We cycled the 7.5 miles from the Aire at Pamplonne beach to St. Tropez. Saturday was market day and so the whole place was heaving with shoppers and tourists. We left our bikes on rue Gambetta then walked back to Place des Lices where the market was being held. I thought it quite expensive but being in St. Tropez, it probably was and although I could have had a really lovely time walking around all the stalls with my girlfriends, I could tell that Tony was itching to get down to the harbour and admire the boats.
It just so happened to be Les Voiles de St Tropez, a sailing festival with very large sailing boats, so we were looking forward to seeing the sailing yachts in the harbour. Most of them, however, were out on the water having a race but we did catch a glimpse of one or two of them. We walked around the harbour admiring the boats and yachts and soaking up the sunny atmosphere that St. Tropez seems to create. I did feel rather under-dressed though as everywhere I looked there were very stylish people with plenty of bling, everything they were wearing seemed to be glistening, clothes, shoes, handbags, jewellery whatever they had on had a sparkle to it. The only bling I was wearing were the silver sequins on my Fitflops!
We admired the boats and looked with envy upon a few of them but most of them were no bigger than the lovely Sunseekers that we regularly see in Poole, just flashier!
We stopped off for some lunch in a restaurant along the quay and tucked into some fabulous mussels again whilst watching the world float by and the ‘posers’ in their convertibles, Bentley Continentals, Maseratti’s you name it, St Tropez has it! Whilst eating we were serenaded by an ‘ancient rocker’ who would have caused a laugh on X-factor. He warbled quite a lot just like in the song ‘Non, je ne regret a rien’ and Tony was tempted to give him €10 to go away. We thought if our friend Alan had been with us he would have told him to go away or taken the guitar off him and tried to do better!
After lunch we walked to the outer harbour wall and watched the sailing boats in action then continued to the area known as La Plonche, St Tropez’s ramshackle fishing quarter, although it all looked very neat and tidy to me. We continued through the narrow streets, back to Place des Lices as the market had now cleared away and we wanted to see it how we had remembered it back in 1980 when we had hired bikes with our friends and taken photos of the boys all riding a tandem around the square. You know who you are, so do any of you recognise it?
We continued our bike ride along the Golfe-de-St-Tropez until we reached Port Cogolin and here we saw a large motor yacht being refuelled and the cost to the owner €20,000, I kid you not, I watched the gauge on the fuel pump going up and up! I wonder how far 15,000 litres gets you?
Tony saw a cycle path sign for Ramatuelle from the Port so we decided to take that as our route back to the Aire, rather than back tracking to St. Tropez. Unfortunately, the cycle path soon ran out and we ended up cycling along the main D61 road uphill for about 3 miles until we reached the junction at Ramatuelle that would take us back down to Pampelonne. Luckily the road wasn’t busy but what an uphill climb only lessened by the massive downhill back to the Aire. The ride was 19 miles in total and as it was only 7.5 miles to St. Tropez, I reckon our detour was another 5 miles and the majority of it uphill!
There are no designated cycle paths from the Aire into St. Tropez however the road is good with a hard shoulder that you can cycle along and it was not busy. It is a bit undulating but relatively easy to cycle.
There is a designated off road cycle path all the way out of St. Tropez, along to Port Grimaud and as far as St. Maxime.