The last stop of our trip was St. Jean Cap Ferrat, a small but storied enclave on the Mediterranean tucked into the far right pocket of the French Riviera. It did not disappoint.
Our arrival was notable for the number of times we became impossibly lost on what the CE referred to as the “spaghetti streets” that converge and wind around the small town center. By the time we found what we thought might be the route to our hotel, we were in a state of road panic that induced hallucinations since, glancing out the window of the car, I saw two people on foot next to us and announced that we had just passed Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw.
We chalked it up to a travel mirage until we discovered a few days later that Spielberg’s yacht was moored in a cove just a short distance from our hotel. If only I’d had the presence of mind to ask them for directions and an autograph!
We finally reached our destination: the Grand Hotel du Cap, and grand it was! We quickly realized that we needed a) French lessons, b) new wardrobes, stat! and c) a way better backstory than a pair of quondam Midwesterners turned small-town Californians could muster. I mean, seriously, even in France I was picking little flecks of hitchhiked chicken-coop pine shavings off my clothes.
However, we were road-weary and hungry, so we dusted ourselves off and breezed, Clampett-style, right into the marble-tiled lobby. Poseurs that we were, we still had a functional Platinum Amex and a few vacation days left to use it.
Our room was on the top floor, in a corner, so we had views and more views. Seagulls wheeled past our windows as they patrolled the Cap and there was always the owah-hoo-hoawah sound of doves in the morning and at dusk. We looked out at clear blue skies and the Mediterranean Sea and wondered if, perhaps, with a high enough barricade against the door, we might be able to stay forever.
The hotel and the surrounding villas are all perched above the sea, so to reach the pool and the ocean, we crossed behind the hotel to ride the funicular down the cliff.
At the base of the cliff is the lovely Club Dauphin, a private pool and restaurant at the tip of the Cap. If you launched a boat from there, you’d be just about a hundred miles away from Corsica. Maybe Mr. Spielberg will offer us a ride someday…
Next up…a day trip on the French Riviera.