The Riviera by Wm Scott

Book cover

When Joan of Planet Joan and I realised that we both owned copies of this lovely book The Riviera by Wiliam Scott – but neither of us had actually got around to reading it – we decided to rectify that. You can read what Joan thought of the book here.

Unsurprisngly Joan and I thought much the same of the book. We both started off by thinking that Scott’s writing style was more than a wee bit purple prose-ish, but either he settled down as the book progressed, or we just got used to his style.

Lots of eating establishments are mentioned and sometimes warnings are given to the reader not to ask for any food as they will be shown the door quickly, as the patron wasn’t inclined to serve food.

Scott’s observations on customs officials is quite amusing, he really detested them and thought that there was really no need for them. I think that he would be shocked at how much more difficult foreign travel has become nowadays, with people not even being allowed a pair of scissors in their luggage.

He seemed to enjoy the French Riviera more than the Italian, partly I suspect because Italy was a poorer country and the food wasn’t as good, although he did mention that the food in France was often disappointing. On the other hand parts of the French coast had already been spoiled by too much development. I dread to think what he would say about the Riviera now as I recall someone saying that Cannes has changed from being a charming fishing village into a ghastly horror over the last fifty years.

He is scathing about the so called preservation of old buildings in Italy, which always seems to result in destruction rather than preserving. I was amused at this as only yesterday I was reading about similar things happening in Spain where the locals are up in arms at what so called experts have done to their local castle.

This is the first A&C Black book that I’ve read and I intend to track more of them down, although I suspect that I won’t be able to find many at the price I got this one for – the princely sum of £4, just a matter of months ago.

2 thoughts on “The Riviera by Wm Scott

  1. I much prefer time travelling, as via this book. I had to click on the link to the Spanish castle. What a horror! We see this sort of thing in Philadelphia: a gorgeous old building bastardized with a modern facade at street level. If buildings could cry …..

    I liked Scott’s chatty travelogue and opinions. I can imagine a peaceful walk along the coast, with all the stunning views.

    • Joan,
      In general I think they are quite good here in the UK at sympathetic refurbishment of old buildings. But they spent something like £25 million on The Kelvingrove Gallery (Victorian) and whatever they did it has been a disaster, it looks good but it stinks of damp now and it never did before.
      I enjoyed the book but I couldn’t help thinking that Scott would never have dreamt that over 100 years later people would be reading it, there was never a chance of us being shown the door by that particularly grumpy inn owner he wrote about! If I could click my fingers and be there I’d definitely check out that coast, but might be very disappointed.

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