The star-studded village of St Tropez on the French Riviera is really a little fishing port wrapped in flashy clothes. Its 20th century rise to fame gave it a high gloss polish, but deep inside, St Tropez remains a simple sea-loving village.
To feel St Tropez's salted soul, take part in one of its sailing events. St Tropez hosts a number of them, with the largest being the Voiles de St Tropez in early autumn.
The Voiles Latines in St Tropez
The Voiles Latines sailing regattas are fun too, and today marks the launch of their 13th edition here in St Tropez! It's a treat not to be missed if you're anywhere close.
From May 23 to 26, 2013, over sixty classic lateen sail boats will gather from around the Mediterranean in Saint-Tropez for the this event.
What are lateen sails?
Britannica says they're: "Triangular sails hat were of decisive importance to medieval navigation.... The lateen is believed to have been used in the eastern Mediterranean as early as the 2nd century, possibly imported from Egypt or the Persian Gulf. Its effective use by the Arabs caused its rapid spread throughout the Mediterranean, contributing significantly to the resurgence of medieval commerce. Combined with the square sail, it produced the ocean-conquering full-rigged ship."
What should I expect during the Voiles Latines?
In St Tropez, sailboats rigged with such lateen sails will be flocking from Italy, Tunisia, Spain, France and Switerland too to take part either in the event. You can watch them sail around the bay and dock along the port in the evening. The weather is great (sunny 20°C right now, lots of wind!) so this should be a fantastic few days in St Tropez.
Expect some festive atmosphere by the harbor, water jousting ("joutes nautiques") tournaments by the bay, an open catalan market and of course regattas.
The Voiles Latines 2013 regattas take place on Saturday, May 25 starting at 12 Noon and on Sunday, May 26 at 11AM.