We spent ONE and one half days in Bormes less than a week ago.
It is paradise on earth.
(Who wants pie in the sky when you can have paradise on earth) and the best part is that the best is really FREE, with NO forking out filthy lucre.
Bormes is in that oh so elite area where all the FILTHY RICH hang out on the Riviera. 30 kms from Saint Tropez (which I have never been to).
We spent the day with a French expatriate living in Canada who comes "home" to Bormes for a month in the summer. The family have a small boat, so we went out for a little swim (really FAST swim because the Mediterranean hovered at around 18 °, and don't ask me what that is in Fahrenheit as I no longer attempt to keep track of such things, like American holidays in France, by the way...) It was IN, and OUT OUT OUT ASAP. Specially as there was nothing particularly interesting to gape at underneath the water... No fishies or anything, or at least no really PRETTY or EXOTIC ones.
On the way, our friend pointed out Carla Bruni's family's RANCH out there on a Mediterranean promontory. (Ho hum, yes, what's so interesting about THAT ????)
And in the evening we headed up to the old village of Bormes (not the NEW NOUVEAU RICHE port hang out) for dinner.
As I said, Bormes is paradise on earth. Every year there is a mimosa festival, as Bormes les Mimosas is named for the mimosa, a small delicate yellow flower that blooms in bunches around February every year, and was apparently introduced from Australia. There are about 700 different varieties of mimosa, and I bet you never heard of it before, right ? It smells.... DIVINE.
(A little further up the coast is that elite hang out where French perfume makers have their haunts, Grasse, where the tons of roses and other delicate flowers are transformed into that LUXURY OF LUXURIES, perfume.)
The Riviera in the summer is so old world (when it is NOT overrun by hordes of Northerners, like the Dutch, Germans, etc..... who keep to themselves). It is exemplary of a style of life.
And... the Mediterranean is indeed the very BIRTHPLACE of our culture. Its cradle.
I feel this acutely when I am there. I allow myself to be gently taken over by its charm that washes away most of that Puritan austerity that controlled me for so long.
The.... light. The glow. Check out the photos.
And walking in the streets, soaking up the beauty, is free.
Only downside of the Riviera : no really good wine (in my book at least...).