Hotel Splendid, Mentone

People in the present day travel sometimes for pleasure and to obtain acquaintance with what cannot be seen at home, and sometimes for the sake of health…

The above is taken from Wintering in the Riviera, with Notes of Travel in Italy and France, and Practical hints to Travelers, written by William Miller, S.S.C. in the age that travel to the South of France became fashionable. The quote could apply to Emily Weddall, as she had just qualified as a nurse and was also according to her biographer, Iosold ni Dheirg.

As a fluent French speaker the South of France was a perfect place for her to find employment as a private nurse. The Riviera became a new health spa, since Queen Victoria made the area popular a few years earlier. Qualified nurses would have been in high demand to provide round the clock care for health tourists.

As proximity to the sea air, or to be within hearing of the monotonous noise of the waves, does not suit some persons, while the proximity may benefit others, and as the temperature of the east and west bays differs considerably, it is not inadvisable for those in delicate health to consult a medical man, who should decide which part of Mentone is best suited to the particular case. There are about twenty doctors practising in Mentone. Of these, the English doctors are, I believe, the following:—In the west bay, Drs. Siordet, Marriott, Gent, and Sparks; and in the east bay, Dr. Bennett. It is also well to know that the fees of the resident English medical men are high, and are paid at each visit. If the visit be to two persons of the same party, two fees, I have been told, are charged or expected. The fees of the French medical men are greatly less. It would seem, on some points,[174] the doctors of the two countries differ,—as, for example, English doctors advocate sitting in the sun, and foreign doctors, sitting in the shade; and knowing how foreigners abhor their friend the sun, I can well believe they do.

PROMENADE DU MIDI, MENTONE at the time Emily visited

An advert for Splendide, at Menetone from the 1890’s


Ní Dheirg, Íosold. Emily M. Weddall: Bunaitheoir Scoil Acla. Baile Atha Cliath: Coisceim, 1995