The Murphys, American Trendsetters on the Riviera

The Curious Rambler

French Riviera beach, Nice France The beach in Nice, France in the summer. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

By Margo Lestz

If you visit the French Riviera in July or August, you might have trouble finding an open space on the beach to put your towel. It’s hard to imagine that up until the 1920s there were no summer tourists here, no hotels were open, and there was certainly no one swimming in the sea.

The French Riviera was “discovered” in the 1800s by the European nobility who spent their winters here. But when springtime rolled around these wealthy holiday-makers went home and left the summer heat to the locals. Then in the 1920s, an American couple played a big part in the Riviera’s “rediscovery”.

Gerald and Sara Murphy on the French Riviera Gerald and Sara Murphy –  Photo © Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

The Murphys
Gerald and Sara Murphy were one of the first American couples…

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