Plage Mala, Cap d'Ail
It's official. The first swim of the season on the Côte d'Azur. Or rather, I dived into the exquisite turquoise-blue water and almost immediately ran out. Yes the water was really that cold, but the sun was hot and the day has been perfect.
Although I have lived here for many years I have never been to the mythical Plage Mala, Cap d'Ail, near Monaco. So it was about time I took a trip. It is often mooted as the most beautiful beach on the Côte, the most unspoilt and so on. In reality it is very nice, but not as unspoilt as I had hoped. (But then, I'm from New Zealand so unspoilt beaches for me are another thing altogether.)
The thing about Plage Mala that keeps it relatively low-key is the difficulty of getting there. There are 120 steps or so down to the beach. Going down, not so bad. Coming up, just a bit harder. You can also walk along the coastal path from Monaco, but this takes time. The extremely stylish alternative is to arrive by yacht and be ferried ashore. I think I am going to go for that option next time.
There are two restaurant-clubs on the beach. Both very cool and very expensive (the young Monaco crowd obviously likes to hang here). But we took home-made sandwiches like real Niçois locals do and sat on the pebbles. You get use to them, honest you do. Anyway, sun loungers are for sissies.
So that's Plage Mala for you. Stunningly beautiful, difficult to get to, but not as remote and unspoilt as I would have hoped.