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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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French Country Travel Life Legend


French Country Travel Life Legend is an apt phrase to describe the (medium) tiny village of St. Tropez. Legendary largely becasue of Bridget Bardot filming there “back in the day.”  Sadly, DA BG was  too young  to have been there. (And on another continent anyway.)

Since that day, St. Tropez, more than any other French Riviera destination has been the “in” place to be/seen for movie stars, royalty, politicians, and assorted corporate criminals. All have one thing in common. Deep pockets. So it is here, to this legendary “place in the sun” by the sea that they flock to cavort, boogie down and misbehave with impunity.

My talented colleague Laure Van Ruymbeke (trying saying that fast after a few pina colodas) has the legendary details:

The birth of a French legend

Far from the glitter and glam for which it is well known, it was at the end of the 19th century that this small fishing village was discovered by a few Neo-Impressionists. For the first time they offered the world the Tropezian delights brought to light by the colours of midday through their paintings. Painters like Signac – who set up his studio there, Matisse, Picabia and Bonnard met there regularly and worked on similar themes, such as nudes, familial scenes andMediterranean landscapes.

Laure Van Ruymbeke 21/02/13

In 1925, it was Colette’s turn to make a contribution to the village’s reputation. Overwhelmed by the charm of the provincial region, she took up residence and pursued her literary work from her house named ‘La Treille Muscate’, in the calm and quiet that the town afforded her. Playing with a renewed freedom and enchanted by the splendour of the landscape and her own garden, she wrote, “Upon waking, the world is new to me, every morning”. Troubled by the arrival of tourists some years later, Collette left the now too-coveted place in search of more peace and quiet.

The post-war years saw the Parisian intellectual elite and the big names in the arts and humanities – Gréco, Prévert, Picasso, Vian – discover the peaceful village. Now associated with sun and pure Mediterranean beauty, Saint-Tropez is the ideal place to relax and lounge around.

The 50s and the consecration of the French village

Laure Van Ruymbeke 21/02/13In 1956, the filming of ‘Et Dieu…créa la femme’, shot the the young Brigitte Bardot, and the small picturesque village to fame. Falling for the charm of its small lanes and Mediterranean sun, Brigitte Bardot decided to move to Saint-Tropez, giving it a certain star status.

By the end of the 50s, ‘St Trop’ had become the capital of recklessness, sensuality and freedom, and like Bardot, was known the world over. Bardot continued to bring fame to the port with her 1963, hit song ‘La Madrague’, named after her waterfront house of the same name. This was the era of the vichy dress, bikinis, and mini shorts.

The release of ‘Gendarme de Saint-Tropez’ in 1964, starring actor Louis de Funès, only served to increase the popularity of the village. Among other movies filmed in Saint-Tropez, ‘La Piscine’ (1969), brought stars Alain Delon, Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin to the seaside paradise.

Increasingly, tourists invaded the fishing village…

Laure Van Ruymbeke 21/02/13

The ‘St Trop’ legend, still on people’s minds

The Tropezian legend has since been perpetuated by the press, which never hesitates to return to the origins of its celebrity. For example, on the release of their new perfume ‘Dior Addict’, Dior hired a young blonde model, not dissimilar to Bardot, with a mischievous allure, and chose the catch-phrase ‘Et Dior créa la Femme’ for the campaign.

The advertisement played on the nostalgia of old Saint-Tropez, from deserted beaches to small paved streets, and far from the yachts and currentextravagance for which it is known today. The reference to B.B. is undeniable, in the model’s resemblance and the invitation to “be iconic” at the end of the ad.

Read more about St. Tropez the French Country Travel Life Legend


and/or : Check out THIS VIDEO


What are ya thinkin’?

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21 Responses to “French Country Travel Life Legend”

  1. neil over says:

    good to know you’re covering all the bases!….even the “jet set” ones

  2. al dente says:

    never realized that this was the “in” spot for some of the great pâinters before it became too trendy. every post i learn something new from DA BG!

  3. calvin kindo says:

    with ya there al!….one of the reasons i never miss a bg post!

  4. cindi roset says:

    really informative post! lookingf forward to more “under th skin” reports like this one!

  5. sam daggi says:

    so where is bridget bardot living now?

  6. sum wong says:

    like very much this story. is interest very muc me with france. hope ok to visit in the futur.

  7. alvin lakey says:

    musta been a great spot before bardot ruined it. oh well!

  8. herna tosha says:

    true alvin…but isn’t that the fate of any “great spot” when somebody does a movie there?

  9. hunt trapee says:

    so true herna…..and so sad. but, as the french would say : c’est la vie!”

  10. kent clarke says:

    always wanted to visit there….but was put off by the “trendy/jetset” vibe……..but….hey….you never know ’til ya go..right?

  11. bev ross says:

    makes sense to me kent!…i’ve always felt the same way….so, yeah, why not? you could find it cool/ depending on the time of year you go, i guess.

  12. carlos ramos says:

    that makes a lot of sense bev….as DA BG is always reminding us..her goes to all these cool spots early in the spring…and ditto for the fall.

  13. cal masters says:

    carlos….that has been my plan for years!…..and i can only echo DA BG’s wisdom here. go early!!!

  14. mary evers says:

    would have liked to have seen it when the painters were there.

  15. tad sample says:

    know what you mean mary…but, and maybe i’m too optimistic, but i like to think you could probably find at least a little charm somewhere there…

  16. delbert clinton says:

    hard to tell from your post if there really is any “charm” left there.

  17. debbie warren says:

    delbert..guess it all depends on how you define “charm”, doesn’ it?

  18. bonita santos says:

    touche debbie!

  19. emelda markham says:

    ok..it may not be the “charming” destination the other commentors dream about….but i’d go anyway to see for myself. isn’t that what travel is all about?

  20. cyndi zamos says:

    your opening photo really gives the atmosphere of how i imagine it was…”B.B.” (before bardot!)

  21. yaro zennon says:

    with ya there cyndi…..a big contrast to the jet-set, glitzy stuff in the video at the bottom.

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