Back to St. Tropez and Less than a Week to Go. Part Four!

I am sure by this time, some of you could be becoming a bit bored.  My apologies.  There is nothing phony (except losing my iPhone in St. Tropez) about my posts. No posing in fancy clothing in front of designer boutiques.  I’m not that woman. No fake backgrounds.

This is real. No fake backdrop. No photo editing. It’s the way I roll..

No photoshopping nor filters. It is a real-life account of two old people, hanging out and relaxing on France’s Côte d’ Azur.   We may be advanced in our years but it doesn’t stop us from traveling and having fun.  And I think this every day account can be somewhat useful to those thinking or planning travels to this area—especially if you are older or an empty-nester—it’s good for the spirit!

I stand corrected. The only thing fake is my hair–and that’s due to hair loss!

So on with Part Four!

Sunday, June 25, 2023

What is there to say? My journal entries are shrinking since we just are not doing much here. And that’s okay.  In years past we’ve driven to many places and done a ton of sight-seeing.  And, having nothing to do with our ages, we just decided that this year would be our year to basically, not do much.

I had been so diligent in entering our activities in my journal..then I slacked off!

Vacations are meant to savor—like the best meal you have ever eaten. We spend our lives working– driving to work and to run errands. We have stress in our lives—like is my health good?  Is my other half healthy?  Did my bloodwork come back ok?  Are my grown kids ok? Are grandchildren ok?  I won’t even broach the subject of Global issues or politics but you get my drift.

Stressed Over It GIF by HULU

My non-vacation, everyday vibe. I’m sure you can relate!

And so, on this Sunday, we are doing nothing more than sitting in the sun (and under an umbrella), reading, napping, getting up to view the ships in the sea, swimming in the pool and people-watching.

Our last Sunday at the pool.  The weather is perfect today so it’ll be a great day!

 The sun is shining brightly! The weather is slightly cooler than the past few days—perhaps 85 degrees; and the pool water is 80 degrees of salted sea.  My husband loves the water on the warm side like this. I don’t mind but I do prefer my pool water colder—cold enough to turn my lips that blue of an overdyed ice pop after being in the water for a while.

We stayed long enough for me to sit and read “Nicholas and Alexander” all day.  This is the trip where I became obsessed with the Romanoff empire. The book is heartbreaking. My guess is we left the pool around three in the afternoon and headed back to the apartment to change.

Headed back “home” to freshen up on this extremely lazy Sunday.

When we started coming to Theoule, Geant wasn’t open on Sunday. Then it opened during high season. Now it’s opened and it was almost empty!

We drove to Geant Hypermarché, which by now, the staff knows me by name. Or, rather they know my husband by the fact whenever he uses his card to pay, assistance is needed so he can sign.  This is one of the things I find France is behind the States with some of their supermarket technology. It is much easier to use a card here.

That said, when we arrived at Geant on this Sunday, the parking lot was almost empty.  That “Sunday” shopping isn’t quite as hectic as at home.  And since it was quiet inside the store, it was like having the market to ourselves.

I ended up buying two bras and panties, as well as two pairs of reading glasses. The prices were fantastic and…why not?  Prudent souvenirs, I must say.

I purchased two of the same of this pair. At 12 euros each, it was a good deal. They are very well-constructed.

my 36 C is 95 D in France and fits beautifully.

My regret is that I didn’t purchase more bras. I followed the US-to-France conversion table and the 95D fits beautifully!  The panties? I have a big ass so the 40 fits wonderfully. The bras were 8 euros each and the panties I think were 6 or 7 euros.  I’m amazed I bought these at the hypermarche!

We bought what we needed for the evening meal and headed back to the apartment.

I nearly fainted when I saw the Viennetta. Do you remember this frozen dessert? It used to be sold in the States and was the fanciest ice cream dessert of all time. We didn’t make the purchase though.

Dinner on that terrace never gets tired. No matter how many years we stay here, our evening meals are my favorite part of our trip.  Our routine is simple.  Aperitifs.  My husband will look yonder out into the Mediterranean with his binoculars and curse in his native tongue at what a horrible and vulgar site the huge cruise ships are.  He kind of has a point because they are akin to behemoth cities on a barge and just do not add to the aesthetic cohesiveness of the fishing boats, small boats, larger boats, and yachts.

We did manage to buy pastries for dessert. I had a caramel eclair.

My husband opted for a healthier apple tarte!

Egg and Tomato from Marche Forville. And the mayonaisse is great!

One of the grocery items I should have purchased to take home was the mayo.  The French mayonnaise is incredibly creamy and tasty. I’m a Hellman’s fan but this puts Hellman’s to shame.

I head into the kitchen to prepare our meal and return to enjoy our food—for me it’s always the freshest of seafood—for my husband steak or his beloved andouillette. And we sit and have the best conversations. Sometimes about politics. Sometimes about our families.  Sometimes about current events and many times about how much we love it here!

Promo Tentacules De Poulpe Cuite chez Grand Frais

I need to take a moment here to discuss how helpful the assistants at Geant are. As you know, I’ve been living on seafood during this trip. I was thinking about buying fresh octopus as I’ve never cooked a whole one before. The seafood manager advised me against it and, instead, led me to a promo section with readily prepared octopus and it was fantastic.  A

Darkness comes slower and the changing sky takes her time as the sun sets behind the sea.   The thing is—in all the years we’ve come here, only once did we eat inside the apartment. It was last year and a torrential thunderstorm gave us no other choice.

Long evenings here are best!

I will miss our evenings here but we still have a few nights left!

Monday, June 26, 2023.

Oh yeah!  Today is one of those incredibly beautiful days when the sun is shining bright and early, the sky cloudless and the clarity almost hurts your eyes.

And today we head to the beach.  Our original plan was to head back to L’Estagnol. However, my husband was so put off by the crowds that we ended heading to St. Raphael.

Oh no. There’s bird shit on the car.

Off to St. Raphael! And a birdie dropped a gift on the windshield!

A bit about St. Raphael.  I love it.  St. Raphael covers a lot of territory but my favorite area is the city—or more like a village on steroids. There’s so much activity—a major train station, a huge Ferris wheel, lots of restaurants, the beaches are great and there is also a post office. (La Poste backstory:  Our nephew lives in Bordeaux.  He and his partner had a baby about six months ago and we sent a gift from the USA. It never arrived.  It was returned to us a couple of months after we sent it but it was just weird—I won’t bore you with details.  We ended up exchanging the gift for a larger size and decided to send the package from France.  Finding a post office in Theoule and Mandelieu was next to impossible so we kept the gift in the car and figured we would mail it when we found a post office.  We did. In St. Raphael and the gift arrived for Nicolas and his girlfriend two days later. Go figure.)

Port-Brillet. La poste ferme définitivement ce vendredi - Fréjus-Saint- Raphaë

Who knew mailing a gift would end up to be a transatlantic project?

We found a parking space across the street from the beach, declared our space and enjoyed the remainder of the day.  This time I kept my bathing suit top on because my titties had enough of sun exposure and I whiled away the day floating in the sea like a blowfish belly-up!  I did some water exercises.  I Amusingly watched the fish swimming around my feet and enjoyed the many boats that were anchored an arm’s length away.

That big car to the far right? Ours. The most convenient parking spot–that’s what happens when you get to the beach at 8:30 in the mornin’!

Again, my husband found the water to be too cold but he did manage to swim with me for about 10 minutes.   The main reason I was in the water for the entire day was that it was too hot on the sand.  I have no idea what the heat index was but I could have fried a few eggs on the sidewalk.

This bikini was fantastic for swimming all day. I’m ready!

Not yet 9:00 AM and there’s people in the water!

Toward late morning there were a good number of boats in the sea and a good crowd of swimmers and non-swimmers!

Look at that sky–actually, we were on the border of Frejus and St. Raphael.

And here is an interesting observation.  People were barefoot—not only on the sand but in the street!  I was dumbstruck.  As a person who loves being barefoot, there are limits to my naked dawgs.  One is hot sand and the other hot tarred roads.

After a delightful six hours of swimming and sunbathing, we left and decided to do a thing.  We went to McDonald’s for lunch.  Don’t judge.  Truth be told, I cannot even remember the last time I ate anything from this establishment. My husband loves McDonald’s.  I will partake only by having a Diet Coke.

McDonald's | Estérel Côte d'Azur

The golden arches remain the same but the background is green as opposed to the red in the States. I prefer the green.

Regardless, it was high time for me to do some fast-food research and we headed to Micky D’s or as the French refer to it, McDo. There was table service at this McDonalds. And you order from a large, computerized touch screen.  We ordered a Quarter Pounder with Cheese (the French equivalent of such), Fries and..a Diet Coke.

Computerized touch-screen ordering and look how clean it is!

You don’t have to be fluent in French to order either. Every item has a photo!

We went to the counter to pay and were given a plaque with a number.  This was for the server’s information so they knew where the order went. Then we sat down at a table.

The staff is very attentive and nice!

We headed to a table..

Placed our number upon it.

The food arrived and the bun was not soggy, it was nice and firm.  The burger was tasty—it had the taste of a grilled burger.  The fries were very good and I had them with a sauce that was a cross between a mayonnaise and tartar sauce.  My husband, my beloved Frenchman let it be known he prefers American McDonalds.

And our lunch was served. Notice that the Diet Coke was served in a regular plastic cup.

It has been decades since I ate at McDonald’s and this burger was very good. My husband prefers the American version.

As one who despises ketchup, this pommes frites sauce was the GOAT!

So much for my research.

I thought of my grandsons Owen and Bennett when I saw this.

Bye McDo!  As much as the meal was good, I won’t be returning. I’m not a fast-food person.

On the way back we stopped in Frejus to pay our respects to the small memorial honoring the American troops who landed there in WWII.  Frejus was a major landing port as well as Normandy.  It’s important for me, as an American who loves my country, to stop and pay respects.  Our troops of past and present are NOT losers the way a certain ex-president referred to them.   I’ll leave it at that because this post is about our visit to France.

This sculpture, on the beach at Frejus, is a homage to the African soldiers under France’s colonization who fought in WWI.

At the memorial in Frejus. I’ve been before but feel it’s important to revisit and repay my respects.

It looks like there might be an 80th celebration next summer. We will definitely be there!

Britain and the USA–France’s two biggest allies during WWII. TBH, I am so proud of our flag hanging here.

It’s an illustration but very emotional.

And here is where our troops landed. They were not losers but they were heros!

The square where we stood.

Plaque honoring John H. Willms of the American Legion.

When we arrived at the hypermarché to get a few items (I’m beginning to feel like our trip was purely to go grocery shopping in France), there was a confrontation between the police and a bicycle rider.  Apparently, there was some inappropriate behavior exhibited by the rider of the bike and the police stepped in.

The two policemen handled the confrontation calmly but firmly and there was no escalation or yelling or anything like that.  I was enthralled.

These police officers mean business but they aren’t mean about it!

Dinner, reading and until the next day.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023.

On this Tuesday, we are heading back to St. Tropez.  We want to visit my Father-in-law’s grave and take a walk around places we did not when I lost my iPhone.

And we did things a bit differently today.  We decided to spend time at the pool and head to St. Trop later.

Parked the car and walked through the port to the ferry!

This time, we took our usual route. We drove to Ste. Maxime then we ferried over to St. Tropez.  Les Bateaux Verts, or, The Green Boats, has always been our favorite way to get to St. Trop.

Ste. Maxime. Les Bateau Vert in the water. | Atypical 60

This time we did it right!

It was a familiar pleasure to be back on the little green boat!

The ride across the bay reminds me of taking the ferry over to Fire Island when I was growing up on Long Island.  The boats hold a good amount of people, are a reasonable price and are just—well, they are just fun to ride.  You get that slight spray of salted water, depending on how breezy the air is.  It’s nice and cool, even in the hottest of weather.  And the ferry guys are just nice. It’s fun to see familiar faces through the years and new faces of boys that you know have envious summer jobs.

Refreshing and relaxing ride across the bay!

I don’t know what the name of that bridge is but we’ve driven over it many, many, many times!

Let your eyes drift to the far right of the yacht. Do you see the helicopter? A helicopter!  Why don’t I have friends like this?  Why don’t I have friends–period?

Getting closer! (Please God please do not let my phone drop into the water)

And we’re back!

This time around, I took special care of be mindful of where my phone was.

After a stroll along the docs, we stopped at a souvenir shop and played tourist by purchasing tee shirts. Why not?  Then we strolled to la Ponche, the area that my husband used to live, where his grandmother lived and his father grew up.

The house where my husband lived is on the right.

The little beach at la Ponche. I should have taken my bathing suit because it was hot!

My husband’s grandmother’s house is the one with the balcony.

As you can see from the number of people, it was really crowded.

Fluffy Hydrangeas in front of the house.

Trying to stay cool as a cucumber.

We walked up to Dany’s grave, paid our respects, and made our way back.   I purchased a pair of reading sunglass by the brand Izipizi.  I have a pair of the brand’s regular reading glasses that I ordered online some months back, and after discovering a pop-up shop in St. Trop, I thought the time was right.

Paying respects to

…my father-in-law and my husband’s grandmother.

A quick stop to the Izipizi pop up shop 

I’m a fan of the brand. Last winter I ordered a pair of regular readers online and they are some of my favorites. 

I’m now a huge fan of the reading sunglasses!

A slow stroll back and respite under a shade tree.

I think I want to live in this charming house!

A quick ferry back to the car and it was back to the apartment from a drive along the Bord du Mer!

See you next time!

It’s been fun!

Back to Ste. Maxime!

And a drive back along the Bord du Mer!

Wednesday, June 28, 2023.

With three days left before heading home, I got lazy about journaling.  It was another pool day and repeat of terrace fun at dinner time. I would like to add these bizarre photos that I took while passing by a poteries shop. I’ve never quite seen anything like it.  It makes Pink Flamingos and lawn Trolls look absolutely classy and elegant! LOL!

The giraffes though.

Who is going to place a gorilla on their lawn?

I can’t even with the rest of this. This. Is. Strange. and. Unusual!

The last of the posts about our trip will 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 Back to St. Tropez and Less than a Week to Go. Part Four!

  1. wssolstice says:

    I really enjoy your posts about France! We visited a couple of years ago and I loved it! We also had fast food while there, at a Burger King. The ordering system was just like the one you visited – a computerized kiosk – very easy, and nice to have your food brought to you.

    And I agree – sometimes it’s nice to just relax, no plans – enjoy the day! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nancy says:

    Had to add my experience checking out McDonalds outside of Paris. I have only watched (maybe) 4 Emily in Paris episodes but did watch one before my first trip to Paris April. She talked about the desserts avail. in the McDonalds in France…so when I saw one, ran in and it did have a whole glass enclosed counter of delicious looking desserts.

  3. juliet says:

    I have never been inside a MacDs but there is one in our town centre – the people eating inside put me off, sad and grey and flabby… but then the local healthfood shop also has equally unhealthy looking staff (how? its a healthfood shop????). I’d say the best chips/frites/fries generally are served by the seaside – at least in the UK, Oban (cracking fish and chips) and Maryport (not much else to recommend Maryport but some of the best chips in my life exist there…). Those photos as always are amazing – the scenery and the beaches, and the cough, dessert…..

  4. Debra Clark says:

    Thanks for the light-hearted, honest accounts of your travels. I look forward to them. I have a Master’s degree in French from the University of Alabama and at 69, I can’t shake my love of France. I’ve probably made 20 trips over the years, and my fascination only deepens with age. Still, I struggle with comprehension. I can speak fairly well, but when they respond I’m like a deer in headlights!I’ll be spending a month in Paris in October, and can’t wait to soak up French life. Again, thanks for feeding my passion!

    • Catherine says:

      OMG Debra! I am with you on the responses. Just when I think I have a little grip, someone answers me in reallyfastfrench and I’m dumbstruck. And I thank you for your kind words. I do try to keep things light and definitely honest. I can’t stand when bloggers or others believe they are experts after one or two trips. It takes a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng time and I’m not even close! XOXOXOXO

  5. Judy Sparks says:

    Dear Catherine, Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your lovely blog. Specially the ones about France. It is great to read about real life, I hate all these imitation blogs insta etc with artificial faces and unreal stories ,they are sad! Your life is so normal and refreshing. We all have ups and downs in our lives ,thet is being. alive! My husband and I are in our eighties and still love our trips to France ( we don’t have so far to travel as you) Love the scenery and the markets . Looking forward to your next letter and hope you had a comfortable trip home. Best wishes from Judy Sparks Brighton UK

    • Catherine says:

      Judy, You have no idea how much your comment made me feel when I read it. I have, for the past years, remained transparent and real and there are times when I feel that people want the make-believe and the illusion. Thank you so very much -It’s comments like this that make me not quit! XOXOXOXO

  6. neatmessy says:

    I love your honesty too! Don’t change!
    And I’m enjoying your trip reports.
    You might like Marina del Rey, CA, where I am fortunate to live. Some of the beach and boat pics remind me of it. And the ocean temp is a cool 66 degrees now! (That’s also about what the air temp is too.) No topless bathing though!

    • Catherine says:

      I would most likely LOVE Marina del Rey. And I’m grateful and appreciative that you love my honesty. I’m so sick of seeing blog posts with photoshopped backgrounds added to posts when bloggers aren’t even where they say they are. This runs rampant on Instagram and people need to be called out for it. I also can’t stand the smoke and mirrors. If you look at the photos in my posts and happen to see the passers-by, they are normal, average people on a trip. Nothing “”Emily in Paris” Nothing grandiose. Just regular people. It bothers me that people can be intimidated to head to Europe because of the BS phony pictures they see. That’s one reason I love Rick Steve’s. That man has done more for foreign travel than anybody. LOL. I’m stepping off my soapbox now!

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