Provence Stories and Tips

A Shady Afternoon in Golfe Juan

I feel the need to begin this journal with a degree of self-analysis. I have to admit that I was in a rather frenzied state for my trip to Golfe Juan. My girlfriend’s family had come to stay with us in Nice and her hyperactive eight-year old nephew was fraying my nerve-endings a little. The drive from Nice to Golfe Juan was rather fraught as he bounced around the back-seat and made focusing on the road a tad difficult. Things got no better when we got to Golfe Juan. As it was a busy Sunday in the height of summer, it was difficult to find a place to park and everyone in the car – my girlfriend, her sister, her brother-in-law and her nephew – made it clear that they were impatient to hit the sand.

When we finally managed to find a place to leave the car I was in need of some relaxation. This was not caused just by the drive – although it had cranked up my stress levels – but it was a result of the cumulative impact of a week of dealing with work and a screaming kid when I got home. I had in mind beautiful golden sands and a relaxing dip in the water. Sadly, this was not to be. The beach was so crowded that you could barely pick out the sand beneath the towels and parasols. So, I decided that it would be better if I took a stroll around the port. It proved to be a fantastic decision.

After leaving my girlfriend and her family, I walked along the beach and into town; Straight away this proved to be something of a blessed relief as the the area bordering the beach was open to the sunshine and was frighteningly hot. I could literally feel my head – I am completely bald - burning as I walked. Once I neared the port, thought, things changed. There was considerably more shade and the temperature seemed to be a good ten degrees lower. Taking advantage of what felt like an oasis, I sat in the shade of a tree and rested for a few moments.

From my position, it was possible to look out across a good section of the port. The majority of what I could see was actually refreshingly different from the rest of the Cote d’Azur. There were no super-yachts such as those that you might find in Nice, Cannes and Antibes. And, there were no giant cruise-liners. Instead, the western part of the port was made-up almost exclusively of small fishing vessels. This gave it a wonderfully authentic feel. I was rather disappointed that it was a Sunday and most of the fishermen seemed to be sitting on the beach. I would have very much enjoyed watching them work.

After my little period of relaxation, I decided to brave the sun again and wandered out into the port area. The Eastern areas of it were less interesting than what I had seen before. They seemed to be a rather watered down version of Antibes with plenty of plastic yachts and shiny Perspex sun-decks. The only bright-spot was a beautiful wooden yacht that would have not looked out of place in the 1920s and certainly captured my attention for a few minutes before I decided to head back to the protection of the shade.

Golfe Juan has a fine beach and is a lovely place to spend the day, but I would certainly recommend taking an hour or so to enjoy the shade around the port and take a nice stroll.

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