Do You Know The Way To St. Tropez?

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.

Theoule. Me. Ready for st. trop. OOTD BLOG GOLD

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!

Camping David Chirach

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.

St. Trop. First Visit. View from the other side of the port

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.

Shopping St. Tropez Rondini store hours BLOG GOLD

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!

Shopping St. Tropez Rondini

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.

Shopping St. Tropez. Rondini. Which do I choose

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.

Shopping St. Tropez. Rondinis and wythe hotel tote

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!

Shopping St. Tropez. Sandals on display be still my heart.

Perhaps next year I’ll get the metallic Bikinis…

Shopping St. Tropez Rondini a peek into the studio

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.

Shopping. St. Tropez.  Marinette. Fabrics and tablecloths.

Our tablecloth on the counter at Marinette. Waiting to come home with us!

Shopping Tablecloth detail.  Made in France.

The detail is beautiful. And we all know how much I love red!  Bonaparte was happy to purchase “made in France”!

Shopping. Tablecloth

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.

St. Tropez first visit path to La Ponche from the back

A passage leading to La Ponche…

St. Tropez. First visit. OOTD striped shirt white shorts old tropeziennes. I'm at La Ponche

On the way to the rocky beach. I should have worn my bathing suit!

St. Tropez. first visit. La Ponche from the walkway

A view from the edge of the long dock area. Bonaparte’s grandmother’s house is the tall one.

St. Tropez. first visit La Ponche sandy beach

The little beach remains uncrowded for the most part..

St. Tropez. First visit. Another view of La Ponce

…another view from the opposite side.

La Ponche. 1946. Bonaparte and Isabelle. Quite possibly the cutest pic ever

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!

St. Tropez 1946. Bonaparte with stick in the water at laponche

Bonaparte at the rocky water’s edge in La Ponche. La “Ouch”!

St. Trop. More Dany evie pregnant and bonaparte 1945

Bonaparte, his father Dany, and pregnant mother Evie. La Ponche 1945.

St. Trop. Maybe 1930ish. Bonaparte's grandmother Muse

Bonaparte’s grandmother, Muse, hanging out on a boat in St. Tropez…

St. Tropez. Port.  Bonaparte's grandmother

…and looking casual chic by the fishing boats. Check out her shoes!

St. Tropez. Fish at the market

As we head off to see Bonaparte’s grandmother’s old house we pass the fish mongers and their goodies…

St. Tropez. Senequier Nougat

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!

St. Tropez. First visit the street where he lived

On the street where Bonaparte and Muse lived..

St. Tropez first visit. alley

..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!

Senequier. Where the beautiful peeps have breakfast. I'm not one of them.

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.

St. Tropez early morning. By the yachts. Note the casual clothing

Everyone loves to stop and take long looks at the yachts..

St. Trop. Bonaparte's ship has come in

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.

St. Tropez 1945. Boats in the little harbor. Before the Yachts came

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!

St. Tropez. First visit. Hermes in the distance.

We pass Hermes as we make our way back to the car.

St. Trop. Ad for cinema musee that we never got to see

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.

Antibes. Along the ramparts

An afternoon walk along the ramparts in Antibes is always a good choice..

Antibes Zoomed harbor

Antibes offers tons of photo ops and a great bay!

ANtibes bay from the ramparts GOLD

The bay from the ramparts. Check out the blue water. 

Antibes yacht

We can’t escape the yachts.  How can we get an invite aboard?

Antibes boats on bay

Another view from the ramparts. Clear and calm water greet us.

Antibes. more from the ramparts

A closer view. Antibes is one of my favorite places to do nothing but enjoy the scenery.

Antibes. One of my favorite homes

My favorite house in Antibes. Maybe next year I’ll ring the doorbell to see if anyone is home.

Antibes. This is either a stone house or the side of the Picasso Musee

Another beautiful home

Antibes. Old school lavoire

An old-school “lavior” behind the ramparts.

Antibes. Cute little house off the ramparts

A cute hidden home behind the ramparts on a quiet street.

ANtibes. Stone Home GOLD

Another stone home. I love these houses so much.

Antibes. Church

The church in town. We couldn’t go in because there was a funeral mass going on.

Antibes sculpture

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!!!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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29 Responses to Do You Know The Way To St. Tropez?

  1. BlingTreeG says:

    Beautiful pictures… I jus so wanna go there!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Bling. It is a fun place for sure..and it is so incredibly laid back. There’s more to come in our second trip to Trop!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  2. Oh this was just lovely! I found your blog because of your gorgeous comment re.the right to bare arms on “that’s not my age” and thought – who is this fabulous human? I love all the stone houses and visiting someone’s childhood places. Thank you – it’s a cold and rainy day here in Sydney and the sunshine was appreciated both in your photos and your personality!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Wish! Oh. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post. And yeah. We NEED to bare our arms. OUR arms have a history and battle scars so the flab and wrinkles are important. I said so! (Alyson’s blog is epic. I love it!). Oh. And I love Sydney. I had the pleasure of visiting your beautiful city some years ago and meeting up with relatives who live in Brisbane! I’m incredibly touched that you are loving the photos. Aren’t the old school photos fantastic??? XOXOXOXO!!!

  3. theturtle says:

    Your photos are amazing and you’re making everyone wish they can visit “your” France 🙂
    Loving all the Bonaparte’s family old photos too and the one with his little sister kissing him is so adorable 🙂
    Turtle Hugs

  4. Anne says:

    Thank you so much for taking us to France and describing your daily adventures. I am enjoying your trip almost as much as you are! I have never traveled abroad, but France would be on the top of my list. I speak just a little French, and I would love to travel in France and see if I could pick up more of the language. However, being 68 and having mobility issues due to fibromyalgia, I am not planning to travel abroad. But I have always been drawn to this beautiful country of your husband’s ancestry. Again, thanks for including me on your trip; I feel as if I was carried along with you in your favorite bag! 🙂


    • Catherine says:

      Hi Anne. First of all, I’m hoping that your fibromyalgia goes into a sort-of slow form. My mom suffered from it and it can be awful and painful. I’m happy to bring our trip to life for you. You definitely are a part of my cyber luggage and I’ll be bringing you to more places in the future!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  5. penny says:

    Your posts on France are just wonderfully descriptive and full of amazing photos. You obviously keep a diary – well done you as I never get beyond the 3rd day. That’s when my brain goes to mush! Do tell Bonaparte that I have been to St Maxime and St Tropez but simply years and years ago. And what a culture shock it was. I stayed with my French pen-friend in a villa outside St. Maxime, I think, as tbh, I can’t quite remember whether it was there or St Raphael. Anyway, whichever place it was I remember the noise of the cicadas, the smells of a hot sun and the colours of the Mediterranean kind of slapping me in the face with amazement. You see I don’t think I’d ever been out of the UK before!!! And what’s more it would have been the very early 60s and in those days Britain was (in my memory) quite a grey place. Was absolutely bowled over by two things. First, the food. Oh wow. I’d eaten up to then a very British diet of meat and two veg with no spices or herbs whatsoever. I remember a platter of fish caught in the bay served up with roast Meditarranean vegetables. Never, ever had I seen such colours before, forget about the taste! And then to eat such beauty – it just hit my taste buds and exploded. I tried to explain it to my mother when I got back who did not get it at all! But ever since my cooking has been heavily influenced by the Mediterranean diet – which in my view is the best in the world.

    Then another memory of St Tropez this time, which we went to once, I think. Tell Bonaparte it was in the early 60s so I don’t remember any mega big yachts, but what I do remember was seeing a beautiful young couple (I mean they were older than me, then). She looked like a very tall Bridget Bardot, with long blonde hair, brown skin tanned with the sun and the most amazing pair of trousers (pants) I’d ever seen. They swept to the ground and were very full – never had I ever seen such elegance and style before. I had my hair done whilst there and I returned home with tanned skin and blonde hair – my mother said, she barely recognised me! Sadly I returned to being my usual shy retiring non-tanned self (I was barely 17) and it took me years to become that stylish person – but those images, memories and smells have remained with me all my life! Vive La France!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Penny! Oh. I feel so badly that this year I didn’t write as much in my journal than I’ve written in the past. One year I filled three complete journals. It’s ridiculous. I swear I could write a book that nobody would publish. LOL!
      You have given me topic for our dinner conversation later this evening. I’m going to tell Bonaparte all about your travels to St. Trop when it WAS in fact more of a fishing village.
      And the food. I come from a home where the spice shelf in my mother’s pantry was salt, pepper, and Accent. Basil was the name of a boy I went to school with! The food in France will always be my personal fave!!!
      Oh..I have a post coming up that showcases my favorite dresser that we spotted–and in Ste. Maxime no less!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  6. junedesilva says:

    You take fantastic photos that capture the essence of the South of France but I hope you don’t mind if I confess that I love the old black and white ones the best! I think I’m with Bonaparte as I imagine that I would have preferred St Trop as a fishing village…LOL!!

    • Catherine says:

      June! Those black and white photos are also my faves! We received two albums and a huge envelope of Bonaparte’s old family photos from his niece when we were away. It’s a gold mine of memories. I can’t stop looking at them! Oh..I would have loved to be in St. Tropez before it got all glitzy and fancy. Sometimes its the simple pleasures that are the most rewarding in life–don’t you think?? XOXOXO!!!

  7. St. tropez is where Brigitte Bardot leaves. Awesome pictures. I went there once in the 70’s I have to go back someday. Hope you had fun.

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Dude! Bonaparte’s family knows BB.I”ve seen her house–or rather her fortress in the past. I’ve got a photo somewhere but will have to look for it. She is a total icon, that Ms. Bardot! And these days she is a bit of a recluse! XOXOXOXO!!!

  8. vava says:

    I’m new to this blog, too! Love it!!! I like your attitude about everything. I feel as if I’m traveling with you through this part of France! 🙂

  9. vavashagwell says:

    I’m new to this blog too!! I love your attitude about everything! It’s fun reading these posts and OMG this part of France looks divine.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Kristi! Welcome aboard and I hope you continue to enjoy and join in on the fun here! It’s a great place and I’m so happy that you are having a great time! Yeah. The Cote d’Azur is a pretty cool place!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  10. MELewis says:

    Never been to St. Tropez but now you have given me a reason to go – Rondini! Amazing how we woman can experience true love with the right footwear, eh? Lucky Bonaparte sounds like he had a rather special childhood.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Mel. Oh. Bonaparte definitely had a special childhood! I remind him of that all the time. Please–oh my Rondini sandals are my faves. XOXOXOXO!!!

  11. calensariel says:

    Every time I read one of these blogs I feel like I’ve been on a mini-vacation. ALMOST as much fun as going to Starbucks. Almost… 😉

  12. So that’s how St. Tropez looked like before it became the exotic, upscale playground that it is now? Amazing. I wonder what made it so fashionable in but a few decades?

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Jonny. Wasn’t St. Tropez beautiful and sleepy before it became the mega-yachted, jet-setter playground? It still pisses Bonaparte off. I think the start of the popularity came after the infamous “And God Created Woman” film that Roger Vadim made starring Bardot. (Juicy bit here. After Bonaparte’s parents split up, Evie, his mother dated Vadim. He even mentioned her in one of his books!) XOXOXOXO!!

  13. bookishchick says:

    Wow – Bonapartes family are just epic, they are so fabulous all their photos are wonderful. Sadly growing up in 1970s New Zealand does not compare (our beaches were OK, but it took a LOOOONG bike ride with my big sister to get there, we were hotter once we got back than before we started!). Love the shopping and your new tablecloth looks perfect for leisurely breakfasts

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet! Yeah. Bonaparte’s family was pretty amazing. Their fabulosity can’t compare to the upbringing I had–my relatives oftentimes referred to me and my siblings as wild animals! I kid you not! Isn’t the tablecloth great? I love it so much that sometimes while I’m in the kitchen I’ll stop and stare at it and my memory is brought back to St. Tropez!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  14. mareymercy says:

    I am on quaintness overload looking at all these photos – I kinda want to lick them 😉

    And thanks for pushing Rondinis on me like a crack dealer; I am not searching for them online. Like I needed this!

    But I must say – Bonaparte’s grandmother’s house is “the tall one”? Are you messing with us, because they all look the same height to me…LOL

    • Catherine says:

      The tall one close to the water. The one that looks like a face with a blue mouth! Hahahah! The old photos–are they the best or what??? Hey, I’m thinking about my next Rondini purchase already! XOXOXOXO!!!

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