Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Cap Ferrat’

I just need a bed for the night!

I hear this comment in my travel business all the time. Well, if you are going to travel to the south of France and find yourself in the beautiful fishing port of Villefranche sur Mer, just 7km out of Nice, and you just want a bed for the night, then don’t go and stay at the Hotel Welcome.

Nearly 25 years ago I brought my wife on a surprise Honeymoon from New Zealand to the south of France. She had no idea where she was going, but soon found out that there was a good 30 hours of sitting in a plane to get used to before arriving in this idyllic location.

This is the waterfront of Villefranche sur Mer. Restaurants on the waterfront. The Hotel Welcome just out of sight on the left of picture.

We hired a bright red convertible Peugeot car and drove up to the door of the Hotel Welcome. I was feeling fairly self-assured as I had learnt French at school, and I had brushed up on a few critical phrases, just so I could impress my new wife. With my wife firmly in hand I strolled up to the hotel reception and proclaimed

Bonjour Madamoiselle, je m’appele Monsieur Reese, j’ai une réservation à votre hotel. Hi, I’m John Reese I’ve got a booking here with you.

Comment ca s’écrit? – How do you spell that. (All good so far!!)

R E E S E – I slowly spelt each letter out.

Blank look across the desk

Errr, comment ca s’écrit?

So what don’t you understand. It’s R E E S E. Again I pedantically spelt out each of the five letters that make up my surname!

No, still a completely blank look, as she looked through the planning chart for the day.

Maybe the receptionist was deaf?

Finally I reached for her pen and wrote my name on a piece of paper.

Aaaah, Air Er Er Ess Er, Monsieur Reese!  Ah, Mr Reese, welcome to the Hotel Welcome! Phew !

(Sadly I never learnt how to pronounce phonetically the letters in French at school!!)

This was our introduction to this very special address. We have now returned to this place almost annually since that time and have been fortunate to experience the unique position of this hotel perched on the edge of the bay of Villefranche sur Mer. From the balcony of each bedroom you can sit and watch the comings and goings of the bay. During the day you can watch the luxury cruise boats sail into port and moor themselves in the bay right in front of you, you can watch the fishermen unload their catch right at your feet. Then in the still of a dark night you can look across the mirror flat water of the Villefranche sur Mer bay reflecting the lights and dreams of luxurious villas on the nearby Cap Ferrat, whilst listening to the gentle rocking of a nearby yachts’ masts moored in front of your hotel.

The Hotel Welcome on the waterfront. All the rooms have balconies.

But the Hotel Welcome is not just my second home. The famous French artist Jean Cocteau lived here for two years in the 1920s, and stayed in Room 22, which you can stay in today! The present owner of the hotel, Gerard Galbois, displays a sketch which Cocteau presented to his father, which carries the words “A mon très cher Welcome, où j’ai passé le meilleur de ma vie” “To my dearest Hotel Welcome, where I spent the best years of my life”. As well Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor stayed here, as well as Somerset Maugham.

I have many tourist who regularly return to the Hotel Welcome. Even without a car you have easy and regular access by train and bus, with places like Cannes, Antibes, Monte Carlo, Nice and Menton all being less than an hour away. One morning you might wake up and while enjoying breakfast overlooking this idyllic port view, you might decide to catch a train through to Italy to visit the Ventimiglia morning market just 40 minutes away – then after a pizza and pasta for lunch you can head back to your home away from home!

When you travel to the south of France you can either choose to have “just a bed” for the night, or you can choose to stay here at the Hotel Welcome – once you’ve been here, you’ll keep returning, just like me!

The view from my bedroom's balcony across the bay to Cap Ferrat. Bliss!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: