This is an excellent overview of the cultural attractions of the French Riviera, from the Roman ruins to famous film sets of the 1960s. Hale points out the important architecture, gardens, museums and works of art and is judgmental with out being cynical, which I much appreciate in a travel writer. This book will be of particular interest to those seeking information on the lives and works of, or anecdotes about, expats and artists in the Riviera in the inter- and post-war years; the work of artists and writers like Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, the Scott Fitzgeralds, Rebecca West, Leger and others. In this it differs markedly from Robert Kanigel's High Season
, which focuses most of its cultural reporting on the 19th century. There is very little over-lap between the two books. There is an excellent chapter on the collector- and show-gardens of the Riviera, as well as a great chapter on the attractions of the villages perches
- the hill towns. Not a traditional tour guide like Frommer's or Rick Steve's, Hale's The French Riviera:A Cultural history
is none-the-less an essential travel guide for any tourist or journeyman/woman headed for the South of France.