As you may have noticed from some of the other entries in my journals, I am forever on the look-out for nice beaches in the Cote d'Azur. This stems from the inadequacies of the beach in Nice (the city in which I live). The sea may be a famously wonderful shade of blue and the city itself may be a truly fantastic holiday destination, but the beach is rocky and can be unbelievably crowded. There are times when there is scarcely room to breathe. Therefore, there are times when my girlfriend and I decide it is time to spread our wings and search for more distant and, more importantly, sandier locales.
An easy and convenient place to go is Villefranche. This ticks the two key boxes of being close and being sandy. However, sadly, we are not the only people who are aware of this, which means that it can be as crowded as Nice on some days. There are also Antibes and Juan Les Pins. These are sandy and much bigger than Villefranche, which means there tends to be more room. However, they represent a 45 minute drive along the coast, which takes away the element of convenience. Thankfully, there are a couple of alternatives that are both Sandy and convenient. One of these is Beualieu Sur Mer.
Beualieu is situated an extra five minutes along the coast from Villefranche (about 20 minutes from Nice) at the base of the St Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula. St Jean is renowned as being one of the most expensive areas in the world (until relatively recently it boasted the highest average house prices in the world). The beach there is overlooked by Chateau and Jardin Rothschild, which make it a truly spectacular place to catch some rays. Beaulieu cannot quite compete with this. In truth, there are few places that can - why would property prices be so high? However, Bealiueu makes a good fist of competing with St Jean's glamour.
Just as with St Jean, Bealieu can boast some impressive real estate just meters from the sea. In Beaulieu's case, this is a set of beautiful villas that are set about 50m back from the beach and gaze out across the bay in regal splendour. The road that separates these from the beach is lined by some of the most imposing palm trees one could ever imagine - they are well over 40m in height. There is also the Rotunda building, which sits at the end of the beach just across the promenade road. As the name might suggest, this building is round. But, more than that, it is beautifully designed in turn of the century elegance, which makes it a wonderful sight as you stroll out of the sea and up the beach.
But, what of the beach itself? Is it a good place to pass an afternoon in the sun? After spending a rather lazy Sunday there, I would say it is. Whilst not exactly sand, it is made up of very fine gravel that feels almost the same. In fact, I would argue that even though it is not so soft on the feet, it has its advantages over regular sand, such as the gravel not sticking to wet skin as much and not getting absolutely everywhere. The sea is also pleasant to swim in. Bealieau is situated in a bay, so there are not too many waves to disturb your stroke. There are one or two small drawbacks though. The first is that the water is no so deep and the bottom is covered in large stones, which makes it easy to scrape a knee. The second is that there are some small jellyfish in the shallows, one of which mildly stung me.