Even when you live in what is arguable the most heavenly place in Europe, sometimes you just gotta getaway. And so we took a little break this week in the Var, a region I don’t know terribly well. OK, I visited St Tropez once about five years ago as part of a guidebook update but, as usual, was too frazzled to enjoy it. This time we did.
Just heading aimlessly west, we found ourselves in a little village called La Plan de la Tour (le what de la what?). It’s a tiny stone village buried in the Maures mountains inland from the Golfe de Saint Tropez. We headed to the tourist office and started calling around for accommodation. What luck! We settled on La Bergerie a couple of kilometres outside the village. It’s a typical mas de Provence with a sprawling terrain that includes a swimming pool, vineyards, boules court and outdoor terrace. The room was cheery and the Carantas couldn’t have been more welcoming. This delightful, outgoing couple provided a wealth of local info and conjured up amazing breakfasts.
St Tropez is, as always, an island of pastel houses and boutiques amid an ocean of cars. For a midweek afternoon in April, the traffic getting into and out of town was truly stupifying. I can only imagine the summer gridlock and imagining it is as close as we intend to get to St Tropez in the summer.
It wasn’t really beach weather but I really wanted to check out Pamplonne, St Tropez’s premier beach. It’s 5km of sand curving around a gentle bay with the mountains in the distance. The famous beach hangouts were just barely getting started so we were able to appreciate the silence broken only by wind and waves.
The region surprised me by its rusticity and lack of development. It’s not at all like the Nice region with its urban sprawl. There, you can drive for miles and see little but parasol pines and vineyards–lots of vineyards!
Other spots we were most impressed with include Gessin and Grimaud, two little mountain villages where the narrow streets are festooned with flowers and plants.
We could have used some restaurant advice though. In Plan de la Tour we ate only moderately well and it was quite expensive. Sainte–Maxime was little better. The food was OK but that’s all.Follow me!