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Title: Rambles on the Riviera

Author: M. F. Mansfield

Illustrator: Blanche McManus

Release date: June 13, 2013 [eBook #42941]
Most recently updated: January 25, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)



inside cover inside cover

Every attempt has been made to replicate the original book as printed.

Some typographical errors have been corrected. A list follows the etext. No attempt has been made to correct or normalize the French orthography of the printed book.

The images have been moved from the middle of paragraphs to the closest paragraph break for ease of reading.

(etext transcriber’s note)








The following, each 1 vol., library 12mo, cloth, gilt top, profusely illustrated. $2.50

Rambles on the Riviera

Rambles in Normandy

Rambles in Brittany

The Cathedrals and Churches of the Rhine

The Cathedrals of Northern France

The Cathedrals of Southern France

The Cathedrals of Italy (In preparation)


The following, 1 vol., square octavo, cloth, gilt top, profusely illustrated. $3.00

Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine and the Loire Country


L.   C.   P A G E   &   C O M P A N Y
New England Building, Boston, Mass.


R a m b l e s

o n  t h e


Being some account of journeys made en automobile
and   things   seen   in   the   fair   land   of   Provence

Y  F R A N C I S  M I L T O U N
Author of “Rambles in Normandy,” “Rambles in Brittany,”
“Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine,” etc.

With Many Illustrations

Reproduced from paintings made on the spot

Y  B L A N C H E  M C M A N U S


L.   C.   P A G E   &   C O M P A N Y


Copyright, 1906
All rights reserved

First Impression, July, 1906

Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
Boston, U. S. A.



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THIS book makes no pretence at being a work of historical or archæological importance; nor yet is it a conventional book of travel or a glorified guide-book. It is merely a record of things seen and heard, with some personal observations on the picturesque, romantic, and topographical aspects of one of the most varied and beautiful touring-grounds in all the world, and is the result of many pleasant wanderings of the author and artist, chiefly by highway and byway, in and out of the beaten track, in preference to travel by rail.

The French Riviera proper is that region bordering upon the Mediterranean west of the Italian frontier and east of Toulon. Nowadays, however, many a traveller adds to the delights of a Mediterranean winter by breaking his journey at one or all of those cities of celebrated art, Nîmes, Arles, and Avignon; or, if he does not, he most assuredly should do so, and know something of the glories of the past civilization of the region which has a far more æsthetic reason for being than the florid Casino of Monte Carlo or the latest palatial hotel along the coast.

For this reason, and because the main gateway from the north leads directly past their doors, that wonderful group of Provençal cities and towns, beginning with Arles and ending with Aix-en-Provence, have been included in this book, although they are in no sense “resorts,” and are not even popular “tourist points,” except with the French themselves.

Particularly are the byways of Old Provence unknown to the average English and American traveller; the wonderful Pays d’Arles, with St. Rémy and Les Baux; the Crau; that fascinating region around the Étang de Berre; the coast between Marseilles and Toulon (and even Marseilles itself); the Estaque; Les Maures; and the Estérel; and yet none of them are far from the beaten track of Riviera travel.

Of the region of forests and mountains that forms the background of the Riviera resorts themselves almost the same thing can be said. The railway and the automobile have made it all very accessible, but ninety per cent., doubtless, of the travellers who annually hie themselves in increasing numbers to Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo, and Menton know nothing of that wonderful mountain country lying but a few miles back from the sea.

The town-tired traveller, for pleasure or edification, could not do better than devote a part of the time that he usually gives to the resorts of convention to the exploring of any one of a half-dozen of these delightful petits pays: Avignon and Vaucluse, with memories of Petrarch and his Laura; the pebbly Crau, south of Arles; and the fringe of delightful little towns surrounding the Étang de Berre.

Any or all of these will furnish the genuine traveller with emotions and sensations far more pleasurable than those to be had at the most blasé resort that ever opened a golf-links or set up a roulette-wheel, which, to many, are the chief attractions (and memories) of that strip of Mediterranean coast-line known as the Riviera.

The scheme of this book had long been thought out, and much material collected at odd visits, but at last it could be delayed no longer, and the whole was threaded together by hundreds of miles of travel, en automobile, through the highways and byways of the region.

The pictures were made “on the spot,” and, as living, tangible records of things seen, have, perhaps, a quality of appealing interest that is not possessed by the average illustration.

The result is here presented for the value it may have for the traveller or the stay-at-home, it being always understood that no great thing was attempted and little or nothing presented that another might not see or learn for himself.

The reason for being, then, of this book is that it does give a little different view-point of the attractions of Maritime Provence and the Mediterranean Riviera from that to be hitherto gleaned in any single volume on the subject, and as such it is to be hoped that it serves its purpose sufficiently well to merit consideration.

F. M.

Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, January, 1906.


Apologia  v
I. A Plea for Provence 3
II. The Pays d’Arles24
III. St. Rémy de Provence42
IV. The Crau and the Camargue56
V. Martigues: the Provençal Venice70
VI. The Étang de Berre87
VII. A Seascape: From the Rhône To Marseilles107
VIII. Marseilles—Cosmopolis122
IX. A Ramble with Dumas and Monte Cristo144
X. Aix-en-Provence and About There156
I. Marseilles to Toulon177
II. Over Cap Sicié202
III. The Real Riviera226
IV. Hyères and Its Neighbourhood239
V. St. Tropez and Its “Golfe”254
VI. Fréjus and the Corniche d’Or271
VII. La Napoule and Cannes292
VIII. Antibes and the Golfe Jouan305
IX. Grasse and Its Environs319
X. Nice and Cimiez330
XI. Villefranche and the Fortifications348
XII. Eze and la Turbie359
XIII. Old Monaco and New Monte Carlo370
XIV. Menton and the Frontier398
 Index: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, V    431

On the RivieraFrontispiece
“It was September, and it was Provence”facing 8
A Young Arlesiennefacing 36
Abbey of Montmajour and Vineyard39
Baker’s Tally-sticks48
St. Rémy facing 48
A Panetière52
The Bulls of the Camargue59
Les Saintes Mariesfacing 60
Église de la Madeleine, Martiguesfacing 70
House of M. Ziem, Martiguesfacing 74
Istresfacing 92
The Kilometre West of Salon102
Bouches-du-rhône to Marseilles (Map)108
Chateauneuffacing 112
Roadside Chapel, St. Pierre114
Flower Market, Cours St. Louis129
A Cabanonfacing 134
Marseilles in 1640 (Map)141
Notre Dame de la Garde and the Harbour Of
facing 148
Environs of Marseilles (Map)150
Château d’Iffacing 150
Les Pennesfacing 160
Convent Garden, St. Zachariefacing 170
Marseilles To Toulon (Map)176
Cassisfacing 180
La Ciotat and the Bec de l’Aigle185
St. Nazaire-du-Varfacing 198
Fishing-boats at Tamarisfacing 208
In Toulon’s Old Portfacing 212
Toulon To Fréjus (Map)220
In Les Mauresfacing 222
Comparative Theometric Scale230
The Terrace, Monte Carlofacing 234
The Peninsula of Giensfacing 242
Ruined Chapel near St. Tropezfacing 258
Fréjus to Nice (Map)277
St. Raphaëlfacing 278
Maison Close, St. Raphaël280
On the Corniche d’Orfacing 284
Offshore from Agayfacing 286
On the Golfe de la Napoulefacing 292
Cannes and Its Environs (Map)301
Antibes and Its Environs (Map)313
St. Honorat317
Flower Market, Grassefacing 322
Nice to Vintimille (Map)331
A Niçois334
Nicefacing 338
Olive Pickers in the Varfacing 344
Environs of Nice (Map)345
Cap Ferratfacing 348
Villa of Leopold, King of Belgium356
Augustan Trophy, La Turbie364
A Roquebrune Doorwayfacing 368
Monte Carlo and Monaco (Map)371
The Game383
Overlooking Monaco and Monte Carlofacing 390
The Ravine of Saint Dévote, Monte Carlo,facing 396
Pont Saint Louis406
The Provinces of France (Map)409
The Ancient Provinces of France (Map)411
Ensemble Carte de Touring Club de France (Map)420
The “Taride” Maps421
Three Riviera Itineraries (Maps)423
Comparative Metric Scale (Diagram)427
The Log of an Automobile429




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À Valence, le Midi commence!” is a saying of the French, though this Rhône-side city, the Julia-Valentia of Roman times, is in full view of the snow-clad Alps. It is true, however, that as one descends the valley of the torrential Rhône, from Lyons southward, he comes suddenly upon a brilliancy of sunshine and warmth of atmosphere, to say nothing of many differences in manners and customs, which are reminiscent only of the southland itself. Indeed this is even more true of Orange, but a couple of scores of miles below, whose awning-hung streets, and open-air workshops are as brilliant and Italian in motive as Tuscany itself. Here at Orange one has before him the most wonderful old Roman arch outside of Italy, and an amphitheatre so great and stupendous in every way, and so perfectly preserved, that he may well wonder if he has not crossed some indefinite frontier and plunged into the midst of some strange land he knew not of.

The history of Provence covers so great a period of time that no one as yet has attempted to put it all into one volume, hence the lover of wide reading, with Provence for a subject, will be able to give his hobby full play.

The old Roman Provincia, and later the mediæval Provence, were prominent in affairs of both Church and State, and many of the momentous incidents which resulted in the founding and aggrandizing of the French nation had their inception and earliest growth here. There may be some doubts as to the exact location of the Fossés Mariennes of the Romans, but there is not the slightest doubt that it was from Avignon that there went out broadcast, through France and the Christian world of the fourteenth century, an influence which first put France at the head of the civilizing influences of Christendom.

The Avignon popes planned a vast cosmopolitan monarchy, of which France should be the head, and Avignon the new Rome.

The Roman emperors exercised their influence throughout all this region long before, and they left enduring monuments wherever they had a foothold. At Orange, St. Rémy, Avignon, Arles, and Nîmes there were monumental arches, theatres, and arenas, quite the equal of those of Rome itself, not in splendour alone, but in respect as well to the important functions which they performed.

The later middle ages somewhat dimmed the ancient glories of the Romanesque school of monumental architecture—though it was by no means pure, as the wonderfully preserved and dainty Greek structures at Nîmes and Vienne plainly show—and the roofs of theatres and arenas fell in and walls crumbled through the stress of time and weather.

In spite of all the decay that has set in, and which still goes on, a short journey across Provence wonderfully recalls other days. The traveller who visits Orange, and goes down the valley of the Rhône, by Avignon, St. Rémy, Arles, Nîmes, Aix, and Marseilles, will be an ill-informed person indeed if he cannot construct history for himself anew when once he is in the midst of this multiplicity of ancient shrines.

Day by day things are changing, and even old Provence is fast coming under the influences of electric railroads and twentieth-century ideas of progress which bid fair to change even the face of nature: Marseilles is to have a direct communication with the Rhône and the markets of the north by means of a canal cut through the mountains of the Estaque, and a great port is to be made of the Étang de Berre (perhaps), and trees are to be planted on the bare hills which encircle the Crau, with the idea of reclaiming the pebbly, sandy plain.

No doubt the deforestation of the hillsides has had something to do, in ages past, with the bareness of the lower river-bottom of the Rhône which now separates Arles from the sea. Almost its whole course below Arles is through a treeless, barren plain; but, certainly, there is no reflection of its unproductiveness in the lives of the inhabitants. There is no evidence in Arles or Nîmes, even to-day—when we know their splendour has considerably faded—of a poverty or dulness due to the bareness of the neighbouring country.

Irrigation will accomplish much in making a wilderness blossom like the rose, and when the time and necessity for it really comes there is no doubt but that the paternal French government will take matters into its own hands and turn the Crau and the Camargue into something more than a grazing-ground for live-stock. Even now one need not feel that there is any “appalling cloud of decadence” hanging over old Provence as some travellers have claimed.

The very best proof one could wish, that Provence is not a poor impoverished land, is that the best of everything is grown right in her own boundaries,—the olive, the vine, the apricot, the peach, and vegetables of the finest quality. The mutton and beef of the Crau, the Camargue, and the hillsides of the coast ranges are most excellent, and the fish supply of the Mediterranean is varied and abundant; loup, turbot, thon, mackerel, sardines, and even sole,—which is supposed to be the exclusive specialty of England and Normandy,—with langouste and coquillages at all times. No cook will quarrel with the supply of his market, if he lives anywhere south of Lyons; and Provence, of all the ancient gouvernements of France, is the land above all others where all are good cooks,—a statement which is not original with the author of this book, but which has come down since the days of the old régime, when Provence was recognized as “la patrie des grands maîtres de cuisine.”

“It was September, and it was Provence,” are the opening words of Daudet’s “Port Tarascon.” What more significant words could be uttered to awaken the memories of that fair land in the minds of any who had previously threaded its highways and byways? From the days of Petrarch writers of many schools have sung its praises, and the literature of the subject is vast and varied, from that of the old geographers to the last lays of Mistral, the present deity of Provençal letters.

“It was September, and it was Provence”

“It was September, and it was Provence”

The Loire divides France on a line running from the southeast to the middle of the west coast, parting the territory into two great divisions, which in the middle ages had a separate form of legislation, of speech, and of literature. The language south of the Loire was known as the langue d’oc (an expression which gave its name to a province), so called from the fact, say some etymologists and philologists, that the expression of affirmation in the romance language of the south was “oc” or “hoc.” Dialects were common enough throughout this region, as elsewhere in France; but there was a certain grammatical resemblance between them all which distinguished them from the speech of the Bretons and Normans in the north. This southern language was principally distinguished from northern French by the existence of many Latin roots, which in the north had been eliminated. Foreign influences, curiously enough, had not crept in in the south, and, like the Spanish and the Italian speech, that of Languedoc (and Provence) was of a dulcet mildness which in its survival to-day, in the chief Provençal districts, is to be remarked by all.

Northward of the Loire the langue d’œil was spoken, and this language in its ultimate survival, with the interpolation of much that was Germanic, came to be the French that is known to-day.

The Provençal tongue, even the more or less corrupt patois of to-day which Mistral and the other Félibres are trying to purify, is not so bad after all, nor so bizarre as one might think. It does not resemble French much more than it does Italian, but it is astonishingly reminiscent of many tongues, as the following quatrain familiar to us all will show:

“Trento jour en Setèmbre,
Abrieu Jun, e Nouvèmbre,
De vint-e-une n’i’a qu’un
Lis autre n’an trento un.”

An Esperantist should find this easy.

The literary world in general has always been interested in the Félibres of the land of “la verte olive, la mure vermeille, la grappe de vie, croissant ensemble sous un ciel d’azur,” and they recognize the “littérature provençale” as something far more worthy of being kept alive than that of the Emerald Isle, which is mostly a fad of a few pedants so dead to all progress that they even live their lives in the past.

This is by no means the case with the Provençal school. The life of the Félibres and their followers is one of a supreme gaiety; the life of a veritable pays de la cigale, the symbol of a sentiment always identified with Provence.

Of the original founders of the Félibres three names stand out as the most prominent: Mistral, who had taken his honours at the bar, Roumanille, a bookseller of Avignon, and Theodore Aubanal. For the love of their pays and its ancient tongue, which was fast falling into a mere patois, they vowed to devote themselves to the perpetuation of it and the reviving of its literature.

In 1859 “Mirèio,” Mistral’s masterpiece, appeared, and was everywhere recognized as the chief literary novelty of the age. Mistral went to Paris and received the plaudits of the literary and artistic world of the capital. He and his works have since come to be recognized as “le miroir de la Provence.”

The origin of the word “félibre” is most obscure. Mistral first met with it in an ancient Provençal prayer, the “Oration of St. Anselm,” “emè li sét félibre de la léi.”

Philologists have discussed the origin and evolution of the word, and here the mystic seven of the Félibres again comes to the fore, as there are seven explanations, all of them acceptable and plausible, although the majority of authorities are in favour of the Greek word philabros—“he who loves the beautiful.”

Of course the movement is caused by the local pride of the Provençaux, and it can hardly be expected to arouse the enthusiasm of the Bretons, the Normans, or the native sons of the Aube. In fact, there are certain detractors of the work of the Félibres who profess regrets that the French tongue should be thus polluted. The aspersion, however, has no effect on the true Provençal, for to him his native land and its tongue are first and foremost.

Truly more has been said and written of Provence that is of interest than of any other land, from the days of Petrarch to those of Mistral, in whose “Recollections,” recently published (1906), there is more of the fact and romance of history of the old province set forth than in many other writers combined.

Daudet was expressive when he said, in the opening lines of “Tartarin,” “It was September, and it was Provence;” Thiers was definite when he said, “At Valence the south commences;” and Felix Gras, and even Dumas, were eloquent in their praises of this fair land and its people.

Then there was an unknown who sang:

“The vintage sun was shining
On the southern fields of France,”

and who struck the note strong and true; but again and again we turn to Mistral, whose epic, “Mirèio,” indeed forms a mirror of Provence.

Madame de Sévigné was wrong when she said: “I prefer the gamesomeness of the Bretons to the perfumed idleness of the Provençaux;” at least she was wrong in her estimate of the Provençaux, for her interests and her loves were ever in the north, at Château Grignan and elsewhere, in spite of her familiarity with Provence. She has some hard things to say also of the “mistral,” the name given to that dread north wind of the Rhône valley, one of the three plagues of Provence; but again she exaggerates.

The “terrible mistral” is not always so terrible as it has been pictured. It does not always blow, nor, when it does come, does it blow for a long period, not even for the proverbial three, six, or nine days; but it is, nevertheless, pretty general along the whole south coast of France. It is the complete reverse of the sirocco of the African coast, the wind which blows hot from the African desert and makes the coast cities of Oran, Alger, and Constantine, and even Biskra, farther inland, the delightful winter resorts which they are.

In summer the “mistral,” when it blows, makes the coast towns and cities of the mouth of the Rhône, and even farther to the east and west, cool and delightful even in the hottest summer months, and it always has a great purifying and healthful influence.

Ordinarily the “mistral” is faithful to tradition, but for long months in the winter of 1905-06 it only appeared at Marseilles, and then only to disappear again immediately. The Provençal used to pray to be preserved from Æolus, son of Jupiter, but this particular season the god had forsaken all Provence. From the 31st of August to the 4th of September it blew with all its wonted vigour, with a violence which lifted roof-tiles and blew all before it, but until the first of the following March it made only fitful attempts, many of which expired before they were born.

There were occasions when it rose from its torpor and ruffled the waves of the blue Mediterranean into the white horses of the poets, but it immediately retired as if shorn of its former strength.

C’est humiliant,” said the observer at the meteorological bureau at Marseilles, as he shut up shop and went out for his apéritif.

All Provence was marvelling at the strange anomaly, and really seemed to regret the absence of the “mistral,” though they always cursed it loudly when it was present—all but the fisherfolk of the Étang de Berre and the old men who sheltered themselves on the sunny side of a wall and made the best use possible of the “cheminée du Roi René,” as the old pipe-smokers call the glorious sun of the south, which never seems so bright and never gives out so much warmth as when the “mistral” blows its hardest.

A Martigaux or a Marseillais would rather have the “mistral” than the damp humid winds from the east or northeast, which, curiously enough, brought fog with them on this abnormal occasion. The café gossips predicted that Marseilles, their beloved Marseilles with its Cannebière and its Prado, was degenerating into a fog-bound city like London, Paris, and Lyons. At Martigues the old sailors, those who had been toilers on the deep sea in their earlier years, told weird tales of the “pea-soup” fogs of London,—only they called them purées.

One thing, however, all were certain. The “mistral” was sure to drive all this moisture-laden atmosphere away. In the words of the song they chanted, “On n’sait quand y’r’viendra.” “Va-t-il prendre enfin?” “Je ne sais pas,” and so the fishermen of Martigues, and elsewhere on the Mediterranean coast, pulled their boats up on the shore and huddled around the café stoves and talked of the mauvais temps which was always with them. What was the use of combating against the elements? The fish would not rise in what is thought elsewhere to be fishermen’s weather. They required the “mistral” and plenty of it.

The Provence of the middle ages comprised a considerably more extensive territory than that which made one of the thirty-three general gouvernements of the ancient régime. In fact it included all of the south-central portion of Languedoc, with the exception of the Comtat Venaissin (Avignon, Carpentras, etc.), and the Comté de Nice.

In Roman times it became customary to refer to the region simply as “the province,” and so, in later times, it became known as “Provence,” though officially and politically the Narbonnaise, which extended from the Pyrenees to Lyons, somewhat hid its identity, the name Provence applying particularly to that region lying between the Rhône and the Alps.

The Provence of to-day, and of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, is a wider region which includes the mouth of the Rhône, Marseilles, and the Riviera. It was that portion of France which first led the Roman legions northward, and, earlier even, gave a resting-place to the venturesome Greeks and Phoceans who, above all, sought to colonize wherever there was a possibility of building up great seaports. The chief Phocean colony was Marseilles, or Massilia, which was founded under the two successive immigrations of the years 600 and 542 B. C.

In 1150, when the Carlovingian empire was dismembered, there was formed the Comté and Marquisat of Provence, with capitals at Avignon and Aix, the small remaining portion becoming known as the Comté d’Orange.

Under the comtes Provence again flourished, and a brilliant civilization was born in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries which gave almost a new literature and a new art to those glorious gems of the French Crown. The school of Romanesque church-building of Provence, of which the most entrancing examples are still to be seen at Aix, Arles, St. Gilles, and Cavaillon, spread throughout Languedoc and Dauphiné, and gave an impetus to a style of church-building which was the highest form of artistic expression.

It was at this time, too, that Provençal literature took on that expressive form which set the fashion for the court versifiers of the day, the troubadours and the trouvères of which the old French chronicles are so full. The speech of the Provençal troubadours was so polished and light that it lent itself readily to verses and dialogues which, for their motives, mostly touched on love and marriage. Avignon, Aix, and Les Baux were very “courts of love,” presided over—said a chivalrous French writer—by ladies of renown, who elaborated a code of gallantry and the droits de la femme which were certainly in advance of their time.

The reign of René II. of Sicily and Anjou, called “le bon Roi René,” brought all this love of letters to the highest conceivable plane and constituted an era hitherto unapproached,—as marked, indeed, and as brilliant, as the Renaissance itself.

The troubadours and the “courts of love” have gone for ever from Provence, and there is only the carnival celebrations of Nice and Cannes and the other Riviera cities to take their place. These festivities are poor enough apologies for the splendid pageants which formerly held forth at Marseilles and Aix, where the titled dignitary of the celebration was known as the “Prince d’Amour,” or at Aubagne, Toulon, or St. Tropez, where he was known as the “Capitaine de Ville.”

The carnival celebrations of to-day are all right in their way, perhaps, but their spirit is not the same. What have flower-dressed automobiles and hare and tortoise gymkanas got to do with romance anyway?

The pages of history are full of references to the Provence of the middle ages. Louis XI. annexed the province to the Crown in 1481, but Aix remained the capital, and this city was given a parliament of its own by Louis XII. The dignity was not appreciated by the inhabitants, for the parliamentary benches were filled with the nobility, who, as was the custom of the time, sought to oppress their inferiors. As a result there developed a local saying that the three plagues of Provence were its parliament; its raging river, the stony-bedded Durance; and the “mistral,” the cold north wind that blows with severe regularity for three, six, or nine days, throughout the Rhône valley.

Charles V. invaded Provence in 1536, and the League and the Fronde were disturbing influences here as elsewhere.

The Comté d’Orange was annexed by France, by virtue of the treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, and the Comtat Venaissin was acquired from the Italian powers in 1791.

Toulon played a great part in the later history of Provence, when it underwent its famous siege by the troops of the Convention in 1793.

Napoleon set foot in France, for his final campaign, on the shores of the Golfe Jouan, in 1815.

History-making then slumbered for a matter of a quarter of a century. Then, in 1848, Menton and Roquebrune revolted against the Princes of Monaco and came into the French fold. It was as late as 1860, however, that the Comté de Nice was annexed.

This, in brief, is a résumé of some of the chief events since the middle ages which have made history in Provence.

It is but a step across country from the Rhône valley to Marseilles, that great southern gateway of modern France through which flows a ceaseless tide of travel.

Here, in the extreme south, on the shores of the great blue, tideless Mediterranean, all one has previously met with in Provence is further magnified, not only by the brilliant cosmopolitanism of Marseilles itself, but by the very antiquity of its origin. East and west of Marseilles and the Bouches-du-Rhône is a region, French to-day,—as French as any of those old provinces of mediæval times which go to make up the republican solidarity of modern France,—but which in former times was as foreign to France and things French as is modern Spain or Italy.

To the eastward, toward Italy, was the ancient independent Comté de Nice, and, on the west, Catalonia once included the region where are to-day the French cities of Perpignan, Elne and Agde.

Of all the delectable regions of France, none is of more diversified interest to the dweller in northern climes than “La Provence Maritime,” that portion which includes what the world to-day recognizes as the Riviera. Here may be found the whole galaxy of charms which the present-day seeker after health, edification, and pleasure demands from the antiquarian and historical interests of old Provence and the Roman occupation to the frivolous gaieties of Nice and Monte Carlo.

Tourists, more than ever, keep to the beaten track. In one way this is readily enough accounted for. Well-worn roads are much more common than of yore and they are more accessible, and travellers like to keep “in touch,” as they call it, with such unnecessary things as up-to-date pharmacies, newspapers, and lending libraries, which, in the avowed tourist resorts of the French and Italian Rivieras, are as accessible as they are on the Rue de Rivoli. There are occasional by-paths which radiate from even these centres of modernity which lead one off beyond the reach of steam-cars and fils télégraphiques; but they are mostly unworn roads to all except peasants who drive tiny donkeys in carts and carry bundles on their heads.

One might think that no part of modern France was at all solitary and unknown; but one has only to recall Stevenson’s charming “Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes,” to realize that then there were regions which English readers and travellers knew not of, and the same is almost true to-day.

Provence has been the fruitful field for antiquarians and students of languages, manners, customs, and political and church history, of all nationalities, for many long years; but the large numbers of travellers who annually visit the sunny promenades of Nice or Cannes never think for a moment of spending a winter at Martigues, the Provençal Venice, or at Nîmes, or Arles, or Avignon, where, if the “mistral” does blow occasionally, the surroundings are quite as brilliant as on the coast itself, the midday sun just as warm, and the sundown chill no more frigid than it is at either Cannes or Nice.

Truly the whole Mediterranean coast, from Barcelona to Spezzia in Italy, together with the cities and towns immediately adjacent, forms a touring-ground more varied and interesting even than Touraine, often thought the touring-ground par excellence. The Provençal Riviera itinerary has, moreover, the advantage of being more accessible than Italy or Spain, the Holy Land or Egypt, and, until one has known its charms more or less intimately, he has a prospect in store which offers more of novelty and delightfulness than he has perhaps believed possible so near to the well-worn track of southern travel.



THE Pays d’Arles is one of those minor sub-divisions of undefined, or at least ill-defined, limits that are scattered all over France. Local feeling runs high in all of them, and the Arlesien professes a great contempt for the Martigaux or the inhabitant of the Pays de Cavaillon, even though their territories border on one another; though indeed all three join hands when it comes to standing up for their beloved Provence.

There are sixty towns and villages in the Pays d’Arles, extending from Tarascon and Beaucaire to Les Saintes Maries, St. Mitre, and Fos-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean, and eastward to Lambesc, the pays enveloping La Crau and the Étang de Berre within its imaginary borders. Avignon and Vaucluse are its neighbours on the north and northeast, and, taken all in all, it is as historic and romantic a region as may be found in all Europe.

The literary guide-posts throughout Provence are numerous and prominent, though they cannot all be enumerated here. One may wander with Petrarch in and around Avignon and Vaucluse; he may coast along Dante’s highway of the sea from the Genoese seaport to Marseilles; he may tarry with Tartarin at Tarascon; or may follow in the footsteps of Edmond Dantes from Marseilles to Beaucaire and Bellegarde; and in any case he will only be in a more appreciative mood for the wonderful works of Mistral and his fellows of the Félibres.

The troubadours and the “courts of love” have gone the way of all mediæval institutions and nothing has quite come up to take their place, but the memory of all the literary history of the old province is so plentifully bestrewn through the pages of modern writers of history and romance that no spot in the known world is more prolific in reminders of those idyllic times than this none too well known and travelled part of old France.

If the spirit of old romance is so dead or latent in the modern traveller by automobile or the railway that he does not care to go back to mediæval times, he can still turn to the pages of Daudet and find portraiture which is so characteristic of Tarascon and the country round about to-day that it may be recognized even by the stranger, though the inhabitant of that most interesting Rhône-side city denies that there is the slightest resemblance.

Then there is Felix Gras’s “Rouges du Midi,” first written in the Provençal tongue. One must not call the tongue a patois, for the Provençal will tell you emphatically that his is a real and pure tongue, and that it is the Breton who speaks a patois.

From the Provençal this famous tale of Felix Gras was translated into French and speedily became a classic. It is romance, if you like, but most truthful, if only because it proves Carlyle and his estimates of the celebrated “Marseilles Battalion” entirely wrong. Even in the English translation the tale loses but little of its originality and colour, and it remains a wonderful epitome of the traits and characters of the Provençaux.

Dumas himself, in that time-tried (but not time-worn) romance of “Monte Cristo,” rises to heights of topographical description and portrait delineations which he scarcely ever excelled.

Every one has read, and supposedly has at his finger-tips, the pages of this thrilling romance, but if he is journeying through Provence, let him read it all again, and he will find passages of a directness and truthfulness that have often been denied this author—by critics who have taken only an arbitrary and prejudiced view-point.

Marseilles, the scene of the early career of Dantes and the lovely Mercédès, stands out perhaps most clearly, but there is a wonderful chapter which deals with the Pays d’Arles, and is as good topographical portraiture to-day as when it was written.

Here are some lines of Dumas which no traveller down the Rhône valley should neglect to take as his guide and mentor if he “stops off”—as he most certainly should—at Tarascon, and makes the round of Tarascon, Beaucaire, Bellegarde, and the Pont du Gard.

“Such of my readers as may have made a pedestrian journey to the south of France may perhaps have noticed, midway between the town of Beaucaire and the village of Bellegarde, a small roadside inn, from the front of which hung, creaking and flapping in the wind, a sheet of tin covered with a rude representation of the ancient Pont du Gard.”

There is nothing which corresponds to this ancient inn sign to be seen to-day, but any one of a dozen humble houses by the side of the canal which runs from Beaucaire to Aigues Mortes might have been the inn in question, kept by the unworthy Caderousse, with whom Dantes, disguised as the abbé, had the long parley which ultimately resulted in his getting on the track of his former defamers.

Dumas’s further descriptions were astonishingly good, as witness the following:

“The place boasted of what, in these parts, was called a garden, scorched beneath the ardent sun of this latitude, with its soil giving nourishment to a few stunted olive and dingy fig trees, around which grew a scanty supply of tomatoes, garlic, and eschalots, with a sort of a lone sentinel in the shape of a scrubby pine.”

If this were all that there was of Provence, the picture might be thought an unlovely one, but there is a good deal more, though often enough one does see—just as Dumas pictured it—this sort of habitation, all but scorched to death by the dazzling southern sun.

At the time of which Dumas wrote, the canal between Beaucaire and Aigues Mortes had just been opened and the traffic which once went on by road between this vast trading-place (for the annual fair of Beaucaire, like that of Guibray in Normandy, and to some extent like that of Nijni Novgorod, was one of the most considerable of its kind in the known world) and the cities and towns of the southwest came to be conducted by barge and boat, and so Caderousse’s inn had languished from a sheer lack of patronage.

Dumas does not forget his tribute to the women of the Pays d’Arles, either; and here again he had a wonderfully facile pen. Of Caderousse and his wife he says:

“Like other dwellers of the southland, Caderousse was a man of sober habits and moderate desires, but fond of external show and display and vain to a degree. During the days of his prosperity, not a fête or a ceremonial took place but that he and his wife were participants. On these occasions he dressed himself in the picturesque costume worn at such times by the dwellers in the south of France, bearing an equal resemblance to the style worn by Catalans and Andalusians.

“His wife displayed the charming fashion prevalent among the women of Arles, a mode of attire borrowed equally from Greece and Arabia, with a glorious combination of chains, necklaces, and scarves.”

The women of the Pays d’Arles have the reputation of being the most beautiful of all the many types of beautiful women in France, and they are faithful, always, to what is known as the costume of the pays, which, it must be understood, is something more than the coiffe which usually marks the distinctive dress of a petit pays.

It is a common error among rhapsodizing tourists who have occasionally stopped at Arles, en route to the pleasures of the Riviera, to suppose that the original Arlesien costume is that seen to-day. As a matter of fact it dates back only about four generations, and it was well on in the forties of the nineteenth century when the ruban-diadème and the Phrygian coiffe came to be the caprice of the day. In this form it has, however, endured throughout all the sixty villages and towns of the pays.

The ruban-diadème, the coiffe, the corsage, the fichu, the jupon, and a chain bearing, usually, a Maltese cross, all combine to set off in a marvellous manner the loveliness of these large-eyed beauties of Provence.

Only after they have reached their thirteenth or fourteenth year do the young girls assume the coiffure,—when they have commenced to see beyond their noses, as the saying goes in French,—when, until old age carries them off, they are always as jauntily dressed as if they were toujours en fête.

There is a romantic glamour about Arles, its arena, its theatre, its marvellously beautiful Church of St. Trophime, and much else that is fascinating to all travelled and much-read persons; and so Arles takes the chief place in the galaxy of old-time Provençal towns, before even Nîmes, Avignon, and Aix-en-Provence.

Everything is in a state of decay at Arles; far more so, at least, than at Nîmes, where the arena is much better preserved, and the “Maison Carrée” is a gem which far exceeds any monument of Arles in its beauty and preservation; or at Orange, where the antique theatre is superb beyond all others, both in its proportions and in its existing state of preservation.

The charm of Arles lies in its former renown and in the reminders, fragmentary though some of them be, of its past glories. In short it is a city so rich in all that goes to make up the attributes of a “ville de l’art célèbre,” that it has a special importance.

Marseilles, among the cities of modern France, has usually been considered the most ancient; but even that existed as a city but six hundred years before the Christian era, whereas Anibert, a “savant Arlésien,” has stated that the founding of Arles dates back to fifteen hundred years before Christ, or nine hundred years before that of Marseilles. In the lack of any convincing evidence one way or another, one can let his sympathies drift where they will, but Arles certainly looks its age more than does Marseilles.

It would not be practicable here to catalogue all the monumental attractions of the Arles of a past day which still remain to remind one of its greatness. The best that the writer can do is to advise the traveller to take his ease at his inn, which in this case may be either the excellent Hôtel du Nord-Pinus—which has a part of the portico of the ancient forum built into its façade—or across the Place du Forum at the Hôtel du Forum. From either vantage-ground one will get a good start, and much assistance from the obliging patrons, and a day, a week, or a month is not too much to spend in this charming old-time capital.

Among the many sights of Arles three distinct features will particularly impress the visitor: the proximity of the Rhône, the great arena and its neighbouring theatre, and the Cathedral of St. Trophime.

It was in the thirteenth century that Arles first came to distinction as one of the great Latin ports. The Rhône had for ages past bathed its walls, and what more natural than that the river should be the highway which should bring the city into intercourse with the outside world?

Soon it became rich and powerful and bid fair to become a ship-owning community which should rival the coast towns themselves, and its “lion banners” flew masthead high in all the ports of the Mediterranean.

The navigation of the Rhône at this time presented many difficulties; the estuary was always shifting, as it does still, though the question of navigating the river has been solved, or made the easier, by the engineering skill of the present day.

The cargoes coming by sea were transshipped into a curious sort of craft known as an allege, from which they were distributed to all the towns along the Rhône. The carrying trade remained, however, in the hands of the Arlesiens. The great fair of Beaucaire, renowned as it was throughout all of Europe, contributed not a little to the traffic. For six weeks in each year it was a great market for all the goods and stuffs of the universe, and gave such a strong impetus to trade that the effects were felt throughout the year in all the neighbouring cities and towns.

The Cathedral of St. Trophime, as regards its portal and cloister, may well rank first among the architectural delights of its class. The decorations of its portal present a complicated drama of religious figures and symbols, at once austere and dignified and yet fantastic in their design and arrangement. There is nothing like it in all France, except its near-by neighbour at St. Gilles-du-Rhône, and, in the beauty and excellence of its carving, it far excels the splendid façades of Amiens and Reims, even though they are more extensive and more magnificently disposed.

The main fabric of the church, and its interior, are ordinary enough, and are in no way different from hundreds of a similar type elsewhere; but in the cloister, to the rear, architectural excellence again rises to a superlative height. Here, in a justly proportioned quadrangle, are to be seen four distinct periods and styles of architectural decoration, from the round-headed arches of the colonnade on one side, up through the primitive Gothic on the second, the later and more florid variety on the third, and finally the debasement in Renaissance forms and outlines on the fourth. The effect is most interesting and curious both to the student of architectural art and to the lover of old churches, and is certainly unfamiliar enough in its arrangement to warrant hazarding the opinion that it is unique among the celebrated mediæval cloisters still existing.

Immediately behind the cathedral are the remains of the theatre and the arena. Less well preserved than that at Orange, the theatre of the Arles of the Romans, a mere ruined waste to-day, gives every indication of having been one of the most important works of its kind in Gaul, although, judging from its present admirable state of preservation, that of Orange was the peer of its class.

To-day there are but a scattered lot of tumbled-about remains, much of the structure having gone to build up other edifices in the town, before the days when proper guardianship was given to such chronicles in stone. A great porte still exists, some arcades, two lone, staring columns,—still bearing their delicately sculptured capitals,—and numerous ranges of rising banquettes.

This old théâtre romain must have been ornamented with a lavish disregard for expense, for it was in the ruins here that the celebrated Venus d’Arles was discovered in 1651, and given to Louis XIV. in 1683.

The arena is much better preserved than the theatre. It is a splendid and colossal monument, surpassing any other of its kind outside of Rome. Its history is very full and complete, and writers of the olden time have recounted many odious combats and many spectacles wherein ferocious beasts and gladiators played a part. To-day bull-fights, with something of an approach to the splendour of the Spanish variety, furnish the bloodthirsty of Arles with their amusement. There is this advantage in witnessing the sport at Arles: one sees it amid a mediæval stage setting that is lacking in Spain.

It is in this arena that troops of wild beasts, brought from all parts of the empire, tore into pieces the poor unfortunates who were held captive in the prisons beneath the galleries. These dungeons are shown to-day, with much bloodthirsty recital, by the very painstaking guardian, who, for an appropriate, though small, fee, searches out the keys and opens the gateway to this imposing enclosure, where formerly as many as twenty-five thousand persons assemble to witness the cruel sacrifices.

A Young Arlesienne

A Young Arlesienne

Tiberius Nero—a name which has come to be a synonym of moral degradation—was one of the principal colonizers of Arles, and built, it is supposed, this arena for his savage pleasures. In its perfect state it would have been a marvel, but the barbarians partly ruined it and turned it into a sort of fortified camp. In a more or less damaged state it existed until 1825, when the parasitical structures which had been built up against its walls were removed, and it was freed to light and air for the traveller of a later day to marvel and admire.

Modern Arles has quite another story to tell; it is typical of all the traditions of the Provence of old, and it is that city of Provence that best presents the present-day life of southern France.

Even to-day the well-recognized type of Arlesienne ranks among the beautiful women of the world. Possessed of a carriage that would be remarked even on the boulevards of Paris, and of a beauty of feature that enables her to concede nothing to her sisters of other lands, the Arlesienne is ever a pleasing picture. As much as anything, it is the costume and the coiffe that contributes to her beauty, for the tiny white bonnet or cap, bound with a broad black ribbon, sets off her raven locks in a bewitching manner. Simplicity and harmony is the key-note of it all, and the women of Arles are not made jealous or conceited by the changing of Paris fashions.

The contrast between what is left of ancient Arles and the commercial aspect of the modern city is everywhere to be remarked, for Arles is the distributing-point for all the products of the Camargue and the Crau, and the life of the cafés and hotels is to a great extent that of the busy merchants of the town and their clients from far and near. All this gives Arles a certain air of metropolitanism, but it does not in the least overshadow the memories of its past.

In the open country northwest of Arles is the ancient Benedictine abbey of Montmajour, twice destroyed and twice reërected. Finally abandoned in the thirteenth century, it was carefully guarded by the proprietors, until now it ranks as one of the most remarkable of the historical monuments of its kind in all France.

It has quite as much the appearance of a fortress as of a religious establishment, for its great fourteenth-century tower, with its mâchicoulis and tourelles, suggest nothing churchly, but rather an attribute of a warlike stronghold.

The majestic church needs little in the way of rebuilding and restoration to assume the splendour that it must have had under its monkish proprietors of another day. Beneath is another edifice, much like a crypt, but which expert archæologists tell one is not a crypt in the generally accepted sense of the term. At any rate it is much better lighted than crypts usually are, and looks not unlike an earlier edifice, which was simply built up and another story added.

Abbey of Montmajour and Vineyard

Abbey of Montmajour and Vineyard

The remains of the cloister are worthy to be classed in the same category as that wonderful work of St. Trophime, but whether the one inspired the other, or they both proceeded simultaneously, neither history nor the local antiquaries can state.

Besides the conventional buildings proper there are a primitive chapel and a hermitage once dedicated to the uses of St. Trophime. Since these minor structures, if they may be so called, date from the sixth century, they may be considered as among the oldest existing religious monuments in France. The “Commission des Monuments Historiques” guards the remains of this opulent abbey and its dependencies of a former day with jealous care, and if any restorations are undertaken they are sure to be carried out with taste and skill.

Near Montmajour is another religious edifice of more than passing remark, the Chapelle Ste. Croix. Its foundation has been attributed to Charlemagne, and again to Charles Martel, who gave to it the name which it still bears in commemoration of his victory over the Saracens. It is a simple but very beautiful structure, in the form of a Greek cross, and admirably vaulted and groined. There are innumerable sepulchres scattered about and many broken and separated funeral monuments, which show the prominence of this little commemorative chapel among those of its class.

Every seven years, that is to say whenever the 3d of May falls on a Friday (the anniversary of the victory of Charles Martel), the chapel becomes a place of pious pilgrimages for great numbers of the thankful and devout from all parts of France.



ST. RÉMY DE PROVENCE is delightful and indescribable in its quiet charm. It’s not so very quiet either—at times—and its great Fête de St. Rémy in October is anything but quiet. On almost any summer Sunday, too, its cafés and terraces, and the numerous tree-bordered squares and places, and its Cours—the inevitable adjunct of all Provençal towns—are as gay with the life of the town and the country round about as any local metropolis in France.

The local merchants call St. Rémy “toujours un pays mort,” but in spite of this they all eke out considerably more than what a full-blooded Burgundian would call a good living. As a matter of fact the population of St. Rémy live on something approaching the abundance of good things of the Côte d’Or itself. There is perhaps nothing remarkable about this, in the midst of a mild and pleasant land like Provence; but it seems wise to state it here, for we know of an Englishman who stayed three days at St. Rémy’s most excellent Grand Hôtel de Provence and complained because he did not get beefsteaks or ham and eggs for a single meal! He got carp from Vaucluse, langouste from St. Louis-de-Rhône, the finest sort of lamb (but not plain boiled, with cauliflower as a side dish), chickens of the real spring variety, or a brace of little wild birds which look like sparrows and taste like quail, but which are neither—with, as like as not, a bottle of Châteauneuf des Papes, grapes, figs, olives, and goat’s milk cheese. Either this, or a variation of it, was his daily menu for breakfast or dinner, and still he pined for beefsteaks! Had our traveller been an American he would perhaps have cried aloud for boiled codfish or pumpkin pie!

The hotel of St. Rémy is to be highly commended in spite of all this, though the writer has only partaken of an occasional meal there. He got nearer the soil, living the greater part of one long bright autumn in the household of an estimable tradesman,—a baker by trade, though considering that he made a great accomplishment of it, it may well be reckoned a profession.

Up at three in the morning, he, with the assistance of a small boy,—some day destined to be his successor,—puts in his artistic touches on the patting and shaping of the various loaves, ultimately sliding them into the great low-ceiled brick oven with a sort of elongated snow-shovel such as bakers use the world over.

It was in his manipulating of things that the art of it all came in. Frenchmen will not all eat bread fashioned in the same form, and the cottage loaf is unknown in France. One may have a preference for a “pain mouffle,” a long sort of a roll; or, if he likes a crusty morsel, nothing but a “pistolet” or a “baton” will do him. Others will eat nothing but a great circular washer of bread—“comme un rond de cuir”—or a “tresse,” which is three plaited strands, also crusty. A favourite with toothless old veterans of the Crimea or beldames who have seen seventy or eighty summers is the “chapeau de gendarme,” a three-cornered sort of an affair with no crust to speak of.

By midday the baker-host had become the merchant of the town and had dressed himself in a garb more or less approaching city fashions, and seated himself in a sort of back parlour to the shop in front, which, however, served as a kitchen and a dining-room as well.

Many and bountiful and excellent were the meals eaten en famille in the room back of the shop, often enough in company with a beau-frère, who came frequently from Cavaillon, and a niece and her husband, who was an attorney, and who lived in a great Renaissance stone house opposite the fountain of Nostradamus, St. Rémy’s chief titular deity.

These were the occasions when eating and drinking was as superlative an expression of the joy of life as one is likely to have experienced in these degenerate days when we are mostly nourished by means of patent foods and automatic buffets.

“My brother has a pretty taste in wine,” says the beau-frère from Cavaillon, as he opens another bottle of the wine of St. Rémy, grown on the hillside just overlooking “les antiquités.” Those relics of the Roman occupation are the pride of the citizen, who never tires of strolling up the road with a stranger, and pointing out the beauties of these really charming historical monuments. Truly M. Farges did have a pretty taste in wine, and he had a cellar as well stocked in quantity and variety as that of a Riviera hotel-keeper.

Not the least of the attractions of M. Farges’s board was the grace with which his Arlesienne wife presided over the good things of the casserole and the spit, that long skewer which, when loaded with a chicken, or a duck, or a dozen small birds, turned slowly by clockwork before a fire of olive-tree roots on the open hearth, or rather, on top of the fourneau, which was only used itself for certain operations. Baked meats and rôti are two vastly different things in France.

“Marcel, he bakes the bread, and I cook for him,” says the jauntily coiffed, buxom little lady, whose partner Marcel had been for some thirty years. In spite of the passing of time, both were still young, or looked it, though they were of that ample girth which betokens good living, and, what is quite as important, good cooking; and madame’s taste in cookery was as “pretty” as her husband’s for bread-making and wine.

Given a casserole half-full of boiling oil (also a product of St. Rémy’s; real olive-oil, with no dilution of cottonseed to flatten out the taste) and anything whatever eatable to drop in it, and Madame Farges will work wonders with her deftness and skill, and, like all good cooks, do it, apparently, by guesswork.

It is a marvel to the writer that some one has not written a book devoted to the little every-day happenings of the French middle classes. Manifestly the trades of the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick-maker have the same ends in view in France as elsewhere, but their procedure is so different, so very different.

It strikes the foreigner as strange that your baker here gives you a tally-stick, even to-day, when pass-books and all sorts of automatic calculators are everywhere to be found. It is a fact, however, that your baker does this at St. Rémy; and regulates the length of your credit by the length of the stick, a plan which has many advantages for all concerned over other methods.

You arrange as to what your daily loaf shall be, and for every one delivered a notch is cut in the stick, which you guard as you would your purse; that is, you guard your half of it, for it has been split down the middle, and the worthy baker has a whole battery of these split sticks strung along the dashboard of his cart. The two separate halves are put together when the notch is cut across the joint, and there you have undisputable evidence of delivery. It’s very much simpler than the old backwoods system of keeping accounts on a slate, and wiping off the slate when they were paid, and it’s safer for all concerned. When you pay your baker at St. Rémy, he steps inside your kitchen and puts the two sticks on the fire, and together you see them go up in smoke.

Baker’s Tally-sticks

Baker’s Tally-sticks

St. Rémy

St. Rémy

St. Rémy itself is a historic shrine, sitting jauntily beneath the jagged profile of the Alpines, from whose crest one gets one of those wonderful vistas of a rocky gorge which is, in a small way, only comparable to the cañon of the Colorado. It is indeed a splendid view that one gets just as he rises over the crest of this not very ample or very lofty mountain range, and it has all the elements of grandeur and brilliancy which are possessed by its more famous prototypes. It is quite indescribable, hence the illustration herewith must be left to tell its own story.

Below, in the ample plain in which St. Rémy sits, is a wonderful garden of fruits and flowers. St. Rémy is a great centre for commerce in olives, olive-oil, vegetables, and fruit which is put up into tins and exported to the ends of the earth.

Not every one likes olive-trees as a picturesque note in a landscape any more than every one likes olives to eat. But for all that the grayish-green tones of the flat-topped oliviers of these parts are just the sort of things that artists love, and a plantation of them, viewed from a hill above, has as much variety of tone, and shade, and colour as a field of heather or a poppy-strewn prairie.

The inhabitants of most of the old-time provinces of France have generally some special heirloom of which they are exceedingly fond; but not so fond but that they will part with it for a price. The Breton has his great closed-in bed, the Norman his armoire, and the Provençal his “grandfather’s clock,” or, at least, a great, tall, curiously wrought affair, which we outsiders have come to designate as such.

Not all of these great timepieces which are found in the peasant homes round about St. Rémy are ancient; indeed, few of them are, but all have a certain impressiveness about them which a household god ought to have, whether it is a real antique or a gaudily painted thing with much brasswork and, above all, a gong that strikes at painfully frequent intervals with a vociferousness which would wake the Seven Sleepers if they hadn’t been asleep so long.

The traffic in these tall, coffin-like clocks—though they are not by any means sombre in hue—is considerable at St. Rémy. The local clock-maker (he doesn’t really make them) buys the cases ready-made from St. Claude, or some other wood-carving town in the Jura or Switzerland, and the works in Germany, and assembles them in his shop, and stencils his name in bold letters on the face of the thing as maker. This is deception, if you like, but there is no great wrong in it, and, since the clock and watch trade the world over does the same thing, it is one of the immoralities which custom has made moral.

They are not dear, these great clocks of Provence, which more than one tourist has carried away with him before now as a genuine “antique.” Forty or fifty francs will buy one, the price depending on the amount of chasing on the brasswork of its great pendulum.

Six feet tall they stand, in rows, all painted as gaudily as a circus wagon, waiting for some peasant to come along and make his selection. When it does arrive at some humble cottage in the Alpines, or in the marshy vineyard plain beside the Rhône, there is a sort of house-warming and much feasting, which costs the peasant another fifty francs as a christening fee.

The clocks of St. Rémy and the panetières which hang on the wall and hold the household supply of bread open to the drying influences of the air, and yet away from rats and mice, are the chief and most distinctive house-furnishings of the homes of the countryside. For the rest the Provençal peasant is as likely to buy himself a wickerwork chair, or a German or American sewing-machine, with which to decorate his home, as anything else. One thing he will not have foreign to his environment, and that is his cooking utensils. His “batterie de cuisine” may not be as ample as that of the great hotels, but every one knows that the casseroles of commerce, whether one sees them in San Francisco, Buenos Ayres, or Soho, are a Provençal production, and that there is a certain little town, not many hundred miles from St. Rémy, which is devoted almost exclusively to the making of this all-useful cooking utensil.

A Panetière

A Panetière

The panetières, like the clocks, have a great fascination for the tourist, and the desire to possess one has been known to have been so great as to warrant an offer of two hundred and fifty francs for an article which the present proprietor probably bought for twenty not many months before.

St. Rémy’s next-door neighbour, just across the ridge of the Alpines, is Les Baux.

Every traveller in Provence who may have heard of Les Baux has had a desire to know more of it based on a personal acquaintance.

To-day it is nothing but a scrappy, tumble-down ruin of a once proud city of four thousand inhabitants. Its foundation dates back to the fifth century, and five hundred years later its seigneurs possessed the rights over more than sixty neighbouring towns. It was only saved in recent years from total destruction by the foresight of the French government, which has stepped in and passed a decree that henceforth it is to rank as one of those “monuments historiques” over which it has spread its guardian wing.

Les Baux of the present day is nothing but a squalid hamlet, and from the sternness of the topography round about one wonders how its present small population gains its livelihood, unless it be that they live on goat’s milk and goat’s meat, each of them a little strong for a general diet. As a picture paradise for artists, however, Les Baux is the peer of anything of its class in all France; but that indeed is another story.

The historical and architectural attractions of Les Baux are many, though, without exception, they are in a ruinous state. The Château des Baux was founded on the site of an oppidum gaulois in the fifth century, and in successive centuries was enlarged, modified, and aggrandized for its seigneurs, who bore successively the titles of Prince d’Orange, Comte de Provence, Roi d’Arles et de Vienne, and Empereur de Constantinople.

One of the chief monuments is the Église St. Vincent, dating from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries, and containing the tombs of many of the Seigneurs of Baux.

There is, too, a ragged old ruin of a Protestant temple, with a series of remarkable carvings, and the motto “Post tenebras lux” graven above its portal. The Palais des Porcelets, now the “communal” school, and the Église St. Claude, which has three distinct architectural styles all plainly to be seen, complete the near-by sights and scenes, all of which are of a weather-worn grimness, which has its charms in spite of its sadness of aspect.

Not far distant is the Grotte des Fées, known in the Provençal tongue as “Lou Trau di Fado,” a great cavern some five hundred or more feet in length, the same in which Mistral placed one of the most pathetic scenes of “Mirèio.” Of it and its history, and of the great Christmas fête with its midnight climax, nothing can be said here; it needs a book to itself, and, as the French say, “c’est un chose à voir.



WHEN the Rhône enters that département of modern France which bears the name Bouches-du-Rhône, it has already accomplished eight hundred and seventy kilometres of its torrential course, and there remain but eighty-five more before, through the many mouths of the Grand and Petit Rhône, it finally mingles the Alpine waters of its source with those of the Mediterranean.

Its flow is enormous when compared with the other inland waterways of France, and, though navigable only in a small way compared to the Seine, the traffic on it from the Mediterranean to Lyons, by great towed barges and canal-boats, and between Lyons and Avignon, in the summer months, by steamboat, is, after all, considerable. Queer-looking barges and towboats, great powerful craft that will tow anything that has got an end to it, as the river folk will tell you, and “bateaux longs,” make up the craft which one sees as the mighty river enters Provence.

The boatmen of the Rhône still call the right bank Riaume (Royaume) and the left Empi (Saint Empire), the names being a survival of the days when the kingdom of France controlled the traffic on one side, and the papal power, so safely ensconced for seventy years at Avignon, on the other.

The fall of the Rhône, which is the principal cause of its rapid current, averages something over six hundred millimetres to the kilometre until it reaches Avignon, when, for the rest of its course, considerably under a hundred kilometres, the fall is but twenty metres, something like sixty-five feet.

This state of affairs has given rise to a remarkable alluvial development, so that the plains of the Crau and the Camargue, and the lowlands of the estuary, appear like “made land” to all who have ever seen them. There is an appreciable growth of stunted trees and bushes and what not, but the barrenness of the Camargue has not sensibly changed in centuries, and it remains still not unlike a desert patch of Far-Western America.

Wiry grass, and another variety particularly suited to the raising and grazing of live stock, has kept the region from being one of absolute poverty; but, unless one is interested in raising little horses (who look as though they might be related to the broncos of the Western plains), or beef or mutton, he will have no excuse for ever coming to the Camargue to settle.

These little half-savage horses of the Camargue are thought to be the descendants of those brought from the Orient in ages past, and they probably are, for the Saracens were for long masters of the pays.

The difference between the Camargue and the Crau is that the former has an almost entire absence of those cairns of pebbles which make the Crau look like a pagan cemetery.

Like the horses, the cattle of the Camargue seem to be a distinct and indigenous variety, with long pointed horns, and generally white or cream coloured, like the oxen of the Allier. When the mistral blows, these cattle of the Camargue, instead of turning their backs upon it, face it, calmly chewing their cud. The herdsmen of the cattle have a laborious occupation, tracking and herding day and night, in much the same manner as the Gauchos of the Pampas and the cowboys of the Far West. They resemble the toreadors of Spain, too, and, in many of their feats, are quite as skilful and intrepid as are the Manuels and Pedros of the bull-ring.

The Bulls of Camargue

As one approaches the sea the aspect of the Camargue changes; the hamlets become less and less frequent, and outside of these there are few signs of life except the guardians of cattle and sheep which one meets here, there, and everywhere.

The flat, monotonous marsh is only relieved by the delicate tints of the sky and clouds overhead, and the reflected rays of the setting sun, and the glitter of the waves of the sea itself.

Suddenly, as one reads in Mistral’s “Mirèio,” Chant X., “sur la mer lointaine et clapoteuse, comme un vaisseau qui cingle vers le rivage,” one sees a great church arising almost alone. It is the church of Les Saintes Maries.

Formerly the little town of Les Saintes Maries, or village rather, for there are but some six hundred souls within its confines to-day, was on an island quite separated from the mainland. Here, history tells, was an ancient temple to Diana, but no ruins are left to make it a place of pilgrimage for worshippers at pagan shrines; instead Christians flock here in great numbers, on the 24th of May and the 22d of October in each year, from all over Provence and Languedoc, as they have since Bible times, to pray at the shrine of the three Marys in the fortress-church of Les Saintes Maries: Mary, the sister of the Virgin Mary, the mother of the apostles James and John, and Mary Magdalen.

Les Saintes Maries

Les Saintes Maries

The village of Les Saintes, as it is commonly called, is a sad, dull town, with no trees, no gardens, no “Place,” no market, and no port; nothing but one long, straight and narrow street, with short culs-de-sac leading from it, and one of the grandest and most singular church edifices to be seen in all France. Like the cathedrals at Albi and Rodez, it looks as much like a fortress as it does a church, and here it has not even the embellishments of a later decorative period to set off the grimness of its walls.

As one approaches, the aspect of this bizarre edifice is indeed surprising, rising abruptly, though not to a very imposing height, from the flat, sandy, marshy plain at its feet. The foundation of the church here was due to the appearance of Christianity among the Gauls at a very early period; but, like the pagan temple of an earlier day, all vestiges of this first Christian monument have disappeared, destroyed, it is said, by the Saracens. A noble—whose name appears to have been forgotten—built a new church here in the tenth century, which took the form of a citadel as a protection against further piratical invasion. At the same time a few houses were built around the haunches of the fortress-church, for the inhabitants of this part of the Camargue were only too glad to avail themselves of the shelter and protection which it offered.

In a short time a petite ville had been created and was given the name of Notre Dame de la Barque, in honour of the arrival in Gaul at this point of “...les saintes femmes Marie Magdeleine, Marie Jacobé, Marie Salomé, Marthe et son frère Lazare, ainsi que de plusieurs disciples du Sauveur.” They were the same who had been set adrift in an open boat off the shores of Judea, and who, without sails, oars, or nourishment, in some miraculous manner, had drifted here. The tradition has been well guarded by the religious and civic authorities alike, the arms of the town bearing a representation of a shipwrecked craft supported by female figures and the legend “Navis in Pelago.”

On the occasion of the fête, on the 24th of May, there are to be witnessed many moving scenes among the pilgrims of all ages who have made the journey, many of them on foot, from all over Provence. Like the pardons of Brittany, the fête here has much the same significance and procedure. There is much processioning, and praying, and exhorting, and burning of incense and of candles, and afterward a défilé to the sands of the seashore, some two kilometres away, and a “bénédiction des troupeaux,” which means simply that the blessings that are so commonly bestowed upon humanity by the clergy are extended on these occasions to take in the animal kind of the Camargue plain, on whom so many of the peasants depend for their livelihood. It seems a wise and thoughtful thing to do, and smacks no more of superstition than many traditional customs.

After the religious ceremonies are over, the “fête profane” commences, and then there are many things done which might well enough be frowned down; bull-baiting, for instance. The entire spectacle is unique in these parts, and every whit as interesting as the most spectacular pardon of Finistère.

At the actual mouth of the Rhône is Port St. Louis, from which the economists expect great things in the development of mid-France, particularly of those cities which lie in the Rhône valley. The idea is not quite so chimerical as that advanced in regard to the possibility of moving all the great traffic of Marseilles to the Étang de Berre; but it will be some years before Port St. Louis is another Lorient or Le Havre.

In spite of this, Port St. Louis has grown from a population of eight hundred to that of a couple of thousands in a generation, which is an astonishing growth for a small town in France.

The aspect of the place is not inspiring. A signal-tower, a lighthouse, a Hôtel de Ville,—which looks as though it might be the court-house of some backwoods community in Missouri,—and the rather ordinary houses which shelter St. Louis’s two thousand souls, are about all the tangible features of the place which impress themselves upon one at first glance.

Besides this there is a very excellent little hotel, a veritable hôtel du pays, where you will get the fish of the Mediterranean as fresh as the hour they were caught; and the mouton de la Camargue, which is the most excellent mutton in all the world (when cooked by a Provençal maître); potatoes, of course, which most likely came in a trading Catalan bark from Algeria; and tomatoes and dates from the same place; to say nothing of melons—home-grown. It’s all very simple, but the marvel is that such a town in embryo as Port St. Louis really is can do it so well, and for this reason alone the visitor will, in most cases, think the journey from Arles worth making, particularly if he does it en auto, for the fifty odd kilometres are like a sanded, hardwood floor or a cinder path, and the landscape, though flat, is by no means deadly dull. Furthermore there is no one to say him nay if the driver chooses to make the journey en pleine vitesse.

Bordering upon the Camargue, just the other side of the Rhône, is another similar tract: the Crau, a great, pebbly plain, supposed to have come into being many centuries before the beginning of our era. The hypotheses as to its formation are numerous, the chief being that it was the work of that mythological Hercules who cut the Strait of Gibraltar between the Mounts Calpe and Abyle (this, be it noted, is the French version of the legend). Not content with this wonder, he turned the Durance from its bed, as it flowed down from the Alps of Savoie, and a shower of stones fell from the sky and covered the land for miles around, turning it into a barren waste. For some centuries the tract preserved the name of “Champs Herculéen.” The reclaiming of the tract will be a task of a magnitude not far below that which brought it into being.

At all events no part of Gaul has as little changed its topography since ages past, and the strange aspect of the Crau is the marvel of all who see it. The pebbles are of all sizes larger than a grain of sand, and occasionally one has been found as big as one’s head. When such a treasure is discovered, it is put up in some conspicuous place for the native and the stranger to marvel at.

Many other conjectures have been made as to the origin of this strange land. Aristotle thought that an earthquake had pulverized a mountain; Posidonius, that it was the bottom of a dried-out lake; and Strabon that the pebbly surface was due to large particles of rock having been rolled about and smoothed by the winds; but none have the elements of legend so well defined as that which attributes it as the work of Hercules.

The Crau, like the Camargue, is a district quite indescribable. All around is a lone, strange land, the only living things being the flocks of sheep and the herds of great, long-horned cattle which are raised for local consumption and for the bull-ring at Arles.

It is indeed a weird and strange country, as level as the proverbial billiard-table, and its few inhabitants are of that sturdy weather-beaten race that knows not fear of man or beast. There is an old saying that the native of the Crau and the Camargue must learn to fly instead of fight, for there is nothing for him to put his back against.

Far to the northward and eastward is a chain of mountains, the foot-hills of the mighty Alps, while on the horizon to the south there is a vista of a patch of blue sea which somewhere or other, not many leagues away, borders upon fragrant gardens and flourishing seaports; but in these pebbly, sandy plains all is level and monotonous, with only an occasional oasis of trees and houses.

The Crau was never known as a political division, but its topographical aspect was commented on by geographers like Strabon, who also remarked that it was strewn with a scant herbage which grew up between its pebbles hardly sufficient to nourish a taureau. Things have not changed much in all these long years, but there is, as a matter of fact, nourishment for thousands of sheep and cattle. St. Césaire, Bishop of Arles, also left a written record of pastures which he owned in the midst of a campo lapidio (presumably the Crau), and again, in the tenth and eleventh centuries, numerous old charters make mention of Posena in Cravo. All this points to the fact that the topographical aspect of this barren, pebbly land—which may or may not be some day reclaimed—has ever been what it is to-day. Approximately twenty-five thousand hectares of this pasturage nourish some fifty thousand sheep in the winter months. In the summer these flocks of sheep migrate to Alpine pasturage, making the journey by highroad and nibbling their nourishment where they find it. It seems a remarkable trip to which to subject the docile creatures,—some five hundred kilometres out and back. They go in flocks of two or three hundred, being guarded by a couple of shepherds called “bayles,” whose effects are piled in saddle-bags on donkey-back, quite in the same way that the peasants of Albania travel. The shepherds of the Crau are a very good imitation of the Bedouin of the desert in their habits and their picturesque costume. Always with the flock are found a pair of those discerning but nondescript dogs known as “sheep-dogs.” The doubt is cast upon the legitimacy of their pedigree from the fact that, out of some hundreds met with by the author on the highroads of Europe, no two seemed to be of the same breed. Almost any old dog with shaggy hair seemingly answered the purpose well.

The custom of sending the sheep to the mountains of Dauphiné for the summer months still goes on, but as often as not they are to-day sent by train instead of by road. The ancient practice is apparently another reminiscence of the wandering flocks and herds of the Orient.

If it is ever reclaimed, the Crau will lose something in picturesqueness of aspect, and of manners and customs; but it will undoubtedly prove to the increased prosperity of the neighbourhood. The thing has been well thought out, though whether it ever comes to maturity or not is a question.

It was Lord Brougham—“le fervent étudiant de la Provence,” the French call him—who said: “Herodotus called Egypt a gift of the Nile to posterity, but the Durance can make of la Crau une petite Egypte aux portes de Marseilles.” From this one gathers that the region has only to be plentifully watered to become a luxuriant and productive river-bottom.



WE arrived at Martigues in the early morning hours affected by automobilists, having spent the night a dozen miles or so away in the château of a friend. Our host made an early start on a shooting expedition, already planned before we put in an appearance, so we took the road at the witching hour of five A. M., and descended upon the Hôtel Chabas at Martigues before the servants were up. Some one had overslept.

However, we gave the great door of the stable a gentle shake; it opened slowly, but silently, and we drove the automobile noisily inside. Two horses stampeded, a dog barked, a cock crowed, and sleepy-headed old Pierre appeared, saying that they had no room, forgetful that another day was born, and that he had allowed two fat commercial travellers, who were to have left by the early train, to over-sleep.

Église de la Madeleine, Martigues

Église de la Madeleine, Martigues

As there was likely to be room shortly, we convinced Pierre (whose name was really Pietro, he being an Italian) of the propriety of making us some coffee, and then had leisure to realize that at last we were at Martigues—“La Venise Provençale.”

Martigues is a paradise for artists. So far as its canals and quays go, it is Venice without the pomp and glory of great palaces; and the life of its fishermen and women is quite as picturesque as that of the Giudecca itself.

Wonderful indeed are the sunsets of a May evening, on Martigues’s Canal and Quai des Bourdigues, or from the ungainly bridge which crosses to the Ferrières quarter, with the sky-scraping masts of the tartanes across the face of the sinking sun like prison bars.

Great ungainly tubs are the boats of the fisherfolk of Martigues (all except the tartanes, which are graceful white-winged birds). The motor-boat has not come to take the picturesqueness away from the slow-moving bêtes, which are more like the dory of the Gloucester fishermen, without its buoyancy, than anything else afloat.

Before the town, though two or three kilometres away, is the Mediterranean, and back of it the Étang de Berre, known locally as “La Petite Mer de Berre.”

Here is a little corner of France not yet overrun by tourists, and perhaps it never will be. Hardly out of sight from the beaten track of tourist travel to the south of France, and within twenty odd miles of Marseilles, it is a veritable “darkest Africa” to most travellers. To be sure, French and American artists know it well, or at least know the lovely little triplet town of Martigues, through the pictures of Ziem and Galliardini and some others; but the seekers after the diversions of the “Côte d’Azur” know it not, and there are no tea-rooms and no “bière anglaise” in the bars or cafés of the whole circuit of towns and villages which surround this little inland sea.

The aspect of this little-known section of Provence is not wholly as soft and agreeable as, in his mind’s eye, one pictures the country adjacent to the Mediterranean to be. The hills and the shores of the “Petite Mer” are sombre and severe in outline, but not sad or ugly by any means, for there is an almost tropical glamour over all, though the olive and fig trees, umbrella-pines and gnarled, dwarf cypresses, with juts and crops of bare gray stone rising up through the thin soil, are quite in contrast with the palms and aloes of the Riviera proper.

At the entrance to the “Petite Mer,” or, to give it its official name, the Étang de Berre, is a little port which bears the vague name of Port de Bouc.

Port de Bouc itself is on the great Golfe de Fos, where the sun sets in a blaze of colour for quite three hundred days in the year, and in a manner unapproached elsewhere outside of Turner’s landscapes. Perhaps it is for this reason that the town has become a sort of watering-place for the people of Nîmes, Arles, and Avignon. There is nothing of the conventional resort about it, however, and the inhabitants of it, and the neighbouring town of Fos, are mostly engaged in making bricks, paper, and salt, refining petrol, and drying the codfish which are landed at its wharves by great “trois-mâts,” which have come in from the banks of Terre Neuve during the early winter months. There is a great ship-building establishment here which at times gives employment to as many as a thousand men, and accordingly Port de Bouc and Fos-sur-Mer, though their names are hardly known outside of their own neighbourhoods, form something of a metropolis to-day, as they did when the latter was a fortified cité romaine.

The region round about has many of the characteristics of the Crau, a land half-terrestrial and half-aquatic, formed by the alluvial deposits of the mighty Rhône and the torrential rivers of its watershed.

At Venice one finds superb marble palaces, and a history of sovereigns and prelates, and much art and architecture of an excellence and grandeur which perhaps exceeds that at any other popular tourist point. Martigues resembles Venice only as regards its water-surrounded situation, its canal-like streets and the general air of Mediterranean picturesqueness of the life of its fisherfolk and seafarers.

Martigues has an advantage over the “Queen of the Adriatic” in that none of its canals are slimy or evil-smelling, and because there is an utter absence of theatrical effect and, what is more to the point, an almost unappreciable number of tourists.

House of M. Ziem, Martigues

House of M. Ziem, Martigues

It is true that Galliardini and Ziem have made the fame of Martigues as an “artists’ sketching-ground,” and as such its reputation has been wide-spread. Artists of all nationalities come and go in twos and threes throughout the year, but it has not yet been overrun at any time by tourists. None except the Marseillais seem to have made it a resort, and they only come out on bicycles or en auto to eat “bouillabaisse” of a special variety which has made Martigues famous.

Ziem seems to have been one of the pioneers of the new school, high-coloured paintings which are now so greatly the vogue. This is not saying that for that reason they are any the less truthful representations of the things they are supposed to present; probably they are not; but if some one would explain why M. Ziem laid out an artificial pond in the gardens of his house at Martigues, put up Venetian lantern-poles, and anchored a gondola therein, and in another corner built a mosque, or whatever it may be,—a thing of minarets and towers and Moorish arches,—it would allay some suspicions which the writer has regarding “the artist’s way of working.”

It does not necessarily mean that Ziem did not go to Africa for his Arab or Moorish compositions, or to Venice for his Venetian boatmen and his palace backgrounds. Probably he merely used the properties as accessories in an open-air studio, which is certainly as legitimate as “working-up” one’s pictures in a sky-lighted atelier up five flights of stairs; and the chances are this is just where Ziem’s brilliant colouring comes from.

Martigues in its manners and customs is undoubtedly one of the most curious of all the coast towns of France. It is truly a gay little city, or rather it is three of them, known as Les Martigues, though the sum total of their inhabitants does not exceed six thousand souls all told.

Martigues at first glance appears to be mostly peopled by sailors and fishermen, and there is little of the super-civilization of a great metropolis to be seen, except that “all the world and his wife” dines at the fashionable hour of eight, and before, and after, and at all times, patronizes the Café de Commerce to an extent which is the wonder of the stranger and the great profit of the patron.



No café in any small town in France is so crowded at the hour of the “apéritif,” and all the frequenters of Martigues’s most popular establishment have their own special bottle of whatever of the varnishy drinks they prefer from among those which go to make up the list of the Frenchman’s “apéritifs.” It is most remarkable that the cafés of Martigues should be so well patronized, and they are no mere longshore cabarets, either, but have walls of plate glass, and as many varieties of absinthe as you will find in a boulevard resort in Paris.

The Provençal historians state that Les Martigues did not exist as such until the middle of the thirteenth century, and that up to that time it consisted merely of a few families of fisherfolk living in huts upon the ruins of a former settlement, which may have been Roman, or perhaps Greek. This first settlement was on the Ile St. Geniez, which now forms the official quarter of the triple town.

Martigues is all but indescribable, its three quartiers are so widely diversified in interest and each so characteristic in the life which goes on within its confines,—Jonquières, with its shady Cours and narrow cobblestoned streets; the Ile, surrounded by its canals and fishing-boats, and Ferrières, a more or less fastidious faubourg backed up against the hillside, crowned by an old Capucin convent.

For a matter of fifteen hundred years there has been communication between the Étang de Berre and the Mediterranean, and the Martigaux have ever been alive to keeping the channel open. Through this canal the fish which give industry and prosperity to Martigues make their way with an almost inexplicable regularity. A migration takes place from the Mediterranean to the Étang from February to July, and from July to February they pass in the opposite direction.

Their capture in deep water is difficult, and the Martigaux have ingeniously built narrow waterways ending in a cul-de-sac, through which the fish must naturally pass on their passage between the Étang and the sea. The taking of the fish under such conditions is a sort of automatic process, so efficacious and simple that it would seem as though the plan might be tried elsewhere.

The name given to the sluices or fish thoroughfares is bourdigues, and the fishermen are known as bourdigaliers, a title which is not known or recognized elsewhere.

The bourdigue fishery is a monopoly, however, and many have been the attempts to break down the “vested interests” of the proprietors. Originally these rights belonged to the Archbishop of Arles, and later to the Seigneurs de Gallifet, Princes of Martigues, when the town was made a principality by Henri IV. It has continued to be a private enterprise unto to-day, and has been sanctioned by the courts, so there appears no immediate probability of the general populace of Martigues being able to participate in it.

There is a delicate fancy evolved from the connection of Martigues’s three sister faubourgs or quartiers. In the old days each had a separate entity and government, and each had a flag of its own; that of Jonquières was blue; the Ile, white; and Ferrières, red. There was an intense rivalry between the inhabitants of the three faubourgs; a rivalry which led to the beating of each other with oars and fishing-tackle, and other boisterous horse-play whenever they met one another in the canals or on the wharves. The warring factions of the three quartiers of Martigues, however, finally came to an understanding whereby the blue, white, and red banners of Jonquières, the Ile and Ferrières were united in one general flag. The adoption of the tricolour by the French nation was thus antedated, curiously enough, by two hundred years, and the tricolour of France may be considered a Martigues institution.

In the Quartier de Ferrières are moored the tartanes and balancelles, those great white-winged, lateen-rigged craft which are the natural component of a Mediterranean scene. Those hailing from Martigues are the aristocrats of their class, usually gaudily painted and flying high at the masthead a red and yellow striped pennant distinctive of their home port.

In the fish-market of Martigues the traveller from the north will probably make his first acquaintance with the tunny-fish or thon of the Mediterranean. He is something like the tarpon of the Mexican Gulf, and is a gamy sort of a fellow, or would be if one ever got him on the end of a line, which, however, is not the manner of taking him. He is caught by the gills in great nets of cord, as thick and heavy as a clothes-line, scores and hundreds at a time, and it takes the strength of many boatloads of men to draw the nets.

The thon is the most unfishlike fish that one ever cast eyes upon. He looks like a cross between a porpoise and a mackerel in shape, and is the size of the former. It is the most beautifully modelled fish imaginable; round and plump, with smoothly fashioned head and tail, it looks as if it were expressly designed to slip rapidly through the water, which in reality it does at an astonishing rate. Its proportions are not graceful or delicately fashioned at all; they are rather clumsy; but it is perfectly smooth and scaleless, and looks, and feels too, as if it were made of hard rubber.

In short the thon is the most unemotional-looking thing in the whole fish and animal world, with no more realism to it than if it were whittled out of a log of wood and covered with stove-polish. Caught, killed, and cured (by being cut into cubes and packed in oil in little tins), the thon forms a great delicacy among the assortment of hors-d’œuvres which the Paris and Marseilles restaurant-keepers put before one.

One of the great features of Martigues is its cookery, its fish cookery in particular, for the bouillabaisse of Martigues leads the world. It is far better than that which is supplied to “stop-over” tourists at Marseilles, en route to Egypt, the East, or the Riviera.

Thackeray sang the praises of bouillabaisse most enthusiastically in his “Ballad of the Bouillabaisse,” but then he ate it at a restaurant “on a street in Paris,” and he knew not the real thing as Chabas dishes it up at Martigues’s “Grand Hôtel.”

Chabas is known for fifty miles around. He is not a Martigaux, but comes from Cavaillon, the home of all good cooks, or at least one may say unreservedly that all the people of Cavaillon are good cooks: “les maîtres de la cuisine Provençale” they are known to all bons-vivants.

Neither is madame a Martigaux; she is an Arlesienne (and wears the Arlesienne coiffe at all times); Arles is a town as celebrated for its fair women as is Cavaillon for its cooks.

Together M. and Madame Chabas hold a big daily reception in the cuisine of the hotel, formerly the kitchen of an old convent. M. Paul is a “handy man;” he cooks easily and naturally, and carries on a running conversation with all who drop in for a chat. Most cooks are irascible and cranky individuals, but not so M. Paul; the more, the merrier with him, and not a drop too much oil (or too little), not a taste too much of garlic, nor too much saffron in the bouillabaisse, nor too much salt or pepper on the rôti or the légumes. It’s all chance apparently with him, for like all good cooks he never measures anything, but the wonder is that he doesn’t get rattled and forget, with the mixed crew of pensionnaires and neighbours always at his elbow, warming themselves before the same fire that heats his pots and pans and furnishes the flame for the great broche on which sizzle the well-basted petits oiseaux.

Bouillabaisse is always the plat-du-jour at the “Grand Hôtel,” and it’s the most wonderfully savoury dish that one can imagine—as Chabas cooks it.

Outside a Provençal cookery-book one would hardly expect to find a recipe for bouillabaisse that one could accept with confidence, but on the other hand no writer could possibly have the temerity to write of Provence and not have his say about the wonderful fish stew known to lovers of good-living the world over. It is more or less a risky proceeding, but to omit it altogether would be equally so, so the attempt is here made.

La bouillabaisse,” of which poets have sung, has its variations and its intermittent excellencies, and sometimes it is better than at others; but always it is a dish which gives off an aroma which is the very spirit of Provence, an unmistakable reminiscence of Martigues, where it is at its best.

When the bouillabaisse is made according to the vieilles règles, it is as exquisite a thing to eat as is to be found among all the famous dishes of famous places. One goes to Burgundy to eat escargots, to Rouen for caneton, and to Marguery’s for soles, but he puts the memory of all these things behind him and far away when he first tastes bouillabaisse in the place of its birth.

Here is the recipe in its native tongue so that there may be no mistaking it:

Poisson de la Méditerranée fraîchement pêché, avec les huiles vierges de la Provence. Thon, dorade, mulet, rouget, rascasses, parfumés par le fenouil et de laurier, telles sont les bases de cette soupe, colorée par le safran, que toutes les ménagères de la littoral de Provence s’entendent à merveille à préparer.

As before said, not many tourists (English or American) frequent Martigues, and those who do come all have leanings toward art. Now and then a real “carryall and guide-book traveller” drifts in, gets a whiff of the mistral, (which often blows with deadly fury across the Étang) and, thinking that it is always like that, leaves by the first train, after having bought a half-dozen picture post-cards and eaten a bowl of bouillabaisse.

The type exists elsewhere in France, in large numbers, in Normandy and Brittany for instance, but he is a rara avis at Martigues, and only comes over from his favourite tea-drinking Riviera resort (he tells you) “out of curiosity.”

Martigues is practically the gateway to all the attractions of the wonderful region lying around the Étang de Berre, and of the littoral between Marseilles and the mouths of the Rhône. It is not very accessible by rail, however, and a good hard walker could get there from Marseilles almost as quickly on foot as by train.

The ridiculous little train of double-decked, antiquated cars, and a still more antiquated locomotive, takes nearly an hour to make the journey from Pas-de-Lanciers. Some day the dreaded mistral will blow this apology for rapid transit off into the sea, and then there will come an electric line, which will make the journey from Marseilles in less than an hour, instead of the three or four that it now takes.




MARTIGUES is the metropolis of the towns and villages which fringe the shore of the Étang de Berre, a sort of an inland sea, with all the attributes of both a salt and fresh water lake.

Around Martigues, in the spring-time, all is verdant and full of colour, and the air is laden with the odours of aromatic buds and blossoms. At this time, when the sun has not yet dried out and yellowed the hillsides, the spectacle of the background panorama is most ravishing. Almond, peach, and apricot trees, all covered with a rosy snow of blossoms, are everywhere, and their like is not to be seen elsewhere, for in addition there is here a contrasting frame of greenish-gray olive-trees and punctuating accents of red and yellow wild flowers that is reminiscent of California.

Surrounding the “Petite Mer de Berre” are a half-dozen of unspoiled little towns and villages which are most telling in their beauty and charms: St. Mitre, crowning a hill with a picturesquely roofed Capucin convent for a near neighbour, and with some very substantial remains of its old Saracen walls and gates, is the very ideal of a mediæval hill town; Istres, with its tree-grown chapel, its fortress-like church and its “classic landscape,” is as unlike anything that one sees elsewhere in France as could be imagined; while Miramas, St. Chamas, and Berre, on the north shores of the Étang, though their names even are not known to most travellers, are delightful old towns where it is still possible to live a life unspoiled by twentieth-century inventions and influences.

If the mistral is not blowing, one may make the passage across the Étang, from Martigues to Berre, in one of the local craft known as a “bête,” a name which sounds significant, but which really means nothing. If the north wind is blowing, the journey should be made by train, around the Étang via Marignane. The latter route is cheaper, and one may be saved an uncomfortable, not to say dangerous, experience.

One great and distinct feature of the countryside within a short radius of Marseilles, within which charmed circle lie Martigues and all the surrounding towns of the Étang de Berre, are the cabanons, the modest villas (sic) of these parts, seen wherever there is an outlook upon the sea or a valleyed vista. They cling perilously to the hillsides, wherever enough level ground can be found to plant their foundations, and their gaudy colouring is an ever present feature in the landscape of hill and vale.

The cabanon is really the maison de campagne of the petit bourgeois of the cities and towns. It is like nothing ever seen before, though in the Var, east of Marseilles, the “bastide” is somewhat similar. In its proportions it resembles the log cabin of the Canadian backwoods more than it does the East Indian bungalow, though it is hardly more comfortable or roomy than the wigwam of the red man. Indeed, how could it be, when it consists of but four walls, forming a rectangle of perhaps a dozen feet square, and a roof of red tiles?

If, like the Japanese, the inhabitant of the cabanon likes to carry his household gods about with him, why, then it is quite another thing, and there is some justice in the claim of its occupant that he is enjoying life en villégiature.

Le cabanon: c’est unique et affreux!” said Taine, and, though he was a great grumbler when it came to travel talk, and the above is an unfair criticism of a most intolerant kind, the cabanon really is ludicrous, though often picturesque.

The simple stone hut, with the stones themselves roughly covered with pink or blue stucco, sits, always, facing the south. Before it is a tiny terrace and, since there are often no windows, the general housekeeping is done under an awning, or a lean-to, or a “tonnelle.”

It is not a wholly unlovely thing, a cabanon, but it gets the full benefit of the glaring sunlight on its crude outlines, and, though sylvan in its surroundings, it is seldom cool or shady, as a country house, of whatever proportions or dimensions, ought to be.

Some figures concerning the Étang de Berre are an inevitable outcome of a close observation, so the following are given and vouched for as correct. It is large enough to shelter all the commercial fleet of the Mediterranean and all the French navy as well. For an area of over three thousand hectares, there is a depth of water closely approximating forty feet. Between the Étang and the Mediterranean are the Montagnes de l’Estaque, which for a length of eight kilometres range in height from three hundred to fifteen hundred feet, and would form almost an impenetrable barrier to a fleet which might attack the ships of commerce or war which one day may take shelter in the Étang de Berre. This, if the naval powers-that-be have their way, will some day come to pass. All this is a prophecy, of course, but Elisée Reclus has said that the non-utilization of the Étang de Berre was a scandale économique, which doubtless it is.

In spite of the name “Étang,” the “Petite Mer de Berre” is a veritable inland harbour or rade, closed against all outside attack by its narrow entrance through the elongated Étang de Caronte. That its strategic value to France is fully recognized is evident from the fact that frequently it is overrun by a practising torpedo-boat fleet. What its future may be, and that of the delightful little towns and cities on its shores, is not very clear. There is the possibility of making it the chief harbour on the south coast of France, but hitherto the influences of Marseilles have been too strong; and so this vast basin is as tranquil and deserted as if it were some inlet on the coast of Borneo, and, except for the little lateen-rigged fishing-boats which dot its surface day in and day out throughout the year, not a mast of a goélette and not a funnel of a steamship ever crosses its horizon,—except the manœuvring torpedo-boats.

The Marseillais know this “Petite Mer” and its curious border towns and villages full well. They come to Martigues to eat bouillabaisse of even a more pungent variety than they get at home, and they go to Marignane for la chasse,—though it is only “petits oiseaux” and “plongeurs” that they bag,—and they go to St. Chamas and Berre for the fishing, until the whole region has become a Sunday meeting-place for the Marseillais who affect what they call “le sport.”



On the western shore of the “Petite Mer,” on the edge of the dry, pebbly Crau, with a background of greenish-gray olive groves, is Istres, a chef-lieu not recognized by many geographers out of France, and known by still fewer tourists. Istres is in no way a remarkable place, and its inhabitants live mostly on carp taken from the Étang de l’Olivier, moules, and such poissons de mer as find their way into the “Petite Mer.” Fish diet is not bad, but it palls on one if it is too constant, and the moule is a poor substitute for the clam or oyster. Istres makes salt and soda and not much else, but it is a town as characteristic of the surrounding country as one is likely to find. It grew up from a quasi-Saracen settlement, and down through feudal times it bore some resemblance to what it is to-day, for it numbers but something like three thousand souls. There are remains of its old ramparts which, judging from their aspect, must once have borne some relationship to those of Aigues Mortes.

Truly the landscape round about is weird and strange, but it is superb in its very rudeness, although no one would have the temerity to call it magnificent. There are great hillocks of fossil shells which would delight the geologist, and there are “petits oiseaux” galore for the sportsman.

Twilight seems to be the time of day when all Istres’s strange effects are heightened,—as it is on the Nile,—and it will take no great stretch of the imagination to picture the shores of the Étang as the banks of Egypt’s river. The aspect at the close of day is strange and unforgettable, with the great plain of the Crau stretching away indefinitely, and the blue “nappe” of the Étang likewise indefinitely hazy and tranquil. In spite of its lack of twentieth-century comforts, the seeker after new sensations could do worse than spend a night and a part of a day at Istres’s Hôtel de France, and, if he is a painter, he may spend here a week, a month, or a lifetime and not get bored.

If one happens to be at Istres on the “Jour des Mortes,” in November, he may witness, in the evening, in the cypress-sheltered cemetery, one of the most weird and eerie sights possible to imagine. When Odilon, Abbot of Cluny, established the “Fête des Mortes,” in 998, he little knew the extent to which it would be observed. The “Fête des Mortes” is one thing in the royal crypt at St. Denis and quite another in the small towns and villages up and down the length of France.

It has been commonly thought that Bretagne was the most religious and devout of all the ancient provinces of France, at least that it had become so, whatever may have been its status in the past; but certainly the good folk of Istres are as devout and religious as any community extant, if the wonderfully impressive chanting and illuminating in the graveyard by its old tree-grown chapel count for anything. It is as if the night itself were hung with crêpe, and the hundreds, nay, thousands, of candles set about on the tombs and in the trees heighten the effect of solemnity and sadness to an indescribable degree. In the town the church-bells toll out their doleful knell, and the still air of the night carries the wails and chants of the mourners far out over the barren Crau. It is the same whether it rains or shines, or whether the mistral blows or not. The candles, the mourners, and the little crosses of wheat straws—a symbol of the Resurrection—are as mystical as the rites of the ancients to one who has never seen such a celebration. Decidedly, if one is in these parts on the first day of November, he should come to Istres for the night, or he will have missed an exceedingly interesting chapter from the book of pleasurable travel.

Passing from Istres to the north shore of the Étang, one comes to Miramas.

Miramas is a quaint little longshore town which makes one think of pirates, Saracens, and Moors, all of whom, in days gone by, had a foothold here, if local traditions are to be believed. Miramas and St. Chamas, which is the metropolis of the neighbourhood, though its population only about equals that of Miramas, are twin towns which are quite unlike anything else in these parts in that they are neither progressive nor somnolent, but while away their time in some inexplicable fashion, bathed in the brilliant Mediterranean sunlight reflected from off the surface of the Étang, which stretches at their feet and furnishes the seafood on which the inhabitants mostly live. The chief curiosity of the neighbourhood is the Pont Flavien, which crosses the Touloubre near by, on the “Route d’Aix.” The structure is a monument to Domnius Flavius by his executors Domnius Vena and Attius Rufus. It possesses an elegance and sobriety which many more magnificent works lack, and the classic lines of its superstructure and its great semicircular arch in the twilight carry the observer back to the days of mediævalism.

At St. Chamas one is likely to find his hotel—regardless of which of the two leading establishments he patronizes—most unique in its management, though none the less excellent, enjoyable, and amusing for that. If by chance he reaches the town on a Saturday night and comes upon a grand bal familier in the dining-room, and is himself compelled to eat his dinner at a small table in the office, he must not quarrel, but rest content that he is to be rewarded by a sight which will prove again that it is only the French bourgeois who really and truly knows how to enjoy simple pleasures. Fortnightly, at least, during the winter months this sort of thing takes place, and the young men and maidens, and young mothers and their babies in arms, and old folk, too old indeed to swing partners, form a cordon around the walls to gaze upon the less timid ones who dance with all the abandon of a southern climate until the hour of eleven,—and then to bed. It is all very primitive, the orchestra decidedly so,—a violin and a clarionette, and always a Provençal tambourine, which is not a tambourine at all, but a drum,—but an occasional glimpse of a beautiful Arlesienne will truly repay one for any discomfort to which he may have been put.

St. Chamas is renowned through Provence from the fact that commerce in the olive first came to its great proportions through the perspicuity of one of the local cultivators. It was he who first had the idea of preparing for market the “olive-picholine,” or green briny olive, which figures so universally on dining-tables throughout the world. In some respects they may not equal the “queen olives” of Spain; but the olives of Provence have a delicacy that is far more subtle, and the real enthusiast will become so addicted to eating the olive of Provence on its native heath that it will become an incurable habit, like cigarettes or golf.

From St. Chamas to Berre is scarce a dozen kilometres, but, to the traveller from the north, the journey will be full of marvels and surprises. The panorama which unfolds itself at every step is of surpassing beauty, though not so very grand or magnificent.

“La Petite Mer” is in full view, the opposite shore lost in the refulgence of a reflected glow, as if it were the open sea itself. All around its rim are the rocky hills, of which the highest, the Tête Noire, rises to perhaps fifteen hundred feet.

Everywhere there are goats, and many of them great long-haired beasts, the females of which give an unusually abundant supply of milk. For a long period, on the shores of the Étang de Berre, there were no cows, and the inhabitants depended for their milk-supply solely upon the goat, which the French properly enough call “la vache du pauvre.” Like the love of the olive, that for goat’s milk is an acquired taste.

The first apparition of the city of Berre is charming, and, like Martigues, it is a sort of a cross between Venice and Amsterdam. Its streets, like its canals and basins, are narrow and winding, though for the most part it stretches itself out along one slim thoroughfare. Its aspect, apparently, has not changed in thirty years, when Taine wrote his impressions of “ces rues d’une étroitesse étonnante.” He made a further comment which does not hold true to-day. He said that there was an infectious odour of concentrated humanity, with the dust and mud of centuries still over all. From the very paradox of the description it is not difficult to infer that he nodded, and assuredly Berre is not to-day, if it ever was, sale, comme si depuis le commencement des siècles.

All the same Berre is not a progressive town, as is shown by the fact that between the two last censuses its population has fallen from eighteen hundred to fifteen. However, its trade has increased perceptibly, thanks to the salt works here, and the tiny port gave a haven, in the year past, to a hundred craft averaging a hundred tons each.

Northward from the shores of the Étang de Berre lies Salon, the most commercial of all the cities and towns between Arles and Marseilles. Differing greatly from the lowlands lying round about, Salon is the centre of a verdant garden-spot reclaimed by the monks of St. Sauveur from an ancient marshy plain. In reality the town owes its existence to Jeanne de Naples, who, forced to flee from her kingdom in 1357, dreamed of establishing another here in Provence. She actually did take up a portion of the country, and the village of Salon, through the erection of a donjon and a royal residence, took on some of the characteristics of a capital.

In spite of its royal patronage, the chief deity of Salon was Nostradamus, who was born at St. Rémy, of Jewish parents, in 1503. Destined for the medical profession, he completed his studies at Montpellier and retired to Salon to produce that curious work called “Centuries,” he having come to believe that he was possessed of the spirit of prophecy to such an extent that his mission was really to enlighten rather than cure the world.

Michael Nostradamus and his prophecies created some stir in the world, for it was a superstitious age. The Medici was doing her part in the patronizing of astrologers and necromancers, and promptly became a patron of this new seer of Provence, though never forswearing allegiance to her pet Ruggieri. It is on record that Catherine got a horoscope of the lives of her sons from Nostradamus and showed him great deference.

After this all the world of princes and seigneurs flocked to the prophet’s house at Salon, which became a veritable shrine, with a living deity to do the honours. To-day one may see his tomb in the parish church of St. Laurent.

The traffic in olives and olive-oil is very considerable at Salon; indeed, one may say that it is the centre of the industry in all Provence, for the olives known as “Bouches-du-Rhône” are the most sought for in the French market, and bring a higher price than those of the Var, or of Spain, Sicily, or Tunis.

Not far from the northern shores of the Étang de Berre, just above Salon, runs the great national highway from Paris to Antibes, branching off to Marseilles just before reaching Aix-en-Provence. The railway also passes through the heart of the same region; but, in spite of it all, only few really know the lovely country round about.

The region is historic ground, though in detail it perhaps has not the general interest of the Campagne d’Arles or Vaucluse; still it has an abounding interest for the traveller by road, and nowhere will one find a greater variety of topography or a pleasanter, milder land than in this neglected corner of Provence.

The roads here are flat, level stretches, five, ten, or more kilometres in length, and are as straight as an arrow. There is a kilometre stretch just west of Salon that the Automobile Club de France has adjudged to be perfectly level, and there a road-devouring monster of 200 h.p. recently made a world’s record for the flying kilometre of 20¾ seconds.

The Kilometre West of Salon

The Kilometre West of Salon

Before returning to the shores of the Étang de Berre, one should make a détour to Roquefavour and Ventabren. One finds a complete change of scene and colouring, quite another atmosphere in fact, and yet it is only a scant ten kilometres off the route.

The château and aqueduct of Roquefavour are each a sermon in stone, the latter one of those engineering feats of modern times, which, unlike wire-rope bridges and sky-scrapers, have something of the elements of beauty in their make-up.

Near by, on a rocky promontory, with a base so firm that all the winds of the four quarters could never shake its foundations, is the significantly named village of Ventabren. All about are the ruins of the magnificence which had existed before, somewhat reminiscent of Les Baux, while beneath flows the river Arc, the alluvial soil of whose bed has proved so advantageous to the vine-culture hereabouts.

The aqueduct of Roquefavour has not had the benefit of six centuries of aging possessed by that similar work near Nîmes, the Pont du Gard of Agrippa; but it harmonizes wonderfully with the surrounding landscape, in spite of the fact that it is only a mid-nineteenth-century work, built to conduct water to Marseilles from far up the valley of the Durance. Overhead, and beneath the ground, for 122 kilometres, runs the canal until here, where it crosses the Arc, the monumental viaduct has proved to be a more stupendous work than any undertaken by the Romans, who, supposedly, were the master builders of aqueducts.

On returning to the Étang, and after passing several perilously perched hillside villages, one comes suddenly to Marignane, a name which is little known or recognized. The town is very contracted, and it is wofully lacking in every modern convenience, except the electric light, which, curiously enough, its more opulent neighbour, Martigues, lacks.

Marignane preserves traces of the Roman occupation, though what its status among the cities of the ancient Provincia may have been will perhaps ever remain in doubt. Principally it will be loved for its château of Renaissance times, which belonged to Mirabeau’s mother, who was of the seigneurial family of Marignane. It is not a remarkably beautiful building, but it is a satisfactory one in every way, and, though now in a state of decrepitude, it is a monumental reminder of other days and other ways. The Hôtel de Ville occupies the old château, but nothing very lively ever takes place there except the civil marriages of the commune, participants in which would, it seems, rather have the knot tied there than in any other similar edifice. Only the façade misses being a ruin, but all parts preserve the elegance—in suggestion, at least—of its former glory, and the great state chamber has been well preserved and cared for.

Formerly the town had the usual fortifications with which important mediæval cities were surrounded, but they have now disappeared, and one will have to turn his steps to Salon for any ruins that suggest feudalism.

There has ever been a contention between archæologists and historians as to the exact location of the Maritima of Pliny and Ptolemy, a designation given to a colony of Avatici, in the days when the sea power of the Greeks and Romans seemed likely never to wane. The question is still unsettled and crops up again and again.

Marignane, on the shores of the Étang de Bolmon,—an offshoot of that wonderfully fascinating Étang de Berre,—was, perhaps, the ancient Maritima Colonia Avaticorum, and Martigues, its grander and better known neighbour, may have borne the title of Maritima Colonia Anatiliorum. As a mere matter of title, it is a fine distinction anyway, but everything points to the fact that the ancients had a great port somewhere on the shores of this landlocked Étang. Just where this may have been, and what its name was, is not so clear to-day, for there is scarcely more than a dozen feet of water in the shallow parts of the Étang, and this fact of itself would seem to preclude that it was ever a rival of the great ports of the Mediterranean of other days. The speculation, at any rate, will give food for thought to any who are interested, and whether this same Étang ever becomes, as is prophesied, a great series of ports and docks which will more than rival Marseilles, does not matter in the least. To-day the Étang de Berre is quite unspoiled in all the charm and novelty of its environment and of the little salt-water towns which surround it.



THE Bouches-du-Rhône, like the delta of the Mississippi, is a great sprawling area of sandbars and currents of brackish water. For miles in any direction, as the eye turns, it is as if a bit of water-logged Holland had been transported to the Mediterranean, with sand-dunes and a scrubby growth of furze as the only recognizable characteristics.

As a great and useful waterway, the Rhône falls conspicuously from the position which it might have occupied had nature given it a more regular and dependable flow of water.

The canals from Beaucaire through the Camargue and from Arles to the Golfe de Fos are the only things that make possible water communication between the Mediterranean and the towns and cities of the mid-Rhône valley.

Bouches-du-Rhône to Marseilles

Bouches-du-Rhône to Marseilles

The Golfe des Lions, or the Golfe de Lyon, as it is frequently called, is the great bay lying between the coast of the Narbonnaise and the headlands just to the eastward of Marseilles. It is a tempestuous body of water, when the north wind blows, and travellers by sea, in and out of Marseilles, have learned to dread it as if it were the Bay of Biscay itself.

Just eastward of the mouths of the Rhône is a smaller indentation in the coast-line, the Golfe de Fos, known to mariners as being the best anchorage between Marseilles and the Bouches-du-Rhône, and which has received a local name of “Anse du Repos” and “Mouillage d’Aigues douces.”

Surrounding the Golfe de Fos, and indeed west of the Rhône, are numerous ponds and marshy bays, similar to the great inland sea of Berre. The Golfe de Fos is generally thought to be the ancient Mer Avatique, one of whose salty arms is known as “l’Estomac,” probably a corruption of an old Provençal expression, lou stoma, or perhaps because it is the site of a colony of the Marseillais known as Stoma Limne, which was established here a century before the beginning of the Christian era.

Later the Senate of Rome designated Marius as governor of the region, and he came with his legions and established himself here at the mouth of the Rhône. He even attempted the then gigantic work of cutting a free waterway from Arles to the sea, and thus arose—on this spot, beyond a doubt, if circumstantial history counts for anything—the Port des Fossés Mariennes which for a long time has been so great a speculation to French historians.

The port became the faubourg maritime of Arles, as did the Piræus for Athens. It was at this time that the name of Lion, or Lyon, was given to the great bay which washes the coast of the ancient Narbonnaise. It grew up from the fact that the Arlesien shipping was ever in evidence on its waters, bearing aloft their flags and banners “blazoned with lions.” As the number of these ships of Arles was great, the name came gradually to be adopted. The explanation seems plausible, and the countless thousands who now traverse its waters in great steamships, coming and going from Marseilles, need no longer speculate as to the origin of the name.

The disappearance of the Roman Empire caused the decadence of the Fossis Marianis, as the name had been modified, and the invasion of the barbarians drove the inhabitants to the neighbouring heights, which they fortified. This Castrum de Fossis became in time the Château des Fossés Mariennes, and what is left of it, or at least the site, is so known to-day. In the middle ages the town became a Marquisat belonging to the Vicomtes de Marseille, but in 1393 it bought its freedom and became a communauté.



To-day the little town of Fos-sur-Mer is a queer mixture of the old and new, of indolence and industry; but the complex sky-line of its old château, seen over the marshes, is as fairylike and mediæval as old Carcassonne itself; which is saying the most that can be said of a crumbling old walled town. It is not so grand, nor indeed so well preserved, as Carcassonne, but it has all the characteristics, if in a lesser degree.

Fos has a wonderful industry in the manufacture of paper and cellulose from the alfa, a textile plant which grows in abundance on the high plateaux of Algeria. Added, in certain proportions, to the cane or bamboo of Provence, it produces a most excellent fibre for the fabrication of high-grade papers; in a measure a very good imitation of the fine vellum and parchment papers of Japan and China.

From Fos it is but a step to Port de Bouc, the more modern neighbour, and the gateway by which the products of the Fos of to-day reach the outside world.

Here, in miniature, are all the indications of a world-port. It is a picturesque waterside town, the tall chimneys of its factories, the masts and funnels of the ships at its quays, and the tall spars of the lateen-rigged “tartanes,” all producing a wonderfully serrated sky-line of the kind loved by artists; but, oh! so difficult for them to reproduce satisfactorily. Besides these features there is also the near-by fort and the lighthouse which gleams forth a sailor’s warning a dozen miles out to sea. The hum of industry and the generally imposing aspect of the port leads one to suppose, from a distance, that the town is vastly more populous than it really is; but for all that it is an interesting note in one’s itinerary along Mediterranean shores.

The whole range of hills south of Martigues, and bordering upon the Mediterranean itself, is a round of tiny hill towns, which, like St. Pierre and Chateauneuf, dot the landscape with their spires of wrought iron surmounting the belfries of their yellow stone churches and presenting a grouping quite foreign to most things seen in France. They are not Italian and they are not Spanish, neither are they any distinct French type; hence they can only be classed as exotics which have taken root from some previous importation.

One’s itinerary along the Provençal coast, from the mouths of the Rhône toward Marseilles, comes abruptly to a stop when he reaches the height of Cap Couronne, which rises just east of the entrance to the Étang de Caronte, and sees that wonderful panorama of the Golfe de Lyon, with the distant pall of smoky industry at its extreme eastern horizon.

Roadside Chapel, St. Pierre

Roadside Chapel, St. Pierre

The name Couronne is certainly apropos of this dominant headland, under whose flanks are innumerable natural shelters and anchorages. The application of the name has a more practical side, however. In Provençal the word “cairon” means limestone, and, since there have been for ages past great limestone quarries here, it is not difficult to recognize the origin of the name.

The dusts of the great routes of travel are left behind as one climbs the gentle slope of the Estaque range from Martigues. After having passed the rock-cut village of St. Pierre and ascended the incline on the opposite side of the valley, he finds himself on the height of Cap Couronne, and the Mediterranean itself bursts all at once upon his gaze, in much the same fashion as the dawn comes up at Mandalay.

Cap Couronne plunges abruptly at one’s feet, and the shadowy outlines of the distant flat shores of the Bouches-du-Rhône lie to the westward, while directly east is the most wonderfully light rose and purple promontory that one may see outside of Capri and the Bay of Naples. It is the eastern side of Marseilles, which itself, with its spouting chimneys, accents the brilliant landscape in a manner which, if not ideal, is, at least, not offensive.

Who among our modern artists could do this view justice? The blue of the cloudless sky; the ultramarine waves; and the shabby selvage of smoke, all blending so marvellously with the pink and purple of the setting sun. Turner might have done it in times past; doubtless could have done so; and Whistler—waiting until a little later in the evening—would have made a symphony of it; but any living artist, called to mind at the moment, would have bungled it sadly. It is one of those wide-open seascapes which the art-lover must see au naturel in order to worship. Nothing on the Riviera—that cinematograph of magic panoramas—can equal or surpass the late afternoon view from Cap Couronne.

Before one descends upon Marseilles from the Estaque, he comes upon the little village of Carry.

Of the antiquity of the little fishing-port there is no question, but it is doubtful if the hordes of Marseillais who come here in summer, to eat bouillabaisse on the verandas of its restaurants and hotels, know, or care, anything of this.

As the Incarrus Posito, it had an existence long before bouillabaisse was ever thought of, at least by its present name. It was one of the advance-posts of the Massaliotes when Marseilles was the Massalia of the Greeks.

Carry, with its port, and the château of M. Philippe Jourde, a Frenchman who won his fortune on the field of commerce in the United States, is delightful, but it is not usually accounted one of the sights that is worth the while of the Riviera tourist to go out of his way to see.

Within the grounds of the château have been brought to light within recent years many monumental remains; one bearing the two following inscriptions bespeaks an antiquity contemporary with the early years of the building up of Marseilles:

  AES     AVC
IP       CAIII

    I.    S.             D.

Besides this, marbles, mosaics, pottery, coins, and even precious metals have been found. Carry may then have been something more than a fortress outpost, or a fishing-village; it may have been a Pompeii.

Almost at one’s elbow is Marseilles itself, brilliant and burning with the feverish energies of a great mart of trade, and bathed in the dark blue of the Mediterranean and the lighter blue of the skies. Beyond are the isles of the bay and the rocky promontories to the eastward, while to the northeast are the heights of the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes. Truly the kaleidoscopic first view of the “Porte de l’Orient” fully justifies any rhapsodies. There is but one other view in all France at all approaching it in splendour,—that of Rouen from the height of Bon Secours,—and that, in effect, is quite different.

One’s approach to Marseilles by rail from the north is equally a reminder of a theatrical transformation scene, such as one has when he reaches Rouen or Cologne; a sudden unfolding of new and strange beauties of prospect, which are nothing if not startling. The railway runs for many minutes in the obscurity of the Tunnel de la Nerthe before it finally debouches on the southern gorges of the Estaque Range, the same which flanks the coast all the way from Marseilles to the entrance to the Étang de Berre.

Pines and boursailles and rocky hillocks, set out here and there with olive-trees, form the immediate foreground, while that distant horizon of blue, which is everywhere along the Mediterranean, forms a background which is softer and more sympathetic than that of any other known body of water, salt or fresh, great or small.

At the base of the first foot-hills of the Estaque lies Marseilles, a city enormously alive with industry and all the cosmopolitan life of one of the most important—if not the greatest—of all world-ports. Here human industry has transformed a naturally beautiful and commodious situation into a mighty hive of affairs, where its long, straight streets only end at the water’s edge, and the basins and docks are simply great rectangular gulfs, seemingly endless in their immensity. Great towering chimney-stacks of brick punctuate the landscape here and there, and the masts of vessels and the funnels of steamships carry still further the idea of energetic restlessness.

Offshore are the innumerable rocky islets, seemingly merely moored in the sea, around which skim myriads of sailing-vessels and steamers, quite in the ceaseless manner of cinematograph pictures, while an occasional black cloud of smoke indicates the presence of a great liner from the Far East, making port with its cargo of humanity and the silks and spices of the Orient.

The view of the waterside and offshore Marseilles, with the harmonious Mediterranean blue blending into all, is transplendent in its loveliness. Nothing is green or gray, as it is at Bordeaux, or Nantes, or Le Havre; and none of the fog or smoke of the great cities of mid-France, of Paris, of Lyons, or of St. Étienne is here visible; instead all is brilliant—garishly brilliant, if you like, but still harmoniously so—in a blend that compels admiration.

Marseilles is a great conglomerate city made up by the intermingling of the neighbouring villages, bourgs, and petites villes until they have quite lost their own identity in the communion of the greater.

Some day the Rhône will empty itself into the great Bassins of the port of Marseilles; that is, if the moving of the traffic of the port to the Étang de Berre at Martigues and Berre does not take place, which is unlikely. When the chalands and péniches du nord can come from Le Havre, from Rouen, from Antwerp, and from Paris direct to the quays of Marseilles, by way of the canals and the Rhône, an additional prosperity will have come to this greatest of all Mediterranean ports. No more will it be a struggle with Genoa and Triest; and Marseilles will grow still grander and more lively and cosmopolitan.

In her efforts in this direction Marseilles has found an ardent ally in Lyons, whose Chamber of Commerce has ever lent its aid toward this end, burying all jealousies as to which shall become the second city of France. Lyons, be it understood, great and industrious as it is, is at a distinct disadvantage in transportation matters by reason of its geographical position, although it already possesses at Port St. Louis, at the mouth of the Grand Rhône, a port of transhipment for all cumbersome goods which proceed by way of the towed convoys of the Rhône canals. With direct communication with Marseilles one handling will be saved and much money, hence all Lyonnais pray for this new state of affairs to be speedily brought about. The day when the chalands of the Seine can meet the navaires of La Joliette, Marseilles will surpass Antwerp and Hamburg, say the Marseillais.



MARSEILLES has more than once been called the Babylon of the south, and with truth, for such a babel of many tongues is to be heard in no Latin or Teuton city in the known world.

At Marseilles all is tumultuous and gay, and the Cannebière is the gayest of all. Mèry perpetuated its fame, or at any rate spread it far and wide, when he said, “Si Paris avait une Cannebière, ce serait un petit Marseille.” It is not a long thoroughfare, this Cannebière, in spite of its extension in the Rue de Noailles, but its animation and its gaiety give it an incontestable air of grandeur which many more pretentious thoroughfares entirely lack. Lyons has more beautiful streets, and Paris has avenues and boulevards more densely thronged, but the Cannebière has a character that is all its own, and a reputation for worldliness which it lives up to in every particular. In reality the Cannebière is Marseilles, the palpitating heart of the second city of France. One does not need to go far away, however, before he comes to the tranquillity and convention of the average provincial capital, and for this reason this great street of luxurious shops and grand hotels is the more remarkable, and the contrast the more absolute. By ten o’clock the whole city of convention sleeps, but the Cannebière and its cafés are as full of light and noise as ever, and remain so until one or two in the morning.

Not only does the Cannebière captivate the stranger, but each of the various quartiers does the same, until one realizes that the life of Marseilles unrolls itself as does no other in provincial France. The arts, science, industry, commerce, and the shipping all have their separate and distinct quarters, where the life of their own affairs is ceaseless and brings a content which only comes from industry. Twenty-five centuries have rolled by since the foundations of the present prosperity of Marseilles were laid, and nowhere has the star of progress burned more brilliantly.

Fortunate among all other great cities, Marseilles has preserved all the essential elements of its former glory and opulence, and even added to them with the advance of ages, remaining meanwhile “encore jeune, souriante, robuste, comme si le temps ne pouvait rien sur sa force sereine, sur sa triomphante beauté.”

Save the Byzance of antiquity, no seaport of history has enjoyed a rôle so brilliant or so extended as Marseilles. The great maritime cities of antiquity have disappeared, but Marseilles goes on aggrandizing itself for ever, with—in spite of very general transformation—the impress of the successive epochs, Greek, Roman, Frankish, and feudal, still in evidence, here and there where the memory of some quaint and bygone custom is unearthed or some mediæval monument is brought to light.

By no means is all of the butterfly order here in the Mediterranean metropolis. “Les affaires” are very serious affairs, and profitable ones to those engaged in their pursuit, and the Marseillais business man is as keen as his fellows anywhere. There is also a life redolent of science and art, as vivid as that of the capital itself, and the press of Marseilles is one of the most literary in a nation of literary newspapers. Taine slandered Marseilles when he said that it was wholly given up to “la grosse joie,” as he did also when he said that the pleasure of its inhabitants was to make money out of breadstuffs or gamble in oil, or some such words. And Taine was a Marseillais, too.

Here, as in many others of the old-world cities of France, are streets so narrow that a cart may not turn around in them, all busy with the little affairs of the lower classes, full of taverns, bars and débits de vin, cheap cafés-chantants,—from which the stranger had best keep out,—and from one end to the other full of straggling sailors of all nationalities and tongues under the sun.

This population of sailors and dock-labourers is of a certain doubtful social probity, but all the same the spectacle is unique, and far more edifying to witness than a midnight ramble through San Francisco’s Chinatown, though perhaps more fraught with danger to one’s person.

The Rue de la République has pushed its way through this old quartier, but it has brought with it none of the modern life of the newer parts of the town, and the narrow, tortuous streets around and about the “Hôtel Dieu” are as brutally uncouth as any old-time quarter of a great city peopled by the poorer classes; with this difference, that at Marseilles everything, good, bad, and indifferent, is exaggerated.

It is here in this old quarter that one finds the true type of the Marseillais as he was in other days, if one knows where to look for him, and what he looks like when he meets him, for Marseilles is so full of strange men and women that the bird of passage is likely enough to confound Greek with Jew and Lascar with Arab, to say nothing of the difficulty of putting the Maltese and Portuguese in their proper places in the medley. When it comes to distinguishing the Provençal from the Marseillais and the Niçois from the Catalan, the task is more difficult still.

The Marseillais pur sang (except that it has been many centuries since he has been pur sang) is a unique type among the inhabitants of France, the product of many successive immigrations from most of the Mediterranean countries. He is indeed an extraordinary development, though in no way outré or unsympathetic, in spite of being a bloodthirsty-looking individual. To describe him were impossible. The Marseillais is a Marseillais by his dark complexion, by his svelte figure, and by the exuberance of his gestures and his voice. Always ready for adventure or pleasure, he is the very stuff of which the sea-rovers of another day were made.

The Marseillais has been portrayed by many a French writer, and his virtues have been lauded and his faults exposed. Mèry, a Marseillais himself, has traced an amusing character, while Edmond About and Taine were both struck by the Marseillais love of lucre and violent amusements. Alexandre Dumas has drawn more or less idyllic portraits of him.

The topographical transformation of Marseilles in recent times has been great. It was the first among the great cities of France to cut new streets and build sumptuous modern palaces devoted to civic affairs. The Rue de la République, if still lined in part with inferior houses, is nevertheless one of the fine thoroughfares of the world. Its laying out was a colossal task, cutting through the most solidly built and most ancient quarter of the city. Neither the aristocratic nor the bourgeois population have ever come to it for business or residence, but it serves the conduct of affairs in a way which the tortuous streets of the old régime would not have done. Many of the great avenues of the city are as grand in their way as the best and most aristocratic of those in Paris, and the world of commerce, of the Bourse, and of the liberal professions, lives surrounded by as much sumptuousness and good taste as the same classes in the capital itself. In other words, “la société Marseillais” is no less endowed with good taste and the love of luxurious appointments and surroundings than is the most Parisian of Parisian circles,—a term which has come to mean much in the refinements of modern life. “Des plaisirs bruyants et grossiers” may have struck the Taines of a former day, but the twentieth-century student of men and affairs will not place the Marseillais and the things of his household very far down in the social scale, provided he is possessed of a mind which is trained to make just estimates.

Le Prado is another of the fine streets of Marseilles. It is a majestic boulevard, the continuation of the Rue de Rome, beyond the Place Castellane. Practically it is a great tree-bordered avenue, which is lined with the gardens of handsome villas. It is as attractive as Unter den Linden or the Champs Élysées.

Marseilles has many specialities. Bouillabaisse is one of them; flowers, which you buy at a ridiculous low price at those curious little pulpits which line the Cours St. Louis, are another; and a third are the strawberries, which are here brought to one’s door and sold in all the perfection of fresh picked fruit. They are sold in “pots” of porous stone, covered with a peculiar gray paper, and the size and capacity of the “pots” is regulated by a municipal decree. The “grand pot” must contain four hundred grammes, and the “petit pot” two hundred. All of which is vastly more satisfactory for the purchaser than the false-bottomed box of America or the underweighted scales of the greengrocer in England.

Flower Market, Cours St. Louis

Flower Market, Cours St. Louis

This “pot-à-fraise” of Marseilles is a commodity strictly local, and no fresh fruit is more in demand in season than the strawberries of Roquevaire, Beaudinard, and Aubagne. The season’s consumption of strawberries at Marseilles is 350,000 litres.

The street cries of Marseilles may not be as famous as those of London, but they are many and lively nevertheless. Fish, fruit, and many other things form the burden of the cries one hears at Marseilles in these days; but, like most of the picturesque old customs, this is being crowded out. The itinerant vitrier still makes his round, however, and you may hear him any day:

“Encore un carreau cassé
Voici le vitrier qui passe....”

In this connection it is interesting to recall that all glass made in Provence in the thirteenth century was by authorization of the Bishop of Marseilles, and that the industry was entirely in the hands of the Chartreux monks. Only in the fifteenth century, at the hands of the good King René, did the trade receive any extension.

The fishing industry has ever been prominent in the minor affairs of Marseilles. The ancient Provençal government guaranteed the fishing rights to certain “patrons pêcheurs,” and, when the province was united with the Crown of France, in 1481, the Grand Seneschal confirmed the privileges in the name of Louis XI. They were again confirmed, in 1536, by François I., and in 1557 by Henri II.

By letters patent, in December, 1607, Henri IV. gave a permit to the pêcheurs of Marseilles which allowed them to sell their fish in all villes de mer that they might choose, and to be free from paying any tax for the privilege. Thus it is seen that from the very earliest times the traffic was one which was bound to prosper and add to the city’s wealth and independence.

Louis XIII. was even more liberal. He extended the right of control of the fishing, even by strangers, to the “Prud’hommes de Marseilles” (a sort of a fishing guild, which endures even unto to-day), and forbade any taking of fish between Cap Couronne and Cap de l’Aigle, except with their permission.

Louis XIV., on a certain occasion, when he was passing through Marseilles, confirmed all that his predecessors had granted, and further accorded them 3,500 minots of salt, at a price of eleven livres per minot.

The “Prud’hommes” formed a sort of court or tribunal which regulated all disputes between members. To open a case one merely had to deposit two sols in a box, the contents of which were destined for the poor (the other side contributing also), and four of the chosen number of the “Prud’hommes” sat in judgment upon the question at issue. The loser was addressed in the short and explicit formula, “La loi vous condamne,” and forthwith he either had to pay up, or his boats and nets were seized. “Never was there a law so efficacious,” says the historian of this interesting guild; and all will be inclined to agree with him.

The “Prud’hommes” of Marseilles still exist as an institution, but their picturesque costume of other days has, it is needless to say, disappeared. The old-time “Prud’homme,” with a Henri Quatre mantle, a velvet toque for a hat, and a two-handed sword, would be a strange figure on the streets of up-to-date Marseilles.

The amateur fisherman in France is not the minor factor that English Nimrods would have one believe, though the mere taking of fish is a side issue with him. Not always does he make of it a solitary occupation. At Marseilles he has his “fishing excursions” and his “chowder-parties,” and the deep-sea fishing bouts held off the Provençal coast would do credit to a Rockaway skipper.

Read the following announcement of the banquet of “La Société de Pêche la Girelle” of Marseilles, culled from a morning paper:

“Members will meet at six o’clock in the morning, and will leave for the Planier (Marseilles’ great far-reaching light) grounds ‘sur le bateau à vapeur le Cannois;’ the overflow in small boats. To return at noon for a grand banquet chez Mistral. Bouillabaisse et toute le reste.”

Another great passion of the Marseillais, of all classes, is for the “campagne.” The wealthy commerçant has his sumptuous villa—always gaily built, but a sad thing from an architectural point of view—in the valley of the Huveaune, or on the slopes of the “Corniche” overlooking the Mediterranean. The petit bourgeois, the shopkeeper or the man of small affairs, contents himself with a cabanon, but it is his maison de campagne just the same. It is merely a stone hut with a tiny terrace fronting it on the sunny side, sheltered by a tonnelle, and that is all. The proprietor of this grand affair spends his Sundays and his fête-days throughout the year here on the slope of some rocky hill overlooking the sea, sleeps on a camp bedstead, and goes out early in the morning pour la pêche, in the hope of taking fish enough to make his bouillabaisse. Probably he will catch nothing, but he will have his bouillabaisse just the same, even if he has to go back to town to get it in a quayside restaurant. This is a simple and healthful enough way to spend one’s time assuredly, so why cavil at it, in spite of its ludicrous and juvenile side,—a sort of playing at housekeeping.

The cabanons are numerous for miles around Marseilles in every direction, above all on the hills overlooking the sea and in the valleys of the Oriol, the Berger, and the Huveaune, in fact, in any ravine where one may gain a foothold and hire a pied-de-terre for fifty to a hundred francs a year.

The real traveller of enthusiasm, the kind that Sterne wrote for when he said “let us go to France,” will not be content merely to know Marseilles, the town, but will wander afield to Estaque, to Allauch, to Les Aygalades, and to any and all of the scores of excursion points which the Marseillais, more than the inhabitants of any other city in France, are so fond of visiting. Then, and then only, will one know the real life of the Marseillais.

The tour of the shores of the golfe alone will occupy a week of one’s time very profitably, be he poet or painter.

At Les Aygalades are the remains of a Carmelite chapel, which came under the special patronage of King René of Anjou, also a château constructed for the Maréchal de Villars.

A Cabanon

A Cabanon

Back of the Bassin d’Arenc is a hamlet, now virtually a part of Marseilles itself, perched high upon a hill, from which one gets a marvellous panorama of all the life of the great seaport.

Seon-Saint-André was formerly a suburb composed entirely of vineyards, where picturesque peasants worked and sang as they do in opera, and spent their evenings rejoicing over the one great meal of the day. To-day all suggestion of this rural and sylvan life has disappeared, and brick-yards and soap-factories furnish an entirely different colour scheme for one’s canvas.

At St. Julien Cæsar had one of his many camps which he so plentifully scattered over Gaul, and, as usual, he selected it with judgment; certainly nothing but modern engines of war could ever have successfully attacked his intrenchments from land or sea.

All the country immediately back of Marseilles to the eastward was, in a former day, covered with a dense forest. A breach was made in it by Charles IX., who had not the least notion of what the preservation of the kingdom’s resources meant, though another monarch, René d’Anjou, came here frequently to the tiny chapel of St. Marguerite—the remains of which still exist in the suburb of the same name—to pray that he might be favoured by capturing “the deer of many horns.” From this latter fact it may be inferred that he was a true lover and preserver of forests, like the later François of Renaissance times.

Offshore the islands of the bay contain much of historic interest, including the Château d’If with all its array of fact and romance, the Iles Pomegue and Rattonneau, and the Ile de Riou. The latter lies just eastward of the Planier and is so small as to be hardly recognizable on the map, and yet prolific in the remains of a civilization of another day. It was only within the present year (1905) that an engraved silex was discovered buried in its sandy soil. This stone was identical with those inscribed stones found in Egypt from time to time, and dating from a period long previous to any recorded history of that country.

This sermon in stone was presented to the French Academy of Inscriptions, and by them thought to prove that the Egyptians, even as far back as prehistoric times, had already learned the art of navigation by small craft (for they were then ignorant of working in metal), and in some considerable body had settled here in the neighbourhood of Marseilles long before the Phoceans. This is all conjecture of course, as the stone may have been a fragment of a larger morsel which formed the anchor of some fishing-boat, or a piece of ballast taken aboard off the Egyptian coast, which ultimately found a resting-place here on Riou. It may be, even, that some “collector” of ages ago brought the stone here as a curio; in short, it may have been transported by any one of a hundred ways and at almost any time. At any rate, it is all guesswork, regardless of the sensation which the finding of it made among archæologists; but it proves that all is not yet known of ancient history.

It is a remarkable view, looking landwards, that one gets from the height of the donjon of the Château d’If. Back of the city, which itself is but a short three miles distant, is a wonderful framing of mountainous rocks and gray hills set about with olive and fig trees, while in the immediate foreground is a forest of masts and belching, smoky chimneys which give a distance and transparency to the view which is almost too picturesque to be true. It is no dream, however, and there is nothing of illusion about it, and soon a tiny steamboat will have brought one back to shore and all the excitable diversions of the Cannebière. One makes his way to shore around and behind innumerable bales, boxes, and baskets, coils of rope, charrettes and camions, and treads gingerly over sleeping roustabouts and sailors.

The docks and quays of Marseilles will have a surprise for those familiar only with the ports of La Manche and the western ocean. High or low water there makes a considerable economic and picturesque difference, but in the Mediterranean there is always a regular depth of water; its level is always practically the same, and fishing-boats and great Eastern liners alike come and go without thought of tides or dock-gates.

The commerce of Marseilles is, as might be expected, highly varied, and the flags of all the great and small commercial nations are at one time or another within its port, whose importations—not counting the orange boats—greatly exceed the exports. Nearly a third of the imports are made up of cereals, Marseilles being by far the greatest port of entry in France for this class of product. Russia, Turkey, Algeria, the Indies, and America send their wheat, Piedmont and Asia their rice, Algeria, Tunis, and Russia their barley, while beans are sent in great quantities from the ports of the Black Sea.

Marseilles is the centre, the most important in all France, for the production of all manner of oils, vegetable, mineral, and animal. Petroleum, cotton-seed, the olive, and many kindred fruits and berries all go to make possible a vast industry which is famous throughout the world.

Sugar-refining, too, is of great proportions here, and the trade of importing and exporting the raw and refined sugars amounts to over one hundred millions of kilos per year. Of the raw sugar imported, more than two-thirds comes from the French colonies, so that, with the enormous production of beet-sugar as well, France alone, of all European nations, has the sugar question solved.

Coffee forms a considerable part of the trade of Marseilles, sixteen to twenty thousand tons being handled in one year. This of course demonstrates that the French are great coffee-drinkers, though the palm goes to Holland for the greatest consumption per capita. Cocoa and coffee come to France in large quantities from Brazil, and pepper from Indo-China.

It is an interesting fact to record that the receipts of cotton in the port of Marseilles are steadily on the decrease, by far the largest bulk now being delivered at Le Havre and Rouen by reason of their proximity to the great cotton-manufacturing centres in Normandy, while the mills in the east of France choose to bring their supplies through the gateway of Antwerp. The traffic at Marseilles has fallen, accordingly, from 125,000 bales in 1876 to less than 50,000 at the present day. On the other hand, the importation of the cocoons of the silkworm finds its natural gateway at Marseilles, this being the most direct route from China, Japan, Turkey, Greece, and Austria to the factories of Lyons.

Marseilles is the centre of the soap industry of the world, situated as it is in the very heart of the region of the olive, which makes not only the olive-oil of commerce but the best of common soaps as well, including the famous Castile soap, which has deserted Castile for Marseilles. One hundred and twenty-one million kilos of soap are made here every year, of which a fifth part, at least, is exported to all corners of the globe, the bulk being taken by the French colonies.

Marseilles in 1640

Marseilles in 1640

The passenger traffic of the great liners which come and go from this, the chief port of the south of Europe, is vast. The movement of paquebots and courriers is incessant, not only those that go to the Mediterranean ports of Algeria, Spain, Tunis, Corsica, Italy, Greece, Turkey, the Black Sea, and all those queer and little known ports of the near East as well, but also the great liners, French, English, German, Dutch, and Italian, which make the round voyages to the Far East and Australia with the regularity of Atlantic liners, but with vastly more romance about them, for the death-dealing pace of twenty-two or twenty-three knots an hour is unknown under the sunny skies of the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.

The old and new parts of Marseilles are one of the chief attractions for the stranger to this fascinating city. The Port Vieux and the new Bassins de la Joliette are separated by a peninsula which comprises the chief part of old Marseilles; indeed it is the site of the primitive city of the Phoceans, who came, it is undeniably asserted, six hundred years before Christ.

If the new ports of Marseilles have not the same picturesqueness as the Port Vieux, they at least overtop it in their intensity of action and the fever of commercialism. Here, too, hundreds of sailing-vessels (but of an entirely different species from those of the old port) come and go without cessation, bringing the diverse products of the Mediterranean shores to the markets of the world by way of Marseilles: piles of golden oranges from the Balearic Isles, figs from Smyrna, wool from Algeria, rice from Piedmont, arachides from Senegal, dyestuffs from Central America, pine from Sweden and Norway, and marbles from Italy. All this, and more, greets the eye at every turn, and the very sight of the varied cargoes tells a story which is fascinating and romantic even in these worldly times.

Take the orange cargoes for example; the mere handling of them between the ship and the shore is as picturesque as one could possibly imagine. The unloading is done by women called porteiris, all of whom it is said are Genoese, although why this should be is difficult for the tyro to understand, and the master longshoreman under whom they work apparently does not know either. The oranges are brought on shore in great baskets, which are poured out in a steady stream into the cars on the quay. During the process all is gay with song and laughter, it being one of the principal tenets of the creed of the southern labourers, men or women, that they must not be dull at their work.



ONE day, something like four hundred years ago, a little colony of Catalans quitted Spain and, sailing across the terrible Gulf of Lions, came to Marseilles and begged the privilege of settling on that jutting tongue of land to the left of Marseilles’s Vieux Port, known even to-day as the Pointe des Catalans.

To reach the Pointe and Quartier des Catalans one follows along the quays of the old port and climbs the height to the left. Of course one should walk; no genuine literary pilgrim ever takes a car, though there is one leaving the Cannebière, marked “Catalans,” every few minutes.

Dantes’s Mercédès was a Catalane of the Catalans, and is the most lovable figure in all the Dumas portrait gallery. Descended from the early settlers of the colony at Marseilles, Mercédès, the betrothed of the ambitious Dantes, was indeed lovely, that is, if we accept Dumas’s picture of her, and the author’s portraiture was always exceedingly good, whatever may have been his errors when dealing with historical fact.

Half-Moorish, half-Spanish, and with a very little Provençal blood, the Catalans kept their distinct characteristics, while the other settlers of Marseilles developed into the type well known and recognized to-day as the Marseillais.

Their looks, manners, and customs, their houses and their clothes were faithful—and are still, to no small extent—to the early traditions of the race, and, by intermarrying, the type was kept comparatively pure, so that in this twentieth century the Catalan women of Marseilles are as distinct a species of beautiful women as the Niçoise or the Arlesienne, both types distinct from their French sisters, and each of great repute among the world’s beautiful women.

Dumas was not very explicit with regard to the geography of this Catalan quarter of Marseilles, though his references to it were numerous in that most famous of all his romances, “Monte Cristo.”

At the time of which Dumas wrote (1815) its topographical aspect had probably changed but little from what it had been for a matter of three or four centuries, and the sea-birds then, even as now, hovered about the jutting promontory and winged their way backwards and forwards across the mouth of the old harbour, where the ugly but useful Pont Transbordeur now stretches its five hundred metres of wire ropes.

Around the Anse and the Pointe des Catalans were—and are still—grouped the habitations of the Catalan fisher and sailor folk. One sees to-day, among the men and women alike, the same distinction of type which Dumas took for his ideal, and one has only to climb any of the narrow stairlike streets which wind up from the sea-level to see the counterpart of Dantes’s Mercédès sitting or standing by some open doorway.

For a detailed, but not too lengthy, description of the manners and customs of the Catalans of Marseilles, one can not do better than turn to the pages of Dumas and read for himself what the great romancer wrote of the lovely Mercédès and her kind.

There are at least a half-dozen chapters of “Monte Cristo” which, if re-read, would form a very interesting commentary on the Marseilles of other days.

The opening lines of Dumas’s romance gives the key-note of old Marseilles: “On the 28th of February, 1815, the watch-tower of Notre Dame de la Garde signalled the ‘trois-mâtsPharaon, from Smyrna, Triest, and Naples.”

The functions of Notre Dame de la Garde have changed somewhat since that time, but it is still the dominant note and beacon by land and sea, from which sailors and landsmen alike take their bearings, and it is the best of starting-points for one who would review the past history of this most cosmopolitan of all European cities.

High up, overlooking the Château du Pharo, now a Pasteur Hospital; above the old Abbey of St. Victor, now a barracks; and above the Fort St. Nicholas, which guards one side of the entrance to Marseilles port, is the fort and sanctuary of Notre Dame de la Garde. The fort was one of the first erections of its class by François Premier, who had something of a reputation as a fortress-builder as well as a designer of châteaux and a winner of women’s hearts. Originally the fortress-château enfolded within its walls an ancient chapel to Ste. Marie, and an old tower which dated from the tenth century. This old tower, overlooking the town as well as the harbour, was given the name of La Garde, which in turn was taken by the château which ultimately grew up on the same site.

This was long before the days of the present gorgeous edifice, which was not consecrated until 1864.

The château bore the familiar escutcheon of the Roi-Chevalier, the symbolical salamander, but as a fortress it never attained any great repute, as witness the following poetical satire:

“C’est Notre Dame de la Garde,
Gouvernement commode et beau,
A qui suffit pour toute garde
Un Suisse, avec sa hallebarde,
Peint sur la port du château.”

The reference was to a painted figure of a Swiss on the entrance-door, and whatever the irony or cynicism may have been, it was simply a forerunner of the time when the fortress became no longer a place to be depended upon in time of war, though at the time of which Dumas wrote it was still a signal-station whence ships coming into Marseilles were first reported.

Notre Dame de la Garde and the Harbour of Marseilles

Notre Dame de la Garde and the
Harbour of Marseilles

The modern church, in the Byzantine style, which now occupies this commanding site, is warm in the affections of the sailor-folk of Marseilles; besides which it is visited incessantly by pilgrims from all parts of the world and for all manner of reasons; some to bring a votive offering of a tiny ship and say a prayer or two for some dear one travelling by sea; another to place at the foot of the statue of “La Bonne Mère” a golden heart, as a talisman of a firm affection; and others to leave little ivory replicas of a foot or an arm which had miraculously recovered from some crippling accident. Add to these the curious, and those who come for the view, and the numbers who ascend to this commanding height by the narrow streets of steps, or the funiculaire, are many indeed. As an enterprise for the purpose of vending photographic souvenirs, the whole combination takes on huge proportions. The church is really a most ornate and luxurious work, built of the marbles of Carrara and Africa, on the pure Byzantine plan, and surmounted with an enormous gilded statue of the Virgin nearly fifty feet in height.

This great beacon by land and sea, rising as it does to a height of considerably over five hundred feet, is the point of departure of that great deep-sea traffic which goes on so continually from the great port of Marseilles. An enthusiastic and imaginative Frenchman puts it as follows—and it can hardly be improved upon: “Adieu! tu gardes jalousement ta couronne de reine de la mer.

Environs of Marseilles

Of all the points of sentimental and romantic interest at Marseilles and in its neighbourhood, the Château d’If will perhaps most strongly impress itself upon the mind and memory. The Quartier des Catalans and the Château d’If are indeed the chief recollections which most people have of the city of the Phoceans, as well as of the romance of “Monte Cristo.”

Château d’If

Château d’If

The descriptions in the first pages of this wonderful romance could not be improved upon in the idea they convey of what this grim fortress was like in the days when the great Napoleon was languishing at Elba.

Little is changed to-day so far as the general outlines are concerned. The little islet lies off the harbour’s mouth scarce the proverbial stone’s throw, and visitors come and go and poke their heads in and out of the sombre galleries and dungeons, asking the guardian, meanwhile, if they are really those of which Dumas wrote. History defines it all with even more accuracy than does romance, for one may recall that the prison was one time the cage of the notorious Marquis de la Valette, the “Man of the Iron Mask,” and many others.

One’s mind always turns to Dantes and the gentle Abbé Faria, however, and your cicerone with great coolness tells you glibly, and with perfect conviction, just what apartments they occupied. You may take his word, or you may not, but it is well to recall that the Abbé Faria was no mythical character, though he never was an occupant of the island prison in which Dumas placed him.

The real Abbé Faria was a metaphysicist and a hypnotist of the first rank in his day, and one feels that there is more than a suggestion of this—or of some somnambulistic foresight or prophecy—in the last speech which Dumas gives him when addressing Dantes: “Surtout n’oubliez pas Monte Cristo, n’oubliez pas le trésor!

Dumas’s own accounts of the Château d’If are indeed wonderful word-pictures, descriptive and narrative alike. It is romance and history combined in that wonderful manner of which Dumas alone was the master. The best guide, undoubtedly, to Château d’If is to be found in Chapters XIV., XV., XVII., and XX. of Dumas’s romance, though, truth to tell, the action of his plot was mostly imaginative and his scenario more or less artificial.

As it rounded the Château d’If, a pilot boarded Dantes’s vessel, the Pharaon, between Cap Morgion and the Ile de Riou. “Immediately, the platform of Fort St. Jean was covered with onlookers, for it always was an event at Marseilles for a ship to come into port.”

To-day the whole topography of the romance, so far as it refers to Marseilles, is all spread out for the enthusiast in brilliant relief; all as if one were himself a participant in the joyousness of the home-coming of the good ship Pharaon.

The old port from whose basin runs the far-famed Cannebière was the Lacydon of antiquity, and was during many centuries the glory and fortune of the town. To-day the old-time traffic has quite forsaken it, but it is none the less the most picturesque seaport on the Mediterranean. It is to-day, even as it was of yore, thronged with all the paraphernalia of ships and shipping of the old-school order. It is always lively and brilliant, with flags flung to the breeze and much cordage, and fishing-tackle, and what not belonging to the little sailing-craft which to-day have appropriated it for their own, leaving the great liners and their kind to go to the newer basins and docks to the westward.

Virtually the Vieux Port is a museum of the old marine, for, except the great white-hulled, ocean-going yachts, which seem always to be at anchor there, scarce a steam-vessel of any sort is to be seen, save, once and again, a fussy little towboat. Most of the ships of the Vieux Port are those indescribably beautiful craft known as navaires à voiles de la Mediterranée, which in other words are simply great lateen-rigged, piratical-looking craft, which, regardless of the fact that they are evidently best suited for the seafaring of these parts, invariably give the stranger the idea that they are something of an exotic nature which has come down to us through the makers of school histories. They are as strange-looking to-day as would be the caravels of Columbus or the viking ships of the Northmen.

All the Mediterranean types of sailing craft are found here, and their very nomenclature is picturesque—bricks, goelettes, balancelles, tartanes and barques de pêche of a variety too great for them all to have names. For the most part they all retain the slim, sharp prow, frequently ornamented with the conventional figurehead of the old days, a bust, or a three-quarters or full-length female figure, or perhaps a guirlande dorée.

One’s impression of Marseilles, when he is on the eve of departure, will be as varied as the temperament of individuals; but one thing is certain—its like is to be found nowhere else in the known and travelled world. Port Said is quite as cosmopolitan, but it is not grand or even picturesque; New York is as much of a mixture of nationalities and “colonies,” from those of the Syrians and Greeks on the lower East Side to those of the Hungarians, Poles, and Slavs on the West, but they have not yet become firmly enough established to have become picturesque,—they are simply squalid and dirty, and no one has ever yet expressed the opinion that the waterside life of New York’s wharves and locks has anything of the colour and life of the Mediterranean about it; Paris is gay, brilliant, and withal cosmopolitan, but there is a conventionality about it that does not exist in the great port of Marseilles, where each reviving and declining day brings a whole new arrangement of the mirror of life.

Marseilles is, indeed, “la plus florissante et la plus magnifique des villes latines.



MUCH sentimental and historic interest centres around the world-famed ancient capital of Aix-en-Provence.

To-day its position, if subordinate to that of Marseilles in commercial matters, is still omnipotent, so far as concerns the affairs of society and state. To-day it is the chef-lieu of the Arrondissement of the same name in the Département des Bouches du Rhône; the seat of an archbishopric; of the Cour d’Appel; and of the Académie, with its faculties of law and letters.

Aix-en-Provence, Aix-la-Chapelle, and Aix-les-Bains are all confused in the minds of the readers of the Anglo-Parisian newspapers. There is little reason for this, but it is so. Aix-la-Chapelle is the shrine of Charlemagne; Aix-les-Bains, of the god of baccarat—and in a later day bridge and automobile-boat races; but Aix-en-Provence is still prominent as the brilliant capital of the beauty-loving court of the middle ages. The remains of this past existence are still numerous, and assuredly they appeal most profoundly to all who have ever once come within their spell, from that wonderfully ornate portal of the Église de St. Sauveur to King René’s “Book of Hours” in the Bibliothèque Méjanes.

Three times has Aix changed its location. The ancient ville gauloise, whose name appears to be lost in the darkness of the ages, was some three kilometres to the north, and the ville romaine of Aquæ-Sextiæ was some distance to the westward of the present city of Aix-en-Provence.

The part played in history by Aix-en-Provence was great and important, not only as regards its own career, but because of the aid which it gave to other cities of Provence. For the assistance which she gave Marseilles, when that city was besieged by the Spanish, Aix was given the right to bear upon her blazoned shield the arms of the Counts of Anjou (the quarterings of Anjou, Sicily, and Jerusalem). This accounts for the complex and familiar emblems seen to-day on the city arms.

René d’Anjou was much revered in Aix, in which town he made his residence. It was but natural that the city should in a later day honour him with a statue bearing the inscription, “Au bon roi René, dont la mémoire sera toujours chère aux Provençaux.”

There were times when sadness befell Aix, but on the whole its career was one of gladsome pleasure. To René, poet of imagination as well as king, was due the founding of the celebrated Fête-Dieu. In one form or another it was intermittently continued up to the middle of the nineteenth century. Originally it was a curious bizarre affair, with angels, apostles, disciples, and the whole list of Biblical characters personated by the citizens. The “Fête de la Reine de Saba,” the “Danse des Olivettes,” and the “Danse des Épées” were other processional fêtes which contributed not a little to the gay life here in the middle ages and account for the survival to-day of many local customs.

Nostradamus, the prophet of Salon, gives the following flattering picture of “Le Prince d’Amour,” the title given to the head of the mediæval Courts of Love which nowhere flourished so gorgeously as here:

“He marched always at the head of the parade, alone and richly clad. Behind were his lieutenants, his nobles, his standard-bearers, and a great escort of horsemen, all costumed at his expense.”

It was Louis XIV. who decided to suppress the function, and a royal declaration to that effect was made on the 16th June, 1668.

Aix met the decree by deciding that the “Prince d’Amour” should be replaced by a “Lieutenant,” to whom should be allowed an annual pension of eight hundred livres. Apparently this was none too much, as one of the aspirants for the honour expended something like two thousand livres during his one year in office.

The costume officially prescribed for a “Lieutenant” or a “Prince d’Amour” was as follows:

“A corselet and breeches ‘à la romaine,’ of white moiré with silver trimmings, a mantle trimmed with silver, black silk stockings, low shoes tied with ribbons, and a plumed hat, together with ‘knee-ribbons,’ a sword-knot and a bouquet, also with streamers of ribbon.”

All this bespeaks a certain gorgeousness which was only accomplished at considerable personal expense on the part of him on whom the honour fell.

In one form or another this sort of thing went on at Aix until Revolutionary times, when the pageant was abolished as smacking too much of royal procedure and too little of republicanism.

Avignon and Arles are intimately associated with the modern exponents of Provençal literature, but Aix will ever stand as the home of Provençal letters of a past time, Aix the nursery of the ancient troubadours.

As a touring-ground little exploited as yet, the region for fifty kilometres around Aix-en-Provence offers so much of novelty and charm that it may not be likened to any other region in France.

Off to the southwest is Les Pennes, one of those picturesque cliff-towns, scattered here and there about Europe, which makes the artist murmur: “I must have that in my portfolio,”—as if one could really capture its scintillating beauty and grandeur.

Les Pennes will be difficult to find unless one makes a halt at Aix, Marseilles, or Martigues, for it appears not to be known, even by name, outside of its own intimate radius.

Les Pennes

Les Pennes

It shall not further be eulogized here, for fear it may become “spoiled,” though there is absolutely no attraction, within or without its walls, for the traveller who wants the capricious delights of Monte Carlo or the amusements of a city like Aix or Marseilles.

On the “Route Nationale” between Aix and Marseilles is the little town of Gardanne, only interesting because it is a typical small town of Provence. It has for its chief industries the manufacture of aluminium and nougat, widely dissimilar though they be.

Just to the southward rises majestically the mountain chain of the Pilon du Roi, whose peak climbs skyward for 710 metres, overshadowing the towns of Simiane, with its remains of a Romanesque chapel and a thirteenth-century donjon, and Septèmes, with the ruins of its Louis XIV. fortifications, and Notre Dame des Anges, which was erected upon the remains of the ancient chapel of an old-time monastery.

From the platform of Notre Dame des Anges is to be had a remarkable view of the foot-hills, of the coast-line, and of the sea beyond, the whole landscape dotted here and there with yellow-gray hamlets and olive-trees, and little trickling streams. It suggests nothing so much as the artificial spectacular compositions which most artists paint when they attempt to depict these wide-open views, and which it is the fashion to condemn as not being true to nature. This may sometimes be the case; but often they are as true a map of the country as the average topographical survey, and far more true than the best “bird’s-eye” photograph that was ever taken.

The Pilon du Roi, so named from its resemblance to a great ruined or unfinished tower, rises two hundred or more metres above the platform of the church, and to climb its precipitous sides will prove an adventure as thrilling as the most foolhardy Alpinist could desire.

There is a little corner of this region, lying between Marseilles and Gardanne, which, in spite of the overhead brilliancy, will remind one of the grimness and austerity of Flanders. One comes brusquely upon a lusty and growing coal-mining industry as he descends the southern slope of the Chaîne du Pilon du Roi, and, while all around are umbrella-pines, olive-trees, cypress, and all the characteristics of a southern landscape, there are occasional glimpses of tall, belching chimneys and the sound of the trolleys carrying the coal down to a lower level. Here and there, too, one finds a black mountain of débris, sooty and grimy, against a background of the purest tints of the artist’s palette. The contrast is too horrible for even contemplation, in spite of the importance of the industry to the metropolis of Marseilles and the neighbouring Provençal cities.

At Auriol is another “exploitation houillère,” which is the French way of describing a coal-mine. To the tourist and lover of the beautiful this is a small thing. He will be more interested in the vineyards and olive orchards and the flower-gardens surrounding the little townlet, which here bloom with a luxuriance at which one can but marvel. The town is a “ville industrielle,” if there ever was one, since all of its inhabitants seem to be engaged in, or connected with, the coal-mining industry in one way or another. In spite of this, however, the real old-time flavour has been well preserved in the narrow streets, the sixteenth-century belfry, and the ruins of the old château, which still rise proudly above the little red-roofed houses of Auriol’s twenty-five hundred inhabitants. To-day there is no more fear of a Saracen invasion,—as there was when the château was built,—but there is the ever present danger that some yawning pit’s mouth will be opened beneath its walls, and that the old donjon tower will fall before the invasion of progress, as has been the fate of so many other great historic monuments elsewhere.

In the little vineyard country there are to be heard innumerable proverbs all connected with the soil, although, like the proverbs of Spain, they are applicable to any condition of life, as for instance: “Buy your house already finished and your vines planted,” or “Have few vines, but cultivate them well.”

There is a crop which is gathered in Provence which is not generally known or recognized by outsiders, that of the caper, which, like the champignon and the truffle, is to the “cuisine française” what paprika is to Hungarian cooking.

Without doubt, like many other good things of the table in the south of France, the caper was an importation from the Levant. It is a curious plant growing up beside a wall, or in the crevice of a rocky soil, and giving a bountiful harvest. In the early days of May the “boutons” appear, and the smaller they are when they are gathered,—so long as they are not microscopic,—the better, and the better price they bring. They must be put up in bottles or tins as soon as picked or they cannot be made use of, so rapidly do they deteriorate after they have been gathered.

The crop is gathered by women at the rate of five sous a kilo, which, considering that they can gather twenty or more kilos a day, is not at all bad pay for what must be a very pleasant occupation. The buyer—he who prepares the capers for market—pays seventy-five centimes a kilo, and after passing through his hands, by a process which merely adds a little vinegar (though it has all to be most carefully done), the price has doubled or perhaps trebled.

Like the olive and the caper, the apricot is a great source of revenue in the Var, particularly in the neighbourhood of Roquevaire, midway between Aix and Marseilles. Slopes and plains and valley bottoms are all given over, apparently indiscriminately, to the culture. Near by are great factories which slice the fruit, dry it, or make it into preserves. Formerly the growers sold direct to the factories; but now, having formed a sort of middleman’s association, they have united their forces with the idea of commanding better prices. This is a procedure greatly in favour with many of the agricultural industries of France. The growers of plums in Touraine do the same thing; so do the growers of cider-apples in Normandy; the vineyard proprietors of the Cognac region, and the cheese-makers of Brie and Gournay; and the plan works well and for the advantage of all concerned.



The apricots of the Var, in their natural state, formerly brought but five or six centimes a kilo, but by the new order of things the price has been raised to ten.

In the season as many as five hundred thousand kilos of apricots are peeled and stoned in a day by one establishment alone, employing perhaps two hundred women and young girls. From this twenty-five thousand kilos of stones or noyaux result, which, in turn, are sold to make orgeat and pâte d’amande,—which fact may be a surprise to many; it was to the writer.

Forty to forty-five centimes a kilo is the price the fruit brings when it is turned over to the canning establishment, where the process does not differ greatly from that in similar trades in America or Australia, though the “abricots conservés” of Roquevaire-en-Provence lead the world for excellence.

Roquevaire’s next-door neighbour is Aubagne, in the valley of the Huveaune. It might well be called a suburb and dependency of the metropolis of Marseilles, except that the little town claims an antiquity equal to that of Marseilles itself. To-day, lying in the fertile plain of Baudinard, and surrounded by innumerable plantations devoted to the growing of fruits, principally strawberries, it is noted chiefly as the place from which Marseilles draws its principal supplies of early garden fruits or primeurs, which is a French word with which foreigners should familiarize themselves. It is believed that Aubagne was the Albania of mediæval times, and it was so named on the chart of Provence made in the tenth century by Boson, Comte de Provence, by whom it was united with the Vicomté de Marseilles, and its civil and religious rights vested in the monks of the Abbey of St. Victor.

There is nothing of dulness here, and, while in no sense a manufacturing town, such as Gardanne, there are innumerable petty industries which have grown up from the agricultural occupations, such as the putting up of confitures, the distilling of those sweet, syrupy concoctions which the French of all parts, be they on the boulevards at Paris or at sea on board a Messageries liner, drink continually, no variety more than the grenadine, which is produced at its best here.

The little river Huveaune flows southwest till it drops down to the sea through the hills forming the immediate background of Marseilles, and gives to the aspect of nature what artists absolutely refuse to call by any other name than character.

On the horizon one sees a great cross, planted on the summit of a height known as the Gardelaban. Beneath it is a great hole burrowed into the rock and anciently supposed to be of some religious significance, just what no one seems to know or care.

A few generations ago gold was supposed to be buried there; but, as no gold was found, this was one of the superstitions which soon died out. The new Eldorado was not to be found there, though a self-styled expert once gave the opinion (in print, and solicited subscriptions on the strength of the claim) that the ground was full of “des amas de fer hydraté, contenant des pyrites au reflet doré.” The claim proved false and so it was dropped.

Running northeasterly from Marseilles, at some little distance from the city, but near enough to be in full view from the height of Notre Dame de la Garde, is the mass of the Saint Pilon range, with Sainte Baume, a little to the southward, rising skyward 999 metres, which height makes it quite a mountain when it is considered that it rises abruptly almost from the sea-level.

The Forêt de Sainte Baume is one of those unspoiled wildwoods scattered about France which do much to make travel by road interesting and varied. To be sure Sainte Baume is on the road to nowhere; but it makes a pleasant excursion to go by train from Marseilles to Auriol, and thence by carriage to St. Zacharie and Sainte Baume. It will prove one of the most delightful trips in a delightful itinerary, and furthermore has the advantage of not being overrun with tourists.

St. Zacharie, like many other of the tiny hill towns of Provence, looks like a bit of transplanted Italy. The village is small, almost to minute proportions, but it has a pottery industry which is renowned for the beauty of its wares. There is also a church which was built in the tenth century, and moreover there is a most excellent hotel, the Lion d’Or. The surrounding hills are either thickly wooded or absolutely bare, and accordingly the scenic contrast is most remarkable, from the point of view of the lover of the unconventionally picturesque.

Convent Garden, St. Zacharie

Convent Garden, St. Zacharie

As for the Forêt de Sainte Baume itself, it is thickly grown with great oaks, poplars, aspens, lichen-grown beeches, sycamores, cypresses, pines, and all the characteristic undergrowth of a virgin forest, which this virtually is, for no forest tract in France has been less spoiled or better cared for. In addition nearly all the medicinal plants of the pharmacopœia are also found, and such exotics as mistletoe and orchids as would delight the heart of a botanist jaded with the commonplaces of a northern forest.

At the entrance to the wood is the Hôtellerie de la Sainte Baume, served by monks and nuns, who will cater for visitors in a most satisfactory manner—the women on one side and men on the other—and give them veritable monastic fare, a little preserved fish, an omelette, rice, perhaps, cooked in olive-oil, and a full-bodied red or white wine ad lib., and all for a ridiculously small sum.

The grotto of Sainte Baume, well within the forest, was, according to tradition, the resting-place for thirty-three years of Mary Magdalen, and accordingly it has become a place of pilgrimage for the faithful at Pentecost, la Fête Dieu, and the Fête de Ste. Madeleine (22d July). The grotto (from which the name comes, baume being the Provençal for baoumo, meaning grotto) has a length of some twenty metres and a width of twenty-five with a height of perhaps six or seven.

It is a damp, dark sort of a cave, with water always trickling from the roof, though a cistern on the floor never seems to run over. The falling drops make an uncanny sound, if one wanders about by himself, and he marvels at the fact that it has become a religious shrine so famous as to have been visited by Louis and Marguerite de Provence, Louise de Savoie, Claude de France, Marguerite, Duchesse d’Alençon, and a whole galaxy of royal personages, including Louis XIV., and Gaston d’Orleans.

On the Monday of Pentecost all Provence, it would seem, comes to make its devotions at this shrine of Mary Magdalen,—men, women, and children, and above all the young couples of the year, this pilgrimage being frequently stipulated in the Provençal marriage contract.

Above the grotto, on a rocky peak, are the remains of a convent founded by Charles II., Comte de Provence. The view from its platform is one of dazzling beauty. Off to the southwest lies Marseilles, with the great golden statue of Notre Dame de la Garde well defined against the blue of the sea; the Étang de Berre scintillates directly to the westward, like a great fiery opal, and still farther off are the mountains of Languedoc.

For many reasons the journey to Sainte Baume should be made by all visitors to Aix or Marseilles who have the time, and inclination, to know something of the countryside as well as of the towns.






THE coast just east of Marseilles is quite unknown to the general Riviera traveller, although it is accessible, varied, and an admirable foretaste of the beauties of the Riviera itself.

Just over the great bald-faced peak of Mount Carpiagne lie Cassis and the Bec de l’Aigle, the virtual beginning of the wonderful scenic panorama of the Riviera.

One would have expected that as time went on Carsicus Portus of the Romans, the present Cassis, would have exceeded Marseilles in magnitude, for its situation was much in its favour. Great treasure-laden ships from the Orient would have avoided doubling the rocky promontory which stretches seaward between Marseilles and Cassis, and thereby saved the worry of many ever-present dangers. This was not to be, however, and Marseilles has grown at the expense of its better situated rival. Cassis, however, was a port of refuge to ships coming from the East, and on more than one occasion they put in here and landed their cargoes, which were sent overland to the already firmly established trading colony at Marseilles.

The origin of the name is doubtful. It seems plausible enough that it may have come from the old Provençal classis, a filet or net, from the use of this in the fishing which was carried on here extensively in times past.

Some supposedly ancient quays, which may have dated from Roman times, were discovered in the eighteenth century, but the present port and its quays were constructed under the orders of Louis XIII.

The present fishing industry of Cassis is not very considerable, it being far less than that of Martigues or Port de Bouc. At Cassis there are but half a hundred men engaged, and the returns, as given in a recent year, were scarcely over eleven hundred francs per capita, which is not a great wage for a toiler of the sea.

Another harvest of the sea, little practised to-day, but formerly much more remunerative, is the gathering of a variety of coral which quite equals that of Italy or Dalmatia. This industry has of late grown less and less important here, as elsewhere, for the Italians, Greeks, and Maltese have so scraped over the bottom of the Mediterranean with their great hooked tridents that but little coral is now found.

Cassis figures in a story connected with the great plague or pest which befell Marseilles in the eighteenth century. Pope Clement XI. had sent to the Monseigneur de Belsunce a cargo of wheat to be distributed among the famished of Marseilles or elsewhere, “comme il le jugerait à propos.” In December, 1720, a fleet of tartanes,—the same lateen-rigged ships which one sees engaged to-day in the open-sea fishing industry of Martigues,—bringing the wheat to the stricken city, was forced to anchor in the Golfe des Lèques, just offshore from the little port of Cassis, “par suite de la violente mistral qui balayait la mer.” The same mistral sweeps the seas around Marseilles to-day, and works all sorts of disaster to small craft if they do not take shelter.

When the tartanes were discovered off Cassis, the famishing sailor-folk of the town hesitated not a moment to put off and board them. The papal tartane attempted to parley with them, but every vessel in the fleet was attacked in true Barbary-pirate fashion and captured; and the entire consignment was seized and distributed among the distressed people of Cassis and the surrounding country. The “pirates,” however, paid the Archbishop of Marseilles the full value of the shipment, “comme c’était justice.” Mgr. de Belsunce, “coming to Cassis on donkey-back,” brought back the money and founded a school for both sexes with the capital, besides giving to the poor of the town an annual sum equal to the interest on the principal. Whether this was a case of “heaping coals of fire” on the delinquent heads, or not, history does not say.

Cassis is the native city of the Abbé Barthélémy, a savant who, amid the constant study of ancient and modern Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldean, and Arabic, found time to write the “Voyage du Jeune Anacharsis en Grèce,” a work which has placed his name high in the roll of writers who have produced epoch-making literature.



Cassis is the perfect type of the small Mediterranean port. High above the houses of its nineteen hundred inhabitants, on the apex of a wooded, red-rock hill, are the ruins of a château. To the east is the grim and gray Cap, a mountain of considerable pretensions, while to the west is Pointe Pin, a height of perhaps fifteen hundred metres sloping gently down to the sea, and covered with scrub-pines save for occasional granite outcrops.

Cassis is a highly industrious little town, now mostly given over to the manufacture of cement, the coastwise shipping of which gives a perpetual liveliness to the port. The fishing, too, though, as before said, not very considerable, results in a constant traffic with the wharves of Marseilles, where the product is sold.

The white wine of Cassis, a “vrai vin parfumé,” which in another day was produced much more extensively than now, is as much the proper thing to drink with bouillabaisse and les coquillages as in the north are Chablis and Graves with oysters and lobsters.

The vin de Cassis is like the wine of which Keats wrote:

“So fine that it fills one’s mouth with gushing freshness,—that goes down cool and feverless, and does not quarrel with your liver, lying as quiet as it did in the grape.”

The sheltering headland which rises high above Cassis is known as Le Gibel. On its highest peak the poet Mistral has placed the retreat of the heroine Esteulle in his poem “Calandau.” Black and menacing, Cap Canaille continues Le Gibel out toward the sea, and its sheer rise above the Mediterranean approximates five hundred metres.

On the opposite bank of a little bay, called in Provençal a calanque, rises the ruined towers and walls of a feudal château, of no interest except that it forms a grim contrasting note with the blue background of sky above and sea below.

A little farther on, sheltered at the head of a calanque, is Port Miou, which has a legend that has made it a popular place of pilgrimage for the Marseillais. The little port is well sheltered in the bay, with the entrance nearly closed by a great sentinel rock, which is, at times, wholly submerged by the waves. It is this which has given rise to the legend that a Genoese fisherman, surprised by a tempest and being unable to control his craft, abandoned the tiller and would have hurled himself into the sea if his son, obeying a sudden inspiration, had not steered the boat through the narrow strait and came to a safe harbour within. The father at once fell upon the boy, killing him with a blow; but, Providence taking no revenge, the boat drifted on to a safe anchorage.

The story is not a new one; the same legend, with variations, is heard in many parts of western Europe and as far north as Norway, but it is potent enough here to draw crowds of Sunday holiday-makers, in the summer months, from Marseilles.

In 1377 Pope Gregory XI., who desired to reëstablish the papacy at Rome after its seventy years at Avignon, took ship at Marseilles, but was held back by contrary winds and seas and hovered about the little archipelago of islands at the harbour’s mouth, until finally, when he had at last got well started on his way, a furious tempest arose and the vessel forced to anchor in the calanque of Port Miou, called by the historian of the voyage Portus Milonis.

Beyond Cassis, eastward, are still to be traced the outlines of the old Roman road which led into Gaul from Rome, via Pisa and Genoa, until it finally passes Ceyreste, the ancient Citharista. The name was originally given to the site because of the chain of hills at the back, which formed a sort of a tiara (citharista signifying tiara or crown), of which the little city formed the bright particular jewel. It must have been one of the first health resorts of the Mediterranean shore, for Cæsar founded here a hospital for sick soldiers. Since that day it appears to have been neglected by the invalids (real and fancied), for they go to Monte Carlo to live the same life of social diversion that goes on at Paris, Vienna, or New York.

Another explanation of the origin of the city’s name is that it was dedicated to Apollo, the god of music, and that its name came from the cithare, or zither, which, according to those learned in mythology, the god always bore.

Ceyreste, at all events, was of Grecian origin as to its name, and was perhaps the patrician suburb of La Ciotat, the city of sailors and merchants. Unlike most plutocratic towns, Ceyreste appears always to have had a due regard for the proprieties, for a French historian has written: “Il est de notoriété publique que jamais aucun Ceyrestéen n’a subi de peine infamante, ni même afflictive. Jamais aucun crime n’a été commis dans la commune!

Ceyreste must console itself with these memories of a glorious past, for to-day it is but a minute commune of but a few hundred souls, most of whom have attached themselves in their daily pursuits to the busy industrial La Ciotat.

The railway issues from the Tunnel de Cassis, through olive-groves and great sculptured rocks, on the shores of the wonderful Baie de la Ciotat, flanked on one side by a rocky promontory and on the other, the west, by the Bec de l’Aigle, a queer beak-shaped projection which well lives up to its name.

La Ciotat and the Bec de l’Aigle

La Ciotat and the Bec de l’Aigle

The bay of La Ciotat is the first radiant vision which one has of a Mediterranean golfe, as he comes from the north or east. Things have changed to-day, and the considerable commerce of former times has already shrunk to infinitesimal proportions, though to take its place the port has become the location of the vast ship-building works of the “Cie. des Messageries-Maritimes,” whose three or four thousand workmen have taken away most of the local Mediterranean wealth of colour which many a less progressive place has in abundance. Accordingly La Ciotat is no place to tarry, though unquestionably it is a place to visit, if only for the sake of that wonderful first impression that one gets of its bay.

It was a fortunate day for the prosperity of La Ciotat when the engineers and directors of the great steamship company founded its vast workshops here. To be sure they do not add much to the romantic aspect of this charmingly situated coast town; but men must live, and great ocean liners must be built somewhere near salt water.

The prosperity of La Ciotat, the ville des ouvriers, has grown up mostly from its traffic by sea, the railway stopping at an elevation of some two hundred feet above the level of the quays. The traveller makes his way by a little branch train, but heavy merchandise for the ship-building yards is still brought first to Marseilles and then transhipped by boat.

Ship-building was one of the ancient occupations of the people of La Ciotat, hence it is natural enough to hear some old workman, who has become incapacitated by time, say: “N’est-il pas naturel que La Ciotat soutienne son antique réputation en construisant de bons bateaux?

For a long time it was the grand ship-building yard of the Marseillais, who obtained here all their ships to “faire la caravane,” as the voyage to the Levant was called in olden times.

La Ciotat was perhaps the Burgus Civitatis of the itinerary of Antony, but in time it came to be known—in the Catalan tongue—as Bort de Nostre Cieuta, and it is so given in an ancient charter which conceded certain rights to the Marseillais.

In 1365 La Ciotat passed to the monks of the Abbey of St. Victor, but for a short time it was in the possession of the Catalans, who were the partisans of the Antipope Pierre de Luna. Few towns of its size in all France have had so varied a career as La Ciotat, until it finally settled down to the more or less prosaic affairs of later years. Forty families formed its first population, but, in the reign of François I., its population was twelve thousand or more, a number which has not perceptibly increased since.

During the pest of 1720, which fell so hard upon Marseilles, and indeed upon nearly all of the ports of maritime Provence, La Ciotat was saved from the affection by the observance of a stringent quarantine. To a great extent this was due to the prudence and fearlessness of the women. All entrance to the city was rigorously refused to strangers, and, when the troops from the garrison at Marseilles were sent here that they might be quartered in a place of safety, the women armed themselves with sticks and stones and formed a barrier, dehors des murs, and drove the soldiery off as if they had been an attacking foe. This is one of those Amazonian feats which prove the valour of the women of other days.

La Ciotat was frequently attacked by the Barbary pirates before these vermin were swept from the seas by the intervention of the two great republics, France and the United States. The English, too, attacked the intrepid little town, and there are brave tales of the valour of the inhabitants when bombarded by the guns of the Seahorse in 1818.

Directly in front of La Ciotat, at the foot of the Côte de Saint Cyr, on the eastern shore of the bay, was an old Greek colony known to geographers as Tauroentum. Rich and powerful in its own right, Tauroentum rivalled its neighbour Marseilles, but the fleets of Pompey and Cæsar had one of those old-time sea-fights off its quays, and the city, having suffered greatly at the time, never recovered its prosperity, and the more opulent and powerful Marseilles became the metropolis for all time. The monumental remains to be observed to-day are mostly covered with the sands of time, and only the antiquarian and archæologist will get pleasure or satisfaction from any fragmentary evidences which may be unearthed. The subject is a vast and most interesting one, no doubt, but the enthusiast in such matters is referred to Lentheric’s great work on “La Provence Maritime.”

La Ciotat, with its workmen’s houses and its shipyard, will not detain one long. One will be more interested in making his way eastward along the coast, when every kilometre will open up new splendours of landscape.

Opposite La Ciotat is the hamlet of Les Lèques, well sheltered in the bay of the same name. Lamartine, en route for the Orient, compared it with enthusiasm to the Bay of Naples, a simile which has been used with regard to many another similar spot, but hardly with as much of appropriateness as here. Said Lamartine: “C’est un de ces nombreux chefs-d’œuvre que Dieu a répandus partout.”

From Les Lèques it is but a step to Bandol, a place not mentioned in the note-books of many travellers, though to the French it is already recognized as a “station hivernale et de bains de mer.” This is a pity, for it will soon go the way of the other resorts.

Bandol is a small town of the Var, possessed of a remarkably beautiful and sheltered site, and, since it numbers but a trifle over two thousand souls, and has no palace hotels as yet, it may well be accounted as one of the places on the beaten track of Riviera travel which has not yet become wholly spoiled.

Bandol’s principal business is the growing of immortelles and artichokes, with enough of the fishing industry to give a liveliness and picturesqueness to the wharves of the little port.

It is a wonderfully warm corner of the littoral, here in the immediate environs of Bandol, and palms, banana-trees, the eucalyptus, and many other subtropical shrubs and plants thrive exceedingly. There is nothing of the rigour of winter to blight this warm little corner; only the mistral—which is everywhere (Monaco perhaps excepted)—or its equally wicked brother, le vent d’est, ever makes disagreeable a visit to this warm-welcoming little coast town.

A clock-tower, or belfry, an old château,—the construction of Vauban,—and a jetty, which throws out its long tentacle-like arm to sea, make up the chief architectural monuments of the town.

Not so theatrical or stagy as Monte Carlo or even Hyères, or as overrun with “swallows” as Nice or Menton, Bandol has much that these places lack, and lacks a great deal that they have, but which one is glad to be without if he wants to hibernate amid new and unruffling surroundings.

Very good wines are made from the grapes which grow on the neighbouring hillsides; rich red wines, most of which are sold as Port to not too inquisitive buyers. The industry is not as flourishing as it once was, though the inhabitants—some two hundred or more—who used to be engaged in the coopering trade, still hope that, phœnix-like, it will rise again to prosperity. What the culture once was, and what picturesque elements it possessed, art-lovers, and others, may judge for themselves by the contemplation of the celebrated canvas by Joseph Vernet, now in the Louvre at Paris.

The fishermen of Bandol find the industry more profitable than do many others in the small towns to the eastward of Marseilles, and, accordingly, they are more prominent in the daily life which goes on in the markets and on the quays. Their catch runs the whole gamut of the poissons de Mediterranée, including a unique species called the St. Pierre, whose bones somewhat resemble the instruments of the Passion.

Three thousand cases of immortelles are gathered each year from the hillsides and shipped to all parts, the crop having a value of more than a hundred thousand francs.

Bandol is the centre of the manufacture of couronnes d’immortelles in France. The little yellow flowers literally clog the narrow streets of the town away from the waterside. The warm zone in which Bandol is situated is most favourable to the growth of the plant, which, according to the botanists, originally came from Crete and Malta. The natives of Bandol say that it originated with them, or at least with their pays.

A hot, dry soil is necessary to their growth, and they are at their best in June and July, when their golden yellow tufts literally cover the hillsides; that is, all that are not covered by narcissi. The flora of Bandol is most varied and abundant, but these two flowers predominate.

The culture of the immortelle is simple. In February or March the plants are set in the ground, from small roots, and the gathering commences in July of the second season, after which the poor, stripped stalks look anything but immortal. Each plant grows three or four score of stems, each stem bearing ten to twenty flowers.

Curiously enough there seems to be a diversity of opinion as to the colour that a crown of immortelles shall take. Not all of them are sent out in the golden colour nature gave them. Some are dyed purple and others black, and then, indeed, all their beauty has departed. The natives think so, too, but dealers in funeral supplies in Paris, Lyons, and Marseilles—who have about the worst artistic sense of any class of Frenchmen who ever lived—have got the idea that their clients like variety, and that bright yellow is too gay for a symbol of mourning.

Bandol sits in a great amphitheatre surrounded by wooded hillsides set out here and there with plantations of olive and mulberry trees and vines.

Harvest loads of grapes and olives form the chief characteristics of the traffic by the highways and byways throughout Provence, but in no section are they more brilliant and gay with colour than along the coast from Marseilles to Hyères.

Bandol is thought to have been one of those numerous nameless ports referred to by the Roman historians, but it is necessary to arrive at the end of the sixteenth century to find any mention of it by name. Nostradamus recounts that a certain Capitaine Boyer of Ollioules, who had rendered great service to the king during the troubles with the League, was given “en fief et à paye-morte, à luy et à sa postérité, le fort de Bendort (Bandol), situé au bord de la mer.”

Later this same Boyer was appointed governor of the Château de la Garde at Marseilles, and received, in addition, certain valuable rights connected with the tunny fishing on the Provençal coasts, which enterprise ultimately placed him in a position of great affluence.

The old château of Bandol, built on a bed of basalt, has the following pleasant mot connected with it:

“Le gouverneur de cette roche,
Retournant un jour par le coche,
A, depuis environ quinze ans,
Emporté la clé dans sa poche.”

Ten kilometres beyond Bandol is Ollioules, which is mentioned in the guide-books as being the gateway to the celebrated Gorges d’Ollioules, which, like most gorges and cañons, is of surprising spectacular beauty. This is a classic excursion for the residents of Toulon, who on Sunday flock to the site of this tortuous savage gorge, and breathe in some of those same delights which a mountaineer finds in a deep-cut cañon in the Rockies. There is nothing so very stupendous about this gorge, but it looks well in a photograph, and satisfies the Toulonais to their highest expectations, and altogether is a very satisfactory sort of a ravine, if one does not care for the beauties of the coast-line itself,—which is what most of us come to the Mediterranean for.

Ollioules itself is of far more attraction, to the lover of picturesque old streets and houses and crumbling historical monuments, than its gorge. The town bears still the true stamp of the middle ages, though the inhabitants will tell you that it has great hopes of becoming some day a popular resort like Nice, this being the future to which all the small Riviera towns aspire.

Old vaulted streets, leaning porched houses, with enormous gables and delicately sculptured corbels and window-frames, give quite the effect of mediævalism to Ollioules, though a hooting tram from Toulon makes a false note which is for ever sounding in one’s ears.

All the same, Ollioules, with the débris of its thirteenth-century château, its very considerable remains of city wall, and its Place, tree-shaded by high-growing palms, is a town to be loved, by one jaded with the round of resorts, for its many and varied old-world attractions.

Ollioules is built in the open air, at the end of the defile or gorge, in the midst of a country glowing with all the splendour and beauty of endless beds of hyacinths and narcissi, flowers which rank among the most beautiful in all the world, and which here, in this corner of old Provence, grow as luxuriantly as heather on the hills of Scotland or tulips in Holland. Violets, poppies, the mimosa, and tuberoses are also here in abundance.

Two hundred and fifty hectares, or more, in the immediate vicinity of Ollioules, are devoted to the culture of bulbs, and five million bulbs form an average crop, most of which is sent away by rail to Belgium, Holland (tell it not to a Dutchman), and England.

The origin of the name of the town is peculiar, as indeed is the derivation of many place-names. Savants think that it comes from olearium, meaning a place where oil was made and stored. This may be so, but olive-oil does not figure any more among the products of this particular petit pays.

Not only the rock-bound gorge but the whole basin of Ollioules is a wonderland of exotic and rare natural beauties. On one side, to the north, rise the volcanic heights of Evenos, crowned to-day with ruins which may be Saracenic, or gallo-romain, or prehistoric, perhaps,—it is impossible to tell.

George Sand has written with great appreciation of the whole neighbouring region in “Tamaris,” but even her graphic pen has not been able to reproduce the charming and distinguished characteristics of a region which, even to-day, is little or not at all known to the great mass of tourists who annually rush to the Riviera resorts from all parts of America and Europe. “Tant pis,” then, as Sterne said, but the way is here made plain for any who would go slowly over this well-worn road of history and cast a glance up and down the cross-roads as he comes to them.

The distance is not great from Marseilles to Hyères, but eighty kilometres, a little over fifty miles; but there is a wealth of interest to be had from a silent threading of the roadways of this delightful corner of maritime Provence which the partakers of conventional tours know nothing of.

Here in the environs of Ollioules, on the hillsides flanking its celebrated gorge, is found in profusion the fleur d’or, famed in the verses of Provençal poets. François Delille, one of the followers of the Félibres, in his “Fleur de Provence,” has sung its praises in unapproachable fashion, and there are some other fragment verses by a poet whose name has been forgotten, which seem worth quoting, since they recount an incident which may happen to any one who journeys by road along the coast of Provence:

Le Voyageur au Voiturin.
“Arrête ton cheval, saute à bas, mon vieux faune:
Et va, bon voiturin, du côte de la mer;
Sur le bord de cette anse où le flot est si clair,
Coupe, dans les rochers, coupe cette fleur jaune.”
Le Voiturin.
“C’est une fleur sauvage, O seigneur étranger.
La-bas nous trouverons des bouquets d’oranger.”
Le Voyageur.
“Non! laisse l’oranger embaumer le rivage,
Pour ces parfums si doux je suis barbare encore,
Mais sur ma terre aussi poussent les landiers d’or
Et j’aime la senteur de cette fleur sauvage!”

Such is the charm of the ajonc, “la fleur d’or de Provence.”

St. Nazaire-du-Var

St. Nazaire-du-Var

Beyond Ollioules is St. Nazaire-du-Var, a tiny port which resembles in many ways that of Bandol. It has some of the aspects of a station des bains, in the summer months, for it has a fine beach. The railways and the guide-books apparently have little knowledge of St. Nazaire for they call it Sanary, after the old Provençal name. The present authorities of the really attractive little town are doing their best to keep pace with the march of progress, and there are hotels, more or less grand, electric lights, and tram-cars.

The little port is exceedingly picturesque, and its quays are always animated with the comings and goings of a hundred or more fishing-boats, which of themselves smack nothing of modernity. The motor-boat has not yet taken the picturesqueness out of the life of these hardy fishermen of yore, though it is slowly making its way in some parts.

In reality St. Nazaire-du-Var exists no more. The development of St. Nazaire-de-Bretagne overshadowed its less opulent namesake and took most of the mail-matter addressed to the little Provençal port. The inhabitants of the latter protested and addressed who ever has the making and changing of place-names in France to be allowed to adopt its ancient patronymic of Sanary.

Some day a “Club Privé,” and “Promenades,” and “Places,” and “Squares” will come, and an effort will be made to stop the flood of English and American and German tourists, who are appropriating nearly every beauty-spot on the Riviera where there is a post-office and a telegraph station.

Above, on a hill to the eastward, is a chapel dedicated to Nôtre Dame de Pitié, greatly venerated by the fishermen and sailors of the town, but mostly remembered by travellers for the very remarkable outlook which is to be had from the platform of its great square tower. With its rectangular little houses glistening white in the sunlight, and red roofs, and great towering palms and eucalyptus, St. Nazaire resembles a great flowering bouquet, and when the simile is carried further, and the bouquet is tied up with a waving ribbon of yellow sand, and placed in a broad blue vase of the sea, the picture is one which, once seen, will be unforgettable.

Toward the horizon is seen a cone which bears the enigmatical name of Six-Fours. More majestic is Cap Sicié, which breaks the waves of the Mediterranean into myriads of flakes, and gives a warning to the ships lying in the basins at Marseilles that the sea is rising, and that one of those intermittent tempests, for which the Golfe de Lyon is noted, is due. Cap Nègre lies farther in, a black basalt wall which gives an accent of sombreness to the otherwise gay picture.



THE great promontory of Cap Sicié is a peninsula, five kilometres across the “neck,” and jutting seaward double that distance.

Just beyond Sanary, or St. Nazaire-du-Var, is the great Baie de Sanary, snuggled close under the promontory height and forming a welcome shelter from the seas which pile up on the coast from Toulon to Marseilles.

There is a little excursion offshore which one should make before he descends on the great arsenal of Toulon, on the other side of the Cap; but unless the traveller is forewarned he is likely to overlook it altogether, and thereby miss what to many will be a new form of human happiness.

Travellers to Naples make the trip to Ischia, if they are not afraid of earthquakes; or to Capri, if they like the damp of the grottoes; but travellers en route to Toulon may make the short trip to the Iles des Embiez, from the little haven of Le Brusc, and have something of the suggestion of both the former popular tourist points,—with an utter absence of tourists.

Embiez is not much of an island in point of size, and the map-makers scarcely know it at all. One makes his way from Le Brusc, through an expanse of calm and limpid water, on a flat-bottomed sort of craft which looks as though it might have degenerated from a punt.

The way is not long; it is astonishingly short for a sea voyage, and it is only with a previous knowledge of the shallows—or, rather, the deeps—that the craft can find its way across the scarcely hidden banks of yellow sand. Fifteen minutes of this voyaging brings one to the isle, and from its little jetty a douanier accosts your boat to know if you have anything dutiable on board, as well as for your ship’s papers, and a doctor’s certificate. He need have no fears, however, for no one would ever take the trouble to smuggle anything into Embiez. “Nothing doing,” and the douanier returns to his fishing off the jetty’s end.

The isle is a rock-surrounded mamelon which rises to a height of some sixty or seventy metres, and is as wild and savage and romantic as the most imaginative sketch ever outlined by Doré.

There is a fringe of small white houses, the dwellings of the workers in the salt-works of the isle, and of that lonesome douanier, while above, on an elevated plateau, is the Château de Sabran, which draws its name from one of the illustrious and ancient families of Provence.

It is all very picturesque, but there is nothing very archaic about the château, with the exception of one old tower. There are numerous evidences which point to the fact that some kind of fortifications were erected here in early times; the douanier is divided in his opinion as to whether they were the work of Saracens or Barbary pirates, and the reader may take his choice. At any rate, there is an unspoiled setting right here at hand for any writer who would like to try to turn out as good a tale as “Treasure Island” or “Monte Cristo.”

Returning to the mainland, and following the highroad as it goes eastward to Toulon, one comes upon the curiously named little town of Six-Fours, situated on the very apex of the heights.

The very name of Six-Fours is enigmatic. It is certain that it was a mountain fortress in days gone by; and from that—and the intimation that there was once six forts or six towers here—one infers that its name was evolved from Six-Forts, which name was written in Latin Sex Furni and finally Six Fours. Another opinion—French antiquarians, like their brethren the world over, are prolific in opinions—is that the bizarre name was that of one of the lieutenants of Cæsar engaged in the blockade of Marseilles. One named Sextus Furnus, or Sextus Furnis, did occupy a mountain stronghold in that campaign, and it may have been the site where the village of Six-Fours now stands.

Six-Fours, so curiously named, and so little known outside its immediate neighbourhood, has many strange manners and customs. The genuine Six-Fourneens are six feet or more in height, and will not—or would not for a long time—marry any étranger, by which term they designate all outsiders.

Their speech and accent, too, are different from other Provençaux, and they have been called wild, savage, and ridiculous. This is mostly a libel, or else they have now outgrown these undesirable characteristics.

There is a Christmas custom at Six-Fours which is worth noting: a bon feu (which easily enough shows the evolution of the English word bonfire) is lighted in the street on Christmas eve before the dwelling of the oldest inhabitant (the oldest inhabitant of last year’s celebration may or may not have died, so there is always the element of chance to give zest), followed by a collation paid for by public subscription. As this repast comes off, also, in the street, the effect is weirdly amusing. The children partake, too (which is right and proper), and “par permission spéciale” all are allowed to eat with their fingers, as there are seldom enough knives and forks to go round.

From the plateau height on which sits this decayed village a most expansive view is to be had. Before one is the promontory of Cap Sicié plunging abruptly beneath the Mediterranean waves. About and around are rose-bushes, gripping tenaciously the rocky crevices of the hills, here and there as thickly interwoven as chain mail, while in the valleys are occasional little cleared orchards where the olive-trees are ranged in rows like soldiers, though in the tree kingdom of the southland the olive is the dwarf, and, moreover, lacks the brilliant colouring of the fig or almond which mostly form its neighbours.

Off to the left are the roof-tops of La Seyne, and the smoky stacks of its shipyards and factories, while still farther to the southeast is the combination of the grime of Toulon with that luminous sky of iridescent Mediterranean blue. It is ravishing, all this, though perhaps not more so than similar panoramas elsewhere along the Riviera. On the whole, their like is not to be found elsewhere in the travelled world, at least not with such abundant contributory charms.

Six-Fours itself raises its ruins high in air, miserable, and silent, almost, as the grave, a mere wraith of a once lively and ambitious settlement. The decadence of man is a sad thing, but that of cities quite as sad, and to-day this ancient domain of the seigneur-abbés of St. Victor de Marseilles is as impressive an example as one will find.

As one proceeds eastward he opens another vista quite unlike any other view to be had in all the world. The great Rade de Toulon, its batteries and forts, its suburbs, and its environs, all form an impressive ensemble of the work of nature and man.

The highroad continues on toward La Seyne, the great ship-building suburb, and another leads to Les Sablettes and Tamaris, directly on the water’s edge, and far enough removed from the smoke and industry of the great arsenal to belong to the real countryside.

The Rade de Toulon is one of the joys of the Mediterranean. Its splendid banks are cut into graceful curves, and the background of hills and mountains makes a joyful picture indeed, whether viewed from land or sea. The charming little bays of its outline are quite in harmony with the brilliant blue of the sky, and not even the smoke-pouring chimneys of the shipyards at La Seyne sound a false note, but rather they accent the natural beauties to a still higher degree.

Away beyond the Grande Rade are the ragged isles of the archipelago of Hyères, wave-battered and gleaming in the sunlight, while around the whole nebulous horizon are effects of brilliant colouring of land and sea hardly to be equalled, certainly not to be excelled. Wooded peninsulas come down and jut out into the sea, and, despite the air of activity which is over the whole neighbourhood, there is an idyllic charm about the remote suburbs which is indescribable.

Fishing-boats at Tamaris

Fishing-boats at Tamaris

Guarded seaward by grim forts, and admirably sheltered from the mistral, which blows over its head and out to sea, is Tamaris, whose fame first started from a four months’ residence here of George Sand. Like Alphonse Karr and Dumas, the elder, George Sand, if not the discoverer of a new and unpatronized pied de terre, gave the first impetus to Tamaris as a resort of not too alluring attractions, and yet all-sufficient to one who wanted to enjoy the quietness and beauties of nature to a superlative degree, all within a half-hour’s journey of a great city. So pleased was the great woman of French letters that she laid the scene of one of her last and most celebrated romances here. All the delicate plants of a latitude five hundred miles farther south here find a foothold, and flourish as soon as they have become acclimated and taken root. Hence it has become a “garden-spot,” in truth, and one which is too often neglected by Riviera tourists in general. There is small reason for this, and when one realizes that Tamaris is a first-class literary shrine as well—for the dwelling (the Maison Trucy) inhabited by Madame Sand still stands—there is even less.

The magic ring of Michel Pacha, the innovator of lighthouses within the waters of the Ottoman empire, has served to develop and enrich a little corner of this delightful bit of the tropics, and, where the cypress and pine once grew alone, are now found palm, orange, and lemon trees; and hedges and walls of the laurier-rose line the alleys which lead to the Oriental-looking château of this dignitary of the East. The effect is just the least bit garish and out of place, but like all groupings of nature and art on Mediterranean shores, it is undeniably effective, and the domain all in all looks not unlike a stage setting for the “Arabian Nights.”

Just back of Tamaris is, or was, the celebrated “Batterie des Hommes Sans Peur,” which so awakened the interest and curiosity of George Sand that she implored the authorities to make a memorial of the spot forthwith, and spend less time digging for prehistoric remains.

The construction of the battery was one of the first great exploits of the young Napoleon (1793), which, with the subsequent taking of the Petit-Gibraltar (as the present Fort Napoleon was then known), was one of the real history-making events of modern France.

Madame Sand marvelled that the site of this tiny battery had been so neglected. It was due to that distinguished lady that the exact location of the battery was made known, and, though still merely a ruined earthwork, may be reckoned as one of the patriotic souvenirs of a lurid page of history.

George Sand had the idea of buying these twenty metres square of ground, surrounding them with a paling and making a path thereto which should lead from the highway. Ultimately she intended to plant a simple stone with the following inscription: “Ici Reposent les Hommes Sans Peur.” This was never done, however, and so those only who have the memory of the incident well within their grasp ever even come across the site. There is something more than a legendary grandeur about it all, and those who are unfamiliar with the incident had best refer to any good life of Napoleon, and learn what really happened at the famous siege of Toulon.

Toulon is about the best guarded arsenal in all the world. The Caps Mouret, Notre Dame de la Garde, Sicié, and Sepet play nature’s part, and play it well, and the hand of man has added cannons wherever he could find a resting-place for them. “Canons! encore canons, et toujours des canons!” said a French commercial traveller at the table d’hôte, when the artist told him that she had been remonstrated with when making a sketch on the summit of an exceedingly beautiful hillside to the eastward of the city. This admonition was enough. Much better to take good advice than to languish in prison till your consul comes and gets you out,—which is just what has happened to inquisitive artists in France before now.

Toulon is warlike to the very core, and, in spite of an active historic past, there is scarcely a monument in the town to-day, except the old cathedral of Saint Marie Majeure, which takes rank among those which appeal for architectural worth alone. The arsenal is the chief attraction; remove it, and Toulon might become a great commercial centre, or even a “watering-place,” but with it the very atmosphere smacks of powder and shot.

The city is not unlovely as great cities go. It is modern, well-kept, and certainly well-beautified by trees and shrubs and flowers, and wide, straight streets, and, above all, it is blessed with a charming situation.

In Toulon’s Old Port

In Toulon’s Old Port

Of all the cities of the Mediterranean (always excepting Marseilles), Toulon is the most gay. It has not the feverish commercialism of Marseilles, but it has an up-to-dateness that is quite as much to be remarked. There are no boulevards maritimes or great hotels, as at Cannes or Nice, neither are there any special tourist attractions to make Toulon a resort, but there are cafés galore and much gaiety of a convivial kind. “Une ville régulière, d’aspect Américain,” Toulon has been called, and it merits the appellation in some respects, with its straight streets and tall houses of brick or stone. A large number of great branching palms just saves the situation.

The great defect of Toulon is that the quarter where centres the life of the city is far away from the sea. To get a satisfactory view of the magnificent harbour, or the commercial port of the Vieille Darse, one has to go even farther afield and climb one or the other of the hillsides round about, when a truly great panorama spreads itself out.

La Seyne, the great ship-building suburb of Toulon, is a model of what a manufacturing town of its class should be, though it has no real meaning for the tourist for rest or pleasure. For the student of things and men, the case is somewhat different. For instance, you may read, posted up on the wall opposite the entrance to the ship-building establishment, that the Gazetta del Popolo of Genoa has a correspondent at Toulon, this in big, staring red and green letters surmounting a more or less rude woodcut of an Italian soldier. From this one gathers that the Italian workmen are numerous hereabouts, as indeed they are, and almost everywhere else along the coast. As like as not the hotel garçon serves your soup with an “Ecco,” instead of a “Voilà!” and sooner or later you come to realize that the hybrid speech which you hear on street corners is not Provençal but Franco-Italian.

Toulon, in history, makes a long and brilliant chapter, but a cataloguing even of the events can have no place here. Its prominence as a stronghold and bulwark of the French nation was due to Louis XII., the second husband of Anne of Bretagne, who, it is said, inspired his predecessor on the throne (and in her affections) to first appreciate the advantages of Brest as a stronghold of a similar character.

Ages before this Toulon was founded by the Phœnicians, it is supposed sometime before the tenth century. The royal purple of the East and the desire to possess it, or make it, was the prime cause; for the ancients found that the waters around Toulon gave birth to a mollusk which dyed everything with which it came in contact into a most brilliant purple. It seems a small thing to found a great city upon, and the industry is non-existent to-day, but such is the more or less legendary account.

After the Phœnicians Toulon fell into the background, and the possibilities of building here a great port which might rival Marseilles were utterly neglected.

It seems probable that the original name of the town was Telo, which in the itinerary of Antony is given as Telo-Martius, from an ancient temple to Mars, thus distinguishing it from a similar name applied to many other places in the Narbonnais.

Finally Toulon emerged from its semi-obscurity, and Guillaume de Tarente, Comte de Provence, in 1055, surrounded with wall “the place called Tholon or Tollon.”

Until the tenth century Toulon’s ecclesiastical history was more momentous than was its civic. It had been the seat of a bishop for a matter of six centuries, with St. Honorat, St. Gratien, and St. Cyprien as bishops, all within the first century of its existence.

The plan to make Toulon one of the great fortified places of the world was carried on assiduously by Richelieu, who commanded a certain Jacques Desmarets, professor of mathematics at the university at Aix, to make a plan which should show the Provençal coast-line in all its detail. The instructions read, “...sur vélin, enluminé en or et representant la côte jusqu’à deux ou trois lieues dans les terres.”

The general scheme was carried out further by Mazarin, the wily Italian who succeeded Richelieu. In company with Louis XIV., Mazarin visited Toulon, and then and there decided that it should take the first place in the kingdom as a stronghold for the navy.

Toulon then became the greatest naval arsenal the world had known. In 1670 it armed forty-two ships of the line, among them many three-deckers, which all lovers of the romance of the seas have come to accept as the most imposing craft then afloat, whatever may have been their additional virtues. Among those fitted for sea and armed at Toulon was the Magnifique, a vessel which excited universal enthusiasm all over Europe, not only because it mounted a hundred and four guns, but because the sculptor Puget had designed her decorations, and decorations on ships were much more ornate in those days than they are in the present vagaries of the “art nouveau.”

Puget lived at Toulon at the time, and had indeed already designed the caryatides which stand out so prominently in the Toulon’s Hôtel de Ville. His house in the Rue de la République, known by every one as the “Maison Puget,” is one of the shrines at which art-worshippers should not neglect to pay homage. It has some remarkably beautiful features, a fine stairway in wrought iron, an elaborate newel-post, and many similar decorations.

Back of Toulon is the great gray mass of the Faron, fortified, as is every height and point of view round about. From the summit of this great height (546 metres) one may see, on a clear day, Corsica and the Alps of Savoie. The fortifications are too numerous to call by name here, and, indeed, they are uninteresting enough to the lover of the romantically picturesque, regardless of their worth from a strategic point of view. Like the cannon, the forts are everywhere.

Formerly the port of Toulon was closed by sinking a great chain across the harbour-mouth. It went down with the sinking of the sun and only rose at daybreak. The guardianship of this defence was given to some “homme de confiance” of Toulon as a sort of deserved honour or glory. This was in the seventeenth century, and to-day, though the guard-ships and the search-lights of the forts do the same service, the name “Chaine Vieille” is still in the mouths of the old sailors and fishermen as they make their way to and fro from the Grande to the Petite Rade.

Toulon has among its great men of the past the name of the Chevalier Paul, perhaps first and foremost of all the seafarers of France since the day of Dougay-Trouin. He had fixed his residence in the valley of the Dardennes, with a roof over his head “tout à fait digne d’un prince.” In the month of February, 1660, the celebrated sailor received Louis XIV., Anne of Austria, the Duc d’Orléans, Cardinal Mazarin, “la grande Mademoiselle,” innumerable princes and seigneurs, four Secrétaires d’État, the ambassador of Venice, and the papal nuncio. This royal company was splendidly fêted, much after the manner of those assemblies held in the previous century in the châteaux of Touraine. The Chevalier bore until his death the title of supreme “Commandant de la Marine,” and when his death came, at the age of seventy, he made the poor of the city his heirs.

One memory of Toulon, which is familiar to students of history and romance, are the prisons and galleys of other days. Dumas draws a vivid picture of the life in the galleys in one of his little known but most absorbing tales, “Gabriel Lambert.”

To be sure, those who were condemned “à ramer sur les galères” were mostly culprits who deserved some sort of punishment, but the survival of the institution was one that one marvels at in these advanced centuries.

Really the galley, and the uses to which it was put at Toulon in the eighteenth century, was a survival of the galley of the ancients. It was a long slim craft, of light draught, propelled by a single, double, or treble bank of oars, and sometimes sails.

The punishment of the galleys, that is to say, the obligation to “ramer sur les galères,” was applied to certain classes of criminals who were known as forçats or galériens. The crime of Gabriel Lambert, of whom Dumas wrote with such fidelity, was that of counterfeiting.

In 1749 there were sixteen galères here, eight of them at “practice” at one time, giving occupation to thirty-seven hundred convicts who were quartered on old hulks moored to the quays or on shore in a convict prison.

Toulon to Frejus

Toulon to Frejus

Between Toulon and Hyères, lying back from the coast, in the valley of the Gapeau, is a bit of transplanted Africa, where the brilliant sun shines with all the vigour that it does on the opposite Mediterranean shore. The valley is perhaps the most important topographically west of the Rhône, at least until one reaches the Var at Nice. There is a sprinkling of small towns here and there, and more frequent country residences and vineyards, but there is an air of solitude about it that can but be remarked by all who travel by road.

One great highroad runs out from Toulon through Solliès-Pont, Cuers, Puget-Ville, Pignans, and Le Luc to Fréjus. The coast road leads to the same objective point, but the characteristics of the two are as different as can be. A more varied and more charming combination of scenic charms, than can be had by journeying out via one route and back by the other, can hardly be found in this world, unless one has in mind some imaginary blend of Switzerland and the Mediterranean.

The region is known as Les Maures, the name in reality referring to the mountain chain whose peaks follow the coast-line at a distance of from thirty to fifty kilometres.

The whole region known as Les Maures is in a state of semi-solitude; twenty-three thousand souls for an area of one hundred and twenty thousand hectares is a remarkable sparsity of population for most parts of France.

Cuers is the metropolis of the region and boasts of some three thousand inhabitants, and a great trade in the oil of the olive.

There is absolutely nothing of interest to the tourist in any of these little towns between Toulon and Fréjus. There is to be sure the usual picturesque church, which, if not grand or architecturally excellent, is invariably what artists call “interesting,” and there is always a picturesque grouping of roof-tops, clustered around the church in a manner unknown outside of France.

Occasionally one does see a small town in France which reminds him of Italy, and occasionally one that suggests Holland, but mostly they are French and nothing but French, though they be as varied in colour as Joseph’s coat, and as diversified in manners and customs as one would imagine of a country whose climate runs the whole gamut from northern snows to southern olive groves.

In reality, Cuers shares its importance with Les Solliès, whose curious name grew up from the memory of a Temple of the Sun, upon the remains of which is built the present church of Solliès-Ville.

In Les Maures

In Les Maures

Solliès-Pont owes its name to the pont, or bridge, by which the “Route Nationale” crosses the Gapeau. It is the centre of the cherry culture in the Var, and at the time of year when the trees are in blossom, the aspect of the surrounding hillsides would put cherry-blossoming Japan to shame. The crop is the first which comes into the market in France. The lovers of early fruits, in Paris restaurants and hotels, know the “cerises du Var” very well indeed. They buy them at the highest market prices, delightfully put up in boxes of poplar-wood and garnished with lace-paper. Annually Solliès-Pont despatches something like a hundred thousand cases of these first cherries of the year, each weighing from three to twelve kilos, and bringing—well, anything they can command, the very first perhaps as much as eight or ten francs a kilo. This for the first few straggling boxes which some fortunate grower has been able to pick off a well-sunned tree. Within a fortnight the price will have fallen to fifty centimes, and at the end of a month the traffic is all over, so far as the export to outside markets is concerned.

“Cherries are grown everywhere,” one says. Yes, but not such cherries as at Solliès-Pont.

Here at this little railway station in the Var one may see a whole train loaded with a hundred thousand kilos of the most luscious cherries one ever cast eyes upon.

The aspect of the region round about has nothing of the grayness of the olive orchards east and west; all this has given way to a flowering radiance and a brilliant green, as of an oasis in a desert.

The gathering of this important crop is conducted with more care than that of any other of the Riviera. The trees are not shaken and their fruit picked up off the ground, nor do agile lads climb in and out among the branches. Not even a ladder is thrust between the thick leaves of the trees, but a great straddling stepladder, like those used by the olive pickers of the Bouches-du-Rhône, is carried about from tree to tree, and gives a foothold to two, three, or even four lithe, young girls, whose graces are none the less for their gymnastics at reaching for the fruit head-high and at arm’s length.

One marvels perhaps—when he sees these boxes of luscious cherries in the Paris market—as to how they may have been packed with such symmetry. It is very simple, though the writer had to see it done at Solliès-Pont before he realized it. The boxes are simply packed from the top downwards, so to speak. The first layer is packed in close rows, the stems all pointing upwards, then the rest of the contents are put in without plan or design, and the cover fastened down. When the packages are opened, it is the bottom that is lifted, and thus one sees first the rosy-red globules, all in rows, like the little wooden balls of the counting machines.

The south of France is destined to provision a great part of Europe, and already it is playing its part well. The cherries of Solliès-Pont go—after Paris has had its fill—to England, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, and Russia, though doubtless only the “milords” and millionaires get a chance at them.

Besides the consumption of the fruit au naturel, the cherries of the Var are the most preferred of all those delicacies which are preserved in brandy, and a cocktail, of any of the many varieties that are made in America (and one place, and one only, in Paris—which shall be nameless), with one of the cherries of Solliès-Pont drowned therein, is a superdelicious thing, unexcelled in all the “made drinks” the world knows to-day.



THE real French Riviera is not the resorts of rank and fashion alone; it is the whole ensemble of that marvellous bit of coast-line extending eastward from Toulon to the Italian frontier. Topographically, geographically, and climatically it abounds in salient features which, in combination, are unknown in any similar strip of territory in all the world, though there is very little that is strange, outré, or exotic about any of its aspects. It is simply a combination of conditions which are indigenous to the sunny, sheltered shores of the northern Mediterranean, which are here blessed, owing to a variety of reasons, with a singularly equable climate and situation.

Doubtless the region is not the peer of southern California in topography or climate; indeed, without fear or favour, the statement is here made that it is not; but it has what California never has had, nor ever will, a history-strewn pathway traversing its entire length, where the monuments left by the ancient Greeks and Romans tell a vivid story of the past greatness of the progenitors and moulders of modern civilization.

This in itself should be enough to make the Riviera revered, as it justly is; but it is not this, but the gay life of those who neither toil nor spin that makes this world’s beauty-spot (for Monaco and Monte Carlo are assuredly the most beautiful spots in the world) so worshipped by those who have sojourned here.

This is wrong of course, but the simple life has not yet come to be the institution that its prophets would have us believe, and, after all, a passion of some sort is the birthright of every man, whether it be gambling at Monte Carlo, automobiling on sea or land, painting, or attempting to paint, the masterpieces of nature, or studying historic monuments. At any rate, all these diversions are here, and more, and, as one may pursue any of them under more idyllic conditions here than elsewhere, the Riviera is become justly famed—and notorious.

Not all Riviera visitors live in palatial hotels; some of them live en pension, which, like the boarding-house of other lands, has its undeniable advantage of economy, and its equally undeniable disadvantages too numerous to mention and needless to recall.

Of course the Riviera has undeniable social attractions, since it was developed (so far as the English—and Americans—are concerned) by that vain man, Lord Brougham.

Lord Brougham, Lord Chancellor of England, first gave the popular fillip to Cannes in the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign. From that time the Riviera, east and west of Cannes, has steadily increased in popularity and in transplanted institutions. The chief of these is perhaps the tea-tippling craze which has struck the Riviera with full force. It’s not as exhilarating an amusement as automobiling, which runs it a close second here, but a “tea-fight” at a Riviera hôtel de luxe has at least something more than the excitement of a game of golf or croquet, which also flourish on the sand-dunes under the pines, from St. Tropez to Menton, and even over into Italy.

It’s a pity the tea-drinking craze is so monopolizing,—really it is as bad as the “Pernod” habit, and is no more confined to old maids than are Bath chairs or the reading of the Morning Post. Bishop Berkeley certainly was in error when he wrote, or spoke, about the “cup that cheers but does not inebriate,” for the saying has come to be one of the false truths which is so much of a platitude that few have ever thought of denying it.

The doctors say that one should not take tea or alcohol on the Riviera, the ozone of the climate supplying all the stimulant necessary. If one wants anything more exciting, let him try the tables at Monte Carlo.

Riviera weather is a variable commodity. Some localities are more subject to the mistral than others, though none admit that they have it to the least degree, and some places are more relaxing than others. Menton is warm, and very little rain falls; Nice is blazing hot and cold by turn; and there are seasons at Cannes, in winter, when, but for the date in the daily paper, you would think it was May.

Beaulieu and Cap Martin lead off for uniformity of the day and night temperature. The reading at the former place (in that part known as “Petite Afrique”) on a January day in 1906 being: minimum during the night, 9° centigrade; maximum during the day, 11° centigrade; 8 A. M., 10° centigrade; 2 P. M., 9° centigrade, and, in a particularly well-sheltered spot in the gardens of the Hôtel Metropole, 15° centigrade. This is a remarkable and convincing demonstration of the claims for an equable temperature which are set forth.

In general this is not true of the Riviera. A bright, sunny, and cloudless January day, when one is uncomfortably warm at midday, is, as likely as not, followed at night by a sudden fall in temperature that makes one frigid, if only by contrast.

Comparative Theometric Scale

Comparative Theometric Scale

The Riviera house-agent tells you: “Do not come here unless you are prepared to stay” (he might have added “and pay”), “for the Riviera renders all other lands uninhabitable after once you have fallen under its charm.”

Amid all the gorgeousness of perhaps the most exquisite beauty-spot in all the world—that same little strip of coast between Hyères and Menton—is a colony of parasitic dwellers who are no part of the attractions of the place; but who unconsciously act as a loadstone which draws countless others of their countrymen, with their never absent diversions of golf, tennis, and croquet. One pursues these harmless sports amid a delightful setting, but why come here for that purpose? One cannot walk the Boulevards and Grandes Promenades all of the time, to be sure, but he might take that rest which he professedly comes for, or failing that, take a plunge into the giddy whirl of the life of the “Casino” or the “Cercle.” The result will be the same, and he will be just as tired when night comes and he has overfed himself with a dîner Parisien at a great palace hotel where the only persons who do not “dress” are the waiters.

This is certain,—the traveller and seeker after change and rest will not find it here any more than in Piccadilly or on Broadway, unless he leaves the element of big hotels far in the background, and lives simply in some little hovering suburb such as Cagnes is to Nice or Le Cannet to Cannes, or preferably goes farther afield. Only thus may one live the life of the author of the following lines:

“There found he all for which he long did crave,
Beauty and solitude and simple ways,
Plain folk and primitive, made courteous by
Traditions old, and a cerulean sky.”

The rest is hubble, bubble, toil, and trouble of the same kind that one has in the hotels of San Francisco, London, or Amsterdam; everything cooked in the same pot and tasting of cottolene and beef extract.

There is some truth in this,—for some people,—but the ties that bind are not taken into consideration, and, though the words are an echo of those uttered by Alphonse Karr when he first settled at St. Raphaël,—after having been driven from Étretat by the vulgar throng,—they will not fit every one’s ideas or pocket-books.

Popularity has made a boulevard of the whole coast from St. Raphaël to San Remo, and indeed to Genoa, and there is no seclusion to be had, nor freedom from the “sirens” of automobiles, or the tin horns of trams and whistles of locomotives; unless one leaves the beaten track and settles in some background village, such as Les Maures or the Estérel, where the hum of life is but the drone of yesterday and Paris papers are three days old when they reach you.

For all that the whole Riviera, and its gay life as well, is delightful, though it is as enervating and fatiguing as the week’s shopping and theatre-going in Paris with which American travellers usually wind up their tour of Europe.

The Riviera isn’t exactly as a Frenchman wrote of it: “all Americans, English, and Germans,” and it is hardly likely you will find a hotel where none of the attendants speak French (as this same Frenchman declared), but nevertheless “All right” is as often the reply as “Oui, monsieur.”

All the multifarious attractions of this strip of coast-line are doubly enhanced by the delicious climate, and the wonders of the Baie des Anges and the Golfe de la Napoule are more and more charming as the sun rises higher in the heavens, and La Napoule, St. Jean, Beaulieu, Passable, Villefranche, Cap Martin, and Cap Ferrat, the “Corniche,” La Turbie, Monaco, and Menton are all names to conjure with when one wants to call to mind what a modern Eden might be like.

Of course Monte Carlo dominates everything. It is the one objective point, more or less frequently, of all Riviera dwellers. The sumptuousness of it acts like a loadstone toward steel, or the candle-flame to the moth, and many are the wings that are singed and clipped within its boundaries.

Whatever may be the moral or immoral aspect of Monte Carlo, it does not matter in the least. It has its opponents and its partisans,—and the bank goes on winning for ever. Meantime the whole region is prosperous, and the public certainly gets what it comes for. The Monégasques themselves profit the most however. They are, for instance, exempt from taxes of any sort, which is considerable of a boon in heavily taxed continental Europe.

Monte Carlo is an enigma. Its palatial hotels, its Casino, its game, and its concerts and theatre, its pigeon-shooting, its automobile yachting, and all the rest contribute to a round of gaiety not elsewhere known. It may rain “hallebardes,” as the French have it, but the most adverse weather report which ever gets into the papers from Monte Carlo is “ciel nuageux.”

The Terrace, Monte Carlo

The Terrace, Monte Carlo

If Marseilles is the “Modern Babylon” of the workaday world, the Riviera—in the season—may well be called the “Cosmopolis de luxe.” In winter all nations under the sun are there, but in summer it is quite another story; still, Monte Carlo’s tables run the year around, and, as the inhabitant of the principality is not allowed to enter its profane portals, it is certain that visitors are not entirely absent.

There are three distinct Rivieras: the French Riviera proper, from Toulon to Menton; the Italian Riviera, from Bordighera to Alassio; and the Levantine Riviera, from Genoa to Viareggio.

Partisans plead loudly for Cairo, Biskra, Capri, Palermo, and Majorca,—and some for Madeira or Grand Canary,—but the comparatively restricted bit of Mediterranean coast-line known as the three Rivieras will undoubtedly hold its own with the mass of winter birds of passage. Just why this is so is obvious for three reasons. The first because it is accessible, the second, because it is moderately cheap to get to, and to live in after one gets there, unless one really does “plunge,” which most Anglo-Saxons do not; and the third,—whisper it gently,—because the English or American tourist, be he semi-invalid or be he not, hopes to find his fellows there, and as many as possible of his pet institutions, such as afternoon tea and cocktails, marmalade and broiled live lobsters, to say nothing of his own language, spoken in the lisping accents of a Swiss or German waiter.

It is not necessary to struggle with French on the Riviera, and the estimable lady of the following anecdote might have called for help in English and got it just as quickly:

At the door of a Riviera express, stopping at the Gare de Cannes, an elderly English lady tripped over the rug and was prostrated her full-length on the platform.

Gallant Frenchmen rushed to her aid from all quarters: “Vous n’avez pas de mal, madame?” “Merci, non, seulement une petite sac de voyage,” she replied, as she limpingly and lispingly made her way through the crowd.

This ought to dispose of the language question once for all. If you are on the Riviera, speak English, or, likely enough, you will fall into similar errors unless you know that vague thing, idiomatic French, which is only acquired by familiarity.

The French Riviera has from forty to fifty rainy days a year, which is certainly not much; and it is conceivable that a stay of two months at Nice, Cannes, or Menton will not bring a rainy day to mar the memory of this sunny land. On the other hand, the Levantine Riviera may have ten days of rain in a month, and the next month another ten days may follow—or it may not. It is well, however, not to overlook the fact that Pisa, not so very far inland from the easternmost end of the Italian Riviera, is called the “Pozzo dell Italia”—the well of Italy.

There was a time when Cannes, Nice, and Menton were favoured as invalid resorts, and as mere pleasant places to while away a dull period of repose, but to-day all this is changed, and even the semi-invalid is looked at askance by the managers of hotels and the purveyors of amusements.

The social attractions have quite swamped the health-giving inducements of the chief towns of the Riviera, and the automobile has taken the place of the Bath chair; indeed, it is the world, the flesh, and the devil which have come into the province where ministering angels formerly held sway.

At the head of all the throng of Riviera pleasure-seekers are the royalties and the nobility of many lands. “Au-dessous d’eux,” as one reads in the monologue of Charles Quint, “la foule,” but here the throng is still those who have the distinction of wealth, whatever may be their other virtues. A “petit millionaire Français,” by which the Frenchman means one who has perhaps thirty thousand francs a year, stands no show here; his place is taken by the sugar and copper kings and “milords” and millionaires from overseas.

There are others, of course, who come and go, and who have not got a million sous, or ever will have, but the best they can do is to hire a garden seat on the promenade and with Don Cesar de Bazan “regarder entrer et sortir les duchesses.” It is either this (in most of the resorts of fashion along the Riviera) or one must “manger les haricots” for eleven months in order to be able to ape “le monde” for the other twelfth part of the year. Most of us would not do the thing, of course, so we are content to slip in and out, and admire, and marvel, and deplore, and put in our time in some spot nearer to nature, where dress clothes cease from troubling and functions are no more.



JUST off the coast road from Toulon to Hyères is the tiny town of La Garde. The commune boasts of twenty-five hundred inhabitants, most of whom evidently live in hillside dwellings, for the town proper has but a few hundreds, a very few, judging from its somnolence and lack of life. More country than town, the district abounds in lovely sweeps of landscape. Pradet, another little village, lies toward the coast, and, amid the dull grays of the olive-trees, gleams the white tower of a chapel which belongs to the modern château. The chapel, which bears the sentimental nomenclature of “La Pauline,” is filled by a wonderful lot of sculptures from the chisel of Pradier. Decidedly it is a thing to be seen and appreciated by lovers of sculptured art, even though its modern château is painful in its bald, pagan architectural forms.

Beyond La Garde lies the plain of Hyères, and offshore the great Golfe de Giens, well sheltered and surrounded by the peninsula of the same name, one of the beauty-spots of the Mediterranean scarcely known and still less visited by tourists. Directly off the tip end of the peninsula of Giens is a little group of rocky isles known as the Iles d’Hyères. They are indescribably lovely, but the seafarers of these parts of the Mediterranean dread them in a storm as do Channel sailors the Casquets in a fog.

The chief of these isles is Porquerolles, and it possesses a village of the same name, which has never yet been marked down as a place of resort. To be sure, no one, unless he were an artist attached to the painting of marines, or an author who thought to get far from the madding throng, would ever come here, anyway. The village is not so bad, though, and it is as if one had entered a new world. There is an inn where one is sure of getting a passable breakfast of fish and eggs; a “Grande Place” which, paradoxically, is not grand at all; and a humble little church which is not bad in its way. Two or three cafés, a bake-shop, and a Bureau des Douanes, of course, complete the business part of the place. Each little maisonette has a terrace overshadowed with vines, and, all in all, it is truly an idyllic little settlement. The isle culminates in a peak five hundred feet or so high, on the top of which is seated a fortification called Fort de la Repentance.

The entire isle, with the exception of that portion occupied by the fort and its batteries, belongs to a M. and Madame de Roussen, who are known to readers of French novels under the names of Pierre Ninous and Paul d’Aigremont. The proprietors have charmingly ensconced themselves in a delightful residence, which, if it does not rise to the dignity of a château, has as magnificent a stage setting as the most theatrical of the châteaux of the Loire; only, in this case, it is a seascape which confronts one, instead of the sweep of the broad blue river of Touraine.

Two hundred and fifty inhabitants live here, but away in the west there was formerly a colony of a thousand or more workmen engaged in the manufacture of soda. For more reasons than one—the principal being that the sulphurous fumes from the works were having an ill effect on the verdure—the establishment was purchased by the present proprietors of the isle.

The village has somewhat of the airs of its bigger brothers and sisters elsewhere in that its streets are lighted at night; the wharves are as animated as those of a great world-town, particularly on the arrival of the boat from Toulon; and the market-women sit about the street corners with their wares picturesquely displayed before them as they do in larger communities.

Truly, Porquerolles is unspoiled as yet, and the marvel is that it has not become an “artist’s sketching-ground” before now. It has many claims in this respect besides its natural beauties and attractions, one, not unappreciated by artists, being that it is not likely to be overrun by tourists. The reason for this is that the Courrier des Iles d’Hyères, as the diminutive steamer which arrives three times a week is called, is subsidized by the ministry for war, and the captain has the right to refuse passage to civilians when his craft is overloaded with travelling soldiers and sailors, whom the French government, presumably from motives of economy, prefers to move in this way from point to point among the various forts along the coast.

The Peninsula of Giens

The Peninsula of Giens

Four or five other islets make up the group which geographers and map-makers know as the Iles d’Hyères, but which the sentimental Provençaux best like to think of as the Iles d’Or; but their characteristics are quite the same as Porquerolles. There is here a picturesque fort called Alicastre, derived from Castrum Ali, a souvenir, it is said, of a Saracen chief who once entrenched himself here. Local report has it that the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned here at one time, but the nearest that history comes to this is to place his imprisonment at Ste. Marguerite and the Château d’If.

From the sea, as one comes by boat from Toulon, the Presqu’ile de Giens looks as though it were an island and had no connection with the land, for the neck connecting it with the mainland is invisible, both from the eastward and the westward, while the rocks of the tip end of the peninsula are abruptly imposing as they rise from the sea-level to a moderate but jagged height.

As one approaches closer he notes the capricious scallops of the shore-line of this bizarre but beautiful jutting point, and congratulates himself that he did not make his way overland.

A little village is in the extreme south, its whitewashed houses shepherded by a little church and the ruins of an old fortress-château. The town is as nothing, but the view is most soothing and tranquil in its impressive beauty and quiet charm. Nothing is violent or exaggerated, but the components of many ideal pictures are to be had for the turning of the head. Giens is another “artist’s sketching-ground” which has been wofully neglected.

The eastern shore is less savage and there are some attempts at agriculture, but on the whole Giens and its peninsula are but a distant echo of anything seen elsewhere. The quadrilateral walls of the old château, a semaphore, and a coast-guard station form, collectively, a beacon by sea and by land, and, as one makes his way to the mainland along the narrow causeway, he is reminded of that sandy ligature which binds Mont St. Michel with Pontorson, on the boundary of Brittany and Normandy.

Hyères is no longer fashionable. One would not think this to read the alluring advertisements of its palatial hotels, which, if not so grand and palatial as those at Monte Carlo, are, at least, far more splendid than those “board-walk “ abominations of the United States, or the deadly brick Georgian façades which adorn many of the sea-fronts of the south coast of England. The fact is, that society, or what passes for it, flutters around the gaming-tables of Monte Carlo, though for motives of economy or respectability they may sojourn at Nice, Menton, or Cap Martin.

For this reason Hyères is all the more delightful. It is the most southerly of all the Riviera resorts, and, while it is still a place of villas and hotels, there is a restfulness about it all that many a resort with more lurid attractions entirely lacks.

Built cosily on the southern slope of a hill, it is effectually sheltered from the dread mistral, which, when it blows here, seems to come to sea-level at some distance from the shore. The effect is curious and may have been remarked before. The sea inshore will be of that rippling blue that one associates with the Mediterranean of the poets and painters, while perhaps a league distant it will roll up into those choppy whitecaps which only the Mediterranean possesses in all their disagreeableness. Truly the wind-broken surface of the Mediterranean in, or near, the Golfe de Lyon is something to be dreaded, whether one is aboard a liner bound for the Far East or on one of those abominable little boats which make the passage to Corsica or Sardinia.

Hyères in one of its moods is almost tropical in its softness with its famous avenue of palms which wave in the gentle breezes which spring up mysteriously from nowhere and last for about an hour at midday. Its avenues and promenades are delightful, and there is never a suggestion of the snows which occasionally fall upon most of the Riviera resorts at least once during a winter. The only snow one is likely to see at Hyères is the white-capped Alps in the dim northeastern distance, and that will be so far away that it will look like a soft fleecy cloud.

Hyères is beautiful from any point of view, even when one enters it by railway from Marseilles, and even more so—indescribably more so, the writer thinks—when approaching by the highroad, from Toulon or Solliès-Pont, awheel or “en auto.”

Of all the historical memories of Hyères none is the equal of that connected with St. Louis. None will be able to read without emotion the memoirs of Joinville, giving the details of the return of Louis IX. and his wife, Marguerite de Provence, from the Crusades. The account of their arrival “au port d’Yeres devant le chastel” is most thrilling. One readily enough locates the site to-day, though the outlines of the old city walls and the château have sadly suffered from the stress of time.

This was a great occasion for Hyères; the greatest it has ever known, perhaps. “They saluted the returning sovereign with loud acclamations, and the standard of France floated from the donjon of the castle as witness to the fidelity of the inhabitants for the sovereign.”

The “good King René,” in a later century, had a great affection for Hyères also, and was equally beloved by its inhabitants. One of his legacies to Jeanne de Provence were the salt-works of Hyères, which were even then in existence.

Hyères enjoyed a strenuous enough life through all these years, but the saddest event in its whole career was when the traitorous Connétable de Bourbon took the château and turned it over to France’s arch-enemy, Charles V.

Charles IX. visited Hyères and remained five days within its walls, “his progress having been made between two rows of fruit-bearing orange-trees, freshly planted in the streets through which he was to pass.” This flattery so pleased the monarch that he himself, so history, or legend, states, carved the following inscription upon the trunk of one of those same orange-trees, “Caroli Regis Amplexu Glorior.”

One of the most beautiful strips of coast-line on the whole Riviera lies between Hyères and Fréjus. A narrow-gauge railway makes its way almost at the water’s edge for the entire distance, and the coast road, a great departmental highway, follows the same route. The distance is too great—seventy-five kilometres or more—for the pedestrian, unless he is one who keeps up old-time traditions, but nevertheless there is but one way to enjoy this everchanging itinerary to the full, and that is to make the journey somehow or other by highroad. The automobile, a bicycle, or a gentle plodding burro will make the trip more enjoyable than is otherwise conceivable, even though the striking beauties which one sees from the slow-running little train give one a glimmer of satisfaction. Seventy-five kilometres, scarce fifty miles! It is nothing to an automobile, not much more to a bicycle, and only a two-days’ jaunt for a sure-footed little donkey, which you may hire anywhere in these parts for ten francs a day, including his keeper. No more shall be said of this altogether delightful method of travelling this short stretch of wonderland’s roadway, but the suggestion is thrown out for what it may be worth to any who would taste the joys of a new experience.

Close under the frowning height of Les Maures runs the coast road, for quite its whole length up to Fréjus, while on the opposite side, and beneath, are the surging, restless waves of the Mediterranean.

First one passes the Salines de Hyères, one of those great governmental salt-works which line the Mediterranean coast, and soon reaches La Londe, famous for its lead mines and the rude gaiety of its seven or eight hundred workmen, who on a Sunday go back to primitive conditions and eat, drink, and make merry in rather a Gargantuan manner. This will not have much interest for the lover of the beautiful, but up to this point he will have regaled himself with a promenade along a beautiful sea-bordered roadway, whose opposite side has been flanked with rose-laurel, palms, orange-trees, and many exotic plants and shrubs of semi-tropical lands.

From La Londe and its sordid industrialism one has twenty straight kilometres ahead of him until he reaches Bormes, a town which has been considered as a possible rival to Nice and Cannes, but which has never got beyond the outlining of sumptuous streets and boulevards and the erecting of two great hotels to which visitors do not come. It is an exquisite little town, the old bourg parallelled with the tracery of the new streets and avenues. Take it all in all, the site is about one of the best in the south for a winter station, though the non-proximity of the sea—a strong five kilometres away—may account for the slow growth of Bormes as a popular resort.

The old town is most picturesque, its tortuous, sloping streets ever mounting and descending and making vistas of doorways and window balconies which would make a scene-painter green with envy, everything is so theatrical. Like some of the little hill-towns of the country to the westward of Aix, Bormes is a reflection of Italy, although it has its own characteristics of manners and customs.

The country immediately around this little town of less than seven hundred souls is of an incomparable splendour. There is nothing exactly like it to be seen in the whole of Provence. In every direction are seen little scattered hamlets, or a group of two or three little houses hidden away amid groves of eucalyptus and thickets of mimosa, while the flanking panorama of Les Maures on one side, and the Mediterranean on the other, gives it all a setting which has a grandeur with nothing of the pretentious or spectacular about it. It is all focussed so finely, and it is so delicately coloured and outlined that it can only be compared to a pastel.

The Rade de Bormes, though it really has nothing to do with Bormes, a half a dozen kilometres distant, is another of those delightful bays which are scattered all along the Mediterranean shore. It has all the beauty which one’s fancy pictures, and the maker of high-coloured pictures would find his paradise along its banks, for there is a brilliancy about its ensemble that seems almost unnatural.

In 1482 St. François de Paule, called to France by the death of Louis XI., landed here. At the time Bormes was stricken with a plague or pest, and all intercourse with strangers was forbidden. But, when the saint demanded aid and refreshment after his long voyage, it was necessary to draw the cordon and open the gates of the town. In return for this hospitality, it is said by tradition, the holy man cured miraculously the sick of the town. The popular devotion to St. François de Paule exists at Bormes even up to the present day, in remembrance of this fortunate event.

The old town itself is built on the sloping bank of a sort of natural amphitheatre, in spite of which it is well shaded and shadowed by numerous great banks of trees, while in every open plot may be seen aloes, cactus, agavas, immense geraniums, and the Barbary fig.

The ruins of the feudal château of Bormes recall the memory of the Baroness Suzanne de Villeneuve, of Grasse and Bormes, who, in the sixteenth century, so steadfastly sought to avenge the assassination of her husband.

Bormes possesses one other historic monument in the Hermitage of Notre Dame de Constance, which, on a still higher hill, dominates the town, and everything else within the boundary of a distant horizon, in a startling fashion.

Below, on the outskirts, is an old chapel and its surrounding cemetery, which, more than anything else in all France, looks Italian to every stone.

One other shrine, this time an artistic one as well as a religious one, gives Bormes a high rank in the regard of worshippers of modern art and artists. On the little Place de la Liberté is the Chapelle St. François de Paule, where is interred the remains of the painter Cazin.

In spite of the fact that it is far from the sea, Bormes has its “faubourg maritime,” a little port which has an exceedingly active commerce for its size. In reality the word port is excessive; it is hardly more than a beach where the fishermen’s boats are hauled up like the dories of down-east fishermen in New England. There is an apology for a dike or mole, but it is unusable. This will be the future ville de bains if Bormes ever really does become a resort of note. Its assured success is not yet in sight, and accordingly Bormes is still tranquil, and there are no noisy trams and hooting train-loads of excursionists breaking the stillness of its tranquil life.



FROM Bormes the route runs close to the shore-line up to the Baie de Cavalaire, where it cuts across a ten-kilometre inland stretch and comes to the sea again at St. Tropez.

The blue restless waves, the jutting capes, and the inlet bays and calanques make charming combinations of land and sea and sky, and repeat the story already told. The route crosses many vine-planted hills and valleys, through short tunnels and around precipitous promontories, but always under the eyes is that divinely beautiful view of the waters of the Mediterranean. The traveller finds no villages, only little hamlets here and there, and innumerable scattered country residences.

At Cavalaire the mountains of the Maures become less abrupt, and surround the bay in a low semicircle of foot-hills, quite different from the precipitous “corniches” of the Estérel or the mountains beyond Nice.

The Baie de Cavalaire has nearly a league of fine sands; not so extensive that they are as yet in demand as an automobile race-track, but fine enough to rank as quite the best of their kind on the whole Mediterranean shore of France. There will never be a resort here which will rival Nice or Cannes; these latter have too great a start; but whatever does grow up here in the way of a watering-place—a railway station and a Café-Restaurant famous for its bouillabaisse have already arrived—will surpass them in many respects.

The place has, moreover, according to medical reports, the least contrasting day and night temperature in winter of any of the Mediterranean stations. This would seem cause enough for the founding here of a great resort, but there is nothing of the kind nearer than the little village of Le Lavandou, passed on the road from Bormes, a hamlet whose inhabitants are too few for the makers of guide-books to number, but which already boasts of a Grand Hotel and a Hôtel des Étrangers.

At La Croix, just north of the Baie de Cavalaire, has grown up a little winter colony, consisting almost entirely of people from Lyons. It is here that formerly existed some of the most celebrated vineyards in Provence, the plants, it is supposed, being originally brought hither by the Saracens.

The sudden breaking upon one’s vision of the ravishing Golfe de St. Tropez, with its bordering fringe of palms, agavas, and rose-laurels, and its wonderful parasol-pines, which nowhere along the Riviera are as beautiful as here, is an experience long to be remembered.

The lovely little town of St. Tropez sleeps its life away on the shores of this beautiful bay, quite in idyllic fashion, though it does boast of a Tribunal de Pêche and of a few small craft floating in the gentle ripples of the darse, the little harbour enclosed by moles of masonry from the open gulf.

Up and down this basin are groups of fine parti-coloured houses, all with a certain well-kept and prosperous air, with nothing of the sordid or base aspect about them, such as one sees on so many watersides. A little square, or place, forms an unusual note of life and colour with its central statue of the great sailor, Suffren.

Only on this square and on the quays are there any of the modern attributes of twentieth-century life; the narrow but cleanly streets away from the waterside are as calm and somnolent as they were before the advent of electricity and automobiles; indeed, an automobile would have a hard time of it in some of these narrow ruelles.

The near-by panorama seen from the quays, or the end of the stone pier-head, is superb. The whole contour of the Golfe is a marvel of graceful curves, backed up with sloping, well-wooded hills and, still farther away, by the massive black of the Maures, the hill of St. Raphaël, and the red and brown tints of the Estérel, while still more distant to the northward, hanging in a soft film of vapour, are the peaks of the snowy Alps.

By following the old side streets, crowded with overhanging porches and projecting buttresses, with here and there a garden wall half-hiding broad-leafed fig-trees and palms, one reaches the Promenade des Lices, a remarkably well-placed and appointed promenade, shaded with great plane-trees, in strong contrast to the occasional pines and laurels.

St. Tropez’s history is ancient enough to please the most blasé delver in the things of antiquity. It may have been the Gallo-Grec Athenopolis, or it may have been the Phœnician Heraclea Caccabaria; but, at all events, its present growth came from a foundation which followed close upon the death of the martyr St. Tropez in the second century.

St. Tropez, in the days when sailing-ships had the seas to themselves, was possessed of a traffic and a commerce which, with the advent of the building of great steamships, lapsed into inconsequential proportions. The yards where the wooden ships were built and fitted out are deserted, and a part of the population has gone back to the land or taken to fishing; others—the young men—becoming garçons de café or valets de chambre in the great tourist hotels of the coast; or, rather, they did look upon these occupations as a bright and rosy future, until the coming of the automobile, since when the peasant youth of France aspires to be a chauffeur or mécanicien.

A new industry has recently sprung up at St. Tropez, the manufacture of electric cables, but it has not the picturesqueness, nor has it as yet reached anything like the proportions, of the old hempen cordage industry.

Ruined Chapel near St. Tropez

Ruined Chapel near St. Tropez

St. Tropez possesses its wonderful Golfe, its gardens, and its “Petite Afrique,” and is more and more visited by Riviera tourists; but it still awaits that great tide of traffic which has made more famous and rich many other less favoured Mediterranean coast towns. There is a reason for all this; principally that it faces the mistral’s icy breath, for the coast-line has here taken a bend and the Golfe runs inland in a westerly direction, which makes the town face directly north. As an offset to this the inhabitant points out to you that you may regard the sea without being troubled by the sun shining in your eyes.

At the head of the Golfe is La Foux. It sits in the midst of a sandy plain, surrounded by a border of superb umbrella-pines. The chief attraction for the visitor is the remarkable specimens of the little horses of Les Maures to be seen here. They are known as “les Eygues,” and have preserved all the purity of the type first brought from the Orient by the Saracens. Six centuries and more have not wiped out the Arab strain to anything like the extent that might be supposed, and accordingly the little horses of Les Maures are vastly more docile and agreeable playmates than the “petits chevaux” of the Casinos of Monte Carlo and Nice.

The umbrella or parasol pines of La Foux are famous throughout the whole Riviera. Elsewhere there are isolated examples, but here there are groves of them, all branching with a wide-spreading luxuriance which is quite at its best. It might seem as though they were planted by the hand of man, so decorative are they to the landscape from any point of view, but most of them are of an age that precludes all thought of this.

The giant of its race is directly on the bank of the Golfe, near the Château de Berteaux. Its branches extend out in every direction, like the ribs of a parasol or umbrella, and its trunk is thirty feet or more in circumference, while the shadow from its overhanging branches makes a great round oasis of shade in the brilliant Mediterranean sunlight. The tree and its position cannot be mistaken by travellers by road or rail, for the railway itself has a “halte” almost beneath its branches. All around these parasol-pines push themselves up through the sand which has been carried down into the headwaters of the Golfe by the Mole and the Giscle, torrents which at certain seasons bring down a vast alluvial deposit from the upper valleys of Les Maures.

It is not far from La Foux to the plain of Cogolin. A league or more behind one of the first buttresses of Les Maures, one enters the rich alluvial prairie of Cogolin. Sheep, goats, and cows, and the Arabian-blooded horses, which are so much admired at the courses at La Foux, find welcome pasture here in these verdant fields.

Cogolin is not the capital of the Golfe country, that honour belonging to Grimaud, of which St. Tropez is virtually the port; still, Cogolin is quite a little metropolis, and is the centre of the liveliest happenings of all the region between Hyères and Fréjus. The town has two different aspects, one banal and modern, and the other picturesque and feudal, recalling the thirteenth-century days of the Grimaldis, who built the château of which the present belfry formed a part.

Cogolin is uninteresting enough in its newer parts, but as one ascends the slope of the hill on which the town is built it grows more and more picturesque until, when the lower town is actually lost sight of, it finally takes rank as a delightful old-world place, with scarce a note of the twentieth century about it, where they still bring water from the public fountain and most of the shops of the smaller kind transact their business on the sidewalk—where there is one.

There is a peculiar odour all over Cogolin, which comes from the manufacture of corks and queer-looking “whisk-brooms.” It’s not a bad or unhealthful smell, but it is peculiar, and many will not like it. From Cogolin all roads lead to the heart of the Maures, and the stream of carts loaded with great slabs of cork is incessant.

Here, as in many other parts of Les Maures, the manufacture of corks is an industry which furnishes a livelihood to many. The workrooms of the cork-makers, to attract clients or amuse the populace—the writer doesn’t know which—are often in full view from the street. Certainly it is amusing to see a workman stamp out, or cut out, the corks and drop them into a waiting basket, as if they were plums gathered from a tree. In the larger establishments, where the work is done by machinery, the process is more complicated, and less interesting, and the writer did not see that any better results were obtained.

The whole region of Les Maures is dominated by the chêne-liège, or the cork-oak. Usually they are great, straight-trunked trees with a heavy foliage. Some still possess their natural brown trunks, and some are a gray fawn colour, showing that they are already aged and have been many times robbed of their bark for the manufacture of floats for the fisherman’s nets and corks for bottles. The first coat which is stripped has no mercantile value, and the trunk is left to heal itself as best it may, the sap oozing out and forming another skin, which in due time forms the cork-bark of commerce.

The trees are stripped only in part at one time, else they would perish. The first marketable crop is gathered in ten or a dozen years, and it takes another decade before the same portion can be again obtained.

This cork-bark industry means a fortune to Les Maures and its rather scanty population. The discovery, or real development, of the industry was due to a lonesome shepherd, who, finding how soft and compressible the bark of the chêne-liège really was, manufactured a few corks to pass the time while watching his flocks, taking them at the first opportunity to town, to see if he could find a market, which, needless to say, he did immediately. The account has something of a legendary flavour about it, but no doubt the discovery was made in just such a way.

Cogolin has another industry which, in its way, is considerable,—the manufacture of briar pipes, though mostly it is the gathering of the briar-roots which makes the industry, the actual fashioning of the pipes themselves being carried on most extensively at St. Claude in the Jura, to which point many train-loads of the roots are sent each year. Just why the industry should be carried on so far from the source of supply of the raw material is one of the problems that economists are trying always to solve, but the traffic clings tenaciously to the customs of old. When Les Maures goes in for the manufacture of briar pipes on a large scale there will be a new and increased prosperity for the inhabitants; this in spite of the growing consumption of the deadly cigarette, which, in France, is made of something which looks amazingly like cabbage-stalk—and a poor quality at that. The contempt for French tobacco is of long duration. It is recalled that a certain minister under Charles X. was invited to smoke smuggled tobacco at a friend’s house, and was implored to use his influence to the substituting of the same grade of tobacco for the poisonous cabbage-leaf then grown in France. His reply was appreciative but non-committal, and so the thing has gone on to this day, and the French public smokes uncomplainingly a very ordinary tobacco.

Three kilometres distant sits Grimaud, snug and serene on the terrace of a mountainside, overlooking Cogolin and the Golfe, and all its environment. The little town has all the characteristics of its neighbours, with perhaps a superabundance of shade-trees for a place which has not very ample streets and squares. At the apex of the ascending ruelles is a cone which is surmounted by the pathetic ruins of the old château of the Grimaldi. Without grandeur and without life, this château is in strong contrast with the palace of the present members of the ancient house of Grimaldi, the Prince of Monaco and his family.

The ruins of Grimaud’s château are, to be sure, a whited sepulchre, and a dismal one, but the view from the platform is one of great beauty. Les Maures forms an encircling cordon, through which the brilliance of the Golfe breaks toward the south. In the twilight of an early June evening the effect will be surprising and grateful in its quiet grandeur; a welcome change after the refulgence of the Alpine glow of Switzerland and the gorgeous, bloody sunsets of the Mediterranean coast towns.

After a meditation here, one will be in the proper mood for the repose which awaits him at “Annibal’s” in the town below. It is not grand, this little hotel of M. Annibal, but it is typical of the pays, and you, as likely as not, ate your dinner on a little balcony overlooking a little tree-bordered place, which has already put you in a soulful mood. When you return from the château, you will need no sedative to make you sleep, and you will bless the good fortune which brought you thither—if you are a true vagabond and not a devotee of the “resorts.” The latter class are advised to keep away; Grimaud would “bore them stiff,” as a strenuous American, who was “doing” the Riviera on a motor-cycle, told the writer.

La Garde-Freinet next calls one, and it must not be ignored by any who would know what a real mountain town in France is like. It is different from what it is in Switzerland or the Tyrol; in fact, it is not like anything anywhere else. It is simply a distinctively French small town nestling in the heart of the Mediterranean coast range, and cut off from most of the distractions of civilization, except newspapers (twenty-four hours old) and the post and telegraph.

La Garde-Freinet sits almost upon the very crest of the Chaîne des Maures. The road from Grimaud, which is but a dozen kilometres or so, rises constantly through rocky escarpments like a route in Corsica, which indeed the whole region of Les Maures resembles.

All is solitude and of that quietness which one only observes on a lonely mountain road, while all around is a girdle of tree-clad peaks, not gigantic, perhaps, but sufficiently imposing to give one the impression that the road is mounting steadily all of the way, which, even in these days of hill-climbing automobiles, is something which is bound to be remarked by the traveller by road.

Finally one comes in sight of the old Saracen fortress of Fraxinet, or Freinet, from which the present town of something less than two thousand souls takes its name. It stands out in the clear brilliance of the Provençal sky, as if one might reach out his hand and touch its walls, though it is a hundred or more metres above the town, which finally one reaches through the usual narrow entrance possessed by most French towns whether they are of the mountain or the plain.

It was from just such fortified heights as this that the Saracens were able to command all Provence and the valley of the Rhône up to the Jura. Concerning these far-away times, and the exact movements of the Saracens, historians are not very precise, and a good deal has to be taken on faith; but where monuments were left behind to tell the story, albeit they were mostly fortresses, enough has come down to allow one to build up a fabric which will give a more or less just view of the extent of the Saracen influence which swept over southern Gaul from the eighth to the tenth centuries.

They made one of their greatest strongholds here on the Pic du Fraxinet (“the place planted with frênes”), and, in spite of the fact that they were sooner or later driven from their position, as history does tell in this case, their descendants, becoming Christians, were the ancestors of the present growers of mulberry-trees and cork-oaks, and tenders of silk-worms, which form the principal occupations of the inhabitants of La Garde-Freinet to-day.

Any one, with the least eye for the fair sex, will note the fact that the women of La Garde-Freinet—the Fraxinétaines of the ethnologists—have a unique kind of beauty greatly to be admired. They are not as beautiful as the women of Arles, to whom the palm must always be given among the women of France; but they are well-formed, with beautiful hair, great, liquid black eyes, oval faces, and plump, well-formed arms, justifying, even to-day, the beauty which they are supposed to have acquired from their Moorish ancestors.

There are no monuments at La Garde-Freinet except the ruined, dominant fortress, but for all that the pilgrimage is one worth the making, if only for glimpses of those wonderfully beautiful women, or for the delightful journey thither.

From La Foux and Grimaud one rapidly advances toward the Estérel, that sheltering range of reddish, rocky mountains which makes Cannes and La Napoule what they are.

St. Tropez and its tall white houses are left behind, and the shores of the Golfe are followed until one comes to the most ancient town of Ste. Maxime. Unlike St. Tropez, Ste. Maxime, though only thirty minutes away by boat, across the mouth of the Golfe, has not the penetrating mistral for a scourge. On the other hand one does get the sun in his eyes when he wishes to view the sea, and has not that magically coloured curtain of the Estérel, with all its varied reds and browns, before his eyes. One cannot have everything as he wishes, even on the Riviera. If he has the view, he often has also the mistral; and, if he finds a place that is really sheltered from the mistral, it has a more or less restricted view, and a climate which the doctors and invalids call “relaxing,” whatever that arbitrary term may mean.

Here in the Golfe de St. Tropez, at St. Tropez, at La Foux, and at Ste. Maxime, one sees again those great tartanes and balancelles, the great white-winged craft which fly about the Mediterranean coasts of France with all the idyllic picturesqueness of old.

There are still twenty kilometres before one reaches Fréjus, the first town of real latter-day importance since passing Toulon, and this, too, in spite of its great antiquity. Other of the coast towns have risen or degenerated into mere resorts, but Fréjus holds its own as the centre of affairs for a very considerable region.



TWENTY kilometres beyond Ste. Maxime one comes to the Golfe de Fréjus and its neighbouring towns of Fréjus and St. Raphaël, the former the ville commerçant and the latter the ville d’eau.

As with Arles, on the banks of the Rhône, one may well say of Fréjus that the town and its environs form a veritable open-air museum. It will be true to add also, in this case, that the museum has a far greater area than at Arles, for Fréjus, and the antiquities directly connected with it, cover a radius of at least forty kilometres.

The Romans, the great builders of baths and aqueducts, set a great store by water, and indeed classed it as among the greatest blessings of mankind. No labour was too great, and expense was never thought of, when it came to a question of building these great artificial waterways which, even unto to-day, are known as aqueducts the world over. One of their greatest works of the kind led to Fréjus, and two of its arches stand gaunt and grim to-day in the midst of a fence-paled field. There is also a sign attached to one of the fence-posts which reads as follows:


This sign-board does not look as durable as the moss-grown old arches over which it stands sentinel; perhaps some day the stress of time (or some other reason) will cause it to disappear.

The remains of this great aqueduct of other days prove conclusively the great regard and hope which the Romans must have had for the Forum Julii of Julius Cæsar, for all, without question, attribute the foundation of Fréjus to the conqueror of the Gauls.

The evolution of the name of Fréjus is readily enough followed, though the present name, coming down through Forojuliens and Frejules, is a sad corruption. Of this evolution the authorities are not very certain, and call it “une tradition et non un fait historiquement prouvé.” It is satisfying enough to most, however, so let it stand; and anyway we have the words of Tacitus, who said that his brother-in-law, Agricola, was born at “the ancient and illustrious colony of Forojuliens.”

Fréjus is prolific in quaint customs and legends too numerous to mention, though two, at least, stand out so plainly in the memory of the writer that they are here recounted.

On a certain occasion in August,—not the usual season for tourists, but genuine travel-lovers, having no season, go anywhere at any time,—as the town was entered by the highroad, our automobile was abruptly stopped at the barrière by a motley crew clad in all manner of military costumes, like the armies of the South American republics. Firearms, too, were there, and when a grenadier of the time of Louis-Philippe let off a smoky charge of gunpowder under our very noses, it was a signal for a general feu-de-joie which might have rivalled a Fourth of July celebration in the United States, for the disaster which it bid fair to bring in its wake. As a matter of fact, nothing happened, and we were allowed to proceed in peace, though the sleep-destroying cannonade was kept up throughout the night.

The occasion was nothing but the annual celebration of “Les Bravadeurs,” a survival of the days of Louis XIV., when the town, being left without a garrison, raised a motley army of its own to serve in place of the troops of the king.

There is a legend, too, concerning the landing of St. François de Paule here, which the native is fond of telling the stranger, but which needs something more than the proverbial grain of salt to go with it, because St. François is claimed to have first put foot on shore at various other points along the coast.

The story is to the effect that the ship which bore the holy man from the East having foundered, or not having been sufficiently sea-worthy to continue the voyage, St. François stepped overboard and walked ashore on the waves. He did not walk on the waves themselves in this case, but laid his mantle upon them and walked on that. What he did when he came to the edge of his mantle tradition does not state.

The ecclesiastical and political history of Fréjus is most interesting, though it cannot be epitomized here. Two significant Napoleonic events of the early nineteenth century stand out so strongly, however, that they perforce must be mentioned.

In 1809 Pope Pius VII. stopped at Fréjus when he was making his way to Fontainebleau, more or less unwillingly, as history tells. Five years later the Holy Father again stopped at Fréjus on his return to Italy, and Napoleon himself, on the 27th of the following April, awaiting the moment of his departure for Elba, occupied the very apartment that had received the pontiff.

Of the architectural and historical monuments of Fréjus one must at least take cognizance of the Baptistery, one of the few of its class out of Italy and dating from some period previous to the tenth century. Architecturally it is not a great structure, neither is it such in size; but its very existence here, well over into Gaul, marks a distinct era in the Christianizing and church-building efforts of those early times. The cathedral at Fréjus is by no means of equal archæological importance to this tiny Baptistery, though the bishopric itself was founded as early as the fourth century, and at least one of its early bishops became a Pope (Jean XXII., 1316-34).

Here, there, and everywhere around the encircling avenues of the town are to be seen the remains of the old city walls, which in later years, even in the middle ages, sunk more and more into disuse, from the fact that the city has continually dwindled in size, until to-day it covers only about one-fifth of its former area.

The old aqueduct of Fréjus, a relic of Roman days and Roman ways, is the chief monumental wonder of the neighbourhood. It has long been in a ruinous state of disuse, though its decay is merely that incident to time, for it was marvellously well built of small stones without ornament of any kind.

At Fréjus there are also remains of a Roman theatre, now nothing more than a mass of débris, though one easily traces its diameter as having been something approaching two hundred feet.

The arena of Fréjus is in quite as dismantled a state as the theatre, one of the principal roadways now passing through its centre, so that to-day the monument is hardly more than a great open Place at the crossing of four roads. From the grandeur of the structure, as it must once have been, it is a monument comparable in many ways with those better preserved and more magnificent arenas at Arles and Nîmes.

Fréjus to Nice

Fréjus to Nice

From this résumé of some of the chief monuments of the Roman occupation one gathers that Fréjus was carefully planned as a great city of residence and pleasure; and so it really was, with the added importance which its position, both with regard to the routes by sea and land, gave to it in a commercial sense.

From Fréjus to St. Raphaël is a bare three kilometres. St. Raphaël boasts as many inhabitants as Fréjus, but it is mostly a city of pleasure, and has no monuments of a past age to suggest that even a reflected glory from Fréjus ever shone over its site. To-day the plain which lies between the two towns is dotted here and there with palatial residences: “C’est tout palais,” the native tells you, and he is not far wrong, but in a former day it was a broad bay, where floated the galleys of Cæsar and Augustus.

St. Raphaël

St. Raphaël

There was some sort of a feudal town here in the middle ages, but it never grew to historical or artistic importance, and the town was little known until the advent of Alphonse Karr and his fellows, who made of it, or at least intimated that it could be made, what it is to-day,—a “winter resort,” or, as the French have it, a “station hivernale.” It is a very simple expression, but one which leads to a certain amount of misunderstanding among the newcomers, who think that they have only to take up their residence, from November to March, anywhere along the shores of the Mediterranean east of Marseilles to swelter in tropical sunshine. This they will not do, and unless they keep indoors between five and seven in the evening on most days, they will get a chill which will not only go to the marrow, but as like as not will carry pneumonia with it; that is, if one dresses in what are commonly called “summer clothes,” the kind that are pictured in the posters which decorate the dull walls of the railway stations as being suitable for the life of the Riviera.

St. Raphaël is not wholly given up to pleasure, for it is a notable fact that in industrial enterprise it has already surpassed Fréjus, due principally to a vast traffic in bauxite, a clay from which aluminium is obtained, and there are always at its quays steamers from England, Germany, and Holland loading the reddish earth.

Nevertheless, St. Raphaël is in the main a city of villas, less pretentious than those of Cannes, but still villas in the general meaning of the word. There is one called locally (in Provençal) the “Oustalet du Capelan” (The House of the Curé), which was a long time occupied by Gounod. Lovers of the master and his works will make of it a musical shrine and place of pilgrimage. An inscription over the door recalls that in this house Gounod composed “Romeo et Juliette.”

Maison Close, St. Raphaël

Maison Close, St. Raphaël

The Maison Close, inhabited by Alphonse Karr, is literally a maison close, for it is surrounded by a high wall, and the most that one can see and admire is the suggestion of the wonderful garden behind. In Karr’s time it must have been a highly satisfactory retreat, and no wonder he found it not difficult to let the rush of the world go by with unconcern.

Hamon, the landscape painter, was another devotee of St. Raphaël, and he described it as “la campagne de Rome au fond du Golfe du Naples;” it needs not a great stretch of the imagination to follow the simile.

In spite of the expectations of a former generation of landlords and landowners, St. Raphaël, progressive as it has been, has never grown up on the lines upon which it was planned. The grand boulevards and avenues came as a matter of course, and the great hotels, and, ultimately, the inevitable casino and its attendant attractions; but, nevertheless, St. Raphaël has remained a ville des villas, and the population has mostly gone to the suburban hillsides, especially around Valesclure, where new houses are springing up like mushrooms, all built of that white sandstone which flashes so brilliantly in the sunlight against the background of the green-clad, reddish-brown Estérel.

The Estérel is a coast range of mountains as different from Les Maures, their neighbour to the westward, as could possibly be, in colour, in outline, and in climatic influences, and these to no little extent have a decided effect on the manners and customs of the people who live in the neighbourhood.

The contrast between the mountains of Les Maures and the Estérel is most marked. The former are more sober and less accentuated than the latter range, and there is more of the culture of the olive to be noted in the valleys, and of the oak on the hillsides. In the Estérel all is brilliant, with a colouring that is more nearly a deep rosy red than that of any other rock formation to be seen in France. Coupled with the blue of the Mediterranean, the reddish rocks, the green hillsides, and the delicate skies make as fantastic a colour-scheme as was ever conceived by the artist’s brush.

The Route d’Italie passes to the north of the Estérel crest, and is one of those remarkable series of roadways which cross and recross France, and may be considered the direct descendants of the military roads laid out by the Romans, and developed and perfected by Napoleon. To-day a generously endowed department of the French government tenderly cares for them, with the result that the roads of France have become one of the most precious possessions of the nation.

Until very recent times the great mountain and forest tract of the Estérel had remained unknown and untravelled, save so far as the railway followed along the coast, and the great Route d’Italie bounded it on the north, or at least bounded the mountain slopes.

All this has recently been changed, and, where once were only narrow foot-paths and roads, made use of by the shepherds and peasants, there are a broad and elegant highway flanking the indentations of the coast-line, and many interior routes crossing and recrossing one of the most lovely and unspoiled wildwoods still to be seen in France. There are other parts much more wild, the Cevennes or the Vivarais, for instance; but they have not a tithe of the grandeur and beauty of the red porphyry rocks of the Estérel combined with the blue waters of the Mediterranean and the forest-covered flanks of its mountain range.

From Fréjus, St. Raphaël, or La Napoule, or even Cannes, one may enter the Estérel and lose himself to the world, if he likes, for a matter of a week, or ten days, or a fortnight, and never so much as have a suspicion of the conventional Riviera gaieties which are going on so close at hand.

The “Corniche d’Or” of the Estérel, as the coast road is known, was only completed in 1893, and as a piece of modern roadway-making is the peer of any of its class elsewhere. The record of its building, and the public-spirited assistance which was given the project on all sides, would, or should, put to shame those road-building organizations of England and America which for the most part have aided the good-roads movement with merely an unlimited supply of talk about what was going to be done.

As a roadway of scenic surprises the “Corniche d’Or” of the Estérel is the peer of the better known rival beyond Nice, though it has nothing to excel that superb half-dozen kilometres just before, and after, Monte Carlo and Monaco.

The interior route of the Estérel, the Route d’Italie, mounts to an altitude of three hundred metres, while the “Corniche” is practically level, with no hills which would tire the least muscular cyclist or the weakest-powered automobile.

On the Corniche d’Or

On the Corniche d’Or

Since the beginning of the transformation of the Estérel two hundred and forty kilometres of new roadways have been laid out. After this great work was finished came the question of erecting sign-boards along the various routes and chemins and carrefours and bifurcations, and the work was not treated in a parsimonious fashion. Within the first year of the completion of the road-building over two hundred important and legible signs were erected by the efforts of a wealthy resident of St. Raphaël, with the result that the value of the Estérel as a great “parc nationale” became apparent to many who had previously never even heard of it.

This delightful tract of unspoiled wildwood is bounded on the north by the Route d’Italie, while the ingeniously planned “Corniche” follows the coast-line all the way to Cannes, which is really the door by which one enters the Riviera of the guide-books and the winter tourists.

The “Corniche d’Or,” its inception and construction, was really due to the efforts of the omnific “Touring Club de France.” Formerly the way by the coast was but a narrow track, or a “Sentier de Douane.” To-day it is an ample roadway along its whole length, on which one has little fear of speeding automobiles for the simple reason that the jutting capes and promontories of porphyry rock are death-dealing in their abruptness and frequency, and no automobilist who is sane—let it be here emphasized—takes such dangerous risks.

The forest and mountain region of the Estérel between those two encircling strips of roadway is possessed of a wonderful fascination for those who are brain-fagged or town-tired; and to roam, even on foot, along these by-paths for a few days will give a whole new view of life to any who are disposed to try it. If one purchases the excellent map of the region issued by the “Touring Club de France,” or even the five-colour map of the “Service Vicinal” of the French government, he will have no fear of losing his way among the myriads of paths and roadways with which the whole region is threaded.

One first enters the “Route de la Corniche” by leaving St. Raphaël by way of the newly opened Boulevard du Touring Club, and soon passes two great projecting rocks known as the “Lion de Terre” and the “Lion de Mer.” They do not look in the least like lions,—natural curiosities seldom do look like what they are named for,—but they will be recognizable nevertheless. Throughout its length the road follows the shore so closely that the sea is always in sight.

Offshore from Agay

Offshore from Agay

Boulouris is a sort of unlovely but picturesque suburb of St. Raphaël, and from its farther boundary one is in full view of the “Sémaphore d’Agay,” perched high on a promontory a hundred and forty metres above the sea. The Sémaphore is an ugly but utilitarian thing, and the wireless telegraph has not as yet supplanted its functions in France.

From the same spot one sees the Tour du Dramont, a one-time refuge of Jeanne de Provence during a revolution among her subjects.

In following the road one does not come to a town or indeed a settlement of any notable size until he reaches Agay, on the other side of the promontory. The town lies at the mouth of a tiny river bearing the same name. It makes some pretence at being a resort, but it is still a diminutive one, and, accordingly, all the more attractive to the world-wearied traveller.

Three routes lead from Agay, one to Cannes by Les Trois Termes (twenty-nine kilometres), another by the Col de Belle Barbe, and another directly by the “Corniche.”

Near the Col de Belle Barbe is the Oratoire de St. Honorat and the Grotte de Ste. Baume. The latter is a place of pilgrimage for the devout of the region, and for those from farther abroad, but most of the time it is a mere rendezvous for curious sightseers.

The roadway continues rising and falling through the pines until it crosses the Col Lévêque (169 metres), when, rounding the Pic d’Aurele, it comes again to sea-level at Le Trayas.

From Agay the “Corniche” runs also by Le Trayas, and to roll over its smoothly made surface in a swift-moving automobile is the very poetry of motion, or as near thereto as we are likely to get until we adopt the flying-machine for regular travel. It is an experience that no one should miss, even if he has to hire a seat on the automobile omnibus which frequently runs between St. Raphaël and La Napoule and Cannes.

It is twenty kilometres from Agay to La Napoule, and is a good afternoon’s journey by carriage, or even on donkey-back. Better yet, one should walk, if he feels equal to it, and has the time at his disposal.

En route one passes Anthéore, which may best be described as a colony of artistic and literary people who have settled here for the quiet and change from the bustle of the modern life of the towns. This was the case at least when the settlement was founded, and the poet Brieux built himself a house and put up over the gateway the significant words: “Je suis venu ici pour être seul.” Whether he was able to carry out this wish is best judged by the fact that since that time many outsiders have gained a foothold, and the Grand Hôtel de la Corniche d’Or has come to break the solitude with balls and bridge and all the distractions of the more celebrated Riviera towns and cities.

Between Anthéore and Le Trayas is a narrow pathway which mounts to St. Barthélémy, but the coast road still continues its delightful course toward La Napoule.

Le Trayas, though it figures in the railway time-tables, is hardly more than a hamlet; but it boasts proudly of a hotel and a group of villas. It has not yet become spoiled in spite of this, and though it lacks the picturesque local colour of the average Mediterranean coast town, and almost altogether the distractions of the great resorts, it is worth the visiting, if only for its charming situation.

The Département of the Var joins that of the Alpes-Maritimes just beyond, and, at three kilometres farther on, the coast road rises to its greatest height, a trifle over a hundred metres.

Before one comes to La Napoule he passes the progressive, hard-pushing little resort of Théoule, so altogether delightful from every point of view that one can but wish that winter tourists had never heard of it. This was not to be, however, and Théoule is doing its utmost to become both a winter and a summer resort, with many of the qualifications of both. It is deliciously situated on the Golfe de la Napoule, or, rather, on a little anse or bay thereof, and consists of perhaps a hundred houses of all classes, most of which rejoice in the name of Villa Something-or-other. Most of these villas are well hidden by the trees, and their coquette architecture (on the order of a Swiss châlet, but stuccoed here and there and with bits of coloured glass stuck into the gables,—and perhaps a plaster cat on the ridge-pole) is not so obtrusive as it might otherwise be.

Leaving Théoule, the coast road continues to La Napoule, but, properly speaking, the “Corniche” ends at Théoule. Throughout its whole length it is a wonderfully varied and attractive route to the popular Riviera towns, and one could hardly do better, if he has journeyed from the north by train, than to leave the cars at Fréjus or St. Raphaël and make the journey eastward via the Corniche d’Or. If he does this, as likely as not he will find some delightful beauty-spot which will appeal to him as far more attractive than a Cannes or Nice boarding-house, where the gossip is the same sort of thing that one gets in Bloomsbury or on Beacon Hill. The thing is decidedly worth the trying, and the suggestion is here given for what it may be worth to the reader.



LA NAPOULE is known chiefly to those birds of passage who annually hibernate at Cannes as the end of a six-mile constitutional which the doctors advise their patients to take as an antidote to overfeeding and “tea-fights.” In reality it is much more than this; it is one of the most charmingly situated of all the Riviera coast towns, and has a history which dates back to a fourteenth-century fortress, built by the Comté de Villeneuve, a tower of which stands to-day as a part of the more modern château which rises back of the town.

On the Golfe de la Napoule

On the Golfe de la Napoule

French residents on the Riviera have a popular tradition that Lord Brougham originally made overtures to the municipality of Fréjus when he was seeking to found an English colony on the Riviera. Whatever his advances may have been, they were promptly spurned by the town, and England’s chancellor forthwith turned his steps toward Italy, whither he had originally been bound. Suddenly he came upon the ravishing outlook over the Golfe de la Napoule, and the charms of this lovely spot so impressed him that he fell a prey to their winsomeness forthwith and decided that if he could find a place where the inhabitants were at all in favour of a peaceful English invasion, he would throw the weight of his influence in their favour. He travelled the country up and down and threaded the highways and byways for a distance of fifty kilometres in every direction until finally he decided that Cannes, on the opposite side of the Golfe, should have his approval. Thus the Riviera, as it is known by name to countless thousands to-day, was born as a popular English resort, and soon Cannes became the “ville élégante,” replacing the little “bourg de pêche” of a former day.

The road eastward from Fréjus, the highroad which leads from France into Italy, passes to the northward of the crests of the Estérel range just at the base of Mont Vinaigre, a topographical landmark with which the average visitor to Cannes should become better acquainted. It is far more severe and less gracious than Cap Roux, where the Estérels slope down to the Mediterranean; but it has many attractions which the latter lacks. From the summit of Mont Vinaigre one may survey all this remarkable forest and mountain region, while from Cap Roux one has as remarkable a panorama of sea and shore and sky, but of quite a different tonal composition.

Mont Vinaigre is the culminating peak of the Estérel, and is visible from a great distance. Its great white observatory tower rises high above the neighbouring peaks and, when one finally reaches the vantage-ground of the little platform which is found at the utmost height, he obtains a view which is far more vast in effect than many of the “grandest views” scattered here and there about the world. In clear weather the outlook extends from Bordighera to Sainte Baume, as if the whole region were spread out in a great map.

Below Mont Vinaigre is Les Adrets and its inn, which in days of old was known by all travellers to Italy by way of the south of France as a post-house, where horses were changed and where one could get refreshment and rest. To-day the Auberge des Adrets performs much the same functions for the automobilist, and is put down in the automobile route-books of France as a “poste de secours,” one of those safe havens on land which are as necessary to the automobilist en tour as is a life-saving station to the shipwrecked sailor.

The inn, modest and lacking in up-to-date appointments as it is, has a delightfully wild and unspoiled situation, sheltered from the north by numerous chestnut and plane-trees, and in summer or winter its climatic conditions are as likely to fit the varying moods of the traveller as any other spot on the Riviera. Truly Les Adrets is a retreat far from the madding crowd, where an author or an artist might produce a masterwork if what he needed was only quiet and a change of scene. There are no distractions at Les Adrets to break the monotony of its existence. One may chat with a passing automobile tourist, or with one of those guardians of the peace of the countryside, the gendarmes,—who have barracks near by,—but this is the only diversion.

At the inn itself one finds nothing of luxury. One pays two francs for his repasts and a franc for his modest room. This is not dear, and has the additional advantage that neither one nor the other of these requirements of the traveller have the least resemblance to the sort of thing that one gets in the towns.

Over the doorway of this unassuming establishment one reads the following: “La maison este rebastie par le Sieur Laugier en 1653; elle a été restaurée par Ed. Jourdan, 1898.

Never is there a throng of people to be seen in these parts, and, if one wanders abroad at night, he is likely enough to have thoughts of the highwaymen of other days. Formerly the forests and mountains of the Estérel were infested with a class of brigands who were by no means of the polished villain order which one has so frequently seen upon the stage. They were not of the Claude Duval class of society, but something very akin to what one pictures as the Corsican bandit of tradition.

To-day, however, all is peaceful enough, with the Gendarmerie near by, a terror to all wrong-doers, and the only reminiscences which one is likely to have of the highwaymen of other days are such as one gets from an old mountaineer or a review of the pages of history and romance, where will be found the names of Robert Macaire and Gaspard de Besse, two famous, or infamous, characters whose names and lives were closely connected with this region. It is all tranquil enough to-day, and one is no more likely to meet with any of these unworthies in the Estérel than he is with the “Flying Dutchman” at sea.

As one draws near to Cannes, he realizes that he has left the simplicity of the life of the countryside behind him. While still half a dozen kilometres away, he sees a sign reading “Cannes Cricket Club,” and all is over! No more freedom of dress; no more hatless and collarless mountain climbs; but the costume of society, of London, Paris, or New York is what is expected of one at all times.

Cannes is truly “aristocratic villadom,” or “séjour aristocratique et recherché,” as the French have it, with all that the term implies. Consequently Cannes is conventional, and the real lover of nature—regardless of the town’s charming situation—will have none of it.

It is believed that the town grew up from the ancient Ligurian city of Aegytna, destroyed by Quintus Opimius a hundred and fifty years before the beginning of the Christian era.

If one does not make his entry into Cannes by road, direct from the Estérel, he will probably come by the way of Le Cannet. Le Cannet is itself a sumptuous suburb which in every way foretells the luxury which awaits one in the parent city by the seashore.

Three kilometres of palm and plantain bordered avenue, lined with villas and hotels, joins Le Cannet with Cannes. Not long ago the suburb was an humble, indifferent village, but the tide of popularity came that way, and it has become transformed.

The Boulevard Carnot descends from Le Cannet to the sea by a long easy slope, and again one comes to the blue water of the enchanted Mediterranean. At times, Cannes is most lively,—always in a most conventional and eminently respectable fashion,—and at other times it sleeps the sleep of an emptied city, only to awake when the first fogs of November descend upon “brumeuse Angleterre.”

To tell the truth, Cannes is far more delightful “out of season,” when its gay, idling population of strangers has disappeared, stolen away to the watering-places of the north, there to live the same deadly dull existence, made up of rounds of tea-drinking and croquet-playing, with perhaps an occasional ride in a char-à-banc. Probably the millionaire improves somewhat upon this régime, but there are countless thousands who live this very life in European watering-places—and think they are enjoying themselves.

Cannes’s off season is of course summer, but, considering that it is so delightfully and salubriously situated at the water’s edge, and has a summer temperature of but 22° Centigrade, this is difficult to understand. Certainly Cannes is more delightful in the winter months than “brumeuse Angleterre,” but then it is equally so in June.

Not every one in Cannes speaks English; but for a shopkeeper to prosper to the full he should do so, and so the local “professors” have a busy time of it, in season and out, teaching what they call the “idiome britannique” and the “argot Américaine.”

The shore east and west of the centre of the town is flanked with hotels and villas, and great properties are yearly being cut up and put into the hands of the real-estate agents in order that more of the same sort may be erected where olive and palm trees formerly grew.

Horticulture is still a great industry at Cannes, as well as the selling of building-lots, but the marvel is that there is any unoccupied land upon which to raise anything. A dozen years from now how will the horticulturalists of Cannes be able to grow those decorative little orange and palm trees with which Paris and Ostend and London and even Manchester hotel “palm-gardens” are embellished?

Cannes has an ecclesiastical shrine of more than ordinary rank, in spite of the fact that it is of no great architectural splendour. It is the old Basilique de Notre Dame d’Espérance which crowns the hill back of the town and possesses a remarkable reliquary of the fifteenth century, said to contain the bones of St. Honorat, the founder of the famous monastery of the Lerin Isles.

Another monument of the middle ages is the ancient “Tour Seigneuriale,” erected in 1080 by Adelbert II., an abbot of the Monastery of Lerins. For three hundred years it was in constant use, serving both as a citadelle and as a marine observatory. To-day its functions are no more; but, with the tower of the church, it does form a sort of a beacon, from offshore, for the Cannes boatmen.

There is a Christmas custom celebrated by the fisher-folk of Cannes which is exceedingly interesting and which should not be missed if one is in these parts at the time. On the eve of Christmas there is held a popular banquet, in which the sole dish is polenta, most wonderfully made of peas, nuts, herbs, and meal, together with boiled codfish, the yolks of eggs, and what not, all perfumed with orange essence. It’s a most temperate sort of an orgy, in all except quantity, and, when washed down with a local vin blanc, bears the name, simply, of a “gros souper.” Brillat-Savarin might have done things differently, but the dish sounds as though it might taste good in spite of the mixture.


At Le Cannet is the Villa Sardou, where the great actress Rachel spent the last days of her life and died in 1858. Near Le Cannet, too, is a most strangely built edifice known as the “Maison du Brigand.” It is the chief sight of the neighbourhood for the curious and speculative, though what its uncanny design really means no one seems to know. It is a spudgy, square tower with an overhanging roof of tiles and four queer corbels at the corners. The entrance doorway is three metres, at least, from the ground, and leads immediately to the second story. From this one descends to the ground floor, not by a stairway, but through a trap-door. This curious structure is supposed to date from the sixteenth century.

Vallauris is what one might call a manufacturing suburb of Cannes, a town of potteries and potters. The potteries of the Golfe Jouan, of which Vallauris is the headquarters, are famous, and their product is known by connoisseurs the world over.

One notes the smoke and fumes from the furnaces where the pottery is baked, and likens the aspect to that of a great industrial town, though Vallauris is, as a matter of fact, more daintily environed than any other of its class in the known world. Not all of its six thousand inhabitants are engaged at the potteries; but by far the greater portion are; enough to make the town rank as a city of workmen, for such it really is, though it would take but little thought or care to make of it the ideal “garden city.”

Artist-travellers have long remarked the qualities of the plastic clay found here, and by their suggestions and aid have enabled the manufacturers to develop a high expression of the artistic sense among their workmen. Most of these workers are engaged, in the first instance, as mere moulders of ordinary pots and jugs; but, as they acquire skill and the art sense, they are advanced to more important and lucrative positions.

The establishment of Clément Massier is famous for the quality and excellent design of its product. The proprietor in the early days, by his natural taste and studies, brought his work to the attention of such masters in art as Gérôme, Cabanal, Berne-Bellecour, and Puvis de Chavannes, all of whom encouraged him to develop his abilities still further.

Study of antique forms and processes threw a new light upon the art, or at least a newly reflected light, and at last were produced those wonderful iridescent effects and enamels which were a revelation to lovers of modern pottery. Their success was achieved at the great Paris Exposition of 1889, since which time they have been the vogue among the “clientèle élégante du littoral,” as the cicerone who takes you over the Ceramic Musée tells you.

Vallauris is noted also for its production of orange-water, or, rather, orange-flower water, with which the French flavour all kinds of subtle warm drinks of which they are so fond. The tisane of the French takes the place of the tea of the English, and they make it of all sorts of things,—a stewed concoction of verbena leaves, of mint, and even pounded apricot stones,—and always with a dash of orange-flower water. It is not an unpleasant drink thus made, but wofully insipid.

The orange-trees of the neighbourhood of Cannes and Vallauris prosper exceedingly, though it is not for their fruit that they are so carefully tended. It is the blossoming flowers that are in demand, partly for enhancing the charms of brides, but more particularly for making orange essence. There are numerous distilleries devoted to this at Vallauris, and, when the season of gathering the orange-flower crop arrives, a couple of thousand women and children engage in the pleasant task. A million kilogrammes of the flower are gathered in a good season, from which is produced as much as seventy-five thousand kilos of essence.



BEYOND Cannes, on the eastern shore of the Golfe Jouan, before one comes to the peninsula’s neck, is a newly founded station known as Jouan-les-Pins. It is little more than a hamlet, though there are villas and hotels and a water-front with wind-shelters and all the appointments which one expects to find in such places.

Jouan-les-Pins really is a delightful place, the rock-pines coming well down to the shore and half-burying themselves in the yellow sands. A boulevard, bordered by a balustrade, extends along the water’s edge and forms that blend of artificiality and nature which, of all places on the Riviera, is seen at its best at Monte Carlo.

Undoubtedly there is some sort of a great future awaiting Jouan-les-Pins, for it is already regarded as a suburb of Antibes, and it is but a few years since Antibes itself was but a narrow-alleyed, high-walled little town, reminiscent of the mediæval fortress that it once was. To-day the bastions of Antibes have nearly disappeared under the picks of the industrious workmen.



The chief event of historic moment in the vicinity was the landing of Napoleon here on his return from Elba, on March 1, 1815. Every one feared the time when the “Corsican ogre” should break loose, and when the ambitious Napoleon set foot upon the shores of the Golfe Jouan, there was no doubt but that his sole object was to regain the throne which he had lost. Provence, Languedoc, and Dauphiné were supposed to be faithful to the reigning Louis, hence there was little fear that Napoleon’s march would extend beyond their confines. How well the emotions of a people were to be judged in those days is best recalled by the fact that it was but a mere promenade from Jouan-les-Pins, via Grasse, Gap, and Sisteron, to Lyons. The opinions of the advisers of Louis XVIII. were decidedly wrong, for, while the Provençaux remained faithful to the Bourbon, the mountaineers of Dauphiné were only too ready and willing to give Napoleon the aid he wished.

In the early ages the shores of the Golfe Jouan were well known and beloved by Phœnicians, Greeks, Romans, barbarians, and Moors alike. The name Jouan, which comes down from the Saracens, has by some geographers been changed to Juan. Since, however, the old Provençal spelling and pronunciation was Jouan (ou being the Provençal accent of the French u), it is still so written by the best authorities.

Never has the word incomparable been more suitably applied than to the Golfe Jouan and the monuments of the past civilization that surround it. Together with the Golfe de la Napoule it forms one vast expanse of bay, the most ample and, perhaps, the most beautiful on the whole Riviera. To the south is the open sea, and to the north the varied background of the Alpes-Maritimes.

Antibes has itself much charm of situation, though it is mostly known to English-speaking people as a sort of rest-house on the way to the more gay attractions of Monte Carlo and about there.

Antibes is, however, of great antiquity, having been the Antipolis of the Romans. It has the usual attractions of the Riviera towns and, in addition, the proximity of the great peninsula of Antibes, locally called the Cap.

This peninsula is a rare combination of trees and rocks and winding roads, almost surrounded by the pulsing Mediterranean, always cool and comfortable, even in summer, and scarcely ever troubled by the blowing of the mistral. Villas, almost without end, occupy the Cap, tree-hidden, and all brilliantly stuccoed with a tint which so well harmonizes with the surrounding subtropical flora that the effect is as of fairy-land.

The Jardin Thuret is a great botanical collection, covering an area of over seven hectares, a gift to the nation by the sister of the great botanist of the same name. The Villa Eilen-Roc has also wonderful gardens, laid out with exotic plants, and open to visitors.

Offshore, to the westward, are the Iles de Lerins and the Golfe de la Napoule, while eastward lie the Baie des Anges and the mountains back of Nice. Northward are the snow-clad summits of the Alpine range, while to the south is the sea, where one sees the filmy smoke of great steamers bound for Genoa or Marseilles, while nearer at hand are the white-winged balancelles and tartanes. Truly it is a ravishing picture which is here spread out before one, and therein lies the great charm of Antibes.

There is a weird combination of things devout and secular at Antibes,—Notre Dame d’Antibes, with its hermitage; the lighthouse; and the semaphore. Of the utility of the two latter there can be no doubt, while the tiny chapel of the hermitage forms a link which binds the sailor-folk at sea with their friends on shore. It is a sort of ex-voto shrine, like Notre Dame de la Garde at Marseilles, where one may register his vows upon his departure or return from the sea.

When the river Var was the boundary between France and Piedmont, this Chapelle de Notre Dame was a place of pilgrimage for the seafarers on both sides of the river, and passports were freely given to permit the Italians to worship here at this seaside shrine of Our Lady.

Antibes has much of historic reminiscence about it, though to-day its monuments are neither very numerous nor magnificent.

The old town was, for military reasons, surrounded with walls, and thus the sea was some distance from the centre of the town. Then, as to-day, to get a whiff of the sea, one had to leave the narrow tortuous picturesqueness of the old town behind and saunter on the quays of the little port, with its narrow entrance to the open sea.

There is little traffic of importance going on in the port of Antibes; mostly the shipping of the product of the potteries at Vallauris and neighbouring towns. Still, by no means is it an abandoned port; it is a popular haven for Mediterranean yachtsmen, and fishermen find it a suitable base for their operations in the open sea; so there is a constant going and coming such as gives a picturesque liveliness which is lacking at a mere resort or watering-place. Antibes is, moreover, a torpedo-boat station of the French navy, being safely sheltered by a line of rocks which parallel the coast-line for some distance just beyond the harbour’s mouth, and which are marked by a great iron buoy, known locally by the name of “Cinq Cent Francs.”

In the days of the Romans Antibes was probably the military port of Cimiez, and in a later day it came into the favour of both Henri IV. and Richelieu as a strongly fortified place. Later, Vauban came on the scene and surrounded its harbour with a great circular mole with considerable architectural pretensions. To-day the place is practically ignored as a military stronghold in favour of Villefranche and Toulon and the many intermediate batteries which have been erected.

The origin of the name of the town comes from the colony of Massaliotes who came here in the fifth century. Its modern name is a derivation from its earlier nomenclature, which became successively Antibon, Antibolus, and then Antiboul,—the Provençal name for the Antibes of the later French.

To-day one may see the remains of two ancient towers built by the Romans, and there are still evidences of the substructure of the antique theatre, built into the lower courses of some modern houses. In the walls of the Hôtel de Ville is a tablet reading as follows:

D. M.





According to Michelet this was a memorial to “the child Septentrion, who, at the age of twelve years, appeared two days at the theatre of Antipolis; doubtless one of the slaves who were let out to managers of spectacles.”

Inland from Antibes, on the banks of a little streamlet, the Brague, lies Biot, once a settlement of the Templars, and later, in the fourteenth century, a possession of the Genoese, or at least peopled by a colony of them.

It is a remarkable little place, generally over-looked by travellers in the rush to the show-places of the Riviera, and the suggestion is here made that any who are seeking for a real exotic could not do better than hunt it here. The manners and customs, and even the speech, of many of the old people of the town are as Italian as those of the Genoese themselves. The tiny bourg possesses a series of arcades surrounding a tiny square, a product of the fourteenth century, and is as “foreign” to these parts as would be the wigwam of an Indian. There are also remains of the old ramparts of the town still visible, and the whole ensemble is as a page torn from a book which had been closed for centuries.


One need not fear undue discomfort here in this little old-world spot, where things go on much the same as they have for centuries. There is nothing of the allurements of the great hotels of the resorts about the two modest inns at Biot, but for all that there is a bountiful and excellent fare to be had amid entirely charming surroundings, and, if one is minded, he can easily put in a month at the retreat, and only descend to the super-refinements of Cannes or Nice—each perhaps a dozen miles away—whenever he feels the pangs which prompt him to get in touch with a daily paper and the delights of asphalt pavements and “dressy” society.

Not all Riviera tourists know the Iles de Lerins as well as they might, though it is a popular enough excursion from Cannes.

These isles give the distinct note which lends charm to the waters of the Mediterranean just offshore from Cannes, forming, as they do, a sort of a jetty, or breakwater, between the Golfe de la Napoule and the Golfe Jouan.

There are but two islands in the group, St. Honorat and Ste. Marguerite, the latter separated from the Pointe de la Croisette at Cannes by a little over a kilometre. It costs a franc to cover this by boat, and another franc to pass between Ste. Marguerite and St. Honorat.

The Ile Ste. Marguerite and its prison are redolent of much of history, from the days of the “Iron Mask” up to those of the miserable Bazaine. Much has been hazarded from time to time as to the real identity of the “Man in the Iron Mask,” but the annals of Provence dealing with Ste. Marguerite seem to point to the fact that he was Count Mattioli, the minister of the Duke of Mantua, who had agreed to betray his master into the hands of the French, and then for some unaccountable reason—no one knows why—repented, with the result that he was entrapped and thrown into prison. One sees still the walls of the dungeon where twenty-seven years of his unhappy life were spent.

Bazaine, the unfortunate Maréchal de France who capitulated at Metz during the Franco-Prussian war, was also confined here, from December, 1873, to August, 1874, when by some unexplained means, he was able to escape to Italy.

The islands take their collective name from the memory of a pirate of the heroic age, Lero by name, to whom a temple was erected on the larger isle.

The Ile St. Honorat has perhaps a greater interest than that of Ste. Marguerite. St. Honorat established himself here in retreat in the fifth century, and his abode was afterward visited by Erin’s St. Patrick.

A religious foundation, known as the Monastery of Lerins, took shape here in the sixth century, and became one of the most celebrated in all Christendom.

Barbarians, fanatics, and pirates attacked the isle from time to time, but they could not disturb the faith upon which the religious establishment was built, and it was only in 1778, when it was desecularized by the Pope, that its influence waned.

In 1791, Mlle. Alziary de Roquefort, an actress of fame in her day, acquired the isle and made it her residence. To-day it is in the possession of a community of Benedictines of Citeaux, who cultivate a great portion of its soil for the benefit of the Bishop of Fréjus.

The modern conventual buildings are on the site of the old establishment, now completely disappeared, but the community is well worth the visiting, if only to bring away with one a bottle of the Liqueur Lerina, which, in the opinion of many, is the equal of the popular “Benedictine” and “Chartreuse.”

There is a fragment of the old fortress-château still left to view, bathing the foot of its crenelated donjon in the sea, a reminder of the days when the monks fought valiantly against pirate invasion.

Legend accounts for the names borne by both the Iles de Lerins. Two orphans of high degree, brother and sister, left their home in the Vosges and came to Provence, which they adopted as their future home.


Marguerite took up her residence on the isle nearest the shore, and her brother on the farthermost. Disconsolate at being left alone, the maid supplicated her brother to come to her, and this he promised to do each year when the cherry-trees were in bloom. Marguerite prayed to God that her brother, who had become a religieux, would come more often; at once the cherry-trees about her habitation burst into bloom, a miracle which occurred each month thereafter, and her brother, true to his promise, came promptly the first of each month, and thus broke the lonely vigil of his sister.



ACCORDING to the French geographers, Grasse occupies a commanding site on a “montagne à pic,” and this describes its situation exactly.

On the flanks of this great hill sits the town, its back yards, almost without exception, set out with olive and orange trees, to say nothing of the more extended plantations of the same sort seen as one reaches the outskirts.

The whole note of Grasse is of flowers, trees, and shrubs, and the perfume-laden air announces the fact from afar.

Above rises the “pic,” and, farther away, the northern boundary of the horizon is circumscribed with an amphitheatre of wooded mountains severe and imposing in outline.

Grasse is but a short eighteen kilometres from the Mediterranean, but the whole topographical aspect of the country has changed. The panorama seaward is the only intimation of the characteristics which have come to be recognized as the special belongings of the French Riviera. The foot-hills slope gently down to the blue “nappe,” which is the only word which describes the Mediterranean when it is all of a tranquil blue. It is an incomparable view that one has over this eighteen kilometres of country southward, and a strong contrast to the lively suburbs of the coast towns. Its charm and beauty are all its own, and there is little of the modern note to be heard as one threads the highways and byways, through the valleys and down the ravines to sea-level. Without doubt it was a fortunate choice of the Romans when they set their Castrum Crassense on this verdure-crowned height.

In the middle ages Grasse developed rapidly, and became the seat of a bishop and a place dominant in the commerce of the region. The inhabitants were reputed to be possessed of wonderful energies, and the fact that they were twice able to repel the Moorish invaders, though their town was practically destroyed, seems to prove this beyond a doubt.

Richelieu gave the bishopric of this proud city to Antoine Godeau, who, it seems, possessed hardly any qualifications for the post except family influence and the flatteries he had showered upon the cardinal. Because of his small stature this prelate became known as the “Nain de Julie,” but in time he came to develop a real aptitude for his calling, and governed his diocese with care, prudence, and judgment, and became an Académicien through having written a history of the Church in France during the eighteenth century.

The ecclesiastical monuments of Grasse are not many or as beautiful as might be expected of a bishop’s seat, and at the Revolution the see was suppressed. The old-time cathedral, as it exists to-day, is an ungracious thing, with a perron, a sort of horseshoe staircase, before it, built by Vauban, who, judging from this work, was far more of a success as a fortress-builder than as a designer of churches.

Formerly Grasse was the seat of the Préfecture of the Département du Var, but, with the inclusion of the Comté de Nice within the limits of France, the honour was given to Draguignan, while that of the newly made Département des Alpes-Maritimes was given to Nice, and Grasse became simply a sous-préfecture. Shorn of its official dignities, and never having arisen to the notoriety of being a fashionable resort, Grasse “buckled down to business,” as one might say, and acquired a preëminence in the manufacture of perfumes, candied fruits, and confitures unequalled elsewhere in the south of France. The manufacture of soaps, wax, oil products, and candles also form a considerable industry, and the general aspect of Grasse is quite as prosperous, indeed more so, than if it were dependent on the butterfly tourists of the coast towns.

The streets of the town rise and fall in bewildering fashion. They are badly laid out, in many cases, and dark and gloomy, but they are nevertheless picturesque to a high degree; a sort of négligé picturesqueness, which does not necessarily mean dirty or squalid. There are no remarkable architectural splendours in all the town, and there are none of those archæological surprises such as one comes upon at Aix or Fréjus.

Grasse has a fine library, containing numerous rare manuscripts and deeds and the archives of the ancient Abbey of Lerins. In the Hôpital is an early work of Rubens, which ranks as one of the world’s great art treasures, and there is a further interest in the city for art-lovers from the fact that it was the birthplace of Fragonard, to whom a fine bust in marble has been erected in the Jardin Publique.

Flower Market, Grasse

Flower Market, Grasse

As before mentioned, the height above is the chief point of interest at Grasse. It culminates in the significantly named promenade known as the “Jeu de Ballon.” A sea of tree-tops surges about one on all sides, with here and there a glimpse of the red roof-tops of the town below.

Between the town and the sea is an immense rocky wall known as Les Ribbes, with a picturesque cascade rippling down its flank. From its apex Napoleon, escaping from Elba, arrested his flight long enough to turn and—in the words of his best-known historian—“contemplate the immense panorama which unrolled before his eyes, and salute for the last time the Mediterranean and the mountains of La Corse, which he was never again to see.”

The assertion “voir La Corse,” in the original, was not a figure of speech, for under certain conditions of wind and weather the same is possible to-day.

A half a dozen kilometres to the eastward of Grasse the highroad crosses the river Loup, and one sees a semicircular town before him known as Villeneuve-Loubet. The town has hotels and all the faint echoes of the watering-places of the coast. This is a pity, for it is delightful, or was, before all this up-to-dateness came. Its château, still proudly rearing its head above the town, was built in the twelfth century by the Comtes de Provence.

The primitive town was called Loubet, a corruption of the name of the river which bathes its walls. Before even the days of the occupation of the Comtes de Provence, as early as the seventh century, there was a monastery here known by the name of Notre Dame la Dorée, of which scanty remains are visible even to-day. Owing to various Mussulman incursions, the occupants of the monastery were forced to flee to the protection of the château, and soon the “Ville-neuve” was created, ultimately forming the hyphenated name by which the place is known to-day.

Still onward, on the road to Nice, is Cagnes, a sort of economical overflow from the more aristocratic resort, with few advantages to-day as an abiding-place, and most of the disadvantages of the larger city. There are tooting trams, automobile garages, and shops for the sale of many of the minor wants of life, which in former times one had to walk the ten or a dozen kilometres into Nice to get. The automobile is a very good thing for touring, but, as a perambulator in which to “run down to the village,” it is much overrated and a confirmed nuisance to every one; and Cannes suffers from this more than any other place in France, unless it be Giverny on the Seine, the most overautomobiled town in the world,—one to every score of inhabitants.

Once Cagnes bid fair to become an artists’ resort, but it became overrun with “tea and toast” tourists, and so it just missed becoming a Pont Aven or a Barbizon. For all that, it is a picturesque enough place to-day; indeed, it is delightful, and if it were not for the automobiles everywhere about, and that awful tram, it would be even more so. However, its little artists’ hotel was, and is, able to make up for a good deal that is otherwise lacking, and the sawmills, brick-works, and distilleries of the neighbourhood are not offensive enough to take away all of its sylvan charm.

In earlier times Cagnes was both a place of military importance and a sort of a city of pleasure, something after the Pompeiian order, one fancies, from the Roman remains which have been found here.

There is an ancient château of the Grimaldi family, still very much in evidence, though it has become the property of a German. In many respects it is a beautiful Renaissance work and is accordingly an architectural monument of rank.

Directly inland from Cagnes is Vence, an ancient episcopal city which was shorn of its ecclesiastical rights at the Revolution. In spite of this the memories and the very substantial reminders of other days, still to be seen within the precincts of the one-time cathedral, give it rank as an ecclesiastical shrine quite out of the ordinary. The church itself is built upon the site, and in part out of, an ancient temple to Cybele, and the fortifications, erected when the Saracens had possession of the city, are still readily traced. It is a most picturesquely disposed little city, and well worth more attention than is generally bestowed upon it.

Between Grasse and Nice lies the valley of the Loup, a stream of some sixty kilometres in length emptying into the Mediterranean, and which has the reputation of being the most torrential waterway in France, in this respect far exceeding the more important streams, such as the Rhône, the Durance, and the Touloubre. Its course is so sinuous, as it comes down from its source in the Alpes-Maritimes, that it is known locally as “le serpent.” With all violence it rolls down its rapidly sloping bed, amid rock-cut gorges and wooded ravines, in quite the manner of the scenic waterfalls of the geographies that one scans at school. It does not resemble Niagara in any manner, nor is it a slim, narrow cascade at any point; but throughout its whole length it is a series of tiny waterfalls which, in a photograph, do indeed look like miniature Niagaras. All along its course are numerous centres of population, though none of them reach to the dignity of a town and hardly that of a village, if one excepts Le Bar, the chief point of departure for excursions in the gorges.

Le Bar is reminiscent of the Saracens, who were for long masters of the neighbouring country. The walls of the houses and barriers are of that warm, rosy, mud-baked tint that one associates mostly with the Orient, and no artist’s palette is too rich in colour to depict them as they are. The Saracens called the place “Al-Bar,” which came later, by an easy process of evolution, to Albarnum, and finally Le Bar.

It was an important place under the Roman domination, and, in time, when the town came to be a valued possession of the Comtés de Provence, the cross succeeded the crescent. In the tiny church of the town there is a remarkable ancient painting picturing a “danse macabre,” supposed to be of the fifteenth century.



Above Le Bar is the aerial village of Gourdon, fantastic in name, situation, and all its elements. At its feet rushes the restless Loup, and tears its way through one of those curious rock-walls which one only sees in these parts. To the westward is the curious and imposing outline of Grasse, the metropolis of the neighbourhood.

Near by the railway crosses the ravine on an imposing and really beautiful modern viaduct of seven arches, each twelve metres in height—nearly forty feet.

Up the ravine toward the source, or downward to the sea, the charms multiply themselves like the glasses of the kaleidoscope until one, as a result of a first visit to this much neglected scenic spectacle, is quite of the mind that it resembles nothing so much as a miniature Yellowstone.



WHEN one crosses the Var he crosses the ancient frontier between France and the Comté de Nice. The old-time French inhabitants of the Comté ever considered it an alien land, and invariably expressed the wish to be buried in the Cemetery of St. Laurent du Var, just over the border in the royal domain.

The present Pont du Var, which one crosses as he comes from the westward, from Cagnes or Antibes, is the successor of another flung across the same stream by Vauban, much against his will, it would seem, for he said boldly that it was so foolish a project as never to be worth a hundredth part of its cost. How poorly he reckoned can be judged by the hundreds of thousands of travellers—millions doubtless—who, in later years, have made use of it. He evidently did not foresee the tide of tourist travel, whatever may have been his genius as a military engineer.

Nice to Vintimille

Nice to Vintimille

The Var is not a very formidable-looking river at first glance, and has not the tempestuous flood of the Rhône and the Durance in actual volume, but the excess of water which it carries to the sea, at certain seasons, is proportionately very much greater. The Rhône increases its bulk but thirty times, the Durance a hundred times, but the Var throws into the Mediterranean, in time of flood, a hundred and forty times its usual flow, a fact which ranks it as one of the most fickle waterways of Europe, if not of the world.

So important a place as Nice of course has a legendary account of the origin of its name. It is claimed by some historians, and disputed by others, that it was a colony founded by the Massaliotes three hundred years before the beginning of the Christian era, and, in consequence of a signal success against the Ligurians, the place received the glorious name of Victory,—Nicæa, a name which with but little alteration has come down to to-day.

Long before the French came into possession of the Comté de Nice and its capital there was a friendship, and a sort of union, between the two peoples. When the little state became a part of modern France, it became simply more French than it was before. This was the only change to be remarked until the era of its great prosperity as a winter resort, for the world’s idlers made it what it is,—the best-known winter station in all the world.

Nice used to be called “Nizza la Bella,” but, since the arrival of the French (1860), and the English, and the Americans, and the Germans (the Russian grand dukes, be it recalled, have made Cannes their own), “Nizza la Bella” has become “Nice la Belle,” for it is beautiful in spite of its drawbacks for the lover of sylvan and unartificial charms.

There is not in Africa a spot more African in appearance than the railway station at Nice; such at all events is the impression that it makes upon one when he views the enormous palms that surround the station.

Up to this time the traveller from the north, by rail, has got some glimpses of the southland from the windows of his railway car; has seen some palms, perhaps, and other specimens of a subtropical flora; but, since the railway does not make its way through the palm avenues of Hyères or Cannes, the sudden apparition of Nice is as of something new.


Many have sung the praises of “Nice la Belle” in prose and verse; in times past, Dupatay, Lalande, and Delille; and, in our own day, Alphonse Karr, Dumas père, De Banville, Mistral, Jacques Normand, Bourget, Nadaud, and a host of others too numerous to mention.

Nice is a marvellous blend of the old and the new; the old quarter of the Niçois, with narrow streets of stairs, overhanging balconies, and all the accessories of the life of the Latins as they have been pictured for ages past; the new, with broad boulevards, straight tree-bordered avenues flanked with gay shops, hotels, kiosks, automobile cabs, and all the rest of what we have come unwisely to regard as the necessities of the age. The curtain of trees flanking these great modern thoroughfares is the only thing that saves them from becoming monotonous; as it is, they are as attractive as any of their kind in Paris, Lyons, or Marseilles.

The Promenade des Anglais is the finest of these thoroughfares. With its yuccas, and its garden, and its sea-wall, and its fringe of white-crested, lapping waves, it is all very entrancing,—all except the inartistic thing of glass roofs and iron struts, known the world over as a pier, and which, in spite of its utility,—if it really is useful,—is an abomination. Artificiality is all very well in its place, but out of place it is as indigestible as the nougat of Montélimar.

The Nice of to-day bears little resemblance to the Nice of half a century ago, as one learns from recorded history and a gossip with an old inhabitant. Then it was simply a collection of maisons groupées, with narrow, crooked streets between, huddled around the flanks of the old château.

In those days the railway ended at Genoa on the east and at Toulon on the west, and the space between was only covered by diligence, horse or donkey back, or by boat. The “high life,” as the French have come themselves to term listlessness and indolence, had not yet arrived, in spite of the fact that its outpost had already been planted at Cannes by England’s chancellor.

Those were parlous times for Monte Carlo. There was but one table for “trente et quarante” and one for “roulette,” and the opening of the game waited upon the arrival of a score of persons who came from Nice daily by voiture publique, via La Turbie, or by the cranky little steamer which took an hour and forty minutes in good weather, and which in bad did not start out at all. On these occasions there was little or nothing “doing” at Monte Carlo, but the new régime saw to it that transportation facilities were increased and improved, and immediately everything prospered.

However much one may deplore the advent of the railway along picturesque travel routes, and it certainly does detract not a little from several charming Riviera panoramas, there is no question but that it is a necessary evil. Perhaps after all it isn’t an evil, for one can be very comfortable in any of the great and luxurious expresses which deposit their hordes all along the Riviera during the winter season. The new thirteen-hour train from Paris, the “Côte d’Azur Rapide,” has already become one of the world’s wonders for speed, taking less than three-quarters of an hour in making the nine stops between Paris and Nice. Then there are the “London-Riviera Express,” the “Vienne-Cannes Express,” the “Calais-Nice Express,” and the Nord-Sud-Brenner (Cannes, Nice, Vintimille to Berlin), with sleeping-cars and dining-cars, but not yet with bathrooms, barber-shops, or stenographers and typewriters, which have already arrived in America, where business is combined with the joy of living.

From the very fact of its past history and of its geographical location, Nice is the most cosmopolitan of all the cities of the Riviera, if we except Monte Carlo.

To the stranger, English, French, and Italians seem to be about on a par at Nice, with a liberal addition of Germans and Russians, though naturally French are really in the majority. There are many Italian-speaking people in the old town of Nice, away from the frankly tourist quarters, but it is a strange Italian that one hears, and in many cases is not Italian at all, but the Niçois patois, which sounds quite as much like the real Provençal tongue as it does Italian, though in reality it is not a very near approach to either.

Nice is the true centre of the catalogued beauties of the Riviera, and in consequence it has become the truly popular resort of the region. In spite of this it is not the most lovable, for garish hotels,—no matter how fine their “rosbif” may be,—chalets coquets, and sky-scraping apartment houses have a way of intruding themselves on one’s view in a most distressing manner until one is well out into the foot-hills of the Alpes-Maritimes and away from the tooting, humming electric trams.



The port of Nice is not a great one, as those of the maritime world go, but it is sufficient to the needs of the city, and there is a considerable coastwise traffic going on. The basin is purely artificial and was cut practically from the solid rock. With its sheltering mountain background it is exceedingly picturesque and well disposed. The tiny river Paillon runs into it from the north, a rivulet which in its own small way apes the torrents of the Var in times of flood. At other seasons it runs drily through the town and bares its pebbles to the blazing southern sun. It serves its purpose well though, in that its thin stream of water forms the washing-place of the washerwomen of Nice, and, from their numbers, one might think of the whole Riviera. The process of pounding and strangling one’s linen into a semblance of whiteness does not differ greatly here from that of other parts of France. There are the same energetic swoops of the paddle, the thrashings on a flat stone, the swishings and swashings in the running water of the stream, and finally the spreading on the ground to dry. Here, though, the linen is spread on the smooth, clean pebbles of the river-bed and the southern sun speedily dries it to a stiffness (and yellowness) which grass-spread linen does not acquire. In other respects the washing process seems quite as efficacious as elsewhere, and there are quite as many small round holes (in the most impossible places), which will give one hours of speculation as to how they were made. It’s all very simple, when you come to think of it. Things are simply rolled or twisted into a wad and pounded on the flat stone. Where nothing but linen intervenes between the paddle and the stone, a certain flatness is produced in the mass, and the dirt meanwhile is supposed to have sifted, or to have been driven, through and out. Where there are buttons—well, that is where the little round holes come from, and meanwhile the buttons have been broken and have disappeared. The process has its disadvantages—decidedly.

The old château of Nice and its immediate confines sound the most dominant old-time note of the entire city, for, in spite of the old streets and houses of the older part of the city, the quarters of the Niçois and the Italians, there is over all a certain reflex of the modernity which radiates from the great hotels, cafés, and shops of the newer boulevards and avenues.

To be sure, the “château,” so called to-day, is no château at all, and is in fact nothing more than a sort of garden, or park, wherein are some scanty remains of the château which existed in the time of Louis XIV. The hill on which it sat is still the dominant feature of the place, although, according to the exaggerated draughtsmanship of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the château and its dependencies must have been a marvellous array of spectacular architecture. The summit of this eminence, hanging high above the port on one side and the Quai du Midi and the valley of the Paillon on the other, is reached by a winding road, doubling back and forth up its flank, but the only thing that would prompt one to make the ascent would be the exercise or the altogether surprising view which one has of the city and its immediate surroundings.

The sea mirrors the sails of the shipping (mostly to-day it is funnels and masts, however) and the distant promontories of Cap d’Antibes on the one side and Cap Ferrat on the other. Beyond the former the sun sets gloriously at night, amidst a ravishing burst of red, gold, and purple, quite unequalled elsewhere along the Riviera. Of course it is as glorious elsewhere, but the combination of scenic effects is not quite the same, and here, at least, Nice leads all the other Riviera tourist points.

To the north are the lacelike snowy peaks of the Alps, cutting the horizon with that far-away brilliance and crispness which only a snow-capped mountain possesses. The contrast is to be remarked in other lands quite as emphatically, at Riverside, in California, for instance, where you may have orange-blossoms one hour and deep snow in the next, if you will only climb the mountain to get it; but there is a historic atmosphere and local colour here on the Riviera whose places are not adequately filled by anything which ever existed in California.

Nice is surrounded by a triple defence of mountains which, supporting one another, have all but closed the route to Italy from the north. This mountain barrier serves another purpose, and that is as a sort of shelter from the rigours of the Alps in winter. The wind-shield is not wholly effectual, for there is one break through which it howls in most distressing fashion most of the time. This is at the extremity of the port, where the wall is broken between the hill of the château and Mont Boron. Formerly this gap bore the old Provençal nomenclature of “Raoubo Capeou,” which, literally translated, may be called the “hat-lifter,” and which the French themselves call “Dérobe Chapeau.”

Above all, one should see Nice in the height of the flower season, when the stalls of the flower merchants are literally buried under a harvest of flowers and perfumed fruits.

Nice’s distractions are too numerous to be mentioned in detail. The Mi-Carême and Mardi Gras festivals are nowhere on the Riviera more brilliant than here, and now that in these progressive days they have added “Batailles de Fleurs” and “Courses d’Automobiles,” and “Horse-Races” and “Tennis” and “Golf Tournaments,” the significance of the merry-making is quite different from the original interpretation given it by the Latins. Sooner or later “Baseball” and “Shoe-blacking Contests” may be expected to be introduced, and then what will be one’s recollections of “Nizza la Bella?”

The business of Nice consists almost entirely of the catering to her almost inexhaustible stream of winter visitors. This, and the traffic in garden vegetables and fruits, a trade of some proportions in olive-oil, and the manufacture and sale of crystallized fruit, make up the chief industrial life of the town.

One other industry may be mentioned, though it is of little real worth, in spite of the business having reached large figures,—the trade in olive-wood souvenirs. Every one knows the sort of thing: penholders, napkin-rings, and card-cases. They are found at resorts all over the world, and the manufacturers of Nice have spread their product, throughout Europe, before the eyes of the tourists who like to buy such “souvenirs,” whether they are at Brighton, Mont St. Michel, or Vichy.

The region between Nice and Menton seems particularly favourable to the growth of a much grander species of olive-tree than is to be seen in the other départements of the south, and the olive-oil of Nice, because of its peculiar perfume, is greatly in demand among those who think they have an exquisite taste in this sort of thing. As most of this aromatic oil is exported, the statement need be no reflection on the product of other parts. One hundred establishments, of all ranks, are engaged in this traffic at Nice.

The horticultural trade plays its part, and the roses and violets of Nice are found throughout the flower-markets of Europe. There are three great rose-growing centres in western Europe, Lyons, Paris, and Ghent (Belgium), and mostly their flowers are grown from plants obtained at Nice.

The cut-flower traffic is also considerable locally, and Nice, Beaulieu, Monaco, and Monte Carlo are themselves large consumers.

Four kilometres only separate Nice from Cimiez, the latter comparatively as flourishing and important a town in the days of the Romans as Nice is to-day.

Olive Pickers in the Var

Olive Pickers in the Var

Environs of NICE

Environs of NICE

For long it played a preëminent rôle in the history of these parts. To-day one makes his way by one of the ever-pushing electric trams which, in France, are threading every suburban byway in the vicinities of the cities and large towns. In other days this was the ancient Roman way which bound Cimiez and Vence, the Via Augusta, the most ancient communication between Italy and Gaul. Evidences of its old foundations are not deeply hidden, and this stretch of roadway must ever remain one of the most vivid examples of the utilitarian industry of the colonizing Romans in Gaul.

At Cimiez there are many evidences of the old Roman builders and their unequalled art, fragments of temples, aqueducts, baths, and amphitheatres. Everything is very fragmentary, often but a bit of a column, a sculptured leg or arm, or a morsel of a plate; but there is everything to prove that Cimiez was a most important place in its time. The most notable of these ruins is the amphitheatre, built after the conventional manner of theatre-building invented by the Greeks before the Romans, and which has, in truth, not been greatly changed up to to-day, except that it has been roofed over. The theatre at Cimiez in no way suggests those other Provençal examples at Orange or Arles, the peers of their class in western Europe, and the stone-cutting was of a very rude quality or has greatly crumbled in the ages. Such of the walls and arches as are visible to-day show a hardiness and correctness of design which, however, is not lived up to in the evidences of actual workmanship.

There are no grandiose structures anywhere in the vicinity; everything is fragmentary, but Cimiez was evidently an important city in embryo, which some untoward influence prevented ever coming to its full-blown glory.



NICE in many respects is the centre from which radiates all the life of the Riviera; moreover its military and strategic importance attains the same distinction; it is the base of the whole system, social and political.

East and west the “Côte d’Azur” extends until it runs against the grime and commercial activity of Marseilles on the one side, and Genoa on the other.

From the heights back of Nice one sees the Ligurian coast stretch away to infinity, with the sea and the distant isles to the right, while to the left are the peaks of the Maritime Alps.

Cap Ferrat

Cap Ferrat

On this pied de terre France has organized a great series of defences by land and sea. On every height is a fort or a battery, like the castle-crowned crags of the Rhine. The bays and harbours below the foot-hills are all defended from the menaces of a real or imaginary foe by a guardian fringe of batteries and defences of all ranks, and, what with battle-ships and torpedo-boats, and destroyers and submarines, this frontier strip is in no more danger of sudden attack by an unfriendly power than are the interior provinces of Berry and Burgundy.

The entire country around Nice is one vast entrenched camp, constructed, equipped, and maintained, as may be supposed, with considerable difficulty and at enormous expense. A mountain fortress whose very stones, to say nothing of other materials, are transported up a trailless mountainside, is one of the wonder-works of man, and here there is a long line of such, encircling the whole region from the Italian frontier westward to Toulon.

Above all, the fortifications are concentrated in the country just back of the capital of the Riviera. All the great hillsides, rocky, moss-grown, or covered with pines or olive-trees, are a network of forts and batteries, strategic roads, reservoirs of water, and magazines of shot and shell.

One of the strongest of these forts is on the flanks of Mont Boron; Cap Ferrat holds another, and the “Route de la Corniche,” the only low-level line of communication between France and Italy, literally bristles with the same sort of thing.

Fort de la Drette, five hundred metres in altitude, rises above that astonishing Saracen village of Eze, while a strategic route leads to another at Feuillerins, six hundred and forty-eight metres high, and thence to Fort de la Revere at seven hundred and three metres, an impregnable series of fortifications, one would think.

Between the battery-crowned heights are the reservoirs and magazines of powder, all in full view of the automobile and coach tourists from Nice to Monte Carlo. The route skirts La Revere and the great towering rock back of Monte Carlo, known as the “Tête de Chien,” and the tourist may readily enough judge for himself as to the utility and efficacy of these distinctly modern defences.

The crowning glory, however, is on Mont Agel, the culminating peak in the vicinity of Nice. It is situated at a height of eleven hundred and forty-nine metres, and it would take a long siege indeed to capture this fortress, if things ever came to an issue in its neighbourhood.

Of all the wonderful examples of road-making in France, and they are more numerous and excellent than elsewhere, the “Route de la Grande Corniche” is the best known, covering as it does a matter of nearly fifty kilometres from Nice to Vintimille.

Personally conducted tourists make the trip in brakes and char-à-bancs via Mont Gros and its observatory, the Col des Quatre Chemins, by Eze perched on its pyramidal rock, and La Turbie with its memories of Augustus, until they descend, either via Roquebrune to Menton, or by the steeps of La Turbie to Monte Carlo and its “distractions de haut goût.”

It is all very wonderful and, to the traveller who makes the trip for the first time or the hundredth, the beauties of the panorama which unfolds at every white kilometre stone is so totally different from that which he has just passed that he wonders if he is not journeying on some sort of a magic carpet which simply floats in space. Certainly there is no more beautiful view-point in all the world than that from the height overlooking Monaco, Monte Carlo, and Cap Martin, all bedded like jewels amid an inconceivable brilliancy and softness, a combination which seems paradoxical enough in print, but which in real life is quite the reverse, although it is ravishingly beautiful enough to be unreal.

The twenty-franc excursionists from Nice are rushed out from town in the early morning, via “La Grande Corniche,” to Menton, and back in the early afternoon via the “Route du Bord du Mer,” at something like the speed that the malle-poste of other days used to thread the great national roadways of France. Really the excursion is quite worth the money, and you do cover the ground, but you cover it much too rapidly, and so do the speeding automobilists. By far the best way to drink in all the beauties of this delightful promenade is to devote a week to it, and do it on foot. Walking tours are not fashionable any more, and in many thousands of miles of travel by road in France, the writer has never so much as walked between neighbouring villages, but some day that promenade au pied is going to be made on the “Corniche” between Nice and Menton, returning, as do the “trippers,” via the lower road through Monte Carlo, La Condamine, and Beaulieu. It is the only way to appreciate the artistic beauties, and the strategic value, of this great highway of a civilization of another day, whose life, if not as refined as that of the present, could hardly have been more dissolute than that which to-day goes on to some extent here in this playground of the world.

One should make the journey out by the “Corniche” and back by the waterside, lunching at the auberge at Eze off an anchovy or two, a handful of dried figs, and a flagon of thick, red, perfumed wine. Then he will indeed think life worth living, and regret that such things as railway trains, automobiles, and palace hotels ever existed.

Beyond Nice the Corniche route toward Italy is ample and majestic throughout its whole course, though, as a whole, it is no more beautiful than that Corniche by the Estérel. It winds around Mont Gros, at the back of Nice, and reaches its greatest height just beyond the Auberge de la Drette. En route, at least after passing the Col des Quatre Chemins, there is that ever-present panorama of the Mediterranean blue which all Frenchmen, and most dwellers on its shores, and some others besides, consider the most beautiful bit of water in the world.

To know the full charms of the road from Nice to Villefranche and Beaulieu one should start early in the morning, say in April or even May, when, to him who has only known the Riviera in the winter months, the very liquidness of the atmosphere and the landscape will be a revelation. All is impregnated with a penetrating gentle light, under which the house walls, the roadway, the waves, the rocks, and the foliage take on a subtle tone which is quite indescribable and quite different from the artificiality which is more or less present all through the Riviera towns in winter. There is a difference, too, from the sun-baked dryness of the dead of summer. Each rock, each cliff, each bank of sand, and each wavelet of the Mediterranean has a note which forms the one tone needful for the gamut which is played upon one’s emotions.

Rounding Mont Boron by the coast road, one soon comes to Villefranche, whose very name indicates the privileges which were accorded to it by its founder, Charles II., Comte de Provence et Roi de Naples. Built in 1295, it became at once a free trading port, and speedily drew to itself a very considerable population. Soon, too, it came into prominence as a military port, and the Ducs de Savoie made it their chief arsenal.

To-day Villefranche occupies a very equivocal position. It has a population of something over five thousand souls, and its splendid harbour gives it a prominence in naval circles which is well deserved; but, in spite of this, the town has none of the attributes of the other Riviera coast towns and cities.

The prevailing note of Villefranche is Oriental, with its house walls kalsomined in red, blue, and pink, in ravishingly delicate and picturesque tones; really a great improvement, from every point of view, to the whitewash of Anglo-Saxon lands. The French name for this species of decoration is the worst thing about it, and, unless one has a considerable French vocabulary, the word “badigeonée” means nothing. Another exotic in the way of nomenclature which one meets at Villefranche is moucharabieh, which is not found in many dictionaries of the French language. A moucharabieh is nothing more or less than a unique variety of window screen or blind, behind which, taking into account the Eastern aspect of all things in Villefranche, one needs only to see the beautiful head of an Oriental maiden to imagine himself in far Arabia.

It is but a step beyond Villefranche to Beaulieu and “La Petite Afrique,” generally thought to be the most exclusive and retired of all the Riviera resorts. To a great extent this is so, though the scorching automobilists of the nouveau-riche variety have covered its giant olive-trees with a powdery whiteness which has considerably paled their already delicate gray tones.

Between Villefranche and Beaulieu is the peninsula of St. Jean, washed by the waves on either side and as indented and jagged as the shores of Greece. To-day it has become an annex of Nice, with opulent villas of kings, princes, and millionaires, from Leopold, King of Belgium down.

Villa of Leopold, King of Belgium

Villa of Leopold, King of Belgium

At St. Jean-sur-Mer, midway down the peninsula, is a little fishing village, still quaint and unspoiled amid all the splendours of the palaces of kings and villas of millionaires, which have of late grown so plentiful in this once virgin forest tract. There are many souvenirs here of the time when the neighbourhood was occupied by the Knights Hospitalers of St. John of Jerusalem, and there is much history and legend connected with them. Seaward is the Promontory or Pointe de St. Hospice, where the Duc de Savoie, Emmanuel Philibert, built a fortification. It was an ideal spot for a defensive work of this nature, though it protected nothing except what was inside. It must, in a former day, have been a very satisfactory work of its kind, as it is recorded that this prince, coming to view the progress of the work, and fallen upon by the Saracens, retreated within the walls of his new defence, where he successfully repulsed all their attacks.

Many times did the pirates attack this outpost, but finally, as the country became peaceful, a hospice came to take the place of the warlike fortification, and from this establishment the Pointe de St. Hospice of to-day takes its name.

Half-way up the foot-hills of the Alps the great white ribbon of the “Corniche” rolls its solitary way until La Turbie is reached. Here is a little village seated proudly beneath that colossal ruin, the Augustan trophy, which has been a marvel and subject of speculation for archæologists for ages past. One thing seems certain, however, and that is that it was a monument commemorative of the submission of forty-five distinct peoples of western Gaul to the power of Rome.

Westward is Roquebrune, where the “Corniche” drops to the two hundred-metre level, and one rapidly approaches the sea beyond Cap Martin, and thus reaches Menton, but two kilometres onward.

The coast route from Nice to Menton via Villefranche and Beaulieu approximates the same length as the “Corniche” proper, and its charms are as varied. It rolls along behind the old citadel of Mont Boron and suddenly opens up the magnificent bay of Villefranche, the favourite Mediterranean station of the Russians and Americans, and thence on rapidly to Beaulieu, Monte Carlo, and Menton.

All the way this route by the sea follows the shore and skirts picturesque gulfs and calanques, and now and then tunnels a hillside only to come out into day and a vista more beautiful than that which was left behind.



THE ancient Saracen fortress of Eze lies midway between Beaulieu and Monte Carlo, somewhat back from the coast, and crowns a pinnacle such as is usually devoted to the glory of St. Michel.

As one climbs the steep sides of the hill, the fantastic outlines of the roof-tops silhouette themselves against the sky quite like a scene from Dante’s masterpiece, or, if not that, like the fabled spectral Brocken. The road twists and turns, and the sea and shore blend themselves into one of those incomparable glories of the Riviera, until actually one stands on the little plateau which moors the tiny church and its surrounding dwellings.

The Eza of yesterday has become the Eze of to-day, but the former spelling was vastly more euphonic, and it is a pity that it was ever changed. Eze is ruinous to-day, as it has been for ages, and pagan and Christian monuments are cheek by jowl.

Rising abruptly three hundred metres from the sea-level, the mountain offered a stronghold well-nigh unassailable. First the Phœnicians occupied it, then the Phoceans, followed by the Romans, the Saracens, and all the warring factions and powers of mediæval times. No wonder it is reminiscent of all, with memorials ranging all the way from the temple dedicated to the Egyptian cult of Isis to the Christian church seen to-day.



Centuries passed but slowly here, and the Moorish hordes, seeking for a vantage-ground on the Ligurian coast, took the peak for their own. The early founders did not need to go afield for the material for the building of houses and their military constructions. It was all close at hand. The rocky base sufficed for all.

What is left to-day of the old bourg, remodelled and rebuilt in many cases, but still the original structures to no small extent, is a veritable museum of architectural curiosities.

What an accented note it is in the whole vast expanse of green and blue! It is literally worth coming miles to see, even if one makes the wearisome journey on foot.

Eze is sequestered from all the world, and, like Normandy’s Mont St. Michel, would be an ideal place in which to shut oneself up if one wanted to escape from his enemies (and friends).

The shrine of Notre Dame de Laghet lies in the country back of Eze, but rather nearer to La Turbie. The whole south venerated Our Lady of Laghet in days gone by, and came to worship at her shrine. The neighbouring country is severe and less gracious than that of most of the flowering Riviera; but, in the early days of spring, with the hardier blossoms well forward, it is as delightful an environment for a shrine as one can well expect to find.

Historic souvenirs in connection with Notre Dame de Laghet are many. The Duc de Savoie, Victor Amédée, came here to worship in 1689, and a century and a half later, his descendant, Charles Albert, shorn of his crown, and a fugitive, sought shelter here from the dangers which beset him. Here he knelt devoutly before the Madonna, and prayed that his enemies might be forgiven. A tablet to-day memorializes the event.

The little church of the establishment contains hundreds of votive offerings left by pious pilgrims, and, though architecturally the edifice is a poor, humble thing, it ranks high among the places of modern pilgrimage.

A kilometre beyond the gardens which face the Casino at Monte Carlo is a little winding road leading blindly up the hillside. “Où conduit-il?” you ask of a straggler; “A La Turbie, m’sieu;” and forthwith you mount, spurning the aid of the funiculaire farther down the road. When one has progressed a hundred metres along this serpentine roadway, the whole ensemble of beauties with which one has become familiar at the coast are magnified and enhanced beyond belief. Nowhere is there a gayer, livelier colouring to be seen on the Riviera; this in spite of the conventionality of the glistening walls of the great hotels and the artificial gardens with which the vicinity of the paradise of Monte Carlo abounds.

As one turns another hairpin corner, another plane of the horizon opens out until, after passing various isolated small houses, and zigzagging upward another couple of kilometres, he enters upon the “Route d’Italie,” and thence either turns to the left to La Turbie, or to the right to Roquebrune, a half-dozen kilometres farther on.

La Turbie is quite as much of an exotic as Eze. It is as vivid a reminder of a glory that is past as any monumental town still extant, and its noble Augustan Trophy, as a memorial of a historical past, is far greater than anything of its kind out of Rome itself. There is something almost sublime about this great sky-piercing tower, a monument to the vanquishing of the peoples of Gaul by the Roman legions.

Fragments of this great “trophy” have been carted away, and are to be found all over the neighbouring country. Barbarians and Saracens, one and all, pillaged the noble tower (“the magnificent witness to the powers of the divine Augustus,” as the French historians call it), using it as a quarry from which was drawn the building material for many of their later works. Without scruple it has been shorn of its attributes until to-day it is only a bare, gaunt skeleton of its former proud self. Its marbles have been dispersed, some are in Nice, some in Monaco, and some in Genoa, but the greatest of all the indignities which the edifice underwent was that thrust upon it by Berwick, in 1706, when attempts were actually made to pull it to the ground.

Augustan Trophy, La Turbie

Augustan Trophy, La Turbie

What its splendours must once have been may best be imagined from the following description:

A massive quadrangular tower surrounded with columns of the Doric order and ornamented with statues of the lieutenants of Augustus, and personifications of the vanquished peoples. Surmounting all was a colossal statue of the emperor himself.

La Turbie has a most interesting “porte,” once fortified, but now a mere gateway. It dates from the sixteenth century, and is an exceedingly satisfying example of what a mediæval gateway was in feudal times.

The church of the town is of great size and well kept, but otherwise is in no way remarkable.

As with the founders of Eze, the builders of La Turbie and its great Augustan Trophy had their material close at hand, and there was no need for the laborious carrying of material from a distance which accompanied the building of many mediæval monuments and fortifications.

A quarry was to be made anywhere that one chose to dig in the hillside, and, though no traces of the exact location whence the material was dug is to be seen to-day, there is no question but that it was a home product. The marbles and statues alone were brought from afar.

Roquebrune, onward toward Menton, is more individual in the character of its people and their manners and customs than any of the other towns and villages near the great Riviera pleasure resorts. The ground is cultivated in small plots, and olive and fruit trees abound, and occasionally, sheltered on a little terrace, is a tiny vineyard struggling to make its way. The vine, curiously enough, does not prosper well here, at least not the extent that it formerly did, and accordingly it is a good deal of a struggle to get a satisfactory crop, no matter how favourable the season.

Here in the vicinity of Roquebrune one sees the little donkeys so well known throughout the mountainous parts of Italy and France. They are sure-footed little beasts, like their brother burros of the Sierras and the Rockies, and appear not to differ from them in the least, unless they are smaller. All through the region to the northward of the coast they file in cavalcades, bearing their burdens in panniers and saddle-bags in quite century-old fashion, and as if automobiles and railways had never been heard of. An automobile would have a hard time of it on some of the by-roads accessible only to these tiny beasts of burden, which often weigh but eighty kilos and cost little or nothing for provender.

These little Savoian donkeys are gentle and good-natured, but obstinate when it comes to pushing on at a gait which the driver may wish, but which has not yet dawned upon the donkey as being desirable. This, apparently, is the national trait of the whole donkey kingdom, so there is nothing remarkable about it. He will go,—when you twist his tail,—and if you twist it to the right he will turn to the left, and vice versa. A sailor would be quite at home with a donkey of Roquebrune.

Roquebrune is tranquil enough to-day, though there have been times when the rocky giant on whose bosom it sleeps awakened with a roar which shook the very foundations of its houses. These earthquakes have not been frequent; the last was in 1887; but the memory of it is enough to give fear to the timid whenever a summer thunder-storm breaks forth.

Roquebrune occupies a height very much inferior to that on which sits La Turbie; but the panorama from the town is in no way less marvellous, nor is it greatly different, hence it is not necessary to recount its beauties here. There is considerably more vegetation in the neighbourhood, and there are many lemon-trees, with rich ripening fruit, instead of the dwarfed unripe oranges which one finds at many other places along the Riviera.

The lemon-tree is the real thermometer of the region, and the inhabitant has no need of the appliances of Réaumur or Fahrenheit, or the more facile Centigrade, for when three degrees of frost strikes in through the skin of the lemon, it withers up and dies. The orange, curiously enough, resists this first attack of cold.

Roquebrune, like La Turbie, abounds in vaulted streets and terraced hillsides, allowing one to step from the roofs of one line of houses to the dooryards of another in most quaint and picturesque fashion. The people of Roquebrune are a prosperous and contented lot, and have the reputation of being “as laborious as the bee and as economical as the ant.”

A Roquebrune Doorway

A Roquebrune Doorway

At the highest point, above most of the roof-tops of Roquebrune, are found the ruins of its château, in turn a one-time possession of the Lascaris and the Grimaldi, and belonging to the latter family when the town and Menton were ceded to France. From the platform of the ancient citadel one readily enough sees the point of the legend which describes Roquebrune as once having occupied the very summit of the height, and, in the course of ages, slipping down to its present position.



Monte Carlo & MONACO

Monte Carlo & MONACO

“OLD Monaco and New Monte Carlo” might well be made the title of a book, for their stories have never been entirely told in respect to their relations to the world of past and present. Certainly the question of the morality or immorality of the present institution of Monte Carlo, called by the narrow-minded a “gambling-hell,” has never been thrashed out in all its aspects. Instead of being a blight, it may be just a safety-valve which works for the good of the world. It is something to have one spot where all the “swell mobsmen” of the world congregate, or, at least, pass, sooner or later, for, like “Shepheards” at Cairo and the “Café de la Paix” at Paris, Monte Carlo sooner or later is visited by all the world, the moralists to whine and deplore all its loveliness being wasted on the evil-doer, the preacher out of curiosity (as he invariably tells you, and probably this is so); the sentimental young girls and their mammas to be seen and to see and (perhaps?) to play, and the pleasure-loving and the care-worn business man—for nine years and nine months out of ten—to play a little, and, when they have lost all they can afford, to withdraw without a regret. There is another class, several other classes in fact, but it is assumed that they need not be mentioned here.

Unquestionably there are many tragedies consummated at Monte Carlo, and all because of the tables, and it is also true that the same sort of tragedies take place in Paris, London, and New York, but it isn’t the gambling craze alone that has brought them about, and, anyway, one can come to Monte Carlo and have a very good time, and not become addicted to “the game.” To be sure not many do, but that is the fault of the individual and not the “Administration,” that all-powerful anonymous body which controls the whole conduct of affairs at Monte Carlo.

Some one has remarked the seemingly significant coat of arms of the present reigning Prince of Monaco, but assuredly he had very little knowledge of heraldry to assume that it had anything to do with the pleasure-making suburb of the capital of the Principality. It seems well enough to make mention of the fact here, if only to explode one of the fabulous tales which pass current among that class of tourists who come here, and, having hazarded a couple of coins at the tables, go home and mouth their adventures to awed acquaintances. Their tales of fearful adventure, and the anecdote that the blazoning of the arms of the reigning prince represents the layout of the gaming-tables, are really too threadbare and thin to pass current any longer.

To many the Riviera means that “beautiful, subtle, sinister place, Monte Carlo,” and indeed it is the most idyllically situated of the whole little paradise of coast towns from Marseilles to Genoa, and perhaps in all the world.

Whatever the moral aspect of Monte Carlo is or is not, there is no doubt but that it is one of the best paying enterprises in the amusement world, else how could M. Blanc have lived in a palace which kings might envy, and have kept the most famous string of race-horses in France. Certainly not out of a “losing game.” He himself made a classic bon mot when he said, “Rouge gagne quelquefois, noir souvent, mais Blanc toujours.”

M. Blanc was a singularly astute individual. He knew his game and he played it well, or rather his tables and his croupiers did it for him, and he even welcomed men with systems which they fondly believed would sooner or later break the bank, for he knew that the best of “systems” would but add to the profits of the bank in the long run. He even answered an inquisitive person, who wanted to know how one should gamble in order to win: “The most sensible advice I can give you is—‘Don’t.’

One reads in a local guide-book that the chances between the player and the bank, taking all the varieties of games into consideration, is as 60 to 61, and that the winnings of the bank were something like £1,000,000 sterling per year. This would seem to mean that the players of Europe and America took £61,000,000 to Monte Carlo each year, and brought away £60,000,000, leaving £1,000,000 behind as the price of their pleasure. The magnitude of these figures is staggering, and so able a statistician as Sir Hiram Maxim refuted them utterly a couple of years ago as follows:

“If the bank actually won one million sterling a year, and its chances were only 1 in 60 better than the players, it would seem quite evident that sixty-one millions must have been staked. However, upon visiting Monte Carlo and carefully studying the play, I found that instead of the players taking £61,000,000 to Monte Carlo, and losing £1,000,000 of it, the total amount probably did not exceed £1,000,000, of which the bank, instead of winning, as shown in the guide-book, about 1½ per cent., actually won rather more than 90 per cent.; therefore, the advantages in favour of the bank, instead of being 61 to 60, were approximately 10 to 1.”

This ought to correct any preconceived false notions of percentages and sum totals.

The law of averages is a very simple thing in which most people, in respect to gambling, and many other matters, have a supreme faith; but Sir Hiram disposes of this in a very few words. He says: “Let us see what the actual facts are.

“If red has come up twenty times in succession, it is just as likely to come up at the twenty-first time as it would be if it had not come up before for a week. Each particular ‘coup’ is governed altogether by the physical conditions existing at that particular instant. The ball spins round a great many times in a groove. When its momentum is used up, it comes in contact with several pieces of brass, and finally tumbles into a pocket in the wheel which is rotating in an opposite direction. It is a pure and unadulterated question of chance, and it is not influenced in the least by anything which has ever taken place before, or that will take place in the future.”

Thus vanish all “systems” and note-books, and all the schemes and devices by which the deluded punter hopes to beat M. Blanc at his own game. It is possible to play at “Rouge et Noir” at Monte Carlo and win,—if you don’t play too long, and luck is not against you; but if you stick at it long enough, you are sure to lose. There was once a man who went to Monte Carlo and played the very simple “Rouge et Noir” in a sane and moderate fashion, and in three years was the winner by twenty-five thousand francs. He returned the fourth year, and in three weeks lost it all, and another ten thousand besides. He gave up the amusement from that time forward as being too expensive for the pleasure that one got out of it.

As a business proposition, the modestly titled “Société Anonyme des Bains de Mer et Cercle des Étrangers” (for it is well to recall that the inhabitants of Monte Carlo are forbidden entrance, their morals, at least, being taken into consideration) is of the very first rank. It earned for its shareholders in 1904-05 the magnificent sum of thirty-six million francs, an increase within the year of some two millions. It is steadily becoming more prosperous, and the businesslike prince who rents out the concession has had his salary raised from 1,250,000 francs to 1,750,000 francs per annum, on an agreement to run for fifty years longer.

By those who know it is a well-recognized fact that the bank at Monte Carlo loses more by fraud than by any defects in its system of play. From the pages of that unique example of modern journalism, “Rouge et Noir—L’Organe de Défense des Joueurs de Roulette et de Trente-et-Quarante,” are culled the two following incidents:

A certain gambler, Ardisson by name, bribed a croupier to insert a specially shuffled pack into the “Trente-et-Quarante” game one fine evening, during an interval when attention was diverted by a female accomplice having dropped a roll of louis on the floor. After eight abnormal “coups,” the bank succumbed,—“la société se retire majestueusement” the informative sheet puts it,—180,000 francs out of pocket. The swindler—for all gamblers are not swindlers—and his accomplice, or accomplices, made their way safely across the frontier, and the only echo of the event was heard when the guilty croupier was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment,—a period of confinement for which he was doubtless well paid.

Another incident recounted in this most interesting newspaper was that of one Jaggers, an Englishman from Yorkshire, where all men are singularly knowing. This individual discovered that one of the roulette-wheels had a distinct tendency toward a certain number. His persistency in backing that number attracted the attention of the bank’s detectives, who marvelled at his continued run of luck. Eventually the authorities solved the problem, and now the roulette-wheels are interchangeable, and are moved daily from one set of bearings to another.

Once it was planned to explode a bomb near the gas-metre in the basement, and in the excitement, after the lights went out, to rob the tables and players alike. This plan was conceived by a gang of ordinary thieves, who needed no great intelligence to concoct such a scheme, which, needless to say, was nipped in the bud.

Some years ago the game was played with counters which were bought at a little side-table. A gang of counterfeiters made these in duplicate, and had a considerable haul before the trick was discovered. The museum of the Casino has many of these unstable records, but a change was immediately made in favour of five-franc pieces, louis, and notes of the Banque de France, which are no more likely to be counterfeited for playing the tables at Monte Carlo than they are for general purposes of trade.

Formerly one could wager a great “pillbox” roll of five-franc pieces done up in paper,—twenty of them to the hundred,—but to-day the envelope must be broken open. Some one won a lot of money once with some similar rolls of iron, which, until the daily or weekly inventory on the part of the bank, were not discovered to be foreign to the coin of the realm.

There are two sides to the life and environment of Monaco and Monte Carlo; there is the beautiful and gay side, for the lover of charming vistas and a lovely climate; and there is the practical, dark, and sordid side, of which “the game” is the all.

Much has been written of the moral or immoral aspect of the place, and the discussion shall have no place here. The reader will find it all set out again in his daily, weekly, or monthly journal sometime during the present year, as it has appeared perennially for many years.

Monaco is old and Monte Carlo is new. The history of Monaco runs back for many centuries. The Phœnicians built a temple to Hercules here long before its political history began; then for a time it was a rendezvous for pirates, and finally it fell to the Genoese Republic. Jean II. became the seigneur, and left it to his propre frère, Lucien Grimaldi, the ancestor of the present house of Grimaldi, to whom the princes of to-day belong. Thus it is that the Prince of Monaco, though the sovereign of the smallest political state of Europe, belongs to the oldest reigning house. Monaco is a relic of the ages past, but Monte Carlo is a thing of yesterday.

Monte Carlo is the result of the labours of M. Blanc, who, though not the creator of the vast enterprise as it exists to-day, was the real developer of the scheme. He attained great wealth and distinction, as is borne out by the fact that he lived luxuriously and was able to marry his daughters to princes of the great house of Napoleon.

Blanc showed his business acumen when he got a concession from the Prince of Monaco to run a gambling-machine at Monte Carlo. He got the concession first, and then bought out a weak, puny establishment which was already in operation, after having made the proprietors a proposition which he gave them two hours to accept or reject. The contract closed, he arranged immediately to begin the new Casino with Garnier, the designer of the Paris Opera, as his architect. Opposite it he built the Hôtel de Paris, which has the deserved reputation of being the most expensive hotel in existence. Like everything else at Monte Carlo, you get your money’s worth, but things are not cheap. The Prince of Monaco generously gave his name to the place, and the enterprise—for at this time it was nothing more than a great collective enterprise—was christened Monte Carlo.

Everything comes to him who waits, and soon the Paris, Lyons, and Mediterranean Railway extended its line to the gay little city of pleasure, in spite of the pressure brought to bear by other Riviera cities and towns to the westward. Thus the place started, almost at once, as a full-grown and lusty grabber of the people’s money, always wanting more; and the world came on luxurious trains, whereas formerly they made their way by a cranky little steamboat from Nice, or by the coach-and-four of other days.

Like most successful handlers of other people’s money, Blanc was a reader of man’s emotions. He knew his customers, and he knew that many of them were the scum of the earth, and he guarded carefully against allowing them too much freedom. He may have feared his life, or he may have feared capture for ransom, like missionaries and political suspects, and for this reason M. Blanc went about with never a penny on his person. He carried a blank cheque, however, printed, it is said, in red ink—for the old-stager at Monte Carlo still likes to regale the nouveau with the tale—and good for several hundred thousand francs. The “man in the box” had very explicit instructions never to pay this cheque, should it turn up, unless he had previously received a telegram ordering him to do so. It will not take the sagacity of a Dupin or a Sherlock Holmes to evolve the reason for this, but it was a clever idea nevertheless.

In case any of the curious really want to know how the game is played, the following facts are given:

Blanc’s organization was well-nigh a perfect one, and, though its founder is now dead, it remains the same. The staff is a large one. At the head is an administrator-general, who has three collaborators, also known as administrators, one who conducts the affairs of the outside world, has charge of the supplies for the establishment, and the arrangements for the pigeon-shooting, the automobile boat-races, the care of the gardens, etc.; another holds the purse-strings and is a sort of head cashier; and the third has charge of the tables and their personnel.



Under this last is a director of the games, three assistant directors, four chefs-de-table,—which sounds as though they might be cooks, but who in reality are something far different; then come five inspectors, and fourteen chiefs of the roulette-tables, and all of them are a pretty high-salaried class of employee, as such things go in Europe.

The chiefs of the roulette-tables draw seven and five hundred francs a month, for very short hours and easy work.

There are two classes of dealers,—croupiers at the roulette-tables and tailleurs at “trente-et-quarante,” each of whom receive from four to six hundred francs a month, according to their experience.

The apprentices, who some day expect to become croupiers,—those who do the raking in,—receive two hundred francs a month. All, however, are under an espionage in all their sleeping, waking, and working moments as keen and observant as if they were bank messengers in Wall Street.

Each roulette-table has a chef and a sous-chef and seven croupiers, who are expected, it is said, to keep their hands spread open before them on the table between all the turns of the wheel. A story is told, which may or may not be true, of a croupier who was inordinately fond of taking snuff. It seemed curious that a coin should always adhere to the bottom of his snuff-box whenever he laid it down upon the table, and accordingly that particular croupier was banished and the practice forbidden.

Another had built himself a nickle-in-the-slot arrangement which, with remarkable celerity, conducted twenty-franc pieces from somewhere on the rim of his exceedingly tall and stiff collar to an unseen money-belt. Every time he scratched his ear, or slapped at an imaginary mosquito, it cost the bank a gold piece. Now high collars are banished and mosquito-netting is at every door and window.

No employee is allowed to play, nor are the Monégasques themselves. All nations are represented in the establishment, French, Italian, Russians, Belgians, and Swiss. Once there was a croupier who spoke English so perfectly that he might be taken for an Englishman or an American, but he proved to be a native of the little land of dikes and windmills, where they teach English in the schools to the youth of a tender age.

The French language reigns and French money is used exclusively. You may cash sovereigns and eagles at the bureau, and you may do your banking business at the counters of the “Crédit-Lyonnais,” which discreetly hangs out its shingle just over the border on French territory, though not a stone’s flight from the Casino portals. You know this because beneath their sign you read another in bold, flaring letters, as if it were the most important of all, “On French Soil.”

The three towns of the Principality of Monaco each present a totally different aspect; but, in spite of all its loveliness, one’s love for Monte Carlo is a sensuous sort of a thing, and it is with a real relief that he turns to admire Monaco itself.

Its story has often been told, but there always seems something new to learn of it. The writer always knew that its flora was to be remarked, even among those horticultural exotics scattered so bountifully all over the Riviera, and that, apparently, the Monégasques had the art instinct highly developed, as evinced by the many beautiful monuments and buildings of the capital; but it was only recently that he realized the excellence of the typographical art of the printers of Monaco. These craftsmen have reached a high degree of proficiency and taste, as evinced by that most excellent production, the “Collection de Documents Historiques,” published by the archivist of the Principality, and the “Résultats des Campagnes Scientifiques Accomplies sur son Yacht, par S. A. le Prince Albert de Monaco.”

Authors the world over might well wish their works produced with so much excellence of typography and so rich a format and impression.

Monaco, small and restricted as it is, is full of surprises and anomalies. It has a ruling monarch, a palace, an army,—of sixty odd, all told,—a bishop and a cathedral all its very own, though the Principality is but three and a half kilometres in length and slightly more than a kilometre in width, its only rival for minuteness being the former province of Heligoland.

The reigning prince has a military staff composed of two aides-de-camp, an ordnance officer, and a chief of staff. He has also a grand and honorary almoner, a chaplain and a chamberlain, several state secretaries, a librarian, and an archivist,—besides another staff devoted to his oceanographical hobby. There are, of course, many other functionaries, like those one reads of in swashbuckler novels, and the list closes with an “Architect-Conservator of the Palaces of His Serene Highness.

After the prince comes the Principality, and it, too, has a long list of guardians and office-holders. There is a governor-general, who is usually a titled person, a treasurer, and, of course, an auditor, and there is a registrar of the tobacco traffic and a registrar of the match trade, two monopolies by which all well-regulated Latin governments set much store.

Finally there is the municipal governmental organization, with the regulation coterie of little-worked office-holders. They may have their bosses and their games of “graft” here, or they may not, but they are sure to have a never-ending supply of red tape if you want to cut a gateway through your garden wall or sweep your chimney down.

There is also an official newspaper known as Le Journal de Monaco.

The church is better represented here than in most communities of its size. A monseigneur is chaplain to the prince, and Monaco, through the consideration of Leo XIII., in 1887, is the proud possessor of its own cathedral church and its dignitary.

To arrive on the terraces of Monte Carlo at twilight, on a spring-time or autumn evening, is one of the great episodes in one’s life. You are surrounded by an atmosphere which is balsamic and perfumed as one imagines the Garden of Eden might have been. All the artificiality of the place is lost in the softening shadows, and all is as like unto fairy-land as one will be likely to find on this earth. The lovely gardens, the gracious architecture, the myriads of lights just twinkling into existence, the hum of life, the moaning and plashing of the waves on the rocky shores beneath, and, above, a canopy of palms lifting their heads to the sky, all unite to produce this unparalleled charm.

When one considers that fifty years ago the Monte Carlo rock was as bald and bare as Mont Blanc or Pike’s Peak, it speaks wonders for art, or artificiality, or whatever one chooses to call it, that it could have been made to blossom thus.

On a fine morning the effect, too, is equally entrancing,—“Onze heure, c’est l’heure exquise.” The miracle of brilliancy of sea and sky is nowhere excelled in the known world, and, if the raucous sounds of the railway and the electric tram do break the harmony somewhat, there is still left the admirable works of the hand of nature and man, who have here planned together to give an ensemble which, in its appealing loveliness, far outweighs the discord of mundane things.

One is astonished at it all, and, whether he approves or disapproves of the morality of Monte Carlo, he is bound to endorse the opinion that its loveliness and luxury is superlative.

The Principality of Monaco, like those other petty states, Andorra and San Marino, comes very near to being a burlesque of the greater powers that surround it. It is not France; it is not Italy; it is a power all by itself; the most diminutive among the monarchies of the world, but, all things considered, one of the wealthiest and best kept of all the states of Europe. Monaco, the town, has a population of over eight thousand per square kilometre, while its nearest rival among the states of Europe, for density of population, is Belgium, of a population of but two hundred to the same area.

From the heights above Monte Carlo one sees a map of it all spread out before him in relief, the three towns, Monte Carlo, Condamine, and Monaco, with their total of fifteen thousand souls and the most marvellous setting which was ever given man’s habitation outside of Eden.

Overlooking Monaco and Monte Carlo

Overlooking Monaco and Monte Carlo

The capital sits proudly on its sea-jutting promontory, with Condamine, its port, where the neck joins the mainland, and Monte Carlo, the faubourg of pleasure, immediately adjoining on the right. All is white, green, and blue, and of the most brilliant tone throughout.

Monaco was a microcosm in size even when Roquebrune and Menton made a part of its domain, and to-day it is much less in area. It was in the dark days of the French Revolution that the little principality was rent in fragments, and there were left only the rock and its two dependencies for the present Albert de Goyon-Matignon, the descendant of the Maréchal de Matignon, to rule over. It was this Maréchal de Matignon, then Duc de Valentinois, who espoused the heiress of the glorious house of Grimaldi, thus bringing the Grimaldi into alliance with the present power of this kingdom-in-little.

What a kingdom it is, to be sure! What a highly organized monarchy! There is a council of state; a tribunal, with its judges and advocates; a captain of the port; a registry for loans and mortgages; an inspector of public works, etc., etc.; and all the functionaries are as awe-inspiring and terrible as such officers usually are. Even the “Commandant de la Garde,” to give him his real title, is a sort of minister of war, and he is, too, a retired French officer of high rank.

The Frenchman when he crosses the frontier into Monaco literally journeys abroad. The frontier patrol is a gorgeous sort of an individual by himself, a sort of a cross between the gardien de la paix of France and the Italian customs officer who comes into the carriages of the personally conducted tourists to Italy searching for contraband matches and salt,—as if any civilized person would attempt to smuggle these unwholesome things anyway.

As one enters the Principality, by the road coming from Nice, he passes between the rock and the steep hillsides by the Boulevard Charles III., and, turning to the right, enters the town where is the seat of government.

The town has some three thousand odd inhabitants, which is a good many for the “mignonne cité,” of which one makes the round in ten minutes. But what a round! A promenade without a rival in the world! Well-kept houses, villas, and palaces at every turn, with a fringe of rocky escarpment, and here and there a plot of luxuriant soil which gives a foothold to the fig-trees of Barbary, aloes, olive and orange trees, giant geraniums, lauriers-roses and all the flora of a subtropical climate.

The inhabitant of the Principality of Monaco is fortunate in more ways than one; he is not taxed by the impôt, and he does not contribute a sou to the civil list of the prince. “The game” pays all this, and, since its profits mostly come from those who can afford to pay, who shall not say that it is a blessing rather than a curse. Another thing: the Monégasques, the descendants of the original natives, are all “gentilshommes,” by reason of the ennobling of their ancestors by Charles Quint.

By a sinuous route one descends from Monaco to La Condamine, the most populous centre in the Principality, built between the rock of Monaco and the hill of Monte Carlo. Five hundred metres farther on, but upward, and one is on the plateau of Spélugues, a name now changed to Monte Carlo.

It is with a certain hypocrisy, of course, that the frequenters of Monte Carlo rave about its charms and its resemblance to Florence or to Athens; they come there for the game and the social distractions which it offers, and that’s all there is about it. It is all very fascinating nevertheless.

All the splendour of Monte Carlo, and it is splendid in all its appointments without a doubt, is but a mask for the comings and goings of the gambler’s hopes and those who live off of his passion.

A true philosopher will not cavil at this; the sea is the most delightful blue; the background one of the most entrancing to be seen in a world’s tour; and all the necessaries and refinements of life are here in the most superlative degree. Who would, or could, moralize under such conditions? It’s enough to bring a smile of contentment to the countenance of the most confirmed and blasé dyspeptic who ever lived.

But is it needful to avow that one quits all the luxury of Monte Carlo with a certain sigh of relief? All this splendour finally palls, and one seeks the byways again with genuine pleasure, or, if not the byways, the highways, and, as the road leads him onward to Menton and the Italian frontier, he finds he is still surrounded by a succession of the same landscape charms which he has hitherto known. Therefore it is not altogether with regret that he leaves the Principality by the back door and makes a mental note that Menton will be his next stopping-place.

It is to be feared that few of the mad throng of Monte Carlo pleasure-seekers ever visit the little parish chapel of Sainte Dévote, though it is scarce a stone’s throw off the Boulevard de la Condamine, and in full view of the railway carriage windows coming east or west. The chapel is an ordinary enough architectural monument, but the legend connected with its foundation should make it a most appealing place of pilgrimage for all who are fond of visiting religious or historic shrines. One can visit it in the hour usually devoted to lunch,—between games, so to say,—if one really thinks he is in the proper mood for it under such circumstances.

Sainte Dévote was born in Corsica, under the reign of Diocletian, and became a martyr for her faith. She was burned alive, and her remains were taken by a faithful churchman on board a frail bark and headed for the mainland coast. A tempest threw the craft out of its course, but an unseen voice commanded the priest to follow the flight of a dove which winged its way before them. They came to shore near where the present chapel stands. The relics of the saint were greatly venerated by the people of the surrounding country, who lavished great gifts upon the shrine. The corsair Antinope sought to rob the chapel of its trésor, in 1070, but was prevented by the faithful worshippers.

Each year, on January 27th, the fête-day of the saint, a procession and rejoicing are held, amid a throng of pilgrims from all parts, and a bark is pushed off from the sands at the water’s edge, all alight, as a symbol of protestation against the attempted piratical seizure of the statue and its trésor. For many centuries the Fête de Sainte Dévote was presided over by the Abbé de St. Pons. To-day the Bishop of Monaco, croisered and mitred, plays his part in this great symbolical procession. It is a characteristic detail, in honour of the efforts of the sailor-folk of olden days in rebuffing the pirate who would have pillaged the shrine, that the bishop subordinates himself and gives the head of the procession to the representatives of the people. Altogether it is a ceremony of great interest and well worthy of more outside enthusiasm than it usually commands. The princely flag flies from Monaco’s Palais on these occasions, whether the ruler be in residence or not. At other times it is only flown to signify the presence of the prince.

The Ravine of Saint Dévote, Monte Carlo

The Ravine of Saint Dévote, Monte Carlo

With all its artificiality, with all its splendour of nature and the works of man, and with all the historic associations of its past, one can but take a mingled glad and sad adieu of Monaco and Mont Charles. “Monaco est bien le rêve le plus fantastique, devenue la plus resplendissante des réalités!



MENTON is more tranquil than Nice or Cannes, and, in many ways, more adorable; but it is a sort of hospital and is not conducive to gaiety to the extent that it would be were there an utter absence of Bath chairs, pharmacies, and shops devoted to the sale of nostrums and invalid foods. There is none of the feverish existence of the other cities of the Riviera here, and, in a way, this is a detraction, for it is not the unspoiled countryside, either, but bears all the marks of the advent of an indulgent civilization. One might think that one’s very existence in such a delightful spot might be a panacea for most of flesh’s ills, but apparently this is not so, at least the doctors will not allow their “patients” to think so.

Menton’s port is quite extensive and is well sheltered from the pounding waves which here roll up from the Ligurian sea, at times in truly tempestuous fashion. To the rear the Maritime Alps slope abruptly down to the sea, with scarce a warning before their plunge into the Mediterranean. All this confines Menton within a very small area, and there is little or no suburban background. In a way this is an advantage; it most certainly tends toward a mildness of the winter climate; but on the other hand there is lacking a sense of freedom and grandeur when one takes his walk abroad.

Just before reaching Menton is the garden-spot of Cap Martin, once a densely wooded “petite forêt,” but now threaded with broad avenues cut through the ranks of the great trees and producing a wonderland of scenic vistas, which, if they lack the virginity of the wild-wood as it once was, are truly delightful and fairylike in their disposition. Great hotels and villas have come, for the Emperor of Austria and the ex-Empress Eugénie were early smitten by the charms of the marvellously situated promontory, making of it a Mediterranean retreat at once exclusive and unique.

The panorama eastward and westward from this green cape is of a varied brilliancy unexcelled elsewhere along the Riviera. On one side is Monaco’s rock, Monte Carlo, and the enchanting banks of “Petite Afrique,” and on the other the white walls and red roofs of Menton.

Between Cap Martin and Menton the road skirts the very water’s edge, crossing the Val de Gorbio and entering the town via Carnoles, where the Princes of Monaco formerly had a palace. Modern Menton is like all the rest of the modern Riviera; its streets bordered with luxurious dwellings and hotels, up-to-date shop-fronts, and all the appointments of the age. At the entrance to the city is a monument commemorative of the voluntary union of Menton and Roquebrune with France.

Menton is a strange mixture of the old and the new. There are no indications of a Roman occupation here, though some geographers have traced its origin back through the night of time to the ancient Lumone. More likely it was founded by piratical hordes from the African coast, who, it is known, established a settlement here in the eighth century. Furthermore, the “Maritime Itinerary” of the conquering Romans makes no mention of any landing or harbour between Vintimille and Monaco, thus ignoring Menton entirely, even if they ever knew of it.

The town is superbly situated in the form of an amphitheatre between two tiny bays, and the country around is well watered by the torrents which flow down from the highland background.

After having been a pirate stronghold, the town became a part of the Comté of Vintimille, after the expulsion of the Saracens, and later had for its seigneurs a Genoese family by the name of Vento. In the fourteenth century it fell to the Grimaldi, and to this day its aspect, except for the rather banal hotel and villa architecture, has remained more Italian in motive than French.

Menton is not wholly an idling community like Monte Carlo and Monaco. It has a very considerable commerce in lemons, four millions annually of the fruit being sent out of the country. The industry has given rise to a species of labour by women which is a striking characteristic in these parts. Like the women who unload the Palermo and Seville orange boats at Marseilles, the “porteïris” of Menton are most picturesque. They carry their burdens always on the head, and one marvels at the skill with which they carry their loads in most awkward places. The work is hard, of course, but it does not seem to have developed any weaknesses or maladies unknown to other peasant or labouring folk, hence there seems no reason why it should not continue. Certainly the Mentonnaises have a certain grace of carriage and suppleness in their walk which the dames of fashion might well imitate.

The fishing quarter of Menton is one of the most picturesque on the whole Riviera, with its rues-escaliers, its vaulted houses, and the walls and escarpments of the old military fortification coming to light here and there. It is nothing like Martigues, in the Bouches-du-Rhône, really the most picturesque fishing-port in the world, nor is it a whit more interesting than the old Catalan quarter of Marseilles; but it is far more varied, with the life of those who conduct the petty affairs of the sea, than any other of the Mediterranean resorts.

Menton is something like Hyères, a place of villas quite as much as of hotels, though the latter are of that splendid order of things that spell modern comfort, but which are really most undesirable to live in for more than a few days at a time.

Not every one goes to the Riviera to live in a villa, but those who do cannot do better than to hunt one out at Menton. Menton is almost on the frontier of Italy and France, and that has an element of novelty in every-day happenings which would amuse an exceedingly dull person, and, if that were not enough, there is Monte Carlo itself, less than a dozen kilometres away.

When one thinks of it, a villa set on some rocky shelf on a wooded hillside overlooking the Mediterranean, with an orange-garden at the back,—as they all seem to have here at Menton,—is not so bad, and offers many advantages over hotel life, particularly as the cost need be no more. You may hire a villa for anything above a thousand francs a season, and it will be completely furnished. You will get, perhaps, five rooms and a cellar, which you fill with wood and wine to while away the long winter evenings, for they can be chill and drear, even here, from December to March.

Before you is a panorama extending from Cap Martin to Mortala-Bordighera, another palm-set haven on the Italian Riviera, which once was bare of the conventions of fashion, but which has now become as fashionable as Nice.

You can hire a servant to preside over the pots and pans for the absurdly small sum of fifty francs a month, and she will cook, and shop, and fetch and carry all day long, and will keep other robbers from molesting you, if you will only wink at her making a little commission on her marketing.

She will work cheerfully and never grumble if you entertain a flock of unexpected tourist friends who have “just dropped in from the Italian Lakes, Switzerland, or Cairo,” and will dress neatly and picturesquely, and cook fish and chickens in a heavenly fashion.

To the eastward, toward Italy, the post-road of other days passes through the sumptuous faubourg of Garavan and continues to Pont Saint Louis, over the ravine of the same name. Here is the frontier station (by road) where one leaves gendarmes behind and has his first encounter with the carabiniers of Italy.

Anciently, as history tells, the two neighbouring peoples were one, and even now, in spite of the change in the course of events, there is none of that enmity between the French and Italian frontier guardians that is to be seen on the great highroad from Paris to Metz, via Mars la Tour, where the automobilist, if he is a Frenchman, is lucky if he gets through at all without a most elaborate passport.

The traveller from the north, by the Rhône valley, has come, almost imperceptibly, into the midst of a Ligurian population, very different indeed from the inhabitants of the great watershed.

At Pont Saint Louis one first salutes Italy, coming down through France, having left Paris by the “Route de Lyon,” and thence by the “Route d’Antibes,” and finally into the prolongation known as the “Route d’Italie.” It is a long trip, but not a hard one, and for variety and excellence its like is not to be found in any other land.

The roads of France, like many another legacy left by the Romans, are one of the nation’s proudest possessions, and their general well-kept appearance, and the excellence of their grading makes them appeal to automobilists above all others. There may be excellent short stretches elsewhere, but there are none so perfect, nor so long, nor so charming as the modern successor of the old Roman roadway into Gaul.

The Pont Saint Louis was built in 1806, and crosses at a great height the river lying at the bottom of the ravine. Once absolutely uncontrollable, this little stream has been diked, and now waters and fertilizes many neighbouring gardens.

By a considerable effort one may gain the height above, known as the “Rochers Rouges,” and see before him not only the sharp-cut rocky coast of the French Riviera, but far away into Italy as well.

Pont Saint Louis

Pont Saint Louis

All this brings up the Frenchman’s dream of the time when France, Italy, and Spain shall become one, so far as the control of the Mediterranean lake is concerned, and shall thus prevent Europe from returning to the barbarianism to which the “égoïsme britannique et l’avidité allemande” is fast leading it.

Whether this change will ever come about is as questionable as the preciseness of the accusation, but there is certainly some reason for the suggestion. Another decade may change the map of Europe considerably. Who knows?






Up to 1789, there were thirty-three great governments making up modern France, the twelve governments created by Francis I. being the chief, and seven petits gouvernements as well.

The Provinces of France

The Provinces of France

In the following table the grands gouvernements of the first foundation are indicated in heavy-faced type, those which were taken from the first in italics, and those which were acquired by conquest in ordinary characters.

5.Champagne et BrieTroyes.
7.Maine et PercheLe Mans.
13.AunisLa Rochelle.
14.Bourgogne (duché de)Dijon.
15.Lyonnais, Forez et BeaujolaisLyon.
19.Guyenne et GascogneBordeaux.
20.Saintonge et Angoumois[*]Saintes.
22.Béarn et Basse NavarrePau.
24.Comté de FoixFoix.
27.Flandre et HainautLille.
29.Lorraine et BarroisNancy.
31.Franche-Comté ou Comté de BourgogneBesançon.

[*] Under Francis I. the Angoumois was comprised in the Orléanais.

The seven petits gouvernements were:

1.The ville, prévôté and vicomté of Paris.
2.Havre de Grâce.
4.Principality of Sedan.
5.Metz and Verdun, the pays Messin and Verdunois.
6.Toul and Toulois.
7.Saumur and Saumurois.






Being a brief résumé of the attractions of some of the chief centres of Provence and the Riviera.

C.Chef-Lieu of Commune.
S. P.Sous-Préfecture.
h.Habitants (population).
*Hotels at nine francs or less per day.
**Hotels nine to twelve francs per day.
***Hotels above twelve francs per day.


Bouches-du-Rhône. S. P. 19,398 h.

Hotels: Nègre-Coste,** De la Mule Noire,* De France.*

The ancient capital of Provençal arts and letters, and the Cours d’Amour of the troubadours.

Sights: Eglise de la Madeleine, Cathedral St. Sauveur, Hôtel de Ville, Tour de Toureluco, Eglise St. Jean de Malte, Musée, Bibliothèque, Statue of René d’Anjou, by David d’Augers. Carnival each year in February or March.

Excursions: Ruins of Château de Puyricard, Aqueduc Roquefavour, Ermitage de St. Honorat, Bastide du Roi René, Gardanne and Les Pennes.

Distances in kilometres: Marseilles, 29; Arles, 80; Toulon, 75; Roquevaire, 29.


Alpes-Maritimes. C. 5,512 h.

Hotels: Grand Hotel,*** Terminus.**

Excursions: Presqu’ile and Cap d’Antibes, Fort Lavré, Villa and Jardin Thuret, La Garonpe, Chapelle, and Phare.

Distances in kilometres: Paris, 976; Cannes, 12; Grasse, 23; Nice, 23; La Turbie, 41; Monte Carlo, 44; St. Raphaël, 51.


S. P. 15,606 h.

Hotels: Du Forum,** Du Nord.**

Delightfully situated on the left bank of the Rhône.

Sights: Les Arènes, Roman Ramparts, Antique Theatre, Cathédrale de St. Trophime and Cloister, Les Alyscamps and Tombs, Musée d’Arletan and Musée de la Ville, Palais Constantin.

Excursions: Les Baux, Montmajour, Les Saintes Maries.

Distances in kilometres: Paris, 730; Tarascon, 17; Avignon, 39; Salon, 40; Marseilles, 91; Aix, 80.


Vaucluse. P. 33,891 h.

The ancient papal capital in France.

Hotels: De l’Europe,*** Du Luxembourg.**

Sights: Ancient Ramparts, Palais des Papes, Musée, Pulpit in Eglise St. Pierre, Cathedral of Notre Dame des Doms, Ruined Pont St. Bénézet (Pont d’Avignon).

Excursions: Villeneuve-les-Avignon, Fontaine de Vaucluse, Aqueduct of Pont du Gard.

Distances in kilometres: Sorgues, 10; Orange, 27; Carpentras, 24; Fontaine de Vaucluse, 28.


Var. 1,616 h.

Winter and spring-time station, situated on a lovely bay. Small port, and in no sense a resort as yet.

Hotel: Grand Hotel.**

Distances in kilometres: Marseilles, 51; Toulon, 21; La Ciotat, 23; Sanary, 5.


Alpes-Maritimes. 1,354 h.

Winter station. Beautiful situation on the coast, with groves of pines, olives, etc.

Hotels: De Beaulieu,** Empress Hotel.***

Distances in kilometres: Nice, 8; Monte Carlo, 18; Grasse, 46; Menton, 49.


Alpes-Maritimes. C. 2,040 h.

Winter station and town “pour les artistes-peintres” in other days; now practically a suburb of Nice, to which it is bound by a tram-line.

Hotels: Savournin,** De l’Univers.*

Sights: Château des Grimaldi.

Excursions: Vence, Antibes, Villeneuve-Loubet.

Distances in kilometres: Nice, 12; Vence, 10; Antibes, 20.


Alpes-Maritimes. C. 25,350 h.

On the Golfe de la Napoule, with Nice the chief centre for Riviera tourists.

Hotels: Gallia,*** Suisse,** Gonnet.***

Excursions: Iles de Lerins, La Napoule, The Corniche d’Or and the Estérel, Le Cannet, Vallauris, Californie, Croix des Gardes, Grasse, Antibes, Auberge des Adrets.

Distances in kilometres: Grasse, 17; Fréjus, 47; St. Raphaël, 43; Nice, 35; Antibes, 12.


Var. 1,972 h.

A charming little Mediterranean port; near by the ancient château of the Seigneurs of Baux.

Hotel: Lieutand.*

Distances in kilometres: Marseilles, 31; La Ciotat, 11; Bandol, 34.


Bouches-du-Rhône. C. 9,895 h.

Great ship-building works, but beautifully situated on Baie de la Ciotat.

Hotel: De l’Univers.**

Distances in kilometres: Cassis, 11; Marseilles, 43.


Var. 2,102 h.

Delightfully situated in the valley of the Giscle, at the head of the Golfe de St. Tropez.

Hotel: Cauvet.*

Sights: Butte des Moulins, Château des Grimaldi.

Excursions: Grimaud and La Garde-Freinet.

Distances in kilometres: St. Tropez, 10; Fréjus, 34; Nice, 104; St. Raphaël, 37; Hyères, 44; Toulon, 62.


Var. C. 3,612 h.

Hotels: Du Midi.*

Sights: Roman Arena (Ruins), Old Ramparts, Citadel, Cathedral (XI. and XII. centuries), and Bishop’s Palace.

Excursions: St. Raphaël and the Corniche d’Or, Auberge des Adrets and Route de l’Estérel, Mont Vinaigre (616 metres).

Distances in kilometres: Cannes, 35; Nice, 78; St. Raphaël, 3; Ste. Maxime, 21.


Alpes-Maritimes. S. P. 9,426 h.

More or less of a Riviera resort, though seventeen kilometres from the coast at Cannes, situated at an altitude of 333 metres.

Hotels: Grand Hotel,*** De la Poste.**

Sights: Cathedral (XII. and XIII. centuries), Jardin Public, La Cours, Source de la Foux, Sommet au Jeu de Ballon.

Excursions: Ste. Cezane, Dolmens, Grottes, Source de la Siagnole, Le Bar and Gorges du Loup.

Distances in kilometres: Cannes, 17; Cagnes, 20; Le Bar, 10; Vence, 28; Draguignan, 59.


Var. C. 9,949 h.

The oldest and most southerly of the French Mediterranean resorts.

Hotels: Grand Hotel,*** Hôtel des Hespérides.**

Sights: Eglise St. Louis (XII. century), Château, Place, and Ave. des Palmiers, Jardin d’Acclimation.

Excursions: Mont des Oiseaux, Salines d’Hyères, Giens and the Iles d’Or (Iles d’Hyères).


Bouches-du Rhône. P. 396,033 h.

The second city of France, and the first Mediterranean port.

Hotels: Du Louvre et de la Paix,*** Grand Hotel,*** De la Poste, Du Touring (the two latter for rooms only—2 francs 50 centimes and upwards).

Sights: Cannebière, Bourse, Vieux Port, Pointe des Catalans, N. D. de la Garde, Palais de Longchamps, Chemin de la Corniche, Le Prado, Cathedral Ste. Marie Majeure.

Excursions: Château d’If, Martigues, Sausset, Carry, Port de Bouc, Aubagne, Roquevaire, Grotte de la Ste. Baume, Estaque.

Distances in kilometres: Paris, 818; Avignon, 97; Arles, 91; Salon, 51; Martigues, 40; Aix, 28; Toulon, 64.


Bouches-du-Rhône. C. 4,689 h.

“La Venise Provençale,” celebrated for “bouillabaisse.”

Hotel: Chabas.*

Sights: Canals and Bourdigues, Eglise de la Madeleine, Etang de Berre.

Excursions: Port de Bouc, St. Mitre (Saracen hill town), Istres, Fos-sur-Mer, Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, St. Chamas and Cap Couronne.


Alpes-Maritimes. C. 8,917 h.

The most conservative of all the popular Riviera resorts.

Hotels: Des Anglais,*** Grand.*

Sights: Jardin Public, Promenade du Midi, Tête de Chien.

Excursions: Cap Martin, Italian Frontier, Castillon, Gorbio, Roquebrune.

Distances in kilometres: Monte Carlo, 8; La Turbie, 14; Roquebrune, 4; Nice, 30; Grasse, 64.


Principality of Monaco.

Hotels: Metropole,*** De l’Europe,** Du Littoral.*

Sights: Casino and Salles de Jeu and de Fête, Palais des Beaux Arts, Serres Blanc.

Excursions: La Turbie, Mont Agel, Cap Martin.

Distances in kilometres: Paris, 1,017; Menton, 8; Nice, 19.


Alpes-Maritimes. P. 78,480 h.

The chief Riviera resort and headquarters.

Hotels: Gallia,*** Des Palmiers,*** Des Deux Mondes.**

Sights: Casino, Promenade des Anglais, Jardin, Mont Baron, and Parc du Château.

Excursions: Cimiez, Villefranche, St. Andre, Cap Ferrat, La Grande Corniche, Eze.

Distances in kilometres: Paris, 998; Cannes, 35; Grasse, 38; Cagnes, 12; Fréjus, 66; Menton, 30; Monte Carlo, 19.


Var. 2,982 h.

Hotel: Continental.***

Sights: Boulevard du Touring, Lion de Terre, and Lion de Mer, Eglise, Maison Close (Alphonse Karr), Maison Gounod.

Excursions: La Corniche d’Or, Agay, Ste. Baume, Cap Roux, Valescure, Anthéore, Thèoule, Forêt and Route d’Estérel.

Distances in kilometres: Nice, 60; Cannes, 43; Fréjus, 3.


Var. C. 3,141 h.

Hotel: Continental.*

Excursions: La Foux, Grimaud, Cogolin, Ste. Maxime, Baie de Cavalaire.

Distances in kilometres: Marseilles, 120; Nice, 90; Cogolin, 10; St. Raphaël, 43.


Bouches-du-Rhône. C. 9,324 h.

Hotel: Grand Hotel.*

Sights: Eglise (XVI. century), Ramparts, Tomb of Nostradamus.

Excursions: St. Chamas, Berre, Pont Flavian, La Crau, Les Baux.

Distances in kilometres: Marseilles, 53; St. Chamas, 16; Aix, 33; Orgon, 18.


Var. C. 2,100 h.

Hotel: Des Voyageurs.*

Excursions: Valley of the Gapeau and Forêt des Maures, Cuers, Montrieux.

Distances in kilometres: Marseilles, 90; Toulon, 15; Besse, 25; St. Raphaël, 77.


Bouches-du-Rhône. C. 3,624 h.

Hotel: Grand Hotel de Provence.*

Sights: Fontaine de Nostradamus, Temple de Constantin, Mausolée and Arc de Triomphe.

Excursions: Tarascon, Les Alpilles, Montmajour, Les Baux, Fontaine de Vaucluse, Pont du Gard.

Distances in kilometres: Arles, 20; Les Baux, 8; Avignon, 19; Cavaillon, 18.


Var. S. P. 78,833 h.

Hotel: Grand Hotel,*** Victoria.**

Sights: Cathedral Ste. Marie Majeure (XI. century), Harbour, Hôtel de Ville, Maison Puget.

Excursion: Gorges d’Ollioules, Tamaris, Batterie des Hommes Sans Peur, St. Mandrier, Cap Brun, Cap Sicié, La Seyne, Six-Fours, Sanary.

Distances in kilometres: Aix, 75; Marseilles, 65; Nice, 163; Cannes, 128.



The traveller by road or by rail in France should, if he would appreciate all the charms and attractions of the places along his route, provide himself with one or the other of the excellent road maps which may be purchased at the “Libraire” in any large town.

Much will be opened up to him which otherwise might remain hidden, for, excellent as many guide-books are in other respects (and those of Joanne in France lead the world for conciseness and attractiveness), they are all wofully inadequate as regards general maps. Really, one should supplement his French guide-books with the remarkably practical “Guide-Michelin,” which all automobilists (of all lands) know, or ought to know, and which is distributed free to them by Michelin et Cie., of Clermont-Ferrand. Others must exercise considerable ingenuity if they wish to possess one of these condensed guides, with its scores and scores of maps and plans. The Continental Gutta Percha Company does the thing even more elaborately, but its volume is not so compact.

Both books, in addition to their numerous maps and plans, give much information as to roads and routes which others as well as automobilists will find most interesting reading, besides which will be found a list of hotels, the statement as to whether or not they are affiliated with the Automobile Club de France, or The Touring Club de France, and a general outline of the price of their accommodation, and what, in many cases, is of far more importance, the kind of accommodation which they offer. It is worth something to modern travellers to know whether a hotel which he intends to favour with his gracious presence has a “Salle de Bains,” a “Chambre Noire,” or “Chambres Hygiéniques, genre du Touring Club.” To the traveller of a generation ago this meant nothing, but it means a good deal to the present age.

As for general maps of France, the Carte de l’Etat-Major (scale of 80,000, on which one measures distances of two kilometres by the diametre of a sou) are to be bought everywhere at thirty centimes per quarter-sheet. The Carte du Service Vicinal, on the scale of 100,000 and printed in five colours, costs eighty centimes per sheet; and that of the Service Géographique de l’Armée (reduced by lithography from the scale of 80,000) costs one franc fifty centimes per sheet.

There is also the newly issued Carte Touriste de la France of the Touring Club de France (on a scale of 400,000), printed in six colours and complete in fifteen sheets at two francs fifty centimes per sheet.


Finally there is the very beautiful Carte de l’Estérel, of special interest to Riviera tourists, also issued by the Touring Club de France.

The Cartes “Taride” are a remarkable and useful series, covering France in twenty-five sheets, at a franc per sheet. They are on a very large scale and are well printed in three colours, showing all rivers, railways, and nearly every class of road or path, together with distances in kilometres plainly marked. They are quite the most useful and economical maps of France for the automobilist, cyclist, and even the traveller by rail.

The house of De Dion-Bouton also issues an attractive map on a scale of 800,000 and printed in four colours.

The “Taride” Maps

The “Taride” Maps

The four sheets are sold at eight francs per sheet, but they are better suited for wall maps than for portable practicability.



The travel routes to and through Provence and the Riviera are in no way involved, and on the whole are rather more pleasantly disposed than in many parts, in that places of interest are not widely separated.

The railroad is the hurried traveller’s best aid, and the all-powerful and really progressive P. L. M. Railway of France covers, with its main lines and ramifications, quite all of Provence, the Midi, and the Riviera.

Marseilles is perhaps the best gateway for the Riviera proper and the coast towns westward to the Rhône, and Avignon or Arles for the interior cities of Provence. Paris is in close and quick connection with both Arles and Marseilles by train express, train rapide, or the more leisurely train omnibus, with fares varying accordingly, and taking from ten to twenty hours en route, there being astonishing differences in time between the trains ordinaires and the trains rapides all over France. Fares from Paris to Arles are 87 francs, first class; 58 francs 75 centimes, second class; and 38 francs 30 centimes, third class; and from Paris to Marseilles, 96 francs 55 centimes, 65 francs 15 centimes, and 42 francs 50 centimes respectively. In addition, there are all kinds of extra charges for passage on the “Calais-Nice-Ventimille Rapide” and other trains de luxe, not overlooking the exorbitant charge of something like 70 francs for a sleeping-car berth from Paris to Marseilles—and always there are too few to go around even at this price.

Three Riviera Itineraries  No. 21—First class, 29 fcs.;    Second class, 21 fcs.;    Third-class, 14 fcs. No. 22—       “      8 fcs. 50c.        “      6 fcs.           “       4 fcs. 50c. No. 23—       “     17 fcs.             “     14 fcs. 50c.      “      10 fcs. 50c.

From either Arles or Marseilles one may thread the main routes of Provence by many branches of the “P. L. M.” or its “Chemins Regionaux du Sud de France;” can penetrate the little-known region bordering upon the Étang de Berre and enter the Riviera proper either by Marseilles or by the inland route, through Aix-en-Provence, Brignoles, and Draguignan, coming to the coast through Grasse to Cannes or Nice.

The traveller from afar, from America, or England, or from Russia or Germany, is quite as well catered for as the Frenchman who would enjoy the charms of Provence and the Riviera, for there are through express-trains from Calais, Boulogne, Brussels, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Vienna, and Genoa. Now that the tide of travel from America has so largely turned Mediterraneanward, the south of France bids fair to become as familiar a touring ground as the Switzerland of old,—with this difference, that it has an entrance by sea, via Genoa or Marseilles.

For the traveller by road there are untold charms which he who goes by rail knows not of. The magnificent roadways of France—the “Routes Nationales” and the “Routes Départmentales”—are nowhere kept in better condition, or are they better planned than here. East and west and across country they run in superb alignment, always mounting gently any topographical eminence with which they meet, in a way which makes a journey by road through Provence one of the most enjoyable experiences of one’s life.

The diligence has pretty generally disappeared, but an occasional stage-coach may be found connecting two not too widely separated points, and inquiry at any stopping-place will generally elicit information regarding a two, three, or six hour journey which will prove a considerable novelty to the traveller who usually is hurried through a lovely country by rail.

For the automobilist, or even the cyclist, still greater is the pleasure of travel by the highroads and by-roads of this lovely country, and for them a skeleton itinerary has been included among the appendices of this book with some useful elements which are often not shown by the guide-books.

The “Voitures Publiques” in Provence, as elsewhere, leave much to be desired, starting often at inconveniently early or late hours in order to correspond with the postal arrangements of the government; but, whenever one can be found that fits in with the time at one’s disposal, it offers an opportunity of seeing the country at a price far below that of the voiture particulière. Here and there, principally in the mountainous regions lying back from the coast, the “Societies and Syndicats d’Initiative,” which are springing up all over the popular tourist regions in France, have inaugurated services by cars-alpins and char-à-bancs, and even automobile omnibuses, which offer considerably more comfort.

Concerning the hotels and restaurants of Provence and the Riviera much could be said; but this is no place for an exhaustive discussion.

Generally speaking, the fare at the table d’hôte throughout Provence is bountiful and excellent, with perhaps too often, and too strong, a trace of garlic, and considerably more than a trace of olive-oil.

At Aix, Arles, Avignon, and Orange one gets an imitation of a Parisian table d’hôte at all of the leading hotels; but in the small towns, Cavaillon, Salon, Martigues, Grimaud, or Vence, one is nearer the soil and meets with the real cuisine du pays, which the writer assumes is one of the things for which one leaves the towns behind.

At Marseilles, and all the great Riviera resorts, the cuisine française is just about what the same thing is in San Francisco, New York, or London,—no better or no worse. As for price, the modest six or eight francs a day in the hotels of the small towns becomes ten francs in cities like Aix or Arles, and from fifteen francs to anything you like to pay at Marseilles, Cannes, Nice, or Monte Carlo.




Comparative Metric Scale

Comparative Metric Scale



The Log of an Automobile


A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, V

Agay, 286-287, 288.
Agde, 20.
Aigues Mortes, 28, 93.
Aix, 5, 17, 18-19, 31, 101, 156-160, 161, 165, 173, 215, 250, 322, 412, 424, 425, 426, 429.
Allauch, 134.
Anthéore, 288-289.
Antibes, 101, 305-306, 308-312, 330, 412, 429.
Arles, 5, 6, 17, 22, 29, 30-38, 64, 73, 83, 99, 101, 107, 110, 160, 268, 271, 276, 346, 413, 422, 425, 426, 429.
Aubagne, 18, 129, 167-168.
Auriol, 163, 170.
Avignon, 4-5, 10, 16, 17, 22, 24, 25, 31, 56, 57, 73, 160, 183, 413, 422, 425, 429.

Baie de Cavalaire, 254-255.
Baie de la Ciotat, 184-185.
Baie de Sanary, 202.
Baie des Anges, 233, 309.
Bandol, 189-194, 413.
Beaucaire, 24, 25, 27, 28, 33, 107.
Beaudinard, 129.
Beaulieu, 229, 233, 344, 352, 353, 356, 358, 359, 413.
Bec de l’Aigle, 177, 184-185.
Bellegarde, 25, 27.
Berre, 88, 92, 97-99, 120.
Berteaux, Château de, 260.
Biot, 312-314.
Bormes, 249-253, 254, 255.
Bouches-du-Rhône, 20, 56, 85, 107, 109, 113, 115, 224, 402.
Boulouris, 286.

Cagnes, 231, 324-326, 330, 414.
Camargue, The, 7, 38, 57-65, 66, 107.
Cannes, 18, 22, 212, 228, 229, 231, 236, 237, 249, 255, 269, 279, 283, 285, 287, 288, 290, 292, 293, 296-302, 304, 305, 314, 333, 336, 398, 414, 424, 426, 429.
Cap Canaille, 180, 181-182.
Cap Couronne, 113-116, 131.
Cap d’Antibes, 308, 341.
Cap de l’Aigle, 131.
Cap Ferrat, 233, 341, 349.
Cap Martin, 229, 233, 245, 351, 358, 399-400, 403.
Cap Mouret, 211.
Cap Nègre, 201.
Cap Notre Dame de la Garde, 211.
Cap Roux, 293-294.
Cap Sepet, 211.
Cap Sicié, 200-201, 202, 206, 211.
Carnoles, 400.
Carpentras, 16.
Carry, 116-117.
Cassis, 177-181, 183, 414.
Cavaillon, 17, 45, 82, 83, 425.
Cavalaire, 254-255.
Ceyreste, 183-184.
Château Grignan, 12.
Chateauneuf, 114.
Cimiez, 344-347.
Ciotat (see La Ciotat).
Cogolin, 260-264, 414.
Condamine (see La Condamine).
Côte d’Azur, 72.
Crau, The, 6, 7, 24, 38, 57, 58, 65-69, 74, 92, 93, 95.
Cuers, 221, 222.

Draguignan, 321.

Elne, 20.
Embiez (see Iles des Embiez).
Estaque, 134.
Estérel, 232.
Étang de Berre, 6, 14, 24, 63, 72-73, 78, 79, 85, 87-106, 109, 118, 120, 172, 424.
Étang de Bolmon, 105.
Étang de Caronte, 91, 113.
Étang de l’Olivier, 92.
Eze, 350, 351, 353, 359-361, 363, 365.

Feuillerins, 350.
Fos-sur-Mer, 24, 73-74, 110-112.
Freinet (see La Garde-Freinet).
Fréjus, 221, 222, 248, 249, 261, 270, 271-278, 279, 283, 290, 292, 293, 322, 415, 429.

Garavan, 404.
Gardanne, 161, 162, 168.
Giens, 243-244.
Golfe de Fos, 73, 107, 109.
Golfe de Fréjus, 271.
Golfe de Giens, 239-240.
Golfe de la Napoule, 233, 290, 293, 307, 309, 314.
Golfe des Lèques, 179.
Golfe de Lyon, 107-109, 110, 113, 144, 201, 245.
Golfe de St. Tropez, 256-261, 264, 265, 269.
Golfe Jouan, 19, 302, 305, 306, 307, 314.
Gorges d’Ollioules, 194-195, 197, 198.
Gourdon, 328.
Grasse, 307, 319-323, 326, 329, 415, 424.
Grimaud, 261, 264-266, 269, 425.
Grotte des Fées, 55.
Grotte de St. Baume, 287.

Hyères, 191, 193, 197, 208, 219, 230, 239, 240-243, 244-249, 261, 333, 402, 415, 429.

If, Château d’, 136, 137, 150-152, 243.
Ile de Riou, 136.
Ile Pomegue, 136.
Ile Rattonneau, 136.
Iles d’Hyères (see Hyères).
Iles des Embiez, 202-204.
Istres, 88, 92-95.
Iles de Lerins, 309-318.

Jouan-les-Pins, 305-307.

La Ciotat, 184-189, 414, 429.
La Condamine, 352, 390, 391.
La Crau (see Crau, The).
La Croix, 255.
La Foux, 259-260, 261, 269, 270.
La Garde-Freinet, 239, 266-269.
Laghet, 361-362.
La Londe, 249.
Lambesc, 24.
La Napoule, 233, 269, 283, 288, 289, 290, 292.
La Revere, 350.
La Seyne, 207, 208, 213.
La Turbie, 233, 336, 351, 357-358, 361, 362-366, 367, 368.
Le Bar, 327-328.
Le Brusc, 203.
Le Cannet, 231, 297-298, 301.
Le Gibel, 181.
Le Lavandou, 255.
Le Luc, 221.
Les Adrets, 294-296.
Les Aygalades, 134.
Les Baux, 17, 53-55, 103.
Les Lèques, 189.
Les Martigues (see Martigues).
Les Pennes, 160.
Les Sablettes, 207.
Les Saintes Maries, 24, 60-63.
Les Solliès, 222.
Le Trayes, 288, 289.
Lyons, 3, 7, 15, 16, 56, 193, 255, 307, 335, 344, 381.

Marignane, 88, 92, 103-106.
Marseilles, 5, 6, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 25, 27, 31-32, 63, 72, 75, 82, 85, 86, 88, 89, 91, 92, 99, 101, 103, 106, 109, 110, 113, 115, 116, 117-155, 156, 157, 160, 161, 162, 163, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 173, 177, 178, 179, 181, 182, 183, 186, 187, 188, 191, 193, 194, 197, 200, 202, 212, 215, 234, 246, 278, 309, 335, 348, 373, 401, 402, 415, 422, 424, 426, 429.
Martigues, 15, 22, 70-72, 74-86, 87, 88, 92, 98, 104, 105, 113, 115, 120, 160, 178, 402, 416, 425, 429.
Menton, 19, 191, 228, 229, 230, 233, 235, 236, 237, 245, 344, 351, 352, 358, 366, 368, 391, 394, 398-404, 416, 429.
Miramas, 88, 95.
Monaco, 190, 227, 233, 284, 344, 351, 364, 370, 379, 380, 386-388, 390-393, 396-397, 399, 400, 401, 429.
Monte Carlo, 21, 161, 183, 191, 227, 229, 233-235, 244, 259, 284, 305, 308, 336, 337, 344, 350, 351, 352, 358, 359, 362, 363, 370-386, 388-391, 393-397, 399, 401, 403, 416, 426.
Montmajour, Abbey of, 38-40.

Nice, 18, 20, 21, 22, 191, 195, 212, 221, 229, 231, 236, 237, 245, 249, 254, 255, 259, 284, 290, 309, 314, 321, 324, 326, 332-344, 348-353, 356, 358, 364, 381, 392, 398, 403, 417, 424, 426, 429.
Nîmes, 5, 6, 22, 31, 73, 103, 276.

Ollioules, 194-198.
Orange, 3-4, 5, 31, 35, 346, 425, 429.

Pas-de-Lanciers, 86.
Passable, 233.
Pays d’Arles, 24-41.
Pays de Cavaillon, 24.
Perpignan, 20.
Pignans, 221.
Pont du Gard, 27, 103.
Pont Flavien, 96.
Pont St. Louis, 404-406.
Porquerolles, 240-243.
Port de Bouc, 73-74, 112-113, 178.
Port Miou, 182-183.
Port St. Louis, 63-65, 121.
Pradet, 239.
Presqu’ile de Giens, 240, 243-244.
Puget-Ville, 221.

Roquebrune, 19, 351, 358, 363, 366-369, 391, 400.
Roquefavour, 102-103.
Roquevaire, 129, 165-167.

Sabran, Château de, 204.
Sainte Baume, 169-173, 294.
Salon, 99-102, 105, 158, 417, 425.
Sanary (see St. Nazaire-du-Var).
Seon-Saint-André, 135.
Septèmes, 161-162.
Simiane, 161.
Six-Fours, 200, 204-207.
Solliès-Pont, 221, 222-225, 246, 417.
St. Chamas, 88, 92, 95-97.
Ste. Croix, Chapelle, 40-41.
Ste. Maxime, 269-270, 271.
St. Gilles, 17, 34.
St. Jean-sur-Mer, 233, 356-357.
St. Julien, 135.
St. Mitre, 24, 88.
St. Nazaire-du-Var, 198-200, 202.
St. Pierre, 113-115.
St. Raphaël, 232, 256, 271, 278-281, 283, 285, 286, 288, 290, 417, 429.
St. Rémy, 5, 42-53, 100, 418, 429.
St. Tropez, 18, 228, 254, 256-259, 261, 269, 417, 429.
St. Zacharie, 170.

Tamaris, 207, 208-210.
Tarascon, 24, 25, 26, 27, 429.
Théoule, 289-290.
Toulon, 18, 19, 194-195, 202, 204, 207, 208, 211-221, 222, 226, 235, 239, 242, 243, 246, 270, 311, 336, 349, 418, 429.

Valence, 3, 12.
Valesclure, 281.
Vallauris, 302-304, 310.
Vaucluse, 24, 25, 43, 101.
Vence, 326, 345, 425.
Ventabren, 102-103.
Vienne, 5.
Villefranche, 233, 311, 353-356, 358.
Villeneuve-Loubet, 323-324.
Vintimille, 351, 400.

inside back cover inside back cover

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:
théátre romain=> théâtre romain {pg 35}
the chapel become a place=> the chapel becomes a place {pg 41}
toutes les menagères=> toutes les ménagères {pg 85}
bouillabaise=> bouillabaisse {pg 92}
goelette=> goélette {pg 92}
svelt figure=> svelte figure {pg 126}
little houses glistening white in the sunlight, and red hoofs=> little houses glistening white in the sunlight, and red roofs {pg 200}
twenty-three thousands souls=> twenty-three thousand souls {pg 221}
from St. Raphael to San Remo=> from St. Raphaël to San Remo {pg 232}
the slow-runing little train=> the slow-running little train {pg 248}
clientèle élégant du littoral=> clientèle élégante du littoral {pg 304}
tortuous picturesquenesss=> tortuous picturesqueness {pg 310}
disaproves of=> disapproves of {pg 390}