Roquebrune Cap-Martin, France -- Some 15 miles down the Mediterranean coast from the French city of Nice, the scene of July's deadly terror attack, is another scene -- this one of peace and tranquility.
Dubbed “Cap Moderne,” it is a grouping of modernist summer homes and related buildings, perched above a beautiful cove in the town of Roquebrune Cap-Martin.
It is worth a trip. Now available to the public for tours, an exhibition has just opened showcasing the location’s restoration process.
At a time when the value and risks of immigrants are being debated on both sides of the Atlantic, it does represent a remarkable product of immigrants (in this case to France).
The centerpiece is the sleek white villa named E-1027, created in the 1920s by noted Irish designer Eileen Gray, with help from her Romanian-born lover (and architect) Jean Badovici.
Just after World War II, a restaurant called “Etoile de Mer” (“Starfish”) was built close-by, the work of Italian-born (and later Nice plumber) Thomas Rebutato.
What really puts this place on the map, though, is its ties to the Swiss-French world-renowned architect Le Corbusier. He built his own summer “Cabanon” (cabin) there as well as five “Holiday Cottages.”
He also splashed colorful (and often erotic) murals on walls throughout the site.
It was, in fact, in the waters nearby, in August 1965, that “Corbu” met his end, suffering a heart attack while taking his beloved morning swim.
Indeed, this “paradise" has had a far from idyllic history. There was in-fighting between the artists involved, it was occupied (and shot-up!) by occupying Nazis during the war, one of the later tenants was murdered in the main Villa, and it was left for squatters and ruin.
That is, until it was “saved” by descendants of one of the owners, as well as public and private financing.
Today’s modern and harsh realities even now, though, intrude on “Cap Moderne.”
Our tour guide Stephanie Cornil told us immigrants had been found this week huddling near the site’s exhibition center. They apparently crossed the Italian border (perhaps from Africa), a few miles away.
When I asked what she thought was the most important thing about the historic location, she told me it was the “human” quality of the place, that the people living and visiting there were always kept in mind by its creators.
As this sometimes “inhuman” summer in Europe (with more cultural face-off's and terror attacks happening in France and elsewhere ) draws to close, that 'personal' note is one to remember.
Greg Palkot currently serves as a London-based senior foreign affairs correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 1998 as a correspondent. Follow him on Twitter@GregPalkot.