Friday 13 June 2014

Time for Rosé | Part Two

I adore St Tropez, and funnily I’m not really 100% sure why!

I am drawn to it for some reason… What I can’t really put my finger on is why I like it so much. I’m not usually one for extravagant things, don’t get me wrong I do like the finer things in life on occasion, but it’s not the gigantic yachts that awe me… It’s more the delightful, windy, cobbled streets, and the anticipation that something dazzling is about to happen.

I’ve been thinking about this, and I think the best way to describe St Tropez for me is it’s a little bit like one of my favourite movies ‘It’s Complicated’ with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin… Full of fabulous food, a gorgeous setting you just can’t get enough of, and there is always the possibility that Meryl, with her understated star quality might just stroll by. The town is that kind of place, unpretentious but star studded all the same.

So now that you know I love St Tropez lets get started!

On Saturday morning, after already having two wonderful days in France, we set off for St Tropez. We woke up extra early to get ready and avoid the market day traffic. When we left Cavalaire I braced myself before every turn expecting the usual tail backs, but they never appeared and we sailed into the car park on the port (excuse the pun!) and were sitting having our petit dejeuner in Le Clemenceau half an hour later. Sometimes you just get lucky!

Situated right on the corner of Rue Georges Clemenceau and Place des Lices (the market square), Le Clemenceau is my favourite place for breakfast in St Tropez. If you pick the right table you can sit on the gorgeous narrow windy street - Rue Georges Clemenceau and overlook the market in the square at the same time.

Source: A walk along the gorgeous street Rue Georges Clemenceau by Kanal von AllMighty57 on You Tube.

We sipped our coffee and tucked into the scrumptious buttery croissants before heading across the road to the market.

I love wandering through Place des Lices on market day. It is transformed from a peaceful tree lined village square to a bustling market place with stall after stall of amazing mouthwatering food, clothes, jewellery, art, antiques, tableware and flowers.

It’s the food at the market that I love best. I adore looking around and savouring the delectable mediterranean specialties.

The rotisserie chickens slowly roasting, the paella simmering on the giant pan, the abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, the huge hunks of cheese, barrels overflowing with olives.. The aromas are out of this world and definitely work up an appetite. The vendors are smart and hand out little tasters along the way to encourage you to buy their produce.

The market is on every Tuesday and Saturday from 8am to 1pm, and it’s a good idea to go as early as possible as it can get extremely busy as morning runs into afternoon. Expect to squeeze your way through the crowds after 10am!

After the market we meandered through the cobbled streets in the glorious sun. We popped in and out of the Interiors shops, and browsed the clothes and food shops as we headed towards the port.


When we had worked up a thirst after all the shopping we headed straight to Senequier, our favourite bar on the port, which also happens to be the best place in the world for people watching.

However on that day it was the best place in the world for Harley watching! Thousands of bikes drove along the port in anticipation for the Harley Davidson parade (part of the four day Harley festival taking place in the Golfe du St Tropez over the weekend) that was starting at 4pm in St Tropez, and winding it’s way through the narrow streets to Ramatuelle, Gassin, and Cogolin before finally arriving in the beautiful hilltop village of Grimaud.

Senequier looks out over the port where some of the biggest yachts I’ve ever seen dock (although it looked like the really big ones decided to sail somewhere else that day, they must have heard about the noise and fumes from the Harley festival!). So as well as a great spot for people watching it’s also a great place for yacht spotting too!

The last time we were in St Tropez, my sister Alison managed to detached herself from us and ended up drinking Champagne on the biggest yacht in the port, but that’s a story for another day!

It was finally time to leave but I got an extra treat just before we left… I managed to meet up briefly with my friend Rachel, and her mum, and boyfriend (also frequent visitors to France) who were about to embark on some St Tropez shopping.

Now, Mum’s birthday trip to France happened to fall on the weekend of Dad’s birthday so he joined us all for our last night in Cavalaire, and we were celebrating his birthday the following day over lunch in Mougins.

He was picked up from the train in St Rapheal by my Mum and sisters while I got the welcoming drinks and nibbles ready on the balcony…

Then just before Dad arrived this little guy payed a visit and kept me company!

That evening we all headed out in the setting sun for a big family meal (I was going back to my roots!) to the port in Cavalaire.

Where we filled ourselves to the brim with more glorious food.

The next morning it was time for another tasty breakfast in ’Les Palmier’ in Cavalaire town. We are creatures of habit in the mornings!

And after we had filled ourselves to the brim yet again we made made a quick stop at the apartment to collect our bags. We were leaving Nice airport that night for Dublin.

But before that, lunch!

We drove to Mougins where my Dad’s friend Pat had booked a table for us in the Royal Mougins Golf Club where he is a member and also has a beautiful house right on the 5th tee.

We arrived a little after two and chose to have lunch on the terrace as the weather was absolutely perfect, balmy and warm.

It was already filled with people finishing their lunch and enjoying the sun.

The friendly waiters immaculately dressed and extremely attentive brought a bottle of Rosé while we read the menu.

After five delicious starters our mains arrived. I ordered Steak Tartare, Italian style - garnished with buffalo mozzarella, thick slices of tomato, and drizzed with a delicious homemade pesto. Dad went for the same, the girls both ordered the Club Sandwich and Mum had Entrecôte de Boeuf.

My Steak Tartare was excellent. I knew from the first bite that the beef was top quality, and it was perfectly seasoned with herbs and spices. For someone like me who likes their steak rare it was perfect.

I’m going to post a recipe for steak tartare soon, just because I’m curious to see if eating minced (or finely chopped) raw steak at home has the same ‘je ne sais quoi’ as eating it in the south of France… I’ll let you know!

When we finished our heavenly lunch it was time for dessert.

Café gourmand…

Which Emily happily tucked into.

And a final glass of the delicious Rosé for me before we left for the airport…

Our lunch at The Royal Mougins Golf Club, overlooking the immaculate golf course, under the perfect blue provençal sky, was an exquisite end to an amazing holiday.

It was such a lovely experience that I’m going to delve into it again over the coming months with a separate blog post and lots more photos.

My holiday to Cavalaire lived up to every expectation I had and more, plus I got to spend four wonderful days with my family in glorious sunshine sipping rosé.

Cavalaire, St Tropez, Mougins, Grimaud, it’s been wonderful! I’ll see you again very soon…

Thankfully there would be no holiday blues this time as I was about to see my three gorgeous boys, I mean four!

And finally.. A huge thank you to David for 'manning the ship’ and 'taking charge of the troops’ while I was away! It’s a military operation sometimes!!

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