I spent last week on the French Riviera, in the south of France. We were constantly contemplating the Massif de l'Esterel, and its quite special red color. Saying that the whole place could look like one of the most beautiful on Earth would be an understatement. And yet, while it could truly be a paradise, we ruined it. We let cars ruin it entirely.
This is what's in people's mind if we say 'french riviera'.
Vue d'Antheor. Louis Valtat.
Even when you look at the closest little town poster, this is what you get.
I call this false advertising. Can you guess what's missing from all these images? Yep, a 2-way road - 'route departementale' in french. You can see it perfectly on Google Map. What makes me particularly angry though is: there is no sidewalks! WTF are we telling people here? That you don't exist, you can't move if you don't jump in a f****** car?
This is how you experience the place.
- want to go swim? you either stay in a private villa literally on the forefront (and still, you access the sea through your own cove only) or you take your car for a few min ride or you risk your life walking on the road
- want to have a coffee? get a magazine, newspapers? you take your car or your risk your life walking on the road (you risk more since your walk will definitely be longer)
- want to go hike in the Massif? you take your car or you risk your life twice: first while walking on the road, then second when crossing the train railways
It's a freaking joke. We literally designed the place like: bigger and bigger private villas, all closed on each other, and the road to go through. Nothing else. Nothing to let people walk, dream, bump into each other. The result? No soul. People are rushing from-to their car, they park next to the beach, at the beginning of their trail, it's like everyone is hating everyone else cause you lack spots.
Cherry on top: add kids to the mix. Mine are 4 & 2 y/o. They love walking, running, biking, playing in the water. When I'm alone, at least I can choose to take the risks and go in the forest by myself but with them, it's just impossible. I have no other choice than tying them in the car to go experience something outside cause... well, you know, sorry kids, Sapiens preferred their cars over anything else during the past decades.
If no kids outside, no life. This part of the French Riviera is just a giant jail now. A luxury one fore sure. So maybe we should celebrate.
Objet du jour