It was my father's last full day in Nice and, up until that point, we had been hamstrung somewhat by the weather. It had rained for a the few days preceding it, which meant we had not really been able to enjoy some of the outdoor scenery on the Cote d'Azur. Instead, we had been limited to galleries and museums in which we could shelter from the incessant rain. However, on the morning before he left, there seemed to be a chink in the clouds. So, we decided to venture out.
Truth be told, we were not hugely optimistic about our chances. We both felt that the clouds would reassert themselves in the afternoon and we would find ourselves drenched. So, we went for the safe option in the morning by visiting the antiques market in Nice's Old Town and by going to the viewing point at Le Chateau. Even as we climbed to the point, we could tell two things about the day. First, the weather was definitely clearing up as the clouds were breaking and the sun pushing through. Second, the effect that the changeable weather was having on Nice was quite impressive. At the chateau, the sun burning down onto the wet ground caused lots of little rainbows to spring up and for a thin haze of steam to come up from the ground. We thought this was impressive, but it was nothing compared to what we would encounter later.
Having enjoyed the antiques and the Chateau, we decided to head to Villefranche and then St Jean Cap Ferrat. Villefranche was nice enough. We had a nice lunch and a wander around the citadel before departing for the Cap. As we drove the three or four kilometres to the Cap, the weather began to change. Since we had left it had been remarkably tranquil and even rather sunny. However, as we drove the lighthouse at the end of the Cap the wind began pick up and the scenery started to get spectacular.
We parked the car and walked down to the lighthouse. As we did so, the view was beautiful, but nothing too outrageous. There was quite a bit of wind, so the palm trees were bending to a sharp angle and the waves were crashing against the sharp rocks at the very tip of the Cap. As we stood admiring this, though, things began to change. As we looked west towards Nice, large dark clouds began to form on the horizon over the airport. However, beneath these there was some of the brightest and most delicate sunlight I had ever seen. The contrast of the darkened clouds and wonderful light seemed to be almost biblical in style. Yet as wonderful as it looked, it was just the beginning.
The clouds did not stay close to the airport. Instead, they began to work their way along the Promenade des Anglais towards us. It was literally possible to watch them rolling in the direction of Villefranche and St Jean. They also seemed to be taking a slight detour north so that their edge began to envelope the mountains to the north of Nice in a giant shroud. It all looked magnificent. However, as much as we would have liked to stand and admire the scenery, we could see the inclement weather coming our way, so we made our way back to the car post-haste.
Trips to St Jean Cap Ferrat are normally defined by a pleasant stroll along the path around the Cap and admiring the statuesque villas dotted around. Rarely do we view the area as a natural wonder. For this reason, I feel immensely grateful that I was able to see the natural wonders so briefly on show.