THE BLOG

Bienvenue to the French Riviera

05/29/2015 07:31 pm ET | Updated May 29, 2016

I've left Italy and have arrived in the South of France. I'm looking forward to a couple of weeks of beaches, hill towns, and great meals.

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The French Riviera has amazing scenery. From the beautiful (but grotesquely touristy) mountaintop village of Eze, you can look down on Cap Ferrat. This cape is one of the most exclusive places for the rich and famous to live -- Paul Allen's mansion is next door to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Cap Ferrat is also geographically significant: This is where the Alps rise from the sea and begin their ripple across Europe, arcing from here all the way to Vienna's doorstep.

 

chagal museum.jpgThe most visited museum on the French Riviera is, understandably, the Chagall Museum in Nice. One reason this museum is so enthralling is that it was designed by Marc Chagall himself to show off his art.

 

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In the world of Marc Chagall -- who mixes religion, his Russian heritage, and physical love so elegantly -- couples find it's cuddle time.

 

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I love France and find the French people charming and fun. But I've noticed a strange attitude among some museum curators, who seem to believe that only French-speaking people pay their admission prices. I've seen so many fine museums this week that have plenty of staff just hanging around, but can't find the time or energy to translate a single word into English (beyond a list of what's forbidden and how much it costs to enter). I'm not just worried about my American readers -- people from around the world communicate in the language of travel, which is English. This museum's video has a French audio track. It has French subtitles for extra credit. And, in case a deaf person may be visiting, it devotes a quarter of the screen to a person signing. Yet fully half of the people touring the museum don't speak French...and understand nothing. (I would bet a thousand non-French speakers come by for each deaf person who drops in.) It's a lost opportunity. OK, I just had to get that off my chest. Merci.