This past weekend we happened to have two sets of friends spending time near or in St. Tropez, so we jumped in the car and headed west to Provence for a few days. We followed the A8 west, exiting at Frejus so we could follow the coastal road into St. Tropez. It is lined with small-town beachside resorts and communities with beach clubs, beaches, marinas and seaside restaurants that cater primarily to the seasonal crowd. Fortunately we were a little early in the season so traffic was not that bad, but it must be hell during the summers.
Our friends Virginie and Jean-Claude were staying at her mother’s home in L’Escalet, which is near the old medieval town of Ramatuelle, along the coast a few miles south of St. Tropez. L’Escalet is a beautiful residential area with modest to luxurious homes (depending on if there’s a view and how much of it) that is broken up by vineyards (primarily rosé) and plenty of expansive tree foliage that hides most of the homes, making it seem you are more of in a forest than a residential area. Little to no shopping, that takes place outside, closer to St. Tropez. There are small roads (chemins) that provide access to the coastline which is rocky and steep, interspersed with a few beaches. Along this coast runs the “sentier”, a path that follows the coast (as it does in most of France).
Most of the homes are seasonal with few people staying during the winter months. Having a home here allows one to escape from the craziness of St. Tropez. Their home sits on one of the tallest hills in L’Escalet, close to the ocean and looks back towards St. Tropez. Rather than spending way too much money in St. Tropez at restaurants, we brought our own food, bought more at the Friday market in Ramatuelle, and just enjoyed great food, wine and conversation in a very lovely setting. Continue reading