If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be St. Paul de Vence

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The weather report is calling for rain.  We had planned on heading to St. Tropez today so I could check out the flea market. My wish list included searching for a vintage Louis Vuitton Samur bag and the market has a great vintage bag vendor. But due to the oncoming threat of rain, we decided against it.

My new jam. Taking my vintage LV Bags and having the Vachetta replaced. I did it with my Speedy and wanted a Samur to remanp. Next year.

We visited St. Paul de Vence instead.

At the ready in a bobbed wig, plaid shirt, shorts and my LV Randonee bag, it’s off we go!

Our trip for today!

But before heading off, we drove to Marche Forville for some goodies.

It isn’t an official visit to the Cote d’Azur until we shop at this marche!

We bought some of the best tomatoes ever. EVER!

We also picked up REAL strawberries that weren’t white inside..

And, as always, the best tapenade on earth!

We revisited the wonderful Fondation Maeght, one of the most underappreciated collections of art and sculpture, and a calming, reflective place to visit.  It’s a very Zen place for me and for The Frenchman, it brings back family memories, as his father was friendly with the Maeght family.

I find this place so peaceful and calming..

The grounds are welcoming and there’s just a wonderful collection of great modern art!

Photo dump below!

We didn’t have time to visit the Chagall museum but we did get to see this!

It was a lovely day  because it wasn’t crowded and, amid, the grounds and various works of art, we ran into quite the cool cat!

My guess is this cat has the greatest real estate ever..

He gave me the side eye when I asked him if there were any dogs on site..

Then he got disgusted with me and sauntered away.

Next, we, and I honestly don’t know what possessed us to do this, decided to drive up the winding, Q-Tip-Narrow streets of St. Paul de Vence.  This is a huge tourist area and there are little shops after shops after shops.  A number of restaurants keep the energy flowing for hungry and thirsty tourists and locals. Honestly, SPdV is a beautiful Kodak moment from afar but close up, it’s just not my jam.

And, we got into a bit of an auto mishap. How can I describe this? There are circular tubes that rise and lower. It’s all about traffic flow. Anyway, we hit a tube that rose. No serious damage just a dent—but when you have a car rental, it’s times like this when you are glad you took the insurance

Saint-Paul-de-Vence France travel and tourism, attractions and sightseeing and Saint-Paul-de-Vence reviews

I was so upset with the Frenchman that I really didn’t take pictures. But the little roads or rather passageways were narrow like this. I can’t imagine anyone with a car living there.

We realized we made a mistake in driving when we started going around in circles and couldn’t find an exit to a way down the steep hill we had driven up. Finally, spotting the exit, we found ourselves flush with a huge, rustic, wooden and steel gate that opened automatically to let us on our long journey downhill to a less narrow road.

At that point, we figured since the rain was eminent, we would head to Cannes for some gourmet shopping at Ernest. Ernest Traiteur, and Patisserie Ernest are two shops on Rue Meynadier within feet of each other. The Traiteur a mixture of an upscale, high-end deli and caterer and the Patisserie is, in my opinion, the best in Cannes.

Ernest has great and interesting gourmet food items. This brought back memories of Daniele’s apartment. She had a leg in a tin box outside her kitchen window so if we wanted a slice, we could always have it.

Everything looked so appetizing!

My husband was in his glories because he was able to purchase his beloved pissaladiere and the most disgusting food item of all time—andouillette. The andouillette being an oversized sausage made of tripe and innards which smells like …you guessed it, shit! I kid you not.

Front row. Middle item. The horrific Andouillette. And yours truly had to cook it. Despite the disgusting odor, and the fact I had to open the kitchen window and a bee flew in, and I had to shoo it out…The Frenchman loved it.

Menu au Ernest Traiteur restaurant, Cannes

I have no idea why I didn’t snap a photo of this fabulous tarte, but I’m fascinated that the crust never gets soggy! I don’t know how Ernest does it!

I was just happy to have found my beloved Socca Chips!

I ended up buying four bags. I do not know WTF these are not sold in the Status!

So, before I go on, I have to tell you something. There is, presently, a shortage of mustard on the Cote d’Azur. Yes. You read it correctly. Mustard.  You have no idea how upset The Frenchman was. I was a bit perplexed to say the least, but I thought the entire mustard shortage was pretty humorous. I mean—It’s France for chrissakes!  It’s the mustard capital of the world and there was no mustard in the biggest hypermarche in the area.

The New York Times even wrote about this: Mustard Shortage in France–it was crazy!!

Apparently, it was a “thing” too because we ended up purchasing a clear plastic tub of “special” mustard from Ernest—you would think it was contraband the way the transaction was handled.  We were not to let anyone know where we got it!

We purchased dessert..

..and headed back to the apartment before the rain came!

Okay, back to the travel.

The rain came as we approached the apartment.  It started as a drizzle then built up to moderate sort of event until, as we arrived home and opened the door, it turned into a full-blown rain storm.  The kind with thunder. And it poured and poured so much that for the first time ever, in the many years we spent at this abode, we ate dinner inside.  We missed dining al fresco but we aren’t fools.  The rain stopped around 8:30 and that was it. The rest of the trip was glorious sunshine and dry heat!

Wednesday, June 29th

Ahhhhhhhh. Today we headed to St. Tropez!  The alarm was set at 5:30 AM.  I took an early shower, we relaxed with coffee and croissants on the terrace, which was, by now completely dried from the heavy storm the previous evening.

Bright (cross)eyed and wearing a sundress because it’s gonna be a hot one, I’m ready for St. Trop!

Rather than drive the entire way to St. Trop, we drove to Sainte-Maxime, parked the car at the dock and headed to Les Bateaux Verts—the adorable green boats that ferry across the bay to St. Tropez.  The great part of taking this ferry across the bay is you ride with all the people headed to work on St. Tropez. It’s just so much fun.

L’Esterel from the highway

Do you know the way to St. Tropez?

Early morning at Ste. Maxime!

Blue sky and closer to our little green ferry!

Lining up already!

Les Bateaux Verts.  All Aboard for St. Tropez!

And the ride doesn’t even take 15 minutes. It’s definitely a bright spot of the morning!

I love sitting at the edge. That sea spray feels soooo stinking good!

St. Tropez coming into view!

Headed into the port!

I took random photos like this. The Frenchman took photos of yachts. My view–you’ve seen one yacht you’ve seen them all!

We arrived shortly before 10:00 AM. Just in time for us to head to my favorite shop—Rondini!!

My mecca of sandals. Rondini. And best get there early before it gets crowded!

A stellar staff at Rondini, the young woman who helped me was wonderful but this guy—he’s helped me in the past and I swear he has, hands down, THE best style of any man I’ve seen. He rocks summer shorts. It’s unbelievable.

It was time for another addition to my family of Rondini sandals. These are, hands down, the best sandals ever! They are custom fit and made and the service and workmanship is stellar.  And they really pay special attention to narrow feet.

My mind was set early on for another pair of Salome sandals. I have the black and was thinking of the natural leather but I went with……..

…Python! They are absolutely beautiful and the fit is perfect!

This year’s purchase was a pair of Salome’s. In Python. They are exquisite!  And after I was fitted, I was told to come back in an hour or more.

I was thinking of another pair of the Bikini model but realized I wear them more for going out. Salome is more of an everyday/office sandal.

There’s always a regret I have from not making a purchase. This year it was the little pouch. I should have gotten one–especially since the dollar and euro are twinning!

Next stop was the cemetery to visit my father-in-law, Dany’s grave.  We paid our respects and reminisced about the times we had with him then we were off to view the home that The Frenchman lived for a couple of years and spent summers.  His home and his grandmother’s were close by; and it’s always nice to head to La Ponche for memories.

I think it needs to be stressed that dogs could dig up the graves..

I can’t believe it’s been five years..

The little butterfly plaque is beautiful. I think Vincent’s brother Martin made it.

Not a bad spot for an eternal resting place!

We continued our morning with a visit to La Maison des Papillions Musée Dany Lartigue.  The little butterfly museum is now a permanent fixture in the St. Tropez govt. sites. And it’s so homey and comfy and the butterflies are beautiful. And the photographs are wonderful.  The Frenchman was thrilled that there were quite a number of people visiting this quaint treasure trove and we had more memories of Dany.

Headed to what is now Musee Dany Lartigue. I didn’t take pictures because I was too busy remembering our time here with him.

However, I DID manage to snap this pic of my all-time, favorite Dany Lartigue painging. of Bar La Ponche. I plan on having this copied on canvas so we can hang it in the house.

Time to head back to Rondini to pick up my sandals, and after a final fitting, we were off once again.

We stopped at the Church where Dany’s funeral Mass took place then headed to our favorite restaurant. La Ramade.

I’m just reading this sign now. I don’t know if I should’ve taken pics but I did!

Why do I have this obsession with church?

The Blessed Mother was all aglow. I think she was happy to see me..

And I lit a candle for the freedom of all women of the world…

I think St. Tropez was happy to see me too!

Okay. Here’s where Covid affected establishments.We arrived at the restaurant and it was closed. Not permanently, but it wasn’t opened for lunch on that day. Presently, opened only for lunch on Saturdays and Tuesdays. The remaining days the restaurant opens at 7:00 PM.  You have no idea how disappointed I was. I almost cried. I could practically taste the kidneys that I always ordered but would elude me on this day.

Thankfully, I have this old menu from LaRamade that I’ve repurposed as a mouse pad.  I was really upset that it was closed.

Instead, we enjoyed lunch at Restaurant la Renaissance on Place des Lice.  Seated outdoors under a tent-like structure it was a pleasure to have Lotte Provençal style accompanied by proper mashed potatoes while Vincent’s appetite was sated with steak tartare.

The steak tartare was pretty darn good!

My Lotte (Monkfish) Provencal was off the charts delicious..

As were my mashed potatoes.

More photo dump as we walked our lunch off..

I love these little passageways.

The Frenchman’s grandmother’s house is on the left..or is it the right? I’m too lazy to head upstairs to ask him.

Beautiful hydrangeas that I cannot grow.

LaPonche where The Frenchman used to live at one point and at another point spent summers.

Clear sea..

Lots of seaweed.

My Rondini Tropeziennes got quite the workout today!

A little sculpture hidden in a nook

Look who showed up. I guess Liberty Enlightening the World wanted to return to a place where women are free to make choices.

Bye bye St. Trop.

With a lazy afternoon ahead of us, we headed back to the dock and ferried it back to Sainte-Maxime and drove along the Bord de Mer taking in the scenery—ahhhhhhhhhh; it was so great to be back.

Our ride along the Bord du Mer took us to passing this landmark Ferris Wheel at St. Raphael.

The drive along the Bord du Mer is so calming. I never tire of looking at the bay and the boats.

The other side of L’Esterel. I was petrified I would fall off a rock.

A quiet evening lay ahead of us with a light dinner on the terrace, me running away from a bee that was definitely out for my blood, and my husband complaining in French about the larger-than-life cruise ships!

Perhaps it wasn’t THAT light but I served small portions!

To be continued……….

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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9 Responses to If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be St. Paul de Vence

  1. bonnie says:

    Such an interesting read! I love the Cote D’Azur and so every picture was scrutinized carefully. Thanks for a full report on your activities. i am sure Vincent loved every minute of your time there too.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Bonnie. OMG. Vincent is in his element. He hardly speaks English, which helps me to understand the language much better. He’s happier than ever and he misses it terribly when we arrive back home! XOXOXOXO

  2. Susan says:

    So so beautiful! I wish I could go back to France one more time. It’s a maybe, with the damnable leukemia. Recovery is taking a long long time! But at least I’m growing some hair, although in so many colors of almost black and white and grey that I look somewhat mottled. Oh well.
    Love the photos of boats and bays and food! We always stayed in apartments there too, so we could enjoy a terrace and shop! And the cheese and the wine! And museums. Le sigh…

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Susan, and I’m glad that I was able to post pics you enjoyed. I’m hoping for a wonderful recovery for you that’ll allow you to travel and enjoy all the things you are not getting to do at the present! XOXOXOXOXO

  3. Juliet says:

    Stunning photos – they are quite fabulous and I LOVE the little inside stories that you have. Seriously you should be taking tours, getting stuck in little roads would just add to the charm 🙂 As to how you left those beautiful looking bags at La Rondini I do not know (or those cute little pouches). Finally I read a novella recently and I wondered if it was your type of thing: Blue Postcards by Douglas Bruton – have a google and let me know what you think of it, I thought it was superbly written

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet! And thank you. Oh, I would LOVE to be able to take people on tour in France! I will be checking that book out. I’m always looking for a great read. Thank you for the recommendation.

  4. doodletllc says:

    Love, love, love traveling through France with you! We may FINALLY make it to France in October – third time could be the charm!

  5. Fiona says:

    Loved reading your account of St Tropez and the area, the water taxi looks a fab way of travelling there. . I took loads of photos in churches also….oops. The mec in Rondini is seriously stylish and I’m with you on yachts… and cars for that matter. Yes ! I was hunting high and low fior mustard so I’ve bought the powdered type to take with me next month. Sad or what?

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