Three a.m., and the rigors of international air travel have put your internal clock at odds with sleep. You arise in the dark and step to the broad, open window. Only a horizontal rod of iron separates you from the vast skies above and the distant Mediterranean Sea some thousand feet below.
The French Riviera. The Cote d’Azur. That point where Ancient Rome drew a line between Italia and Gallia, Italy and Gaul. At your feet, where the waters meet the land, Caesar and Pompey once passed with their legions, setting out to conquer the world or returning from brutal conquest.
High above, stars fill the sky. Below and halfway to the sea, a necklace of amber beads and diamond jewels marks the hilltop village of Èze. Far off to your right a spit of land hides the town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, and the city of Nice casts a steady nocturnal glow beyond the rise.
Now a random cloud of fog drifts landward from the sea, enveloping the stones of Èze in a suffused glow before moving steadily onward. Soon the necklace of lights shimmers clearly again.
And so close that you are tempted to reach out to touch them, numerous small bats flit against the dark sky stilling their nocturnal hunger. They swoop so close that the flutter of their wings stirs the air on your bare chest. This unending dance proves as fascinating as the distant view beyond.
And then you imagine joining their flight, free to explore unhindered the nighttime world spread out below.
The stuff of dreams, the stuff of travel. It stays alive once you are home again and the jet lag long past.
To experience your own dreamscape in this region, consider a stay at Domaine Pins Paul (www.domainepinspaul.fr). Philippe and Marie-Jose’ Ponnelle are gracious hosts.