Bond girl Carole Ashby gives us the lowdown on her love of Cannes, partying and Roger Moore

Actress Carole Ashby has a long association with the Cote d’Azur going back to the days when she was a Bond girl in the 1980s. Based in Chelsea, Carole, who appeared in Octopussy and View to a Kill with Roger Moore, started coming to the French Riviera in the 1980s and now thinks of it as her second home. She is back in town next week for the Cannes Film Festival.

First, let’s talk about your showbiz career. What was Roger Moore like to work with?
I did his last two James Bond movies and he is terrific fun with a great sense of humour. When I wanted to work in the States and get an agent, he wrote me a reference saying he was lucky enough to work on two films with me so I got a visa. He is a lovely guy and spends a lot of time in Monaco now.

What is the best thing to come out of being a Bond girl?
Making friends with Barbara Broccoli, Cubby’s daughter – she is like my sister. Her father cast me in Octopussy and Barbara had just started working on the films. She was running around helping all the girls out and we became great friends. When I came back on the second film, A View to a Kill, she did some of the promotional trips with me and that is how our friendship started. We have been through births and marriages and she is a very dear friend. I have no family so my friends are my family. She is also co-producer of the Bond franchise now with Michael Wilson and is a tour de force, having taken up where Cubby left off.

Who is your favourite Bond?
Sean Connery was the first and Roger Moore brought the humour and the suave sophistication to Bond. Daniel Craig is a great actor, he does most of his own stunts, and he has brought a new edge to it so he was a very good choice. I’ve also got to know Tim (Dalton) but I couldn’t choose just one – I think they have all brought something different to it.

Are you still involved with the Bond franchise?
They do say once a Bond girl, always a Bond girl. This year is the centenary of Cubby’s birth so I have been to a few of the gatherings. Barbara and I did a fashion show last autumn with the Bond girls, from Shirley Eaton, the girl who was painted gold in Goldfinger, through to Gemma Arterton, who starred in Quantum of Solace. It was great fun.

Are you close to the other Bond girls?
Yes, former Miss World Mary Stavin and I did three films together and I still see Alison Worth and Cherry Gillespie, who played Midge and is ex-Pans People. Grace Jones and I were in a scene together in A View to a Kill. She is fantastic, when she gets in front of the camera, she comes alive.

What are your plans for the Cannes Film Festival?
There is a Bond themed party going on in Super Cannes with a charity poker tournament and casino and lots of stars so I will be going along to that.

Where do you stay when you are here?
In Valbonne, at the home of my friend Sally Kenchington.

Are you tempted to settle here?
I am setting up a new cookery studio called Salle a Manger with Sally, so I shall be spending more time here. We are getting local and celebrity chefs to put on demonstrations and are planning food events, picnics on the terrace and all sorts. It’s an exciting new idea. Fate is pushing me in this direction.

What do you particularly like about the Cote d’Azur?
I feel very comfortable here and I love the great climate, the restaurants and bars and the lovely lifestyle. I like Valbonne because village life goes on all year round and I love the coast in the summer.

Best restaurant?
La Colombe d’Or, for the history, the food and the setting. And the Voile d’Or in Cap Ferrat, which has a great position and they serve wonderful food. Valbonne’s Lou Cigalon, with Michelin starred chef Alan Parodi, is also wonderful.

Best hotel?
Eden Roc for burgers at 100 euros a pop. It’s the setting that gives it the edge but it’s a bit of a shock that they don’t take cheques or credit cards. Hotel Yucca in the old town of St Tropez is fab. When I was doing ‘Allo ‘Allo, I’d come down and read my scripts there. It’s a great hideaway.

Best bar?
The Cosmo Bar in the square in Villefranche old town is great for cocktails. Mostly I go to other people’s houses, so you can play the music you like and make the cocktails you like and never have to worry about being thrown out at closing time! The Vega Luna opposite the Carlton in Cannes is also a great hang out, especially for the fireworks.

Give a first-time visitor a tip?
If you know someone down here it always helps to get their advice on where to go. Or get in a car and drive round because you find places by chance.

Best town or village?
Villefranche.

What do you always pack for a trip here?
In London I wear a lot of black and cream but down here that looks a bit dull so I bring lots of colourful sarongs and matching bikinis, light summer dresses and a couple of pashminas. I always bring silver and gold mules because they go with everything.

Best shopping?
Chacock on the Rue Commandant Andre, which sells colourful vibrant clothes which are also very hip. I love Reminiscence too, they stock beautiful dress jewellery which looks great with jeans and a white shirt.

Your best A list night out?
It’s always great fun on easyJet owner Stelios’s terrace for the Monaco Grand Prix. The world and his wife are there and you get the best view as it overlooks the finish line. One year I was on board a beautiful superyacht for the Grand Prix but the noise was so loud that Shirley Bassey and I went below deck to watch it on TV instead! We may as well have been in London! I’ve spent the Cannes Film Festival boat hopping from party to party.

Best Riviera party ever?
Sally’s purple party at her house raged on for three days, with huge pools full of foam which people jumped into, mechanical camels people could ride and surf boards. It was amazing.

Favourite beach?
Plage Mala in Cap d’Ail is very hard to find so I only ever go by boat but it’s a beautiful, hidden away spot. I always go to Club 55 in St Tropez, it’s a tradition.

What do you miss about the Cote d’Azur?
I miss the space, the sunshine, the sea and my friends who live down here. It’s like California but with a bit more character.