Considered one of the most beautiful spots in the French Riviera, Paloma Beach in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is considered an institution. Opened in 1948, the restaurant and private beach has been a cherished getaway for generations of visitors. But for the past few years, they have been in a battle with the local government to stay in business. Due to the recent Loi Littoral requiring only a temporary structure and a max of 20% of beach space to be privatized, the restaurant's legendary beach area had been closed down by the city. "Sauvez Paloma Beach" is an organization supporting the fate of the restaurant and recently won (temporarily) its case against the administration of the peninsula and the private beach reopened on 29 June.
Last year, the administration of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat made the owners take apart the private beach, and most importantly the sunbeds. The restaurant reopened for the season last May without parasols or beach beds. Following the instructions of the administration, the beach was empty.
The organization “Sauvons La Paloma” is a group of locals and shop owners from Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Their case to reopen the beach, which brings significant business, finally got through and led to the beach reopening in the cove of la Scaletta. It was only a temporary win.
On their website, they state their case:
"Paloma is an important part of our heritage and it is a key player in the village economy. Private beaches represent a fundamental appeal of our coastline, we must fight to save them. If the building is destroyed there will never be a private beach ever again. Even one made of temporary material. Cap Ferrat is 14 km of coastline and only 2 private beaches for 180 linear meters occupied. With the disappearance of the sunbeds of Paloma it is our jobs that are in danger: fewer sunbeds equal fewer beachboys as well as fewer sales of salads, fruits, and vegetables from our local producers. Fewer wines and drinks from our local vineyards; fewer sales in nearby businesses; fewer hotel rooms; fewer taxis; fewer rentals; fewer boats; fewer planes ... We want the French Government to find a long-term solution that suits all parties. So this iconic and world-renowned seaside resort that is the attraction of the French Riviera can prevail."
The owners of the Paloma had been waiting for the new prefect to take office - so that both parties could revive the discussions. A compromise was reached with Bernard Gonzales, the new prefect of the Alpes Maritimes. At the end of last week (29 June), parasols and sunbeds were finally back on the sand of the Scaletta cove. There are now a total of 55 sunbeds scattered on 150m2, which coincides to 20% of the overall space of the beach – to match the decree voted in 2006. However, this agreement only works for the 2019 summer period as the Paloma will have to pull down the existing building, standing since 1948, in order to replace it with a building that can be dismantled each winter. This is what the organisation still fights for, saving the Paloma.
In addition to its glamorous history with the greats of Hollywood, Paloma Beach still dazzles the world with its unique, wild setting. It is the most Instagrammed beach in France, with more than 110,000 photos taken each year. The Paloma also earned its international success by appearing in top Hollywood films, most recently “50 Shades Freed” where several scenes were shot on the beach. The success of the Paloma around the world is easy to understand once you have seen the view, the wild environment, and the clear water. Customers and fans alike are invited to join the "Sauvons La Paloma" organisation and sign the petition.
In Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat this is no white sand beach except for this small cove, hidden by pine trees away from the bustle of the town nearby.
- Alexa Bouhelier-Ruelle