• Dani Geneux and Marie-Eugenie Gaudfrin, Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc / Photo: Slim Aarons
  • Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc
  • Men playing Petanque

Fitzgerald’s Forgotten French Riviera

First published as a serial in January of 1934, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is The Night detailed a French oasis untouched by tourists and unguarded from the sun. It was a town booming with personality, color, possibility, and passion. The prolific author traveled there alongside his wife, Zelda, and their daughter, Scottie, in search of something he couldn’t quite name. Tender Is The Night was his iteration of finding it and losing it, all against the steady lull of the romantic, transfixing Riviera.

Fitzgerald’s remarkable novel, later published in April of ’34, provided readers a fictional description of the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, a legendary pleasure palace built in 1870. The house along the sea wall in Juan-les-Pins, where the Fitzgerald’s stayed throughout their chaotic, often insane, adventure, later became the Belles-Rives, a charming hotel with 40 rooms boasting five-star reviews.

An editorial in The New York Times asserts Tender Is The Night had an uncanny staying power – the kind that flawlessly described Cap d’Antibes then and now. It even concludes the magical Riviera might hold clues to the roots of the imagery found throughout Fitzgerald’s classic.

Detailing where to go, where to stay, who to see, and injecting commentary on how the Riviera shaped Fitzgerald’s future and secured his position as one of the greatest American authors, Nina Burleigh, author of the piece, traveled to Antibes and chronicled her stay.

The imagery is exceedingly clean, exciting and unmistakably true to Fitzgerald’s depiction of the breathtaking place nearly a century ago..

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