Glamour, Beaches and History are Only the Beginning
There’s all of this and much more to discover in the south of France, especially in the spring — before the summer crowds overwhelm the coast — or in the fall, after they have all gone home. Join the “scene” at St. Tropez’s Place des Lices, where there are countless popular cafés and a lively market each week. Sample the latest cocktails on a harborside terrace, or marvel at the eclectic beach fashions on parade at the nearby Plage de Pampelonne.
If you’re looking for the road less traveled, you don’t have to go far. While many stretches of the Côte d’Azur are cluttered with modern development, the coast southwest of St. Tropez still possesses a striking natural landscape and traditional, provincial character. Gassin and Bormes-les-Mimosas offer spectacular views to the sea and picturesque medieval streets. A short ferry ride away is a series of tiny islands that reward those willing to leave their cars behind to explore by bike or on foot. The main islands – Ile de Port-Cros and Ile de Porquerolles – are protected national parks with secluded beaches, turquoise waters and quaint island communities.
The Var provides a wealth of discoveries; here you’ll find a more rustic landscape, halfway between the coast and the foothills of the Alpes-Maritimes. This was the setting for Marcel Pagnol’s classics Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, later made into feature films starring Gerard Dépardieu. The countryside is dotted with villages such as Entrecasteaux, Aups, and Villecroze that seem to epitomize the Provençal pace of life. Further east, above Nice and Cannes, explore the villages of Fayence, famous for its delicate hand-painted ceramics, and Grasse, where fragrances for France’s perfume industry are distilled. Afterwards, visit the world-renowned Fondation Maeght in St. Paul or the Musée Picasso in Antibes. A week is not enough to see it all!
St. Tropez Must-Dos and Can’t-Misses…
- The weekly market at the Place des Lices in St. Tropez
- A day at the famous Pampelonne beach
- Shopping for ceramics and hand-painted tiles in Salernes
- Sunset across the Mediterranean from the hilltop village of Gassin
- The world-renowned 20th century art collection at Fondation Maeght near St. Paul de Vence
- Sniffing perfume aromatics in Grasse and shopping for faiënce in, well, Fayënce
St. Tropez for Kids…
- Hiking into the dramatic calanques (fjords) near Cassis, then cooling off in the sparkling waters below
- Horseback riding high in the back country of the Var
- Windsurfing and paragliding at the Lac du Verdon or canoeing down the Gorge de Verdon
- Snorkelling around (or hiking/biking across) the Ile de Port-Cros or Ile de Porquerolles in the brilliant turquoise waters of the Mediterranean
Overlooking the beach and the sparkling blue waters of St. TropezBedrooms: 4Bathrooms: 2Children: YesMax Occupancy: 8
Casual elegance with a private beachBedrooms: 6Bathrooms: 6Children: YesMax Occupancy: 12
A haven of peace and sunshineBedrooms: 8Bathrooms: 7Children: YesMax Occupancy: 16