A century and a half later, by which era the Riviera had ceased serving as an “outside hospital” and develop into a playground of the wealthy, one other high-stakes theft happened at a lodge restaurant in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Its proprietor was recognized to just accept work in lieu of fee — “My form of lodge,” Picasso joked. In 1960, burglars broke in and stole 21 canvases, together with a Braque, a Léger, a Mirò and a Modigliani. (The Picasso didn’t match within the automotive.)

Each episode Miles relays might encourage its personal e-book — or play, symphony, film or portray. Many have already got. A world Who’s Who of tastes, skills, whims and ambitions ushered within the Riviera’s golden age. They weren’t merely vacationing; they have been mining this “skinny strip of Shangri-La” to create the tradition that might outline the following centuries.

In so doing, they outlined new heights of opulence. The influential Lord Brougham “found” Cannes in 1834, when a cholera epidemic interrupted his progress to Italy. Besotted by the Arcadian environment, he constructed a villa. Different international aristocrats adopted swimsuit, and 20 years later, Prosper Mérimée complained that “the English are established right here as in a conquered land. They’ve constructed 50 villas or chateaus every extra extraordinary than the final.”

Because the belle epoque approached, equally lavish villas and grand lodges multiplied east of Cannes, from Good and Beaulieu to La Turbie and Cap Martin. When Queen Victoria arrived in Menton disguised because the “Countess of Balmoral” (her French bodyguard conceded that she “didn’t deceive a soul”), the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia was already established there and the 2 royal influencers magnified the attract of the Côte d’Azur. Queen Victoria’s libertine son “Bertie,” the longer term King Edward VII, had preceded them, indulging in tennis, yachting, golf and baccarat in Cannes, and romping with courtesans in Monte Carlo.

After the First World Conflict, invading People erected their very own palaces. The millionaire artist Henry Clews concocted the fairy-tale “Château de la Napoule,” west of Cannes; the railway magnate Frank Jay Gould constructed half a dozen villas and lodges, together with, in Good, the Artwork Deco landmark the Palais de la Méditerranée. In Antibes, the lower-key Murphys attracted artists and writers to their Villa Americana. (In 1925, when Edith Wharton invited their visitor F. Scott Fitzgerald for tea at her villa in Hyères, he arrived drunk and screamed, “You don’t know something about life.”)

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