Of course, I am not actually visiting Saints! However, in the area at the Côte d’Azur/Var where we were spending our vacation, a lot of villages begin with “Saint/St“, so it kind of fits.
A list of the places we’ve seen follows, with some impressions of mine.
St. Raphael (footnote: Fréjus)
St. Raphael is an extremely lively little town on the coast. What I liked most was a ferris wheel close to a small port. We rode it for 4 Euro each and had a great view on the various sizes of yachts in the port, the bustling pier and the sea and coastline. ❤☀💑 It was good to ride it before sunset btw, no queue!
Next to the wheel there is a rather new park (“jardin“, see pic…), perfect for a stroll and some cute holiday pics.
I rather disliked that it got more and more crowded in the course of our evening there, and that the village lacks an old town and town centre that is charming. However, it is full of restaurants and cafes, and we ate deliciously (for nearly normal prices), so you have much to choose from.
Quite the contrast was Fréjus, where we had stopped on our way to St. Raphael: artsy, half-deserted and really idyllic. 🙂No crowds, an empty square before an old church, huge trees around it. Lots of narrow streets to walk through and see how people actually live when here year-round. Plus, we stumbled upon an open-air play performed in a courtyard, pretty special!
Well-known for yachts larger than life and the supposed summer destination for the rich and the famous, I expected only this and was happily surprised with St. Tropez’s charme. Sure, there are lots of boats and some restaurants where penne al pomodoro cost 25 Euro (no tomato is that expensive!)… 🍝😯😕
Yet the port itself is surrounded by typical Italian row houses in terracotta-colours, and the pier close to it has the rare talent to combine old stone structures with modern sculptures/ pavements.😍 Moreover we discovered tons of tiny alleys, all clean and cheerful. Despite the 34°, we hiked up to the old fort, which was a rather nice walk through a pine tree park, and exceptionally cheap (3Euro) to enter. It was well cared for and includes a maritime museum. I could not muster any excitement about the latter, admittedly; the view over St. Tropez’s rooftops I enjoyed very much, though (pic).
My favourite discovery, however, was a cemetery situated on the cliffs halfway between town and fort. It radiated a beautiful and peaceful atmosphere, with white stones dominating and the waves crushing on the coastline and some luxury-yachts softly rocking on the clear blue water in the background.
All in all, St. Tropez was really worth the visit (and not for the yachts), though we chose to have dinner someplace else.
Last but not least, my favourite Saint, situated opposite to St. Tropez on the other side of the bay. St. Maxime has a busy pier and port area where many people stroll around, much like St. Raphael. However, off that area there is a town centre that reminded me much of Italian ones. (❤❤❤) It charmed me with its lively alleys and streets where no car could pass through and the lovely old town atmosphere. Shops and restaurants were lined up one after the other, and it seemed as if after every second corner there was a little square with trees and an ice-cream parlour and/or other restaurants. Needless to say, we shopped (reasonable prices) and ate really well at an Indian restaurant and strolled around for quite a while, soaking in the atmosphere.
(note: we were so busy shopping, eating, taking it all in, there is hardly any usable photo to upload 😬😂)
After the disappointment of the village we are staying in, St. Aygulf (it has a nice beach, that’s it) these three/four trips have more than made up for it and restored my belief in spending my summer vacation not only and automatically in Italy. And thus I am still charmed by France (my friends who teach French: hear hear 😉).
(2nd note: all the pics were taken by us)