September is really the time to visit the French Riviera. The beaches are uncrossed, as are the streets and restaurants. Prices, however, remain obscenly high, but this IS France, afterall, and the Riviera to boot.
My lady friend, Heidi, is Swiss, and like all Swiss, is fabulously rich, which is why we’re here to begin with.
Saint Tropez has a fabled history of being a refuge of sorts for the super-rich and superstars (not all of whom are in the former group) to avoid being seem, except by other super-rich or superstars. Brigitte Bardot is perhaps it’s most famous resident, though it’s widely believed that she hasn’t actually lived here for years.
One mega-star, at least to the French, is omnipresent here, Johnny Halliday, the French version of Elvis, usually spends much of his summer here, though this summer it is said that he is recuperating at his Los Angeles home (he has at least 3, including his principal one in Switzerland, for tax purposes). No matter. If you’re really longing to catch a glimpse of ‘le rocker’, just dine at almost any restaurant in town. There, the wall will be adorned with a photograph of an inebriated looking JH, his arm slung around the bug-eyed grinning owner of the establishment. I’m certain that M. Hallyday has never paid for a meal in St. Tropez. Between eating on the cuff and avoiding France’s merciless tax system by taking up Swiss residence, one rest assured that M. Hallyday falls into both the super-rich and superstar classes.
There are, actually, somewhat normal people here as well. Someone has to wait on the supers, clean their quarters, sweep the streets, etc. Many can be seen in the evening. Enjoying a stroll along the quai (outside of tourist season), playing dominoes or petanque in one of the parks. Locals tend to keep very much to themselves, although they are very polite and even somewhat friendly to non-locals. Just don’t expect a drawn put conversation on life in the area, nor invitations home for dinner. These folks are private, even for the French.
The St. Tropez beach experience can be rather pricey if one chooses to experience the beaches as the stars, or even regular tourists do. There are a variety of public beach clubs from which to choose, with amenities dictating how much one will pay for the cover charge, which almost universally includes a lounge chair, umbrella, table, towels, and a plagist (tip not included) to set it up for you. Heidi and I parted with 25 Euros for the cover, 5 for the tip, 25 for 2 cocktails, 50 for a couple of Cobb salads and a 1/2 bottle of Badpit (water), another 40 for 2 diet sodas, and another 10 for yet another tip. Did I mention that Heidi is fabulously rich? Not anymore, though she still looks great, topless or clothed.
BTW-I’m told to skip St. Tropez from Oct thru May, except during the Christmas holidays, which are full of festivals.