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Apodaca: No need for Riviera envy in Newport

March 29, 2011|By Patrice Apodaca

Newport Beach has long had pretentions of being California's answer to the Cote d'Azur, with the wealth, waterfront living and that special something — that "je ne sais quoi" — of a Cannes or a St. Tropez.

Some city officials are hoping to burnish that French Riviera feeling with their recent proposal to allow so-called mega-yachts into our harbor. These floating, pimped-out behemoths of 200 feet or more — like those found in the south of France — would bring more money and prestige to the community, boosters contend.

That's fine, I guess, but I have to ask: What's with all this Riviera envy? Can't we stand on our own two flip-flops without having to compare ourselves to that other coast?

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Don't get me wrong — J'adore France. I have traveled to France many times, and I visited Cannes just last summer. It's beautiful, charming, and wonderful in its own French way.

But let's give props to Newport Beach where they're due. We might not be Monaco, but we have our own kind of specialness. So for those who think we need to emulate some other beach town half a world away, I'm here to remind you of all the ways the Riviera — the real one — has nothing on Newport Beach.

Climate: Both areas are blessed with weather that's widely considered to be as close to ideal as you can get.

But I checked the average weather patterns for Newport Beach and Cannes and discovered that Cannes' average temperatures are a bit higher in summer and lower in winter than ours. Based on that, I contend that our vaunted Mediterranean climate is actually better than the European version.

Escargot vs. Chronic Tacos: I know, I know, French food is the ultimate fine cuisine — rich, butter-saturated and extravagantly delicious.

But there is no reason for us to feel epicurially inferior. How much foie gras and crepes suzette can you eat before you start hankering for a burrito, or a burger, or a Balboa Bar? Not to mention our own fine dining scene, which is acclaimed, eclectic and cutting edge. We can bon appétit with the best of them.

The beaches: No contest here. The Riviera is rocky. Our beaches rock.

True, the Mediterranean Sea is beautiful. But seriously, dude, where are the waves? Not in the south of France, that's for certainement. Our beaches are gorgeous too, and we have a world-famous surfing spot in the Wedge. Take that, my Gallic friends.

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