St Jean Cap Ferrat is a wonderful part of the world. It blends a magnificent coastline with some beautiful architecture. On a pleasant afternoon, there are few places that are better to visit. The majority of tourists head to the very edge of the peninsula where a footpath that is just a few metres above the sea leads all the way around the outcrop. This is by far the best way see the area as it offers a fantastci blend of natural scenery and wonderful architecture. It is, though, also possible to explore the peninsula from the inside. However, after doing just that, I would not really recommend it.
The bus (number 81) from Nice to St Jean drops you at the tourist office, which is at the top of the peninsula, close to the village of Beausoleil. We got off there and decided to head along up the hill and into the heart of the peninsula. We were entertaining notions of experiencing wonderful architecture and rubbing shoulders with a few celebrities. We knew that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had a residence somewhere on the peninsula and that there was a beautiful modern villa designed by Lord Norman Foster. I also wanted to get a good look at Villa Nelle Cote, where the Rolling Stones recorded Exile on Main Street.
Sadly, none of this actually transpired. The interior proved to be massively disappointing as there was nothing to see. Everything was obscured from view by large fences and walls - it seemed the residents of St Jean valued their privacy to an alarming extent. We found ourselves constantly trying to peer over large hedges or to peek through the slats in wooden fences to see what lay beyond. This generated a couple of strange feelings. The first one, which was not entirely unpleasant, was of being a child again trying to peer into the neighbours garden. The second feeling, which I really did not care for, was of being a pauper unable to even glimpse the exquisite houses of the rich.
The one building we could view easily was the Hotel de Cap Ferrat, which sat behind a low fence and was on a slight incline. This meant it was easily visible. It was a beautiful building that was bursting with turn of the previous century style. It seemed a truly magnificent place to stay. Sadly, its beauty served only to emphasize how much was hidden from view and how frustrating the interior of Cap Ferrat is.
After taking a few snaps of the hotel, we took a small wooden path down to the sea where we would follow the path around the edge of the peninsula. This is by far the best way to see St Jean Cap Ferrat. Anyone planning a trip should eschew the interior.