CAA Trip to Southern France and Monaco: May 1-4

Travelogue & Pictures PART ONE | PART TWO 


A group of 32 – Chase Alumni and their guests – enjoyed a taste of the Côte d’Azur in early May, enjoying the scenic, gastronomic and cultural splendor for which the southernmost part of France is renowned and loved.


The winter capital of Europe and the ballroom of the Belle Époque... this is what the Côte d’Azur – with its mild climate, lush vegetation and delightful mountain landscape – was called at the end of the 19th century, when noble families came to spend the winter there. Later it became the meeting place for artists from Impressionism through Modernism. Many museums, homes and ateliers of such artists as Renoir, Matisse, Chagall, Cocteau and Picasso are the proof. Sumptuous villas, gardens and parks – and the light – make this landscape unique. An evening walk along the Promenade des Anglais and a piano concert in the decoratively and acoustically extraordinary Opera House in the Principality of Monaco made the visit to the French Riviera unforgettable.


The group then went west to Provence, with its ruins from Roman times and cathedrals from the Middle Ages, dreamy little villages in the Luberon, harsh peaks in the Alpille mountains and the former Pope’s residence in Avignon.


The trip was curated and led by Wolfgang (Wolf) Friedl, who led Chase Alumni on such a memorable trip to Puglia in 2022. This was another beautiful and rewarding Chase Alumni trip. Wolf really spoiled the group with his deep knowledge of European art and history, perfect organization and, last but not least, excellent food and wine. 


Here's a sampler of impressions and images from the trip. More photos will be posted later.

(Left Photo by Claire Irving: Outside the Fisherman's Chapel in St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat: Mike and Kathy Jiang, Toni Geyelin, Bob Mitchell, Jeanne Warner, Diane Campos)
A preface and daily text by Wolfgang Fenkart-Fröschl:
I hope some of you were able to watch the Formula 1 Race in Monaco. I could not believe that the streets/tunnels we travelled by bus were being traversed at speeds of above 200 km! And the good thing: Ferrari won! I remember our evening in Monte Carlo on the third day of our trip – a really spectacular Casino building with the adjacent intimate opera house built by Garnier. We all first strolled through the Casino and some tried their luck (congratulations to Toni Geyelin!) and then attended a very inspiring piano recital by Seong-Jin Cho, two weeks before he sold out New York's Carnegie Hall.
But, let's go back to the beginning...
EARLY ARRIVAL, APRIL 30, 2024: Although our trip began officially on May 1, almost half of the participants already arrived in Nice on April 30 and met at the Aston La Scala Hotel. (Photo by Ottho Heldring) Late morning, some of us took an enjoyable walk along the Promenade des Anglais and had a glimpse of the iconic Hotel Negresco, where Harry Tether convinced several others to have lunch. In the afternoon, Wolf took us for a walk through the Old City, passing the harbor and then settling down for drinks at the main square. In the evening we all met for dinner at a nearby bistro.
We could easily imagine Nice as a Winter Capital, as we were experiencing it in really rainy and cold weather! We all met with Wolf in the afternoon and some couragerous participants came along on a walking tour through Nice. Most of us, however, preferred to relax after a long flight. Wolf rewarded the intrepid walkers who stayed for the whole walk – Janin Campos, Kathy and Mike Jiang, Bob Mitchell and Jeanne Warner -- with a local specialty, Ricard Pastis (served in Smirnoff-branded glasses!) at a local bistro. (Bistro photo by Mike Jiang: Janin Campos, Wolf Friedl, Bob Mitchell, Jeanne Warner and Kathy Jiang)
In the evening, we all met on the terrace of the hotel for cocktails and dinner. CAA President Ken Jablon (see photo below) welcomed everybody and wished us an enjoyable and healthy trip. Ed Tan had invited a college friend, Holley Del Giudice, who had worked for Chase in Monte Carlo at Les Terrasses, just below the Opera House in what is now the Edmond de Rothschild Banque. She gave us a good picture of Chase Private Banking there. 
(Photos by Mike Jiang: Bottom right -- Mary Tan and Kathy Jiang)
From front left: Kathy Jiang, Ruth Acker, Paul Heller, Janine Campos, Ann Brandow, Paul Brandow, Tom Reifenheiser.
Below: Central Library of Nice (photo by Mary Tan)
After breakfast we left Nice heading for Menton, the City of Lemons. On the way there, we stopped for a view of Monaco. It's really tiny – smaller than New York's Central Park! I realized how close everything was, e.g. San Remo just kilometers away. We visited the Menton Town Hall and its Wedding Room, painted by Jean Cocteau in 1960. It was quite impressive, but nothing in comparison to his paintings in the St. Peter Chapel in St.Jean-Cap-Ferrat, which we saw the day after. We had a lovely lunch on the beach – the local specialty of moules-frites (mussels and French fries). We then enjoyed a visit to the Jean Cocteau Museum in what is known as the Bastion, part of a 17th century fort that ends the sea wall between the Menton port and the Promenade du Soleil. Afterwards we drove through Eze-Village to reach a Galimard perfume factory and showroom, for a fragrant tour. Dinner was at a nearby bistro. 
(Photos of mussels, Tom Reifenheiser by the moules-frites restaurant, Paul Brandow in the chapel and more of the chapel -- with Denise Ward and Mike Jiang at right – by Wolfgang Fenkart-Fröschl; other photos below by Mary Tan)


After breakfast, we departed for St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, only an hour's drive from Nice. We visited the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild (photo, WFF, below left), built between 1907 and 1912 by Baroness Béatrice de Rothschild and a perfect example both of the Belle Époque on the Côte d'Azur and how money and taste can create a paradise. The gardens are really spectacular, and the water fountains dance in line with the respective music. I followed a waltz and felt at home (in fact, in Vienna we also have a Palais Ephrussi, of which recently a book was published, The Hare with the Amber Eyes). Then, we were graced with a private visit of the Chapel of St. Peter painted by Jean Cocteau (photo, WFF, below right image) – really breath taking and well described by the curator of the chapel. The chapel belongs to the fishermen of Antibes who permitted Cocteau to paint it. (Besides Cocteau, Picasso and several other painters also decorated chapels.) We returned to Nice to dress nicely for our departure for Monte Carlo at 17.00, for a little gambling, a lot of gawking and marvelous music in the elaborate opera house.  



We checked out from the hotel in Nice and headed to Antibes – again a short drive. We took a lovely walk through the city, passing by the local market. It is really amazing that such markets still flourish in so many small towns. Then we visited the Grimaldi Castle, sold to the City in the 1920s and now home to the Picasso Museum. Picasso lived in Antibes for several years, and the museum shows off his multiple talents, exhibiting his pottery and sculptures in addition to his paintings. (Below: Photo by WFF of Picasso's "La Joie de Vie")  We then drove via Cannes to the Domaine des Escaunes in Sernhac, our quarters for the next three nights. 

For the rest of the travelogue, click here: PART TWO