.
We headed up and around the lighthouse and inland toward the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, arriving just a few minutes before our lunch reservation. We paused outside the gate to catch our breath and cool off, taking in the passing scene of various service vehicles going in and out of the surrounding villas. I was a little intimidated by the prospect of entering the grand lobby, as I was sporting Freitag not Ferragamo. But come on, this was going to be worth it.
The hotel was completely renovated and reopened in 2009, while the restaurant reopened this year, earning a Michelin star under chef Didier Anies. We were booked for La Veranda, so that we could enjoy a little haute cuisine at the relative good-deal price of the midday menu along with a view.
I'm glad we did. The meal was one of the highlights of the trip. The food was so good that I failed to take any notes, but I can say that the sea bass was perfectly grilled, the potatoes fondant sinfully good and the suggested white wine from Porquerolles was a great pairing and had a really intriguing bitter orange note on the finish.
The service was flawless, from the wine suggestions to the proffered stool for my bag. (Yes, my Freitag bag made out of recycled truck tarps sat proudly and delicately on its own little throne.) We enjoyed, we dawdled, we had a digestive and then a coffee. It was a very nice day at the beach.
Photo Grand Hotel du Cap Ferat
Story by Kathy
Photos by tylonbrew except where otherwise noted