Home > Everyday Life > Don’t get stung! . . . . and it is not because of the bees.

Don’t get stung! . . . . and it is not because of the bees.

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

So what does one do on a Sunday in the Côte d’Azur?  Seriously, all the shops close on Sundays  so you can’t go shopping.  So why not the beach?

Consequently I took advantage of an expat meetup group that I recently joined.  There was a day at the beach planned for today in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, a village between with Nice, France and Monaco.  It is a gorgeous village with a nice marina.  Plus there are grand estates all over this peninsula that jets out into the Mediterranean Sea.  Only people with serious money live here as it is one of the most expensive real estate areas in the world.  Constituents of this village include Bill Gates, CEO of Adidas, CEO of Reebok, the Italian mob, the Russian mob and Olivier, the lovely Frenchman who organized today’s meet-up.  It was great having Olivier because he was the one giving us the inside scoop of this quaint village.  For one, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie hung at one of the luxury hotels here and paparazzi swarmed the place with their cameras waiting all day for a shot of Angelina’s breasts that were in full bloom (this was the time when she was pregnant with twins).  Yes, woman being topless in France is standard procedure.   Another funny thing

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

is their relationship with the police.  You have heard of police not wanting to go into total impoverished areas and letting the chaos manage itself.  Well the other side of the pendulum also doesn’t cooperate well.  When you have this money in one area, the residents are tricky to handle.  Olivier had one neighbor blaring karaoke in their backyard at 3:00 in the morning.  He called the police and they flat-out said “non, we don’t go there.”  One of Olivier’s Russian mob neighbors ended up driving his Porsche into Olivier’s backyard and stumbled home (a clear DUI offense).  Good times in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat!

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

But let’s focus on the beaches of Côte d’Azur . . . and let’s be honest . . . they are not the greatest.  Oops, did I say that and it is only my first week here?  Yea, one thing is that they are very rocky.  You do not have the typical sand like one imagines.  The other expats at this outing knew in advance what is all about as they brought their own water shoes.  As you go out for a swim, you have to be careful when standing up as it is usually big rocks covered with slippery seaweed or pointy sea urchins.  Yet I will say the water is beautiful and clear.  So it is still worth the swim.  I have been told that the real nice beaches in France are further west, say Marseille and beyond.  The Côte d’Azur is really too rocky.  Plus on the shores you will find a lot of rough, dried up things you have to walk on, all natural of course – no pollution here.

The other factor that is slightly alarming about the Mediterranean shores currently is the jellyfish infestation.   It is no joke.

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

One of the fellow expats that was swimming with us actually got stung this afternoon.  Nothing life-threatening but truly bothersome and ended her afternoon.  The Mediterranean typically gets a jellyfish invasion every so often as a natural cycle of life.  Yet this reoccurrence of the last couple of years is particularly abnormal and dramatically bigger.  It has authorities in Spain, France and Italy at attention and collaborating on how to curtail these animals and not impacting the expected tourist season just starting.  None of the species seen are life-threating but they do put a damper on your summer vacation requiring a sudden visit to a doctor.  Plus then no one wants to go into the water.  I know bearing witness to the event today, I’m not sure how much I will be going into the water myself.  Feel free to read this lengthy article on the subject.

Categories: Everyday Life
  1. therese
    7 June 2010 at 4:04 am

    Bon Jour Scott,

    Thanks so much for the email sharing your link. Mom and Dad are here visiting for the boys piano recital today and AJ’s graduation from 8th grade tomorrow. So Mom and I were catching up on your adventures. We definitely voted for the Californie apt. Hope it’s as good as it looks and sounds.

    We’re happy to hear things are working out so well with the new job and meeting people who seem helpful

  2. karen
    7 June 2010 at 2:51 pm

    love hearing your escapades over there!
    you do know the cure for jellyfish don’t you? didn’t you watch the friends episode where one pees on the other…..so go with a friend in the water
    love the photos are they ones you took?
    have you found MY frenchman yet?
    Margy and i have spoken and you might see us next year there….wouldn’t you love 2 crazed women with you?

  3. London
    7 June 2010 at 6:59 pm

    @Karen – yes, the people I was with had mentioned the urine factor. I read about it later that you should take a credit card and “scrape” down the area to ensure all venom is out of the skin. Then take vinager or salt water continue to wash it out. Interestingly the lady took a tomato with its acidity and found relief that way.

    Yes, the photos were mine with my new iPhone 3GS!

  4. Scott in Philly
    16 June 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I’d love the beach anyway and the photos are beautiful!

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