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St Tropez is a special place for me. After all, my summer home keeps bringing me and my family back here each summer.
There is a misconception that St Tropez is strictly a party place. Yes, I admit that it is overrun with tourists in August. But, that is exactly the reason locals leave the playground, leasing their homes to crazy Russians at hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. In my opinion, the best months to be in St Tropez are reversed- It’s May and June, and then again in September and October that one should really experience this secret summer escape.
October is an especially beautiful time to be there, though one might think the season would have ended. Instead, it pulls out one of the most beautiful spectacles of all… Les Voiles de St Tropez. This beautiful boat race moves the attention from our charming village to the gulf where the beautifically-colored sails crowd the waterways, mesmerizing any viewer overlooking the bay.
Another attraction that makes St Tropez extraordinary is the great shopping. Chanel’s and Dior’s seasonal stores get their collections faster here than any other store in the world, and even more, they tend to get rare items that are hard to find elsewhere. Another store that usually gets a rare selection of items that cannot be purchased in other locations is Fendi. But, my personal new love is the Gucci store, where this summer I had the pleasure of witnessing and choosing from the fashion houses newest creative director, Alessandro Michelle’s, first collection.
Of course dining in St Tropez is one of its delights as well. My favorite places to eat are Pan Dei Palace for a melange of French & Thai cuisine, Salama for Moroccan, Le Girelier & L’Escale for seafood, and Brassiere Des Arts & L’Opera for modern French cuisine where patrons can listen to loud music and enjoy dancing. Sadly, there are no good Japanese restaurants in our village, but if you enjoy raw seafood Chez Madeline is the best place to get oysters; though customers will have to eat standing up, it only adds to the dining experience.Another must experience? In this region of France… wine tasting. There are many vineyards surrounding this village, and you can get the best Rosé in the world for only 15 euro a bottle. While wine tasting in the region, you can visit the chateaux that are not just beautiful, but full of life and character.
When not roaming the countryside, we spend the days on the Pampelonne Beaches, privately owned beaches with restaurants and chairs for rent. The most famous beach clubs are Les Palmiers and Bagatelle, but Nioulargo is the best place for families with children. And of course the most historic and iconic one, Le Club 55, is well known and loved for its authentic, 50 year old Provence menu.
One of my favorite parts of living in this village is to go to the Tuesday and Saturday outdo
For these and many more reasons, St Tropez is one of the truly magical and interesting places to visit. Even wandering through it’s small cobblestone streets to find authentic Provence linens and traditional items of decor is a simple pleasure all its own. One will only know through personal experience, so come and feel this little village for yourself. I’m wishing that pleasure will be yours for the next Voile de St Tropez!
Written & Photographed by Masha Lopatova Kirilenko