Guest Post from Megan Mulry + Giveaway: A Perfect Day on the French Riviera…circa 1984
In honor of the release of her new novel, Roulette, Megan Mulry is here to share her perfect day in the South of France. Do you love this cover? I love it, I have to say! And I also love this Perfect Day. What would your own Perfect Day be? And where would it be?
The summer of 1984 was the first time I visited the South of France. I was 17, staying in youth hostels, and getting by on $25 a day (hard to believe that was actually possible at one time in the not-so-distant past). Yet, no matter how slim my money belt (filled as it was with those very precious few American Express travelers checks), I always had a lust for grandeur. Even though I had my proverbial nose pressed against the glass, I saw a whole different world, and I wanted to know more.
In my newest book, Roulette, the heroine, Miki Durand, has a very glamorous pedigree: her father is a Russian business tycoon and her mother is a French model/actress. As far as Miki is concerned, they represent everything she doesn’t want out of life—she thinks Mikhail Voyanovski and Simone Durand were nothing but reckless fools when they were gallivanting around the Côte d’Azur during that fateful summer of 1984. (There’s more to their story than meets the eye, of course, but I let Miki think ill of them for a while, because I’m mean like that).
Here is a brief imaginary glimpse of how Mikhail and Simone spent their first day together—after meeting over the roulette table at the Casino de Monte Carlo the night before.
Wake up at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cap d’Antibes
Back in the 80s this hotel was cash only. (I wonder why!) I later heard stories about people arriving with large suitcases full of unmarked bills. The views of the Mediterranean are stunning; the rocky shore is lined with craggy cypress pines that make you feel like you are living inside a Cézanne painting. First order of business, get a little morning sun and steal a kiss by the cliffside pool, shown here in this 1976 photograph by Slim Aarons:
Visit the Musée Picasso, Juan-les-Pins
Drive about fifteen minutes up the coast and visit the Musée Picasso, formerly the Château Grimaldi. This is where Picasso lived for several months in 1946. I adore house museums because I think they never lose the spirit of the artist. Kiss on this sunny rooftop:
Lunch at La Colombe d’Or, St.-Paul-de-Vence
About a half hour inland from the coast is the charming medieval town of St.-Paul-de-Vence. For most of the mid-Twentieth-century, La Colombe d’Or was a hangout for movie stars and artists, many of whom were commissioned to create works that still hang in the restaurant and the adjacent inn. I imagine it like it was in the 1950’s, when it was a regular haunt of stars like Yves Montand and Simone Signoret. Grab your partner’s thigh beneath the table while sipping a Côtes du Rhone:
Stroll around the Maeght Foundation, Saint-Paul-de-Vence
After a long lunch, a leisurely stroll through the gardens at the Fondation Maeght is the perfect way to relax. Outdoor sculptures by Miró, Braque, and Giacometti are scattered beneath the Provencal sun. Kiss here in the sculpture garden:
Stop by Rosaire Chapel, Vence
On the way back to Antibes, make a quick stop at this tiny chapel, also known as the Matisse Chapel. Created at the end of his life, Matisse considered it his masterpiece. Kiss beneath the stained glass windows:
After a dramatic drive back to the hotel, have a sunset drink overlooking the coast…and order room service!
Laura, thanks so much for having me over to your blog. I’d love to hear from your readers about what constitutes their perfect day. And to help spread our shared love of France, I will also give away an autographed copy of Roulette to two random commenters.