There is a place where life is sweet, a colourful, unspoilt village where the lovely smell of Mediterranean pine woods and sun-warmed earth fills the air. With Villa Marie***** as your base, discover this idyllic Côte d’Azur destination.
The French Art de Vivre
The sun rises over Saint-Tropez. On the Plage des Salins, the blue tables are being set up by the sea and the sand is being raked before the loungers are laid out… The only sound is of the waves lapping against the store. The rocky coast here is still untamed, the perfect place for a paddle, your hair ruffled by the wind. Offshore, a handful of boats lie at anchor. Here, off the beaten tourist trail, it is perhaps time to take a break for a picnic with a Mediterranean flavor.
Then you will head for the port of Saint-Tropez, the iconic town of this paradise nestling in the Baie de Pampelonne. Alongside the yachts and little fishing boats in myriad colours, the mahogany-coloured Riva speedboats lord it over the competition.
“The boat that Brigitte Bardot owned is just over there; the Pioupiou!” a regular share with us discreetly. A veritable institution, the red terrace of the Sénéquieris THE place to chill out with an early-evening aperitif.
Continuing along the port, it is hard to resist temptation when faced with the multitude of colourful ice cream flavours on show at Barbarac, providing a welcome respite from the sun beating in the azure sky. Fortunately, a light refreshing breeze blows up. “That will be the tramontane or the mistral; in any event, it is coming from the west”, mutters a fisherman in the port.
As we enter the little back streets behind the port, a new picture-postcard scene takes over: narrow, cobbled with ruelles lined with four-storey houses. The maze of streets guides the promeneur from one place to the next, gazing at the façades and their many colours: beige, pale pink, ochre… set off by green or blue shutters. The walls are lined with ranks of scooters and Vespas, Dolce Vita-style. Whether you stop off at La Tarte Tropézienne to savour its specialty of the same name, or Aux deux Frères for their famous tartes brûlées, life in Saint-Tropez is something to be lived through your taste buds too. In the Fromagerie du Marché, the little Provençal goat’s cheeses or brie à la truffe will delight any cheese fan. But shopping here is about more than food, and Saint-Tropez expresses itself through its boutique brands too: Blabla for Bohemian-style embroidered tunics, jewellery from GAS, a local company, and Rondini with its famous leather Tropézienne sandals. A little further on, with the sun starting to dip in the sky, the pétanque players have taken over Place des Lices.
Back at Villa Marie, enjoy the sweeping views of the Baie de Pampelonne below while savouring the chef’s bouillabaisse, a must prized by foodies everywhere. The unspoilt Saint-Tropez of old is alive and well; you just have to know where to find it…