Leaving a glitzy town for another is like opening gifts at Christmas time, the anticipation is there and so is the element of surprise. Our next port of call is Saint-Tropez.

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The weather forecast that day was light fog, maximum temperature of 22 degrees Centigrade. Sunrise was at 6 am and sunset at 846pm. We can’t wait to get out there. The tender boat brought us to shore as they pointed out some of the historical highlights of the town like the Citadelle which was constructed in 1583 and now houses an important naval museum. They also told us that the beaches are located along the coast in the Baie de Pampelonne, which lies south of Saint-Tropez and east of Ramatuelle.

The Citadelle

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Saint-Tropez is named after St. Torpes of Pisa who, legend says, was beheaded during Nero’s reign and that his body was placed in a rotten boat along with a rooster and a dog and the body landed at the present-day location of the town.

Located in one of the most beautiful gulfs in the Mediterranean, Saint-Tropez is the ultimate jet-set spot of the French Riviera. The main economic resource is tourism. Saint-Tropez became famous in the 60’s because of Brigette Bardot. It was a military stronghold and the first coastline to be liberated during World War II as part of Operation Dragoon. It is also a fishing village.

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The Harbour Promenade lined with cafés and shops…

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In the history of modern art, the town played a major role. It inspired painters like Matisse, Albert Marquet and the others. This is where Pointillism style of painting and Fauvism emerged. Annonciade Museum which was built in 1568 now displays their work.

An example of Pointillism, a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image…

Paul Signac – Leaving the port in Saint Tropez – 1901

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An example of Fauvism, a painting style begun by a group of French artists and marked by the use of bold, often distorted forms and vivid colors…

Woman with a Hat (La femme au chapeau), a painting by Henri Matisse.

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We had fun walking around town and sipping wine at cafés. We also did some shopping which cost us a fortune!

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Our cruise ship in the background…

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In the afternoon, we noticed that the cafés filled up fast with people, mostly families. We ate our dinner at Del Vecchio Porto as we admired the luxury boats and yachts anchored in the harbor and watched the folks in their designer clothes and shoes go by, while I preciously clutched my bags of newly-purchased designer shoes (I closed my eyes as I paid for that one too!) and beautiful paintings of the Saint-Tropez harbor by a local artist for my little boy’s room. I quietly thanked God for this wonderful trip… and so much looking forward to our return to Monaco which we first visited on our honeymoon.

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