First edition. Oblong 8vo., [72pp.], illustrated with numerous colour and b&w images in the original photo-illustrated laminated boards, French text. Paris, Editions du Tempes, 1961.
A stunning one-off photobook focusing on the French Riviera, published as a follow up to Varda’s short documentary film Du côté de la côte in 1958, that was commissioned by the French tourist board. The book combines film stills, texts and archival material revealing the depth of Varda’s research, in a playful style reminiscent of her friend Chris Marker’s Petite Planète travel guide series. The book form, like the Director’s approach to shooting a film, delights in digressions, moving from architectural and literary references to sunbathers and carnivals. Varda’s own photographs are paired with a poetic travelogue in which she highlights the romantic exoticism of gardens and villas, and questions the idea of the Côte d’azur as a kind of Eden: ‘but the nostalgia for Eden is a garden. It is an idea of a garden with flowers, with lawns, with columns. Forgetting the sea nearby, the pond, it is a regret, the water lily, a sigh..’