This summer friends of ours invited us to go to France with them. France! The family of said friend has a home in Ramatuelle, a small town next door to St. Tropez, in the south of France. John and I of course said yes! We went in late August and had a lovely time.
This vacation was very different from our regular trips – we relaxed without a timeline, we went to the beach, played card games, visited the local market when we were hungry, and went out to a few nice dinners. We did a day trip to Nice & Monaco (that’ll be a separate post) but for the most part we just enjoyed friends, took in the gorgeous scenery, and unplugged. Thus, the posts I have about the trip are different from my usual action packed, play by play blogs – but I hope you enjoy none the less!
I snapped an awesome shot of Castle Island/Fort Independence while taking off from Logan Airport!
We flew from Boston to Montreal – about an hour flight – and had a 2 hour layover there before flying from Montreal to Nice, France.
We flew Canada Rouge on both flights and it was pretty good – lots of leg room and good food on board. I have a lot of trouble sleeping on planes so I don’t love overnight flights but they are a necessary evil.
Based on the time difference and the length of the flight from Montreal (7.5 hours), we arrived in Nice at about 8AM. Man, was the view of the French Riviera (or Côte d’Azur) from the plane beautiful.
We arrived at the airport, picked up our rental car (a little Opel sedan), and headed to Ramatuelle.
The drive was lovely but kind of scary – the drivers in France are insane. Also, we think tolls are bad here in the US? There were tolls every few miles or so on the highway out of Nice and were 3-4 Euro each time.
After a 2 hour drive, we arrived in Ramatuelle. Our friend’s home that we stayed at was rustic and charming.
The house sits on top of a massive cliff overlooking St. Tropez/St. Maxime.
The views from the house were breathtaking!
I couldn’t believe how many yachts there were. But this soon became a common sight on this trip.
Here is the backyard sitting area that overlooks the Gulf of St. Tropez.
The sunrises from the house were amazing too. So many gorgeous views looking down from the house over the water or down to the vineyards.
The Ramatuelle/Gassin area is full of vineyards (naturally, we were in wine country after all) and the sweeping views, especially at sunrise, were stunning.
Just up the road from the house, at the highest point of the coastline cliff, is the Cap Camarat Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built around 1829 and is now on conservation land.
There was a spectacular view of the house we were staying in from the lighthouse (the little orange roof on the left is the house!).
And additional wonderful views of the Gulf of St. Tropez.
John and I with a view of the house and the gulf in the background.
For meals in France, we did a combination of going out to eat and cooking at home. There was a local market just down the street from the house where we bought great fresh produce, pasta, bread, rosé, and CHEESE.
One afternoon we visited the center of Ramatuelle. It resides up on another hill (situated there to provide a natural defense to any enemies) and the views of the vineyard below, and the gulf, are just beautiful.
Ramatuelle is small (~2,000 residents) but is full of narrow winding streets, quaint restaurants, and European charm. The locals are very relaxed but didn’t seem particularly friendly.
We had a tasty lunch at Le Cigalon in town and walked around enjoying the sights.
In Ramatuelle there is a memorial monument to those French Special Service members who died in WWII. There is so much WWII history here; it was very interesting to see how a small town like this memorializes its involvement.
One of my favorite things we did in Ramatuelle was go to Bonne Terrasse beach. It’s a rocky beach (very little sand) with gorgeous blue waters and an awesome view of the Cap Camarat lighthouse (that’s the same cliff where the house was).
We also visited another impressive St. Tropez beach – Plage de Pampelonne.
Pampelonne Beach is full of sunbathers, families, yachts, awesome restaurants – you name it. The water was warm and lovely and the waves were plentiful.
We had a great time at Pampelonne and an awesome lunch beach side at L’Esquinade.
One night for dinner we ventured to Gassin, Ramatuelle’s neighbor. Gassin is one of the oldest villages in the South of France, dating back to 1234. It looks very similar to Ramatuelle – quaint village, cobbled streets, old world charm, up on top of a cliff overlooking the water – which makes sense since Gassin and Ramatuelle were originally founded to give locals a place to escape pirates on the Mediterranean.
We went to Le Pescadou which is a lovely restaurant featuring local cuisine and overlooks the Gulf of St. Tropez.
Clearly this was the first time we all had internet/wifi for a while.
The food at Le Pescadou was delicious and beautiful!
Another dinner we ate out was beach side at Le Migon, right on Bonne Terasse beach. The service was awful but the food was good. As you can see, I stuck to salads and cheese on this vacation. I’m not a red meat eater and only like a few kinds of seafood so I kept it simple on this trip!
Five days in France – and then we were on the way back home. It went by so fast. Since we had to leave so early in the morning I enjoyed one last sunrise over St. Tropez.
We flew from Nice to Frankfurt, Germany for a 5 hour layover. The Frankfurt airport is huge!
I spent our brief time in Germany either eating schnitzel, eating pretzels and mustard, or napping in the terminal. Crushed it!
The journey home was a long one. We flew Lufthansa on the way home to Boston and I thought it was ok – the seats were super small but the in-flight entertainment was awesome and the food was plentiful and very good.
We finally arrived home at 8PM after being up and traveling for about 24 hours. You just can’t beat the sunset behind the skyline of your hometown, am I right?
Stay tuned for separate posts on our side adventures to Nice, Cannes, and Monaco!