Monday, June 20

S. France

Sonnet dries her nails in Cannes.

We are to Arnaud and Julia's wedding which is on the Côte d'Azur, the French Riviera, covering 560 miles of coastline and one of the first modern resort areas in ze world. It began in the 18th-century as a winter health resort for the British upper classes daring beyond Bath; with the railway came the British, Russian, and other playboys and aristocrats like Queen Victoria and King Edward VII; in summer, the Rothschilds took over the place then came the artists: Picasso, Matisse, Edith Wharton, Somerset Maugham and Aldous Huxley who came to tan themselves. In '46, the film festival and '57 - Bond.

Cannes, where we stay, is a crowded busy spot with low brow next to high-end : on seemingly back-end streets there is a .. Gucci store next to .. Dolce & Gabbana. Fat dudes stroll the promenade, sans shirt, smoking cigars. Red Ferraris everywhere, bunched before the Grand Hotel so famous in the post cards. But it is the yachts, Dear Reader, that catch thine' eye : enormous, ostentatious, idle - birthed at sea for everyone and me to oggle : so big the smaller yachts must service them. At night their parties and disco dancing cast a halo along the flat water, otherwise still, surrounded by the glorious hillsides.