Thursday, June 23, 2016
6:15 AM and waking up to clear skies! Today we are going to St. Tropez. It will be the first of two visits. We’re going next week to visit Bonaparte’s dad but today we are going to St. Trop to run an important errand—my Rondini purchase.
I got hooked on these sandals a few years back. The sandals are custom fit and constructed in the little studio in the rear of the shop. As with great leather, the sandals conform to the shape of your foot with wear and become even more comfortable over the years. There is literally no “break in” time either.
And, for the price, it is a far better deal than you can get with the mass-produced sandals sold at retail stores in the States.
More on Rondini later.
Appropriately dressed for St. Trop! Striped shirt, white shorts and Rondini Tropezienne sandals! No. I don’t look like a local. I’m a poser!
My OOTD for St. Tropez is white shorts from J. Crew, my Tropezienne sandals by Rondini and a striped boat neck tee also from J. Crew. I’m looking very old-school St. Trop today. Either that or I’m looking like a complete tourist who is trying too hard to fit in!
We decided to drive all the way rather than park the car in Ste. Maxime and take the water bus over. Because it was still not quite high season, the thought was that traffic from Ste. Maxime to St. Tropez wouldn’t be that bad. Well. It was that bad. Tons of campers both on their way to and from St. Tropez. They must have been preparing for the opening of the popular French film Camping 3 and getting their inner Patrick Chirac on!
Franck Dubosc as Patrick Chirac, the hero of the popular French Camping movies. Camping 3 premiered while we were visiting. I wanted to see the movie so badly but guess who didn’t? I’ve seen the first two and they were hysterically funny! I did NOT take this photo.
Our timing was perfect though, as we arrived to park the car at 9:15. Arriving by car early in St. Tropez means a good parking space. We got one! And we made our way across the lot over to the port for a nice walk before heading over to Rondini.
Early morning in St. Tropez. On the side of the port opposite the mega-yachts.
Artists setting up shop at the docks. Tourists arriving. Yacht crews off to purchase flowers. Vendors in delivery trucks trying to maneuver their way in the narrow streets. Little boutiques getting ready to open and sell their wares to the many visitors.
All part of the mornings in St. Tropez.
Hmmm. I see Rondini is open on Sunday now!
We arrived at Rondini just as the shop opened. I’ve got this exact timing down. Arriving later means waiting on a line that does, many times, go out the door and onto the street that is more like a passageway!
I’m back at my favorite store in St. Tropez!
There are three models of sandals I want to choose from. The Serpent, the St. Raphael Braided, and the Bikini were the choices.
Photo of the Serpent model from Rondini’s website. I love the look but the look didn’t love me.
I tried the Serpent on first. It was a no-go. The sandal just did not look good on my foot. The St. Raphael braided was next and I loved the way the sandal looked, but the bottom was just too wide. The Bikini was getting my love because not only did it look great, but felt so comfortable.
St. Raphael on the left. The Bikini on the right. The Bikini won out. And I love them. LOVE them. I think they are my favorite pair so far! The bottom of the sandals are always powdered before trying on. I think it is so that the natural oils of the skin won’t mark the sandal.
My well-worn Tropeziennes awaiting for their new arrival!
Bonaparte liked the St. Raphael. But because my feet are so narrow, (Why can’t the rest of me be narrow?) it would take another week to have the sandals made to my fit. Besides, my mind was made up the second I saw the Bikini sandal on my foot!
Perhaps next year I’ll get the metallic Bikinis…
As I write this I’m looking to the far left and thinking maybe I need a Rondini tote bag instead! See the studio where the magic happens? I love this store. It smells like leather!
This customer left very happy with her purchase! Until next summer….
Bonaparte also wanted a Provençal style tablecloth for a little table in our kitchen. We had been searching throughout Cannes and found one in St. Tropez just up the street from Rondini on Rue Clemenceau. The shop is Marinette and it is one of three on the same street. The fabrics and table linens are not only beautiful, but are actually priced incredibly well.
Our tablecloth on the counter at Marinette. Waiting to come home with us!
The detail is beautiful. And we all know how much I love red! Bonaparte was happy to purchase “made in France”!
And now, the table in our little nook off the kitchen can remind us of our most recent trip to France! It looks great–doesn’t it?
Travel Shopping Tip: Be careful when it comes to purchases. Many tourist “boutiques” and shopping stands that sell souvenirs also sell goods that may appear “authentic” French. Like Provençal style table linens and other home goods. However, many are made in China and not in France. We discovered this in Cannes. When we asked if a certain tablecloth we liked was made in France, the associate couldn’t give us a direct answer. Look for the “made in France” tags. Our authentic tablecloth was purchased at Marinette. It was a bit pricier at 37€ as opposed to 10€ for the one made in China. But the workmanship and the fabric were much better. St. Tropez has some excellent shopping!
Travel Shopping Tip 2: Don’t forget to bring a heavy fabric tote with you on your travels. The fabric totes fold up neatly in luggage and will even fold in your purse. The Wythe Hotel tote that was gifted to me is my favorite. I take it EVERYWHERE and it carries everything from groceries, bottles of wine, and purchases that we make when shopping. Save the straw and structured totes for home. Use the heavy fabric ones for travel.
We took a walk over to La Ponche, the beach and small fishing boat area where Bonaparte’s grandmother lived. It was also the place where Bonaparte lived when he was a very young boy and later on where he spent summers of his childhood.
A passage leading to La Ponche…
On the way to the rocky beach. I should have worn my bathing suit!
A view from the edge of the long dock area. Bonaparte’s grandmother’s house is the tall one.
The little beach remains uncrowded for the most part..
…another view from the opposite side.
Bonaparte and his sister Isabelle. La Ponche 1947 or 46. He can’t remember. It was way before my time! I think this may be the cutest photograph ever!
Bonaparte at the rocky water’s edge in La Ponche. La “Ouch”!
Bonaparte, his father Dany, and pregnant mother Evie. La Ponche 1945.
Bonaparte’s grandmother, Muse, hanging out on a boat in St. Tropez…
…and looking casual chic by the fishing boats. Check out her shoes!
As we head off to see Bonaparte’s grandmother’s old house we pass the fish mongers and their goodies…
My favorite–Cuttlefish before it becomes Seiche! They aren’t much to look at, and you can see they aren’t plentiful, but boy do they taste great!
On the street where Bonaparte and Muse lived..
..and we take a small alley back to the port.
Stopping for a Citron Préssé has always been part of our routine too. I get to order in French while Bonaparte looks on with a critical eye—and when the waiter is impressed, Bonaparte’s eyes become proud!
We had our citron presse across from Senequier. And I’m in so much trouble because I forgot the nougat for my girlfriend Becky. I’m so ashamed.
Activity abound. Police telling drivers they cannot park. The chic. The trashy. The new monied and the old monied St. Tropez residents walk by with their dogs and packages. Families and couples with babies in strollers stop to stare in awe at the magnificent yachts.
Everyone loves to stop and take long looks at the yachts..
Little dinghies like this have taken the place of fishing boats!
Bonaparte complains that St. Tropez was better when it was just a little fishing village.
This is how Bonaparte fondly remembers St. Tropez. Small fishing boats and a port voided of yachts. It’s so peaceful. I think Bonaparte mentioned that his family also discovered St. Trop along with L’Estagnol! MY family discovered that yelling is more effective than speaking softly.
The scent of oil from the boats mixed with the sea makes a fine cocktail for the senses. The hum of motorboats in the water and the “putt-putt” sound of boats coming into port to dock make me smile because they are the sounds of summertime in St. Trop!
We pass Hermes as we make our way back to the car.
We also pass this poster for the new Musee de la Gendarmerie et du Cinema. A museum celebrating the famous and funny Gendarme films that were shot in and around St. Tropez along with other films that were shot in the area. I wanted to go but we never had time–even on our second visit to see Dany. Next year. Next year! I want this poster.
The air is hot and it isn’t the middle of day yet. At 11:30 AM we head back to the car. Our time here is done until next week.
We took a lazy ride back along the Bord de Mer, the seaside road, and decided to drive into Antibes. Just because.
When we arrived in Antibes, we parked the car and took a nice walk along the ramparts.
An afternoon walk along the ramparts in Antibes is always a good choice..
Antibes offers tons of photo ops and a great bay!
The bay from the ramparts. Check out the blue water.
We can’t escape the yachts. How can we get an invite aboard?
Another view from the ramparts. Clear and calm water greet us.
A closer view. Antibes is one of my favorite places to do nothing but enjoy the scenery.
My favorite house in Antibes. Maybe next year I’ll ring the doorbell to see if anyone is home.
Another beautiful home
An old-school “lavior” behind the ramparts.
A cute hidden home behind the ramparts on a quiet street.
Another stone home. I love these houses so much.
The church in town. We couldn’t go in because there was a funeral mass going on.
And a sculpture in front of the Musee Picasso. We didn’t visit the Musee this time. We’ve gone in the past though. It’s a good place to visit, but I don’t think it is worth it to revisit every year. The building has an interesting history!
Well, that’s it for today. Tomorrow will bring another adventure. For now. I just want to relax on the terrace, have a nice dinner and sleep soundly!
Sorry about all the pics and the lack of writing. I didn’t write in my journal as much as I should have!
Speaking of Bonaparte’s family. Here’s his nephew Jean on guitar with another rendition of my favorite Michel Delpech song “Pour un Flirt”! Enjoy XOXOXOXO!!!