Extreme Wealth Warning
What the security man doesn't want you to see - from the coffee-table book " The Villas of the Riviera - Magnificence and Majesty on the Cote d'Azur" by Shirley Johnston (text) and Roberto Schezen (photos), Thames and Hudson (currently out of print). The magnificent exterior and pool of Villa Maryland of Cap Ferrat, owned by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.
Can you see yourself lounging at the poolside? Well, no. Home in Summer 2008 to Hollywood golden couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, thanks to the generosity of Paul Allen. Villa Maryland. Angelina apparently has a French mother and wanted her twins born in France.
The warning or danger is that you stand absolutely no likelihood of finding yourself standing in line next to Brad Pitt doing a little extra shopping at the little St Jean SPAR supermarket. Forget it. The Pitt-Jolie family have set up second home in Correns in the Var.
Step up the road and pay to visit the Villa Ephrussi instead, or head for Cap Ferrat's cute little zoo. Or take up learning Russian, the new owners of many of the villas on the Cap
Sadly the most beautiful and prestigious villas are aggressively guarded to ensure no-one enjoys them. The owners are hardly if ever there and it is made clear that you are not welcome! This is as much as you are likely to see of the beautiful Villa Maryland, owned by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. The location for many select private parties during the Cannes Film Fesival.
Caution - naked men
At the furthest seaward end of the Cap, in among the moon-like landscape, we passed four or five men on their own, "sunbathing" (for lack of a better word) in the nude.
Some mostly middle-aged men were posing on the rocks at the sea edge, some on the grassy slopes, some just standing, seemingly oblivious to the fact they were stark naked while you were well-wrapped up. No doubt a harmless activity, I hope, but a surprise none the less.(Walkers of a tender disposition might prefer to avert their eyes from this flaunting of the male anatomy.)
The Cap has a long association with the gay scene, dating back to prominent literary gay figures like Somerset Maugham. Unsurprisingly the centre of this activity seems to be the Phare (lighthouse) a prominent landmark, if you get my drift.
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