We left Nice after breakfast and hit the road.
On the itinerary was a visit to Saint-Paul-de-Vence, yet another perfectly preserved living medieval village.
We took in the sights, did a little shopping, and downed the requisite rosé.
I fear we are sounding basic AF with all this shopping and rosé talk but if the shoe fits …
We stopped at Port Grimaud because the map showed a pretty significant canal system. It was one of those places that I’m sure in the height of summer is teeming with swimsuit clad teens and cafés crammed with parents who are just barely keeping an eye on their virginity.
As it was on this April day, it was more or less shut down so we did a quick loop and got back on the road.
I can’t think about being a kid and watching TV without this commercial for Bain de Soleil coming to mind.
Sing it with me! Bain de Soleil for the Saint Tropez taaaaaannnnnn.
I think it’s kind of hilarious that they chose to portray the model as vastly nearsighted at, what, 20? Maybe she’s actually 45 and the age-reversing properties of sun bathing – avec Ban de Soleil – have preserved her good looks but, alas, not her vision.
Yeah, it doesn’t work that way. C’est dommage.
So yes, I had to see Saint Tropez.
It was okay, it’s main downfall was largely circumstantial, we were tired of big(ger) cities.
Sideboob had to rain on my jellyfish excitement parade.
She’s all, “Eh, if you see one then there are thousands in there and they all want to sting the fuck out of you.”
Having just come from Nice, we kind of wanted a break from parking and the bustling city. Short of being into the beach, there wasn’t much to do but shop which is something we didn’t want to do. After all, I shopped the hell out of Nice.
Over a tasty afternoon affogato in Saint Tropez (just throwing that out there) I grilled Sideboob on where we were staying.
“To be honest, I really don’t know much about where we are going except it showed up in a search for places to stay near St. Tropez under $100.”
Normally I wouldn’t consider this to be an encouraging endorsement but knowing Sideboob, she doesn’t pick things randomly; I knew there would be something interesting to see. But this is also part of our travel ethos, be willing to take a chance on the unknown and be content with the good time or the good story.
This video takes you right up to the parking lot.
The drive was lovely and in parts reminding me of the Western Slope of Colorado with the red, striated rocks and the scrubby growth.
Sideboob found L’Amandari on Hotels.com and our drive ended with us passing a small vineyard and pulling into a pea gravel drive that felt like it was deep in the countryside.
Oh. My. God.
L’Amandari is and owned and operated by Cecile and Philippe, a lovely couple that have been there for 15 years. It was everything! And it had the cutest caravan ever.
It wasn’t long until Sideboob and I were planning our future family meals on the terrace after a morning at the beach ten minutes away, followed by a dip in the private pool and maybe a drink in town.
Plan-de-la-Tour (yes, another perfect and quaint little village) stole our hearts. You know who also stole my heart?
And this 11/10 good dog walking himself home.
Not quite as narrow as Eze and Saint-Paul-de-Vence, it was sunnier and airier. We walked the entire town in 15 minutes and could imagine what it felt like during the summer season.
Celine said the population goes from the 3000 people it has in the winter to 10,000 in the summer. There is music on the plaza, a Friday market, and all the shops and restaurants are open. And it was just a few minutes by foot from L’Amandari.
It’s no wonder Johnny Depp purchased a mini village for himself here.
Begin summer fantasizing.
As it was, it was very sleepy with only one bar open for business and apparently every man in town having a drink there. They were all pretty deep into their cups by the time we arrived.
I was privy to a very amusing yet deeply disturbing display of PDA that could either have been between:
- A severely fucked up young man (and I mean fuuuucked up … like FUBAR … like, make sure he sleeps on his side incase he vomits in his sleep and chokes on his own vomit) and a woman who looked old enough to be my mother. He was super handsy with her, pulling her into his lap, grabbing her ass, etc. Le wow. Or …
- He was developmentally disabled (hence the eyes that weren’t tracking so well and the struggle with difficult tasks like putting his sweater on over his head and standing. Maybe he just really loves his mother? Either way, it was great TV.
Based on what I saw that night a lady of a more, ahem, mature disposition could probably do pretty well there as long as her standards were low enough.
We opted for dinner at a little pizza place, and when I say little, I mean little.
The closest thing to the size of this place was Ras Kassas back in the day when it was a tiny space attached to a liquor store at the entrance of Eldorado Canyon. Our pizzeria sported three tables inside and a couple outdoor café tables.
I wish Boulder real estate and appetite was more amenable to this kind of place.
This place did a rocking take-out business and the food was delicious, plentiful, and well priced.
We strolled back to the B&B in the last of the light and tucked into our French Provençal decorated sleeping cave.
We slept like babies in the chilly room; we insisted that Philippe not turn on the heat because Sideboob and I are compatible in our sleeping habits as well, we like to sleep in very cold rooms.
Breakfast was in the main house with Cecile and Philippe. Cecile’s speaks excellent English and it was really nice to ask her in-depth questions about the area, of which she was extremely knowledgeable.
I loved Plan-de-la-Tour and wished I had cause to take a month-long retreat at Celine and Philippe’s to write a book.
After a day of touring fantastic hilltop medieval cities we just checked into our hotel in Lourmarin which is – can you guess? –A FANTASTIC MEDIEVAL CITY! Criminey, these things are everywhere!
More tomorrow. À demain!