Journey of Provence: The Coast

The Côte d’Azur is France’s famous beach resort coast running from St-Tropez through the French Riviera to the Italian border. The French Riviera is definitely a trip worth making … home to Nice (Old City and port), Monte Carlo (Casino and opulence), and Cannes (luxury and world renowned film festivals) … but my favorite spot on the coast is St-Tropez.

Day 5 we drove past Aix-en-Provence, across the Var region (with a stop in Les Arc for Côtes de Provence wine) and into St Tropez for the final days of our trip.

St-Tropez is the perfect mix of quaint fishing village, holiday resort and ‘rich and famous,’ made so by the many fashion icons (in the 1930s Coco Chanel), writers, painters and the film industry (mainly 1950s Brigitte Bardot in And Got Created Woman) capturing its beauty for the world to see.  Its a great spot for a few day visit and, while a little pricey side, it combines everything the Côte d’Azur has to offer yet feels very welcoming.

Must GO’s for your visit…

  • Vieux Port: Sure to be a central part of your visit its the view you see in the pictures, full of yachts and local fishing boats, lined with cafes and bistros, painters selling gorgeous works of this famous view with the iconic Eglise de St-Tropez tower peaking above town. We spent several afternoons at Café le Sénéquier with an aperitif people and yacht watching.
  • Stroll and Shop: From the Port, meander your way through the streets of great shopping to reach the central squre Place des Lices.  Shaded by giant plane trees, its home to the market Tuesday and Saturday morning for gorgeous fruits, veggies, flowers, antiques and my favorite woven shopping baskets. Line with great cafes, grab a spot on a non-market day to watch the locals play pétanque. Our October trip also put us there during Autumn Super Sale… a weekend where every shop sets up sale tables outside their door with dramatic price reductions.  It was fantastic… I got 4 bathing suits from Kiwi, the great French shop, for €60.
  • The Citadel – Climb to the top of town to visit the fortress’ 17th century ramparts, towers and great views into town and across to the French Riviera.
  • Pampelonne Beach – This 3 mile stretch of sand has a beach club for everyone. Club 55 is the hot spot for a great afternoon bite and chilled local bottle of Chateau Barbeyrolles (also used as spot while filming And Got Created Woman).
  • Dining – You’ll eat well with so many restaurants and cuisines from which to chose…renowned Colette and Le Spoon to small bistros like Grenadine, a cozy spot for their fish specialties.

We stayed at La Yaca, an 18th century Provencal manor up the hill on a cobblestone street, that’s played host to Orson Welles and Greta Garbo in the past. On my first trip I stayed at the Le Ponche, an intimate 4 star beauty right on the sea in the La Ponche district.

The perfect end to our Journey of Provence. Until next time…