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THE CÔTE D’AZUR’S THREE CORNICHES

Roll down the roof, slip on the shades and enjoy France’s most cinematic drive, from Belle Époque Nice all the way to the Italian border – and back again.

It’s early morning on the clifftops of the Côte d’Azur, and today, the coast is living up to its name. I’m standing at a roadside viewpoint on the Grande Corniche, and my gaze is fixed out to sea, trying to work out where the sea ends and the sky begins.

The horizon is a rainbow of blues. From pale duck-egg to bright turquoise through to deep aquamarine, it’s a blue symphony; a meditation on blue. I find myself thinking of the many artists who’ve been inspired by this coastline – from Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso to Yves Klein, who even patented his own colour, International Klein Blue, in 1960.

I stand for a while, breathing in the scents so characteristic of Provence: sweet lavender, pine sap, salty sea air. Then I hop back in my car and set off again along the clifftop road, heading higher into the crimson hills as sea birds hover and the blue Mediterranean shimmers below.

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