Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

St. Tropez

St. Tropez is located on a rustic peninsula along the French Riviera. When planning the day trip along the coast, we expected to jump on the freeway and reach the small vacation town in under an hour. We had no idea that the coastal mountain range would make this destination of the rich and famous so difficult to get to. Our drive took over 2 1/2 hours, a good half hour of which was spent waiting in traffic along the only road that leads into St. Tropez. We later read in a tour guide that the best way to reach St. Tropez is by Yacht.

I could not imagine a starlet or foreign prince waiting in market day traffic or touring endlessly through back streets looking for a parking spot. Never mind the size and view from George Michael's sea-side mansion, I want to know how he avoids the local hassle.

The lifestyles of the rich and famous were made a bit clearer from the deck of a sight-seeking boat ride around the St. Tropez peninsula. Although the tour guide was committed to pointing out all the famous villas in an incoherent accent, the more impressive view was the mega-yachts moored outside the harbor. Amid the Sapphire blue waters of the Mediterranean, there's little motivation to return to the hectic land - better for your butler to do that.

St. Tropez Yachts

We were actually surprised to see so many boats docked in the harbor on a beautiful weekend. I suppose the large colorful market was enough to draw the nouveau riche port side. We only purchased a few things to eat, preferring the less classy but more affordable wares of the market in Bagnols-sur-Cèze.


Before the long adventure back over the coastal mountains, we decided to check out the famous St. Tropez beaches. Pulling up the long drive to one parking area (for which there is a fee, of course) I thought I saw a battleship in the sea. It turns out to have just been a ridiculously large private yacht painted gun-mental gray. The beach had a course white sand - quite the luxury on the typically rocky Riviera. There were quite a few beach side bars, including one that was hosting a wedding reception. Venture too far down the shore, however, and you'll find yourself on a nude beach. Not a happy site.

Despite all the hype about St. Tropez and the famous people that frequent it's beaches, it's possible to have a much more relaxing and enjoyable Mediterranean experience in the less well known town of St-Cyr-sur-Mer.
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This work by Ken Maschke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.