Greetings dear readers and friends. Well, it looks like we’re finally seeing some spring weather come our way… it’s been quite a long, wet winter here in Provence, but thankfully that’s what makes this place so green all year round. And for all of the complaining about the long winter months in the south, a short walk along the beach in the April sunshine – with the brilliant blue of the Mediterranean as a backdrop – sure goes a long way to making up for our months of “hibernation”.
It was on one such beautiful, sunny Saturday that we made our way to St. Tropez for a visit to the market and a quick, port-side lunch. And well, let me tell you, every visit to St. Tropez feels a bit like we’ve landed on another planet. Coming from Southern California, the best way I can describe it is something like “Beverly Hills by the Sea” – ultra chic and light-years away from our somewhat gritty, but loveable town of Toulon.
And since we hadn’t been to St. Tropez in about 2 years I’d forgotten just busy it can get, year-round, so best to plan a trip outside the “high season” in my humble opinion. As we arrived, we followed a line of SUVs, Porches, Mercedes, and other sundry luxury cars to the parking lot that sits adjacent to the port (which is indeed a great spot to park as it is very large… and was still almost full!) and proceeded to race quickly to the market on Place de Lices.
Of course, like most markets in the south, St. Tropez was full of the usual suspects… fresh fruit & veg, gorgeous flowers of the season, clothes, and loads of specialty foods. But I wasn’t prepared for the size of the market, stretching way past the boundaries of the square, and also for the different très “chic” items for sale… from baby clothes to designer totes to sophisticated hats of all shapes and sizes. Ooo la lahhh.
Needless to say, the market it quite touristy, but it was delightful to hear flitterings of Italian, Spanish, and German as we wound our way through the stalls. Although a little less delightful to hear someone shout out, in English, “Come taste the best truffle-cheese in all of France!”… ie. let the buyer beware of scams and yes, high(er) prices!
Place des Lices
Tuesday and Saturday mornings – folks start packing up around 12:30ish.
Don’t miss a stop at La Tarte Tropezienne (on a small side street directly across from the market) – the perfect spot to sample the city’s famous, and delicious, cream-filled cake.
The port is also a short walk from the market and a great way to get in some mid-day people watching. A coffee or cocktail at one of the cafes is understandably overpriced, but worth paying the “entrance fee” to gawk at the mega-yachts, and mega-sized owners, that hold court along the quay.
Tourist office website: http://sainttropeztourisme.com/