When a good friend arrives in Monaco to visit one of the first things she wants to do is go for a swim.
So my wife obliged and took Caroline to Larvotto – names have been changed to protect the guilty.
The two ladies were several hundred metres from the shore when my eagle-eyed wife noticed a policeman waving at her from dry land. She and Caroline came to the conclusion they were wanted for questioning and duly swam ashore.
“Five hundred euros, each,” the policeman said, in normal, angry, French. He also instructed them to take a shower, which is not what any woman wants to hear.
When my wife questioned this instant and substantial penalty she was told that there were signs everywhere saying ‘No Swimming.’
Only in French, of course, since as we all know non-French speakers can’t swim and even if they could they wouldn’t want to.
After a lot of finger-wagging the policeman started to stroll away. The ladies followed meekly wondering how they were going to raise 1,000 euros between them and on the spot.
Then the cop stopped to interrogate a young man who wasn’t even in the water. On finding out that the youngster was a German student the enforcer of the law displayed astonishing ‘wokeness’ and told him he would let him off this time… but. The policeman didn’t even bother to say anything at all to my wife and her friend. Just left it all hanging.
So after this rude de facto dismissal the girls understood they were no longer under arrest and made for one of the open beachside restos, noticing as they passed, high in a tree, ’Swimming Forbidden,’ in French only.
As far as I remember from an article in Monaco Daily News, the operation to flatten the beach and make it bigger is coming to an end, thus enabling our not very friendly officer to cause a nuisance elsewhere.
Any views expressed in the Jeff Daniels column are not necessarily those of the publishers. The Jeff Daniels column is published in the interests of editorial diversity.