Unlike most Provençal villages Cap d’Ail does not have the characteristic old town. But this does not mean that the winds of history have not touched this place. Just for centuries the town had no special status and did not actually develop. In the 19th century it was a small settlement in the agricultural area of La Turbie region (with the name of La-Turbie-sur-Mer). In 1908, Cap d'Ail finally received the status of a separate administrative unit, and its development as a city began. Especially this process accelerated when the visitors from the fleshpots from neighbouring Monaco began to stay in the town. Living in Cap d'Ail and playing at the casino in Monte Carlo - this was specially cool and prestigious among the then youth.
At the end of the 19th century Baron de Pauville founded the hydropathical in this region. The treatment there was reduced mainly to receiving air and water treatments. However, this fairly simple treatment gave surprisingly wonderful results. In an easy state of mind of Baron town began to develop as a resort and a wellness centre.
The status of the resort the city received in the early 20th century. The celebrities and wealthy people all over the world went here. Some of them bought or built luxurious villas here which contributed to the rapid development of the town.
In due time Lumiere brothers, Winston Churchill (1945), Jean Cocteau, Greta Garbo, Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco visited Cap d’Ail. Serge Lifar, Ukrainian-born, Kyivan by the place of birth, one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of the XX century, «the god of dance» who often stayed here leading the Monte Carlo ballet troupe was also stunned by the beauty of the sea and the bay of Cap d’Ail.
In 1912 the bright woman, prima of the Mariinsky Theatre, Mathilde Kschessinska, rested there, and loved this place so much that has acquired the villa which was later named in her honour - «Alam» (her abbreviated name Mala read backwards). Also in honour of the ballerina the famous beach Mala was named, especially popular among holidaymakers from Nice and Monaco. The star names of the town visitors intrigue and attract even more attention to the fashionable and prestigious resort making it even more popular.
Today Cap d’Ail is a town that does not have the provincial flavour inherent to many rural settlements in the region, but it is interesting for its image of a modern seaside resort with a bustling coastal area and quiet, modern style residential areas, with the traditionally good weather and mild climate (in winter + 10, in summer + 24 degrees).
Despite its proximity to bustling Monaco with its casinos and other social life, surrounded by rocky mountains and the sea the town creates a feeling of isolation from civilization and cosy retreat.
At the same time it is convenient when the very same civilization with all its charms and comfort is very close: 15 minutes - and you are in Monaco (with its railway station), 20 minutes - and you are Nice (with the airport - the air gateway to the Côte d'Azur).
Geographically, Cap d'Ail is situated on a mountain ridge that with its cape with a strange name «Dog's Head» (380 m high) deeps into the sea. There are other spurs which flowing into the sea form very beautiful coves with predominantly sandy beaches. The water in the bays is extremely clean, bright turquoise. The pine and the stone pines stretching to the sea. The blessed silence is broken only by the cries of seagulls and the chirr of cicadas, and the wash. And the beaches in the coves (there are nudist beaches also) are truly a vacationer's dream. Swimming and sunbathing among such a beauty provides a complete relaxation and a lot of fun.
Despite the lack of historical and architectural monuments the town is proud of the creations of nature and man - its exquisite gardens and parks. In particular, it is a wonderful and rich in exotic Mediterranean vegetation Jardin Sacha Guitry garden which spreads directly on the beach. As well as Italian-style Villa le Roc Fleuri (beg. 20th century) with a delightful garden and luxurious 70-year-old palm trees blend in with the local landscape.
But perhaps the biggest attraction and the highlight of Cap d'Ail is its famous Promenade - a serpentine of paths laid among the pines and rocks overhanging the sea. It stretches for more than 3.5 kilometres to Monaco. Walking in the penumbra, among fragrant stone pines, cypress and pine trees that come down right to the water, with a kaleidoscope of wonderful panoramas brings an incomparable pleasure. You cannot take your eyes off the sea surface washing the coastal part of the cape and shining in the sun with all shades of green and emerald and azure colours. The sea waves hitting the shore splash in different directions and give a wonderful cocktail of oxygen and iodine to which the smells exuded by coniferous trees are mixed. Perhaps no one yet invented a perfume that could compete with this amazing fragrance created by nature. Just for the sake of this air it is worth coming here. By the way, along the Promenade route there are several restaurants where you can sit romantically enjoying the local cuisine while admiring the wonderful views.
The environmental issues are of great importance in the city, it is therefore not a coincidence that Cap d'Ail has a Blue Flag for the cleanliness of the environment (since 1995).
Despite the small area each plot of land here is focused on His Majesty Tourist. The travellers feel it and so love coming back here for an unforgettable experience and relaxation.
Many activities for the amateurs of the outdoor activities and performances are held in Cap d'Ail. These are all kinds of maritime festivals and regattas, as well as water sports and recreation (diving, water skiing, surfing, catamaran). At the same time a variety of cultural and recreational activities, among which the ethnographic Cabbage Festival is the most popular, are held here. It is also interesting to visit the Amphitheatre decorated with splendid mosaic paintings by Jean Cocteau, and see the play actually in the open air. Or visit the Cultural Center of Guillaume Apollinaire with its rich program.
To get into the spirit of the city even more you will allowed by a visit to the local market where you can buy something delicious - fruits, sweets, home-made wine.
Without a doubt, Cap d’Ail is one of the most beautiful and touching parts of the French Riviera where one especially feels the gracious unity with the nature. And what is more, you gain strength, health, positive emotions and feel happy.