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FRENCH TOASTED; Real Radio presenter Alan Rough likes it hot on the Riviera.

A droning filled my ears as I relaxed on a sun lounger. Surely it couldn't be my Real Radio co-presenter Ewen Cameron?

But thankfully I opened my eyes to find a beautiful, white motor launch cutting across the bay.

I was in one of my favourite places for a bit of R&R after a season of the Football Phone-In-the south of France.

This time Maggie and I opted for Mandelieu at the other end of the bay from Cannes.

It gave us the choice of the hustle and bustle of the movie world's favourite festival city, or just chilling out by the pool at our hotel, Les Rives. The hotel was a haven of peace and tranquillity with a large - extremely cold - pool and some incredibly comfortable sun loungers.

And our fellow guests included the ladies from the Pink Paradise show - a somewhat raunchier version of the Folies Bergere, we discovered.

They certainly livened up the scenery around the pool at about 4pm every day - which for some reason was when Maggie always wanted to go shopping.

Mandelieu is a delightful town with one of the biggest marinas on the Riviera and some lovely little restaurants.

I suggested to Maggie we might sell one of our horses and buy a boat but when I saw the price of even the smaller ones, I realised we would have to sell the whole stable - and then some.

The marina hosts a huge sale every spring when boat lovers come from all over Europe to buy and sell crafts and there is a huge variety of boats, big and small, bobbing about on the waves.

The harbourside restaurants are perfect places for daydreaming about which of the biggest ones you would have were you to win the lottery.

But it's not just for big boats people come to Mandelieu. The town is a rowing centre and the Siagne River by the side of our hotel provides safe waters for youngsters to practise.

Watching them reminded me that holidays are not just for lying about and I went to the golf course.

Mandelieu has the attraction of being near a number of rather nifty golf courses - including the oldest one in the Riviera. With utter originality, it is called the Old Course.

When I mentioned I had played St Andrews' Old Course, the local professional was impressed. I did not mention my score the last time I played there, though.

One quirk about Mandelieu's course is after the second hole you have to cross the river by ferry - and repeat the exercise on the way back after the 12th. That was a first for me.

For the cultural side of our trip, Maggie dragged me off to the local Chateau de la Napoule on the seafront. It used to be a glass factory but was bought in 1918 by a rich American called Henry Clews who, helped by his wife Marie, restored it to its former glory.

It has a stunning outlook over the bay and some very unusual features inside. If Henry took a dislike to someone, he featured them in his house.

The chateau is now a museum showcasing Henry's artwork which was quite unique and frequently featured him in the nude. Unfortunately he did not tend to flatter himself.

After all that culture I had to relax. Mandelieu has a couple of lovely little beaches with restaurants where you can opt to eat inside or swill down your wine and lunch beside the Mediterranean.

That's how I ended up on the beach at La Voile d'Azur with a glass of chilled ros in my hand, a seared tuna steak on my plate and the sea lapping at my feet.

The blazing sun was hot but the wind coming in from the sea kept me cool. It's hell in the south of France.


We booked our holiday at Les Rives through

Find out more about Mandelieu at

Meals in the town's restaurants cost on average pounds 20 per head, including wine

I LOVED the peace and tranquillity of the hotel.

I HATED the busy golf courses.


Waterfront chateau is full of art treasures' Les Rives Hotel was peaceful hangout' Maggie and Alan take ferry trip on golf course' Nearby Cannes is famous for film festival' Alan tries to escape on the Pink Paradise bus
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 23, 2006
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