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15.10.11

I Left My Heart In St Tropez


There's a world that sleeps within you
It's a world of freedom,
It's a place
Where every dream you dream inside can come true

I’d always wanted to visit St Tropez. The idea of the beauty of it, the richness, the romanticism, classiness. It just sounded perfect.

Then along came the Ricky Martin song, which made me want to go more. Nothing to do with the words in the song, but just because he’d sung about it. Simple as that.

Then came my chance. My husband and I decided in 2009 to book a weeks Cruise around the Mediterranean and one of the stops was to the South of France and there was an excursion to St Tropez.

For this cruise I’d decided to plan my outfits ahead of going. This is something I did whenever I went abroad. Planned which top would go with which skirt, etc. But for the cruise I wanted to plan my daily outfits too. I didn’t want to be stuck with my short denim skirt and scruffy vest top for St Tropez now did I!
I picked just a purple skirt I’d bought in the Matalan sale and a cheap black boob tube I’d bought years earlier. Not an expensive outfit but I felt nice, comfortable and felt reasonably chic.

Disaster struck as we were about to leave the ship to head to our excursion coach. I couldn’t find my camera. Now I’d headed off on holiday with 4 SD cards for my camera so this shows just how many photos I take!
I looked all over the cabin [so I thought] but running out of time I had to leave without it. I cried as I got onto the coach. With cloudy weather and a slight cool breeze my day of perfection seemed a distant dream away.

We first stopped off at a romantic, quant little place called Port Grimaud.
I remember my husband was poorly and every stop we went to we would try and find a chemist so he could stock up on Strepsils or any other medication he felt adequate. We had to do the same here.
This little down was almost unreal. It was the sort of thing you’d expect to find in Disneyland.
In a Disney Movie in fact.
A big square, a small bar with barrels outside. Balconies with pure white sheets hanging, swaying too and fro in the gentle wind.
The day was getting better.
If only I had my camera.

We were given time, around an hour and a half, to explore this little town ourselves before we moved on to St Tropez.
We decided to take a boat trip to explore the lagoon village. We didn’t expect to see what we did but soon realised why it is suitably nicknamed “Little Venice”.
Tall picturesque houses, painted in beautiful colours: soft pastels, pink and turquoise.
At the end of each garden was a mooring space, set for every household to show off just how wealthy they are. There was a wide range of boats, from large expensive yachts to small basic rowing boats. (which still ignited the green monster in me)
The village hardly seemed real. The architecture was astonishing.
Again, wishing I had my camera.

We then waited for the coach and on we went to St Tropez. There is one road which is apparently hectic all the time but our driver avoided this so we got there with plenty of time to encounter St Tropez at its best.

As we parked up by a grubby petrol station my dreams of St Tropez were almost crushed.
We were told to walk along the small stretch of path. We did so and then……
BOOM.

There's a world that sleeps within you
It's a world of freedom,
It's a place
Where every dream you dream inside can come true

A HUGE WAVE OF EMOTION CAME UPON ME.
THIS
IS
IT.

The earlier breeze and slight chill had disappeared and the weather was bright and warm. We walked along the quay side, hand in hand. It was amazing. It almost felt like we floated along. The atmosphere was light: despite it being busy, everyone seemed in high spirits, content, totally soaked in the ambiance that is St Tropez.
We were given a good few hours, 3 if my memory serves me correctly, to look around, explore and discover this stunning place.
Our bodies were just taking us along, almost like we were fixed on a conveyor belt with no choice to get off. You had to stay on.
Why?
The yachts.
“Big boys toys which never get played with” as someone recently called them. 
You basically become so hypnotised by these big, beautiful boats that you just cannot tear yourself away from them. I remember seeing shoes neatly lined on the quayside which belonged to the people who were sitting or laying on the boats. The shoes were all so clean but it showed just how pristine these boats have to be.
I walked along and wondered how many people on the boats actually owned them or how many were hired out. What did the people do for a living to be able to afford these magnificent beasts.


I remember one restaurant very clearly. It was pure white. Everything. The table cloths, the walls, the ceiling, the uniform. Everything. The menu looked fantastic but we feared going inside and spilling even a tiny amount onto the crisp white sheets….and we imagined other people thought the same as us….as no one else was sat there.

After lunch we decided to go for another explore.
It was a Sunday, and the afternoon, so we found a lot of the businesses were shut but we I had fun playing “spot the designer shop”. 
I didn't go in any of the designer shops for fear of being treated like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman but very much enjoyed having my photo taken outside of some of them [with my husbands camera...yipee!!]. For me, you can visit these shops in cities in the UK but there’s something even more expensive and exquisite when seeing them in St Tropez.

After a walk around the shops we headed down a small side street, trying to find our way back to the quayside. At times I worried that we would end up lost but we eventually found our way back and again down another aisle of shops and ice cream parlours.
Whilst walking down the side streets I saw the most beautiful window display I've ever seen [excluding Christmas displays of course] A scattering of crystals all over a shop floor. As the sunlight caught each side of the crystals they sparkled so beautifully. This display was mesmerising and my husband literally had to drag me away.

As we headed back to the coach to then journey back to our Cruise Ship I felt a real aching. I wasn’t quite done with St Tropez yet. I wasn’t quite ready to leave. I still had so much time to spend there and so much more to explore.
When we got back to the ship we were shocked to hear that those who went on the other excursions ended up soaked with rain as there had been a storm in the town they had visited.
St Tropez didn’t let me down. I had a feeling it wouldn’t.
I hope I can visit there again some time, even if it is just another 3 hours on an excursion or be it yacht hunting when we finally win millions on the lottery. 

Have you ever visited somewhere and felt like you had a connection to it? 
That you loved it so much? 
That you needed to know more about it?
St Tropez is one of my places. [as is Port Grimaud]

There's a world that sleeps within you
It's a world of freedom,
It's a place
Where every dream you dream inside can come true