Decades have passed since F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda and friends made the French Riviera a fashionable playground for the Lost Generation, yet the historical significance remains, perhaps most notably at the beautiful Belles Rives. An iconic gem nestled in a small cove in the chic resort of Juan-les-Pins, the hotel is steeped in history and understated glamour. Behind its glass doors, a world of sophistication, cocktails and art deco interiors awaits.
Historical charm at the Belles Rives
From the beginning, guests are immersed in 20th-century charm that carries from the hotel’s reception through to the famous Belles Rives Plage, where we spent the day soaking up the sun. Cocktail and rosé in hand, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night by my side, we basked in our beautiful surroundings from our sun loungers perched on the edge of the jetty.
The water clear and sparkling, fellow sunbathers tanned to the core, we felt a hint of what summers on the elegant French Riviera may have been like back in the day. With a sense of serenity and the gentle sound of lapping waves, we sink back in our loungers, imagining a world filled with cocktail parties and dinners on the terrace, the backdrop of Cap d’Antibes glistening at golden hour.
Despite the Belles Rives’ affluent clientele and ritzy setting, the atmosphere here is relaxed and nonchalant, all pretentiousness inexistent. Life at the Belles Rives Plage revolves around the classic French Riviera activity of water skiing and swimming in the warm lagoon, but we feel content observing comfortably from the shade under our parasol.
Fatigued by the heat and in need of a change of scenery, we retreat to the Piano Bar Fitzgerald for a much-needed escape from the July sun. We sip our signature cocktails in the shaded room with its opulent seats and parquet floors, looking out onto the terrace and the tranquil Mediterranean sea. Our day at the beautiful Belles Rives is coming to an end, but we’re not quite ready to leave.
Hôtel Belles Rives, 33, bd Edouard Baudoin, 06160 Juan-les-Pins, Cap d’Antibes, France