This story actually begins in my office. My company was looking for a new manager to take charge of one of our offices on the Cote d’Azur. I conducted telephone interviews with a candidate in Ireland to whom we decided to offer the job. To my complete surprise, he turned it down. I was astonished. I received the call on a Friday afternoon and could not really process the information. I constantly asked myself, "How can someone turn down the chance to come and work here?"
This question was put into even starker contrast when I took a short trip with my girlfriend to the small town of Villefranche sur Mer, which is located a few kilometres outside Nice. We were sat at a small cafe on the quayside enjoying a frothy cappuccino and staring out to sea. It was a spectacular view that caused me to continue to question how anyone would turn down the chance to spend their Sundays in the manner we were.
The view was wonderful. If we looked straight out to sea, we saw the beautiful coastline and delicately crafted villas on the peninsula of St Jean cap Ferrat. As it was a pleasant spring afternoon, the trees on the Cap were a wonderfully lush green and were only broken by the sight of some of the world’s most expensive real estate poking through the foliage. There was also a very nice and rather petite sandy beach running along the base of the Cap.
Turning around and looking behind us, things were also pretty impressive. A well-known feature of the Cote d’Azur is the close proximity of mountains and sea. Nowhere is the better illustrated than in Villefranche. The mountains tower above the town and fall sharply towards the sea. As they reach Villefranche’s tiny beach, they are separated from the town and the sea by the train track. The mountains are so steep and fall so close to the sea that there is no room for the train, which, therefore, tunnels through the base of the mountain in spectacular style.
The cafes along the quayside in Villefranche are a very nice place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, or any afternoon in fact. The views are fantastic and the blue of the blue of the sea is almost hypnotic. Anyone offered the opportunity to live and work in such an area should definitely take it.