The Côte d’Azur, France, was one of the most glamorous playgrounds on the Mediterranean Sea. Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘To Catch a Thief‘ features that stylish and chic atmosphere of the French Riviera at it’s peak, thanks to icons like Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. One of my favourite movies.
Nowadays, the Côte has lost it’s magic and quite often it’s an overdeveloped victim of its own hype. Me and Luca did spend several holidays in France and the Coast. There are places where you still can breathe and feel that atmosphere of relaxed elegance. One of this is Ile de Bendor, a small island off the coast of Bandol, South of France. The ‘Ile’ can be reached only by boat and it is owned by Paul Ricard, the inventor of one of the most popular aperitif in France, Pastis. Ricard did buy it in the 5os, when it was just a desertic rock. He did develop it and under Ricard’s patronage the island became an attraction for the jet set of the 60s.
We spent there a week few years ago, at Hotel Delos, the only hotel on the island at the time. Decorated by a British designer, it was the perfect drop in the island scenery; small and cozy, airy rooms, beautiful panorama, excellent food and drinks, including the traditional ‘pastis’.
The rythm of the day was slow and relaxed. We did walk the island up and down, the coast is just 1,5 km long, bathing from the rocks, with just few others fearless persons. At lunch, we took fresh grilled fish with herbs from Provence at a terraced restaurant up near the hotel. Fish was always accompanied by chilly rose wine from Provence. Before dinner, we did enjoy a ‘pastis’ on the terrace of the hotel and after dinner we took a walk around the port. Especially in the evening, when the visitors from mainland did leave the island, we felt privileged and pampered.
There are places where you still can breathe and feel that atmosphere of relaxed elegance. One of this is Ile de Bendor, a small island off the coast of Bandol, South of France.