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On a sunshine day – and there are a lot of on French Riviera- standing on the Cliff of Mont Boron at the far eastern of Nice, with the sun rising over Alpes behind the shore. Then we drive, west-ward along the gorgeous Promenade des Anglais, turning right and up to boulevard de Cimiez, cutting through the Matisse Museum, touching again the pre-alpes and double back to a viewpoint just below the highway where it disappears into one of its frequent tunnels. Now looking due east. That is French Riviera you can see.
From here or hereabouts you can see practically all of it. Those hills on the far horison are Massif de L’Esterel. The bigger towns hidden behind theirs bays: Menton, Monaco, Nice, Antibes, Cannes, St.-Tropez. A succession of capes, brown and green and speckled with white yellow walls and red roofs, push out into the blue sea: Caps Ferrat, d’Antibes. All along the jagged shoreline and up into the steep wooded hills behind, thousands of villas stretch out to the final hazy horizon.
The French Riviera is dense, tiny, spectacular. Despite the developers, it is still hot, sweet South of France, and the “Côte d’Azur”, a term invented by French poet Stephen Liégeard in his overblown guidebook, now joined to the “Riviera” like twin.