Could you savor the last days of summer any more agreeably than here on this rooftop terrace, the delicate latticework muting the hot sun as you lunch on robust fish stew and sip the local dry white wine? C’est magnifique, non?
You are relaxing atop a brandnew museum in the shape of a 160,000-square-foot cube that seems to float above a former dockland. Inside, artworks and objects dating from the Neolithic era and found in the more than twenty nations that border this sea basin reflect various themes (religious and agricultural, among them). The architect, who calls his edifice a vertical casbah, is himself a product of this region’s multiethnic currents: While he was raised nearby, his surname comes from a neighboring country and he was born on a continent across the water.
Much as you might have hoped otherwise, that’s no fairy-tale castle in the distance but a 150-year-old limestone basilica known as the Good Mother. If you march across that gray footbridge, you’ll end up by a honey-toned fort tower where legions of foreigners have sought haven. From there, a second bridge leads to the Old Town, whose name means basket. And just outside the city limits, steep cliffs plunge into inlets that serve as pockets of solitude along a yacht-choked littoral.
Return to your rooftop refuge at night, when the museum’s metalliclooking scrim casts an iridescent glow so lovely that you may never want to leave. But don’t get too cozy or this grand old port will go to waste.