Only this name evokes the holidays, the sun, the idleness, the rosé! The Gulf of Saint Tropez has not always been the place we know where thousands of tourists rush every year to discover its beaches, its villages, its events. Saint-Tropez is above all a village that the Italians have restored to the sweat of their forehead and where fishing and cork represented the main occupations of its inhabitants.
To tell you the truth I never thought that one day I would live or work here and yet it’s been 3 years now and I feel really good. Why is that? Because past the summer months, the Gulf regains its calm, the inhabitants regain possession of the place and are welcoming, benevolent. Also because during these periods of high season, the Gulf bubbles with life welcoming tourists from all over the world of all styles and nationalities. And for an old globe that I used to be, it’s a pleasure to find a little exoticism in a more sedentary life. So yes there are well-known places like the beaches of Pampelonne, the village of Saint-Tropez, the Sénéquier, the Tropézienne but there are also less-known places that I would like to share with you :
The beaches of the Golfe de Saint-Tropez
One of my favorites is at La Croix Valmer, just before the well-known Gigaro beach around the world, from where you can see Cape Lardier: the beach of Heraclea. The Gulf of Saint Tropez in the time of the Gallos-Romans was also known under the name: Heraclea. A small beach where you can reach by a dead end or the vineyards of the Domaine de La Madrague, AB, where I regularly take my guests on excursions. You will usually find 2 or 3 restaurants on the waterfront where it is better to book! The view is splendid and you will be less surrounded than on the beach of Pampelonne.
I also particularly like the beach of Brouis in La Croix Valmer, accessible on foot only by the coastal path from the beach of Gigaro. A little corner of paradise where it is good to come picnic and relax.
Finally a little more popular during the summer but nevertheless very beautiful: the beach of Escalet in Ramatuelle. Its turquoise waters and rocks take us elsewhere. Taking the path to the right where can even find itself in a small creek and go to observe the fish in mask and snorkel. Be careful however in case of current! And yes we are not in the ocean but the Mediterranean Sea can be capricious. So be careful and open your eyes!
Other places in the Golfe de Saint-Tropez
Going for a walk in the beautiful village of Grimaud, you can take for a few minutes the path of the Vallon at the foot of the castle and you will find yourself facing the Pont des Fées. A historic site that allowed the water from the river you will follow to reach the village. Who knows you may even come across a Hermann’s turtle, a protected turtle that lives in the Moorish plain.
Another place I particularly like and where I like to bring my friends passing through is Le Ranch La Mène in the heart of the Plaine des Maures in Grimaud. You will feel like in Texas: ranch, animals of all kinds (pig, chickens, lama, donkeys, etc.), all-wood restaurant where you can enjoy pizzas on a wood fire outside or a good rib of beef cooked on a wood fire and home-made fries accompanied well-sure of a wine from the Gulf of Saint-Tropez! I love this place so much that I designed a tour: the Far West Tour to combine the Far West spirit with a horse, pony or carriage ride, a cellar tour and wine tasting and a ranch lunch. An ideal morning for families! Children can taste grape juice or fruit from the estate. Ad everything is done by foot.
Do you know the Paillas Mills? There used to be 5 of them and one of them was rebuilt exactly in 2002 and it is to be discovered for several reasons: for the beautiful road of the mills that one uses from Gassin or Ramatuelle and that winds the hills to get there, for its exceptional view of the beaches of Ramatuelle, the islands of Port Cros and Porquerolles but also to enjoy a picnic if you arrive early enough to have a table available (take yours for more security). During a Discovery Tour of the AOC, we often go through this emblematic place.
Last but not least, I had a real crush on the village of Port Grimaud and its Venetian spirit that is not expected. Past a small bridge that takes you into the village, you can stroll through the many alleys of the village or sail on a small boat and discover the city from the water. This part of Grimaud was designed by a marine architect (probably the only one to carry this term) Mr François Spoerry who gave this place, you will have understood it a crazy charm.
There are different style houses, a parking for the boat has been designed for each house designed here, a limited access not to disturb the inhabitants. In short the city is an almost unique and very exciting design to discover alone or accompanied by a guide. And to end the day in style, dine in a restaurant on the banks of the canals, I tell you you will feel like in Venice!