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Trip Report: One month in St Tropez: Overserved Underfunded

san francisco
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Trip Report: One month in St Tropez: Overserved Underfunded

First week: June 18-25

A little about ourselves, we are in the peak of our late 50's, love france, travel to Paris in the winter and have traveled to St Tropez in the summer for the last four years. I will be SK and Dh will be JK in the report. I post on another travel board, where I see many of you, but this is my first trip report on TA

We leave San Francisco bright and early on a 630 flight to NYC

Someone on the flight has halitosis so bad I'm actually wishing i had one of those surgical masks

There's bad weather in NYC and we cant land so we do the loopdiloop for an hour and a half. Since we have a three hour layover i figure i can wait here in my 17inch chair or in the crowded uncomfortable terminal chairs, a tough decision as to which is more uncomfortable

We land with enough time to grab a bite to eat , where i get carded for my wine , can i have another?,and get back on another plane only to wait at least another hour or two to take off in the bad weather making an already long flight that much longer

We paid a small fee to upgrade to comfort economy....shouldn't they all be comfortable? Apparently not, but for $150 the two of us are way more comfortable in our four extra inches....would definitely pay extra for these seats.

We rent a beautiful new fiat punto from Sixt and are on our way to the villa in no time. Our fourth trip here and we don't make one wrong turn, we're home!! I really like Sixt, the rental isE670 for 28 days,includes everything except insurance,which my cc covers and will be put to the test later!!

Were really tired, we do a quick grocery shop for the basics. I had the foresight to make a shopping list at home before I'm brain dead from the flight which worked out great! We've learned that the grocery store is packed on Sat afternoon with the new arrivals, it's closed on Sun and Mon morning will also be a mob scene, so we need at least three days worth of provisions. We pick up grilled sausages and french cheeses, a baguette, a watermelon and some wine for dinner, which we eat for the next twelve hours because our internal clocks don't know what time/meal it is. We pretty much sleep from mid afternoon till the next morning when we moan through our first shower, how can a shower feel that good! I know others think you should stay awake the first day, but I find if I just relax, sleep on and off, take a sleeping pill for the night, I wake up the next day with little or no jet lag, so I just calculate 3 days to get to Europe into my trip.

Off to the Sunday come to meeting market, yes, its almost a religious experience for me, I wait all year to come to this one. La Croix Valmer market is huge, with equal stalls of food, clothes, the Ginsu type knife that does everything, although this year it is a pair of scissors, and better prices ! As always there is a terrible marching band that only plays one bad tune while walking through town.

This year the hot item are summer scarfs, in every imaginable color. I just can't imagine wearing a scarf around my neck in this heat but I'm taken in by the beautiful fabrics and colors, and hell they weigh nothing to take home! I buy a few for presents and I can use one very cool LONG one as a table runner.

I end up with two straw bags for 10E each and the coolest $10 watch with an extra arm strap in another colors, orange and blue, and later when I am in Cannes I find them selling the same straps for 2E and I get a black and white to add to my collection.

We head to one of our favorite restaurants for lunch, Cafe Valmer which is not disappointing. I have fresh oysters that taste and smell of the sea and then a fabulous grilled squid and pesto salad, DH has a huge mound of steak tartar and fries, i drink a whole little pitcher of rosé, my first of many on the trip, we're stuffed and oh so happy

Off to the Chateau Moutte which is only open today because its someones 200th birthday but I'm not sure who's.( built for Franz List by his daughter, fully stocked library, he never once visited (Jk) )

The chateau is underwhelming,us and the other five people there agree, we are off to check out the port in St Tropez. The chateau will have live classical concerts later in the summer which we will miss.

It's the week of sail boats and races but the mistral wind has everyone on hold. Its howling wind, the boats are lined up 5 deep in the port, one prettier than the other, hundred and hundreds of sail boats. They're nice but we will enjoy the yachts more when they come back in a few days. We cruise through town, its not too crowded yet, the masses aren't here yet....and we will see that the bad economy has affected this area too.

We go home around six and fall asleep early, pick at our leftovers and read, a nice first day!,

(Jk) Sue already scoring big at the markets despite the exchange rate. Blowing through cash like drunken sailors Speaking of which, I went to the bar at Le Club 55 yesterday and was immediately recognized by the bartender who said welcome back, how is San Francisco?. Kinda scary, but I guess that I am the only guy that comes to their bar and spends about $14 US for a small bottle of tonic, and then tips.

Sue's French is much better and she gets a little frustrated because people now assume she speaks French and rattle stuff off faster than she can digest it. Surprisingly, my French is much better from the few Skype lessons I took and despite never doing my assigned homework.

(SK) I have been taking lessons on line with Skype and I think it's fabulous. It's just so easy. I have taken classes in the past and they are either at an inconvienient time or location, three hours in the evening is just to much for me and I've had a few really bad teachers. I had initially found Pierre through Verbal Planet, he is kind and patient, young and enthusiastic and reasonably priced, here is his website if you're interested:

http://www.french4every1.com/Bienvenue.html

My fight with the iphone continues to be a losing battle. While I can call anyone anywhere for a price, an affordable data plan eludes me. I bought 20 MB of data at home for $25. Turned on data roaming for 5 minutes and was up to 5.4 MB right away. Bought a French SIM card for the Ipad for $55 that said I can use it for 2 hours a day for a month. That is if I can get a signal from SFR the cell phone company. Sue puts a chair in the kitchen and hangs the ipad out the window to play Words with Friends at night. (Jk)

UpdateSK) The simcard is a huge success. Money well spent. Most days i have at least one out of three bars INSIDE the apartment! The card was 10E and I bought 1Gb package for 35E, we use it everyday, all day and at the end of the month we have only used half of it, so now we know what to buy for next time. The plan from ATT is a waste of money, we just turn it on for emergencies and we are out of time in a week!! What does work great for the iphone is the international texting plan, we got 50 texts for $10,you can get more but since my billing cycle ended in the middle of our vacation I was able to get 100 texts for the month, incoming texts from the states or france are free, you only pay for outgoing, we use this instead of having to call each other.

We have two days by our pool which is already warm because it was such a warm may....woohoo, and one beach day. The yachts are here but not too many yet. Club 55 is totally full including the restaurant,the wedding party of 35 must have cost a small fortune, the parking lot is overflowing with Maserati's, Ferrari's, Bentley's and Rolls Royce's, a sight i never tire of drooling over. It turns out that this is the only beach club that will be pretty full this summer, the rest are at best half full.

We have totally adopted the free beach next to the the most expensive beach in the area, club 55. We are five feet from all the action, we use their restrooms, jim cruises the bar every hour or two to see who is hanging out out there. It is the beach where the paparazzi set up there enormous cameras to take photos of stars arriving and departing on the dock, so we just wait till we see them excited and then start trying to figure out who's there.The chauffeurs park in front of our beach while their clients are lunching, hanging out in black suits in the heat, looking quite uncomfortable....sometimes they have to play soccer or cricket with the children of their clients keeping them and me very entertained.

We have also met so many people on our free beach, the people are way more friendly , lots of Germans the first week. We meet a 21year old magician from Hungry, i ask if he can make my husband disappear, like he's never heard that line before! A nice young couple with two children who we will meet up with for drinks later, and last but not least, i have befriended ALL the Chinese women who do massages, how u ask, not really sure except i do get my hand and arm massaged each time i am at the beach and i do tip them which i think they are not use to. I had carpel tunnel surgery four weeks ago and the massage helps.... anyway they now take their breaks on my beach towel and chat with me, they have a really odd french accent, hard to understand!

We go to back to Cafe Valmer on the chefs night off and its truly terrible...note to self, most chefs are off on Monday's here, so in the future we will eat at home that evening!!

Grain de Sel: 33 49 45 44 686 Rue du 11 Novembre 6, Cogolin 83310 a great restaurant in cogolin. We start with a salad of mixed greens and big shavings of parmigiana, the dressing made with mint,dill,garlic and anchovies, OMG, who would put that together and think it could be good...I'm still dreaming of it and must get back to enjoy it again

Main courses were cod fish with potatoes and olive oil, a specialty down here. The waitress says the plate is hot be careful...the plate is so hot I'm surprised it doesn't explode, a law suit ready to happen in the states!

We have the most unusual and delicious dessert, an ice cream souffle, vanilla with orange essence,another please!!!!

The outdoor markets are over run with lace this year, cheep lace, now on everyone vacationing here too, including me! It surprises me that the things in the outdoor markets changes so much, including them getting much bigger sizes, which they didn't have four years ago. JK thinks i shop too much, he might be right.

La Croix Valmer has a music festival every year the first weekend we are here. Last year we bought tickets for an orchestra performance, which we though was to be jazz, it was just OK. This year we ask which night will the jazz , the girl at the tourist office isn't sure, but maybe tonight because they have a lot of horns (?) OK, we bite and get tickets. The town has a new open amphitheater, a beautiful setting, we arrive early for good seats...not a problem as we are the first there...hey, that looks like an orchestra set up...wtf...a yes, an orchestra without any string instruments...we leave early again!

Today we go back to see the marching bands, usually terrible but quite entertaining, and to have our first but not last of the trip's big huge cold seafood platter with he best raw oysters in he world, jury is still out on the sea snails, kinda chewy! ( the marching band is from the Czech Republic, late teens early 20's, drinking beer between every song, they entertain us with American tunes while marching, including, of all things....Anchors Away, Battle Hymn of the Republic, and Hooray for Hollywood (Jk)

We have dinner at ours friends parents home, lovely dinner of fish and fresh pasta, a new favorite bubbly rose champagne from Chateau Pampallone, 8E a bottle, and a huge hangover the next day!

Bradenton, Florida
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1. Re: Trip Report: One month in St Tropez: Overserved Underfunded

What a marvelous trip report! That and my Sunday New York Times are keeping me very happy today...

san francisco
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2. Re: Trip Report: One month in St Tropez: Overserved Underfunded

SECOND WEEK june 25-july2

The second week ends with a bang....literally, but i'll get to that later, what would vacation be for us without a little drama

Our landlord hosts a dinner for us, two of their best friends, Annie and Jean- Jacques, and another couple staying here from Annecy. She did this last year also...again she has a private chef who makes a fabulous dinner. We have an aperitif rosé wine with apricot infusion, yummm! The first course is a Thai inspired course, tiny fried spring rolls on a nice salad with mint...there is also extra lettuce leaves to roll around the rolls and mint and then dip in a hot sweet sauce...all the french people at the table call it American salad because its iceberg lettuce! We think its funny that they think we all eat iceberg lettuce, I'm sure it was in our honor, but honestly i haven't had iceberg in years. The rest of the dinner is delicious, bbqed whole fishes, bbqed Yukon gold potatoes and ratatouille, peaches poached in wine and ginger and lots of rosé! Yet another re-coup day by the pool!

This week is windy, our umbrellas blow inside out at the beach and try to impale us and others. Its a pool week.

We go on little day trips this week. Hyeres is a beautiful old town, it has three islands off of it with no cars, a great mansion with a fabulous garden, we like the town and will return to see everything, this was a reconnaissance mission. We have fabulous salads at a local place because, as usual, we get a late start, take the long way to drive to these places...arriving when everything closes for lunch! After lunch we walk around town, head to the garden, but decide it's too hot and head back to our pool...I don't think I've mentioned that it's between 32-40 C the whole month!

The big buzz this week is the wedding in Monaco! Starting on Thursday there are free concerts and fireworks for three nights, which are too late at night for us to go and get back home. ST is really not a convenient place to take day trips from, it's a good 45 min to just get up to the A8. We go to Monaco on Friday, the day of the civil wedding. The whole town is decked out in flowers, red and white which are Monaco's colors, flags from every balcony in town, congratulations in every shop window and police every five feet! The main square in front of the Palace is being set up for a buffet dinner that evening for everyone who is a resident in Monaco, we see people arriving at the Hotel Paris in the Bentley's and Rolls Royces next to the casino, we even see them doing a practice drive by dry run with the royal children in the cars, we're thrilled to wave at them. The prince has made everything from music to parking to buses free this weekend , what a great gesture, thanks. When we leave the town in the late afternoon the town is filling up with people decked out in fabulous hats, wish we could stay but we can't. I watch the religious wedding the next day and recognize all the places i saw yesterday. The wedding is spectacular, her dress is by Armani and truly regal, we watch the TV and wave our little free flags we got yesterday...OK just i wave the flag! The hats and clothes of the guests are even more amazing than Kate and Williams guests! Unfortunately Kate looked a lot happier at her wedding than Charleen did at hers. There was a lot of scandal before the wedding about her wanting to call it off because she found out about another child that he had...no idea if it was true but made for interesting speculations.

We have nice dinners at two restaurants this week: Le table de Didier in Grimaud and Bello Visto in Gassin.

LA TABLE DE DIDIER

Saint-Pons Les Mûres RD 559

83310 Grimaud - PACA

France

tél : 06 81 04 38 46

tél : 04 94 49 58 31

It's a new restaurant, right on the road between St Maxine and St Tropez, kind of an unfortunate spot but have made the backyard into a beachy scene and the food was delicious. They had a price fix at 49E, three delicious courses which I didn't write down. JK had a wonderful steak with fois gras and three little bowls of potatoes, mashed white potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes and a gratin, that's about all I can remember. It was good but pricey, don't know if I would return. It's such an expensive area that we try to keep cost down by not having too expensive of dinners, we hardly ever eat in ST which is expensive and I don't find to be that good.

Bello Visto: http://www.bellovisto.eu/restaurant.php I had to trash a place with such warm, lovely friendly owners, who go out of their way to serve you. The restaurant truly has one of the best views of the Bay of ST and they have a nice price fix at 29E. Our friends love this place so we only come with them. Out of the five meals we had, two were just not up to par, the rabbit was delicious, my friend ordered lamb well done so that is her fault not the restaurants, but I really feel it's a hit or miss there. They have a cute little hotel with inexpensive rooms which I think would be fine for a few nights.

The other restaurant in Gassin that we wanted to try, also in the same location with the same views was Le Micocoulier, which we will have to try next year. http://www.lemicocoulier.com/

I still love Picard, the frozen food store here in France. If only we had something like this at home. I have taken to not cooking anything on vacation except this stuff, which is amazing and reasonably priced. It offsets the above paragraph!

For starters we have these little tastes of cold soups, pea and mint, tomato and basil and carrot, a great first course. For the mains we have lamb confit over mushroom rice, a nice white cod fish in pesto with really one of the best tobouli I've ever eaten, always love the mussels Provencal over pasta, tomato tarts and nice and light, another scallop and white fish over tiny diced vegetables, and of course.....VACHERON, there's is fabulous!

Another great thing about Picards is they put the calorie count on the boxes, which are very reasonable, the portions are just the right amount, it's also a great way to offset the pastries, dinners and especially the abundance of rosé

We have an impromptu party at our place this week. Ellen and the kids have arrived, her parents are here too, my landlord and her mother come down for the apero, and then aileen and bernard from Annecy who will leave this weekend, join us too. Thank goodness Ellen and her folks are all fluent, the conversation is in all languages, everyone has there computer,ipad,iphone, showing pictures to enhance the story or at least make it understandable.. I think a good time is had by all, especially us that finished off four bottles of the new favorite pink champagne! The fresh pasta shop in town has fabulous ravioli's stuffed with daube which we have with a marinara sauce, we grill sausages and red bell peppers and of course, have the vacheron for desert...followed by another pool day tomorrow!

Today starts the summer vacation for the french. The grocery store is stuffed to the rafters with boxes to stock the shelves with...OMG who's coming? Its been very low key at the Tahiti beach club that we like, but i think it is going to change shortly.

Because of this surge of people it is impossible for us to get a new car after i crash ours in the ditch!

Yes, I've had a little accident, what would our vacation be without one. At least this year it wasn't a spectacular crash! I am turning into my street to return home with the groceries, the road is one and a half cars wide....many roads are one and a half cars wide, making driving somewhat of a game. I see two cars coming down the road so to let them go first and to get off the main road so no one rear ends me I pull over to the right...a little too far...the whole front of the car plunges into the ditch....the car is also now making a funny hissing sound..i jump out and two of the wheels are in mid air...OMG...the car is teetering , the teens in the other car want to rock it back and forth to rescue it... Oh please don't do that, i have visions of it rolling over..they give me a ride up to my house, thank god my landlord is there to help me call for assistance which is only in french, really? I'm on the verge of hysteria, is there a black cloud over my head that i cant see, everyone is saying " ce n'est pas grave," really you think so, the tow truck is there by the time we walk down to the car, he has already had it pulled out, i think this happens often here...unfortunately the radiator is crushed which was what was making the hissing sound, the car is towed off and we now have no wheels. Being a red flag weekend the rental car company tells us there isn't a car to replace mine, nothing from Marseilles to Italy, they call back to say we they found us one for Monday....guess tomorrow will be a pool day and dinner from Picards!!!!!! Everyone tells us it is not big deal, they've done it too and I'm thinking with all this land they couldn't have made the roads two car widths wide???Go figure

We feel the sting of a bad exchange rate this year, coupled with extravagent air prices, we'll have to make some other plans for next year.. Its getting more difficult to travel to an expensive area in high season. But we are going to have a great time this year and only come here next year for two weeks instead of four!

Bradenton, Florida
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3. Re: Trip Report: One month in St Tropez: Overserved Underfunded

OMG! The accident! I was on the edge of my seat reading about it. I've ditched a car in in a steep road grade as well. How frightening...

Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: Trip Report: One month in St Tropez: Overserved Underfunded

I hope you'll continue... the 2 of you have had me laughing out loud!

Antibes, France
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5. Re: Trip Report: One month in St Tropez: Overserved Underfunded

Well it's great to hear how you are all getting on at the other end of the Cote d'Azur. Nice if you could sign on as an expert!

Ed

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6. Re: Trip Report: One month in St Tropez: Overserved Underfunded

I've already banked the film rights, the book rights, Sunday newspaper serialization rights, and a box-set Season One "CSI St Tropez" is in production. Robert de Niro is shortlisted for DK, and Jane Fonda (she can play the younger roles too) is in casting as SK.

Loosely based on the TA Reports we also have interest in "The Grizzwalds do the Riviera" and Mr Bean's Mediterranean Holiday 2 3D, with placement opportunities for Ipad, SiXT, and Skype. This is TA at its most entrepreneurial.

Seriously, a new benchmark in TA feedback reports, well done! (my agent will be in touch)

san francisco
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7. Re: Trip Report: One month in St Tropez: Overserved Underfunded

You guys are funny too!!

I hardly consider drinking too much rosé , spending too much money and getting too tan as credentials for an expert on the area, but thanks for the compliment.

NiceLIfe...I like your casting!!

3rd week

Starts off with ellen being our chauffeur until we can get a car on

Monday, she does a fine job of taking us to the Tahitti Beach Club, which

except for the weekends when there is live music, is dead and only half

full.

Tahiti beach club on Sunday is out of control fun. We spend equal time on the matlas at the beach and at the bar where there is a live singer on the weekends. He is this big black guy with an incredible voice, he really gets the house moving, everyone that drank too much at lunch are staggering and dancing and I fear they will drown when they jump in the med to cool off. If club 55 isn't expensive enough, we get a Schweppes tonic, a glass of rose wine and a diet coke for 30€!! We are having so much fun its worth the price..almost!

In comparison, we return to Tahiti on wed and its just dead, at 500pm there are only 5 people in the bar. Hard to figure out when and when not it will be fun, we don't like spending so much $$ when it's not crowded..I know some would like a quiet relaxing beach scene but for that I don't have to pay these prices, I want it all, people yachts music, bring it all on!

We go to the rental agency on Monday and they give us a gutless ford

fiesta this time...we ask about the accident, no problem, good it

didn't involve another car..OK... good for who...we will have to deal

with the visa credit card coverage for the accident when we get home,

which i hope to pursue in English

(SK) I am finding Sixt to be very good to deal with for the accident. They gave me

another car, no problem, when we dropped it off..no problem. I have received some

paperwork to fill out, my credit card says once I get them all the papers they will pay up in

5 days...could it really go that smoothly?

Four weeks is a REALLY long time to be on vacation. At the three week

mark we seem to be done with all the food, all the drink,all the sun

and all the day trips. The good thing about 4 weeks is you can take a

day or two off and then get right back in the saddle!

4th of July we always go to club 55 with our friends who love this place. Its all decked out with American flags, every table gets an amuse bouche of.....chicken nuggets from McDonald's....i guess they think we all love this, Ellen's boys are over joyed!!!

Its raining on and off today so many people must have cancelled their reservations as the place is not packed to the gills, we have a nice lunch and just as we are about to leave the skies open up, everyone is rushing in from the matlas on the beach, drenched, the pool boys are scattering to bring in all the cushions, we have drinks in the bar and watch all the action, chatting it up with four women from England here for a week. With two bottles of rose at lunch and an extra big glass at the bar, I am in bed and asleep by 700 and stay that way for twelve hours...with only a touch of the flu the next day:)

A little about Club 55. It's a happening place, but I get the feeling there are way more Americans there than French..why you ask? Well I think the food is terrible, and terribly expensive for what you get. I have learned what to order and when I stray from that I am always disappointed. They have a great lardon/egg salad for , mussels are also good but small and not as good as other resturants, their steak tartar and fries are good, but this is food that you can get anywhere. The entre of raw vegatables with a hardboiled egg and I swear bottle salad dressing, at 25E a person is a rip off, half the vegs are uneatable and this is my theory, they then make ratatoulle with the left over veggies, which appears on many plats, and really isn't very good! Expect to pay 100E a person with wine.

Its also the week of free concerts, it seems like every place has some music to enjoy. One night we go to caviallare sur mer for the " funk experience". The port is surrounded by a hundred restaurants at least, mostly empty...are they ever full, there are so many..we hope to return for a nice inexpensive dinner. We buy an ice cream to share and go over and get seats at the beautiful new amphitheater right on the water, a beautiful setting....yes another one...and wait for the music, which is anything BUT funky! Its all American songs, the singer doesn't actually know what the words mean, which is going to be a theme on the music here, and since we know all the words we are thoroughly amused at all the mistakes in the lyrics. Sometimes we can't actually name that tune...its so familiar but what was it?? They are selling whirly bird thingies that you launch like a sling shot and then they light up in the sky and fall back to earth...my big child of a husband buys two, breaks one, buys two more, shoots it into his finger which is now swollen, we leave the concert early.

-

Another evening back to the amphitheater at la croix valmer for a

"tribute band to the ROLLING STONES"... this should be good!!!

It does not disappoint, the band actually does a great job at playing

their music, but again, the lyrics are wrong!!!

The whole crowd is rocking out, they love it, all the kids are allowed

on stage with the band...can you imagine that in the USA...and some of

the songs are sing a longs for the audience, like sympathy for the devil...we have a great evening

and don't leave early.

I've been here four years in a row and have yet been to Cannes. We get

a little lost, lots of traffic because we leave an hour later than we

want to, same theme again, and arrive to just dump the car in the

first lot we can find. JK and I split up, the twice yearly sales have

started in France, me to shop and JK to take photos. I find the old

town first, rue st Antoine, which i love, is full of little quaint

restaurants and cheep stores with sales. I wander and shop for a

while,JK meets me for lunch, and then we wander over to the modern

area, jam packed with people shopping like there's no tomorrow, every

store in Paris is here, its a mecca for me. People are shoulder to

shoulder carying tons of shopping bags, it looks like Christmas eve

except its 100 degrees! We actually love Cannes and will return

every chance we get. The port is huge with even bigger boats

including a cruise ship or two, which is hard to distinguish from the

yachts, and the beach is beautiful, sandy and packed...cant wait to

partake in all the fun and glamor. We find a beach club here and the matlas

are only 15E...really? it's cheaper than ST??

Nice
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8. Re: Trip Report: One month in St Tropez: Overserved Underfunded

susanna wrote- Its all American songs, the singer doesn't actually know what the words mean, which is going to be a theme on the music here, and since we know all the words we are thoroughly amused at all the mistakes in the lyrics.

====

when my kids were at primary school here, every year the end of term show was a nightmare for this reason.

Little kids would be dancing around on stage miming to the most disgusting foul language songs available [in English] and the audience would be sitting oblivious except for us and the other couple of english native language parents who would be sitting cringing

French people that i knew spoke english for their jobs didn't seem to be able to interpret the words and would be gaily nodding along

if we explained the lyrics , they were always shocked but it happened every year.

Edited: 25 July 2011, 21:50
san francisco
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9. Re: Trip Report: One month in St Tropez: Overserved Underfunded

selkeinice: i've looked up the english words to some songs I like and was QUITE SURPRISED too. I hope you have a video of your children singing these songs...

week 4

We have a new young couple from Belgium in the little studio, Julian

and Seline, and a couple from Paris in the other studio whom we met

here last year, Patrick and Isabelle. Patrick speaks great English and

the rest of them speak a little, we have everyone over for an apero

and a chat...four hours and six empty bottles later, we are all good

friends who will lay around the pool tomorrow to recover! I have one

of those awkward language moments when we are showing all of our

purchases to each other. I am showing my two new twin quilts, which

we love because they are light weight and we each now get our own. I

tell everyone we are hot in bed, they break out hysterically

laughing, i think they thought a DIFFERENT kind of HOT My tutor

says I should have said "we have hot" not "we are hot"!

We enjoy the polo parade in ST, its small, the horses poop all

over the main street at the port, they clean it up in record time for

the tourists, were impressed. We have drinks at cafe de paris, which

costs a fortune but we have a great table and view. This is also our go to place in the

morning for coffee and to watch the boats wake up.

We have dinner at cafe milano, on the place lices, an acceptable place

to eat reasonably.

Sat is a double fun night for us. At 500 there is a free polo match

which we went to last year and had a great time. It is every sat in

July and Aug, free They have a nice buffet with drinks for 14€,

which we only have a little bit of because we are going out to dinner

tonight...it ends up giving JK a tummy ache and we have to cut the

evening short. I think a buffet never sits well with JK and i think

he now knows it too.

It is the truffle and jazz dinner in cogolin, its set up between two

streets and closed to traffic, we have an amazing dinner before JK

turns green and we have to leave before desert. The jazz this year

is just OK,but the food was amazing.

Two restaurants host it, grain de sel and the la grange des agapes

both great restaurants

for 55E which also includes a bottle of wine for the two of us.

We start with a choice of aperitifs, i have the mimosa, which here is

champagne with a mimosa liqueur, fab, an amazing cold cream of truffle

soup to start. Next up is my favorite, two poached eggs and two

poached asparagus all with a truffle sauce. The main course is a

half of squab of course with truffles under the skin and two small

mushroom/truffle cannelloni, absolutely delish! The desert would have

been fresh strawberries with zabaglione, but we have to make a quick

exit! Its OK because i don't think i can eat another bite.

Tuesday and Saturday are market days in ST. You have to get up early

and be on the road by 730-800, otherwise a 10 min trip will take an

hour!! Its a great market with everything from antiques ( do people

on vacation really buy old furniture?) , clothes food flowers, u name

it, its there for the taking. JK comes with me but heads to the port

for coffee. He loves watching the yachts come awake, the crews are

out shopping for a dozen loaves of bread and huge bags of pastry for

their clients, the rookie crew members stay on the boats to mop,

squeegee and shine the boats up. A coffee at the port is 5€ , you pay

a price for this kind of entertainment. We often go to the local

place, le sporting club, across from the market for a under cooked

runny omelet, our favorite way to eat it, and to watch the market action

which is out of control crazy crowded by 1030! We go home for a nap,

its an exhausting morning.

Ellen's friends have arrived...with 4 more kids. We do NOTHING with

them this week, 6 kids are too many to go anywhere with, even the

beach, we go to whichever beach they aren't going to, they understand!

We take a day trip to Provence to visit our first apartment rental and

the people who own it, Jacques and Katy. We rented from them 7 years

ago, have visited them once 3 years ago with Ellen as our

interpreter. We became friend that first trip with neither of us

speaking the others language, have kept in touch with cards once or

twice a year. I'm hoping my skype lessons with Pierre are going to pay

off. I'm actually a little nervous driving there, which is about 2

1/2 hours from ST. We aren't there five minutes and Jacques says "

Susan, you can speak, and with a good accent"... I give him ANOTHER

three kisses! We have a wonderful three hour lunch, sardines and

butter on toasts, fresh melon from the patch across the road with

smoked prosciutto, bbq duck breast and ratatouille, lemon sorbet with

vodka poured over it and tart tropezian...we catch up on their

children, their soon to be born first grandchild, other people who

were vacationing there when we were. When we arrive home about 6 that

night, i am totally mentally exhausted, but so so happy!

When I think of the "underfunded" part I think back to this trip to Provence.

They live right outside of Isle sur la Sorgue and Perns les Fontaine.

This is a pretty touristy area too, we stayed here for two weeks 7 years ago.

We arrived about an hour early so we go into town to walk around, we sit down and have

a coffee and coisiant and a schweeps tonic...in ST that would be 20E....l'addision

SVP...no really is that the price??...6.5E, OMG !!

We have another dinner with the chef at home. Isabelle and Patrick are

still here for their second week and Selines parents took her place,

Leo and Isabel, who are our age. They love to drink here which I'm just

about over now. I start with my first absinthe with sugar and water,

very refreshing. We have one of the best cervichi Ive ever eaten,

guess what goes on top of it...corn nuts!!! Where they found corn nuts

in France i have no idea, but i have to tell you it was great. The

main course is souri of lamb..hey isn't souri a mouse?, yes but this

is a different souri..OK, looks like little legs of roasted lamb to me

with mashed potatoes and two deserts, a marscapone ice cream which is

beyond description and a peach tart, still warm!!! I make another

language/ culture mistake, and i don't even know it. The last dinner i

had brought a big bouquet of freesia and agapanthas, Monique said it

wasn't necessary, yes it was! Not wanting to go over board, i had

bought this really cute white vase with three compartments to fill. I

went out on the property to pick a bunch of greens and made a really

cool Japanese arrangement for the vase. It was sitting on a table

and someone commented how pretty it was, where did i get it, i said

right there the yard, i picked that plant over there, they all got a big

laugh out of that, that i pilfered the yard for my hostess

gift...some things i just cant explain correctly!

Abby Thornet is a beautiful old stone abbey built 1000 years ago...in

the middle of no where like most abbeys! We have a rainy day so we

drive to nowhere to see beautiful architecture where the monks stopped

living 600 years ago, not really that exciting of a trip. I take the

rest of the rainy day to pack up and leave in three days, and hurray,

it all fits! Its always such a relief when i can get it into the bags

with a few ounces to spare.

--

All day at the beach on the fete du national...crowded but not over the top. Went to our favorite beach, the free one next to club 55... It being a holiday we would have expected more action. The yachts weren't that big and there were no celebrity sightings, the paparazzi on our beach had nothing to do.

Jim brought a football to play with the kids in the water, it ended up being an international game with seven different languages saying, "here"pass it to me

We went to St Maxine for the festivities. The road was packed, it took almost an hour to go 10 k, and when we got there all the parking lots were full so we drove up into town and watched the locals parking everywhere, particularly on the sidewalks....so we did the same and hoped it was too crowded for a tow truck to get up there. We were right, the car was still there when we returned.

Every table in every restaurant was packed. We headed down to the cafe maxine which we like to go to. Its right on the main strip so the people watching is great, they always have a live band and you already know how much i enjoy them singing in English, tonight was no exception. Here are a few of the better lyrics:

Dis ouse aint no ome

Seeding by da dock of da bay

Otel california

Name those tunes!

They actually have real good salads and a foccacia type pizza which they cut up in one inch squares . I think this is because the french eat pizza with a fork and knife and this must make using your fingers more acceptable

I also don't mean to make fun of the way the french sing American songs...there are so many sounds in french that I can't make. I also love french songs, which I'm sure I sing the same way they sing my songs!!

The fireworks on the beach are fantastic. The whole beach is packed with families, there are no punky kids throwing firecrackers , but they also don't ohhhh and ahhhh like we (I) do. We are able to see two firework shows simultaneously, ours way twice as long as the one across the bay in port grimaud. Maybe since there was music everywhere afterward people stayed because we were dreading getting out of dodge and it was a piece of cake.

Our last day of vacation we pack everything up, we couldn't possibly fit another slip of paper in any of the three bags which are all weighing it at maximum weight. I think that 'Ive helped the french economy quite a bit this time.

Ellen and the whole family come over for a swim and to say goodbye. I end up half unpacking so she can see what Ive bought! Tonight one of the other apartments is having cocktails and a final good by....until next year when we all decide to come back and be here at the same time...we really liked each other. My landlords 93 year old mother lives here now and I've totally fallen in love with her, i hate to say goodbye so instead i have a little cryfest for her and we kiss six times instead of three!

Our flight from nice to nyc is pretty uneventful ...except for the woman blocking the boarding lane and asking or should i say demanding " are you in business class". And my comment, " who appointed u door monitor". She boarded before us , who really cares, and when we sit down she is in the back of the bus with us..right across the isle...what is with people when it comes to flying?

The people in front of us were The Entitled variety...having ordered a special meal, nothing wrong with that, I've done it too, but then trying to get the regular meal too!! I heard her say her meal was the low sodium but she had no problem eating about 6 bags of nuts, demanding that they find her second special meal half way through the flight, and once again then trying to geth the regular meal too..really, do you really like the food that much.

And my vacation ends on the most fabulous note possible....an upgrade to first class fron nyc to sf..what could be sweeter than that when you 're that tired and hot and just want to get home....it revived us for the last six hours...THANK YOU DELTA!

A few random thoughts:

The french drive like maniacs, passing when they shouldn't, tailgating

so close i can see something in their teeth, only to approach the next

car twenty feet ahead of us to do the same thing to them....BUT...they

will spend three hours eating lunch !

The regular cheap store brand Dijon mustard is better than any

artisans Dijon i can buy at home

The worst i drive the more nervous JK's driving makes me

We watch kids driving those little go cart type cars in a Circuit Junior. One boy has a broken arm in a cast and sling, which doesn't stop him from smashing into everyone...we think this must be where the French learn to drive.

We see "tongs" everywhere! I know the h is silent in French but isn't

"thongs" a universal word???

No matter what degree of undress the french are sporting at the pool, anything from topless to total nudity, they will go into their apartment and get fully dressed and set a table to sit down for lunch, and proceed to eat three lite courses. They ask us if we aren't having lunch, we're embarrased to admit we eat standing up at the counter, a little everytime we return to the apartment.

I think that they give you bad food on the way home on the plane so that you won't forget and think you're still in France, but didn't they buy that food in France?

Zoo trains are very big in France...why?

Thanks for reading We think we are not doing very much until i read the trip report,

no wonder were tired.

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10. Re: Trip Report: One month in St Tropez: Overserved Underfunded

what are Zoo trains?

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