The azure cradle of inspiration
Listen to the melodic sound of the sea ... Sounds inspiration itself. Do you want - believe, want - no, in the world there are places where inspiration lives all the time. Everybody is looking for him, but it's here. You do not have to wait, catch, try to lure yourself in every way. It's enough just to ask to visit him. French Riviera. Antibes. Biot. Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
Where the rocks look at the sea from the height of their majesty, where the melodic sound of the surf is heard, and the white beaches are lost in the dense vegetation of the green gardens, the port town of Antibes is stretched. Cozy settled between Nice and Cannes on the eponymous cape, it was created in order to understand - there is happiness. But it's not about that fleeting pleasure, which you gulp with rapture and drown in an overabundance of emotions. Antibes are a quiet delight that arises from a warm flame somewhere near the heart and for a long time warms the soul with its invisible light. To catch this sensation is simple - it is enough to walk along geranium-lovingly narrow streets, walk along the embankment, feed the white gulls, tamed by fishermen-regulars ... Here you can still catch the mystical spirit of the Middle Ages, when Antib belonged to an independent duchy. The city itself was founded by Greek travelers around the 6th century BC. They were the first to discover the picturesque bay, set up a small town there and called it Antipolis, which means in translation means the one opposite to it. The name was chosen not by chance, Antibes is across the bay, directly opposite Nice, then Nicaea, as it was christened by the Greeks. He was known as the most important point for the Roman sailors who were heading to Gaul and was known for his unusually strong fortifications.
Although today there is little left of the former powerful worlds, the feeling that the town is located, just at the intersection of temporary threads, when the past and future are woven together, does not leave for a second. Sitting on the terrace of a small cafe and enjoying the tart taste of wine, you can imagine at a nearby table the restless genius of Pablo Picasso, for whom Antibes became a real passion and gave such a desired inspiration. It was within the walls of the local castle Grimaldi, the artist, escaping from the chaos of the postwar encirclement, worked for six months, presenting to the world such masterpieces as the antifascist painting "Night fishing in Antibes", the pastoral composition "Joy of Life", the "War" and " World ", as well as the work" Massacre in Korea ". Premises of the palace were decorated with figures of ancient Greek heroes, linocuts and lithographs of the coryphaeus. Today in the castle of Grimaldi is the Picasso Museum. All the masterpieces belonging to his brush, and remained within the walls of the palace.
Antibes, as if created in order to be a source of inspiration for creative individuals who dedicated a lot of their creations to him. "In one nice corner of the French Riviera, halfway from Marseille to the Italian border, there is a big pink hotel ..." This is how the Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc describes Antibes in his work "The Night is Gentle", the most famous representative of the era of the "lost generation" Francis Scott Fitzgerald. And although the hotel has long been no longer pink, it still surprises its guests with its luxury and elegance of lines, accepting the most famous guests. Once in his magnificent gardens, noisy picnics were arranged by the artist Murphy and his wife Sarah. Lovers loved to come here at a time when the hotel was empty, and felt like its full owners. In those days, as if the whole Riviera was at their feet. The couple Murphy attracted to Antibes themselves bright representatives of the creative elite of the "jazz era." Among them were the best friends of the family - Scott Fitzgerald with his wife Zelda, Ernest Hemingway, already mentioned Pablo Picasso, John O'Hara, Dorothy Parker and Cole Porter.
It is difficult to imagine Antibes without Fort Carre. Built fortress on the orders of King Henry II in the second half of the VI century, this amazing fortress was once used as a guard post and a defensive site of the city. It was here that in due time the episodes of the world-famous epic epic about James Bond "Never Say Never" were shot. Now the fort is surrounded by four hectares of a magnificent park with typical Mediterranean flora and fauna.
To the south of the old fort is the port of Vauban. It is one of the largest marinas of France with berths for ships from 4.5 m to 170 m. Vauban is proudly named the most popular marina in the Mediterranean. At his walls he accepts both simple boats and superyachts, for which he was nicknamed the port of contrasts. There are not so many marines in the world that cause admiration, but Vauban and his "Billionaire Quay", just from such.
A small village in the mountains Biot, modestly situated on a hilltop just four kilometers from the Mediterranean coast, is famous for its crystal clear air, an old volcano, glass production, and also one of the most impressive museums in France, dedicated to the talented artist and sculptor Fernand Leger and his rich heritage.
Glass is the main attraction of the city. There is a unique opportunity to see the very process of making glass items La Verrerie de Biot. Here glass works of art are born right before your very eyes. Also at the workshop is opened a shop of glassware, which still impresses with the assortment of assortment - elegant intricate forms, unthinkable colors and immense imagination of masters. The very technology of creating a variety of mugs, glasses, jugs, bottles is quite simple, because the glass is the same molten sand. But when you go deeper into the process, you understand that it is extremely difficult - everything is done at the highest temperatures and as scrupulously as possible.
Some vessels have been manufactured here for many years and even have a special name. For example, the vessel "Lady Jeanne" was named after Queen Jeanne, which, according to legend, the local glassblower hid from his pursuers in his workshop and, in fact, saved her life. Fascinated by her beauty, he created a glass masterpiece, symbolizing the tenderness and subtlety of female nature.
Well, what kind of Biot without his brilliant representative Fernand Leger? A well-known artist and sculptor possessed a unique style, distinguished by bright colors and robot-like figures, embodying the harmony of man and machine.
The building in which the Leger's Museum is located is already in itself a work of art. It was built on land that Fernand Leger bought shortly before his death in 1955. A massive mosaic on the facade of the museum is the creation of the artist himself. Originally it was intended for the stadium in Hanover, but it was never completed, so soon the mosaic moved here.
There are many miracles here. This is the main, as if a toy, the area of Arcadia, and the amazing Romanesque church of the XVI century Sainte Marie-Madeleine, and hundreds of mysterious narrow streets.
Among the fragrant eucalyptus groves is another resort of the French Riviera - Cape Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferr. As far back as 1902, King Leopold II of Belgium built a majestic villa in these fertile lands for his "lady of the heart", courtesan Karolin Lacroix. It was he who introduced the fashion to rest in Cap Ferrat. The local mild climate attracted more and more wealthy families, who soon glorified this place. Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has turned into a fashionable seaside resort, adored by celebrities of the first magnitude. Among the visitors were the unbeaten Edith Piaf, the talented Charlie Chaplin, the brilliant Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and David Niven and Romy Schneider chose the resort for their wedding in 1966.
Cap Ferrat served as a beautiful refuge for politicians like General de Gaulle, Valerie Giscard d'Estaing, Raymond Barre, Winston Churchill, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Somerset Maugham once said of Cap Ferrat as a "sunny place for shady people." And believe me, he knew about this not by hearsay: in 1926, the writer and playwright appeared in court in one of the most stylish structures of the resort, Villa Mauresque in Cap Ferrat, on charges of homosexuality. Originally, Villa Mauresque was built specifically for the personal priest Leopold II. The monarch occupied most of the western side of the cape and over time built it up with grandiose houses in which all his mistresses lived. According to numerous rumors, the buildings were connected with each other and with the king's residence by underground tunnels.
Today, real estate in Cap Ferrat is considered the most expensive in the world after Monaco. The house of La Fleur du Cap, a pink villa, was built in 1880 by the son of a arms dealer. At one time it was inhabited by the Duchess of Marlborough, King Leopold III, and now Charlie Chaplin himself. Although Villa Nellkot is located in nearby Villefranche, not in Cap Ferrat itself, not to talk about this noble house would be a crime. This is the most popular local landmark. During the Second World War, the headquarters of the Gestapo was located here, and in 1972 this 16-room mansion served as a refuge for the Rolling Stones when they were hiding from creditors. Villa became the birthplace of their brilliant album "Exile on Main Street" in 1972, which changed the history of world music.
To enjoy Cap Ferrat is not necessarily to be rich, because this area is more than a collection of fashionable mansions and glistening villas. These are quaint streets and "chamber" beaches, warm sun and white curtains of coastal restaurants, amazing aroma of flowers, yachts on azure waves and cries of seagulls.
Coming here, it is impossible not to create - here the air itself is imbued with art. The heart rests, and thoughts tend to the sea to draw inspiration from the azure shore of the Bohemian French Riviera - the cradle of excitement, fantasy and charm, which, like the sea, knows no boundaries.