Sights of siz­zling St Tropez

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - LIFE - POST­CARDS GLENDA HAL­LI­WELL

ST-TROPEZ is best known as a glitzy play­ground for the rich and fa­mous, and the space­ship-like yacht moored at Vieux Port. Pos­si­bly one of the most fa­mous re­sorts in Europe, it is also one of the busiest and liveli­est towns along the French Riviera coast dur­ing the sum­mer.

In the 2950s when screen siren Brid­get Bar­dot ar­rived in St Tropez, the peace­ful fish­ing vil­lage trans­formed into a siz­zling jet-set favourite overnight. The ‘Tropeziens’ have thrived on their sexy im­age ever since. Pop­u­lar with artists, the town at­tracted the in­ter­na­tional “jet set” in the 1960s, and re­mains known for its beaches and night life.

There is a serene side to this vil­lage even though it is tram­pled by 60,000 sum­mer­time res­i­dents and vis­i­tors on any given day. Dur­ing the qui­eter sea­son, St-Tropez takes on a mes­meris­ing, quaint beauty. The cob­bled lanes in the old fish­ing quar­ter of La Ponche are where you can sip pastis at a Place Des Lices cafe, watch old men play pe­tanque be­neath plane trees or walk in soli­tary splen­dour from one beach to an­other along the coastal path.

By the har­bour, lunch like the French in a cosy cafe, watch the pass­ing pa­rade and ogle at the ritzy yachts in the har­bour. For a true Proven­cale treat, try the fa­mous bouil­l­abaisse dish ac­com­pa­nied by a fine glass of Bur­gundy or Bordeaux from a lo­cal vine­yard.

The open air mar­ket is a good place to wan­der around for hid­den an­tique trea­sures or lo­cal hand­i­crafts. Break out the credit cards for shop­ping at the up­scale bou­tiques, or curb your spend­ing and set­tle on a qual­ity bot­tle of olive oil or wine from Provence.

The walk around the old head­land fort has won­der­ful views of the blue Mediter­ranean wa­ters and up­mar­ket shore­side man­sions, not to men­tion the oblig­a­tory mega yacht, an­chored nearby.

Be­sides the mes­meris­ing azure blue seas, Saint-Tropez also has a ver­dant coun­try­side of pine trees, olive groves, cy­presses, and shrub lands. The dis­tant views across the sea to the Mau­res Moun­tains are also out­stand­ing.

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