25 March 2007

Around the Cap

Filed under: Reflections — ktismatics @ 7:08 pm

I usually run 4 days a week, about 6K each time. Today I took a slower, longer run — about 10K, all the way around the Cap d’Antibes. Every time I take this run I seem to come home and write something about it, but never here I don’t think. Here are today’s observations.

Before getting out on the Cap I pass alongside an inlet lined with two small beaches. At the first beach a little boy was kicking a small ball around with his parents. When I passed them I saw it was a baseball. What was this French family doing with a baseball? Had some American kids left it at the beach by mistake? It’s strange to see a baseball kicked around like a soccer ball: different national instinct for what a ball is for, I guess. At the second beach I found myself running smack into a 10K race. The street was blocked off, with one lane set aside for the incoming runners as they approached the finish line — which meant that I had the other lane all to myself. I clapped for the runners as we passed each other. Most looked fatigued and eager to get it over with; some nodded, smiled, said merci. At the end of the beach the racecourse veered inland, up the hill; I kept going out along the Cap route.

It was a gray cool afternoon, so only a couple of sailboats were out today. My thoughts drifted along as I followed my usual route. By the time I passed my usual turnaround point I barely noticed the change of scenery as the road continued along the coast then jutted slightly inland. I passed the Hotel du Cap and its restaurant, the Eden Roc, both still chained shut. A week from today the season officially opens and the first guests will be checking in. This is the hotel where Scott and Zelda used to hold forth during the season. For two weeks in May the hotel will become an exclusive reserve for the world’s cineastes gathering for the nearby film festival.

The road rejoins the sea on the other side of the Cap, veering down the Golfe into Juan les Pins. Around the curving littoral Cannes stretches itself along the Croisette. Off the coast are the two Iles des Lerins. From here the nearer one, Ste. Marguerite, looks lushly foliated with pine — it’s not until you get there that you experience the devastation the fire left behind three decades ago. It takes a long time for a pine forest to rebuild itself, but Ste. Marguerite is an old place and used to waiting. The Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned on this island back in the 17th century. I googled on Ste. Marguerite and found a friend’s blog: here’s the link. Behind it, smaller, farther out to sea, St. Honorat hugs the horizon. For fifteen hundred years the Abbeys of St. Honorat have provided a contemplative refuge. Here St. Patrick prepared for his fateful missionary voyage to Ireland. Today 30 Cistercians live there, doing whatever it is that monks do.

That’s enough for today.



  1. Ste. Marguerite is georgeous. The monestary looks amazing. And the image of little French kids kicking a baseball on the beach is hilarious. Maybe they got it from the America-loving Bono, who has a house near you, I think. Besides, how do you kick a baseball?!! Ongoing proof that the French are wierd. Anyway…it’s also funny that you ran into a race.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 26 March 2007 @ 7:43 am

  2. Running into the race has Felliniesque potential, don’t you think?


    Comment by ktismatics — 26 March 2007 @ 8:26 am

  3. Most definitely. I could even see lots of camera-work potential in the situation you described.


    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 26 March 2007 @ 5:53 pm

  4. Ciao John ! It’s funny that my blog showed up. Did it also show this link about Île Sainte-Marguerite ? http://petanqueandpastis.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/09/all_aboard_to_l.html
    By the way, I am very impressed with your blog, even though it is normally way over my head.


    Comment by Charlotte DeMoney — 28 March 2007 @ 8:00 am

  5. It’s usually way over my head too. Thanks for the additional Ste-Marguerite link. Nice that they brought the boat back for you — the bus drivers won’t wait even when you’re like three steps from their door.


    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2007 @ 9:25 am

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