16 July 2006

Le ciel d'été remplit nos coeurs de sa lucidité

With temperatures surpassing 35°C this week, it is safe to say that summer has definitely arrived on plains of central Canada. From -35°C in the winter to 35°C in the summer, the continental climate continues to do its thing.

It's times like this that you wish Canada were just a bit smaller, to facilitate travel, and that it had a Côte d'Azur, so you would have somewhere to go. I suppose I've always implicitly had this feeling, somewhere in the back of my mind, but when L'Express publishes a feature on the Riviera, including its top 10 beaches, effectively rubbing it in your face, there's really no escaping it, is there? You just want to hop into your car and zip down to Juan-les-Pins on the Nationale 7, that mythical link between the capital and the sea & sun that Charles Trenet celebrated in song back in 1955. Have a listen to Stereo Total's 2001 cover version of his Route Nationale 7 by clicking here (the location of this mp3 sample is dynamic, so I couldn't embed it in the page, but this m3u file that points to it appears to be static; the link will launch your computer's default application for m3u files). Despite the advent of motorways and TGVs, the queen of the routes nationales is still the way to travel.

Unfortunately for me, an excursion to the Riviera is just out of my reach, so I'll have to settle for Jim Ring's new(ish) book Riviera: The Rise and Rise of the Côte d'Azur, and my old 1:100000 scale Michelin map of the Côte d'Azur from 1989. Also, in keeping with the theme, I highly recommend J.G. Ballard's 2000 literary techno-thriller Super-Cannes, as well as his review in The Guardian of the aforementioned book by Jim Ring. Finally, if you like these two vintage posters, you'll want to know that both were designed circa 1930 by a certain Roger Broders, the most accomplished affichiste of the golden era of French travel posters. He seemed to mainly do work for locations on the French Riviera and in the French Alps (including this alpine masterpiece from 1927 that I have hanging up on my wall), but he also realised posters for locations around the world. If you're as hardcore as me, you'll also want to pick up the recueil of his travel posters recently published by Queen Art.

Purchase the items mentioned in this post
Musique automatique by Stereo Total: [Canada] [France] [Deutschland] [UK] [USA]
Riviera by Jim Ring: [Canada] [France] [Deutschland] [UK]
Super-Cannes by J.G. Ballard: [Canada] [France] [Deutschland] [UK] [USA]
Roger Broders, Travel Posters: [Canada] [France] [USA]