Bastille Day on the French Riviera

AzurAlive: Bastille Day on the French Riviera

July 14th marks the anniversary of the taking of the "Bastille" prison in Paris by hungry & disillusioned parisians in 1789. They stormed the Bastille and set in motion the wheels of the French Revolution that brought down the monarchy.

Each year "Le Quatorze Juillet" or Bastille Day in English is celebrated as the country's most important national day. In Paris, the celebration  center around military displays of tanks, planes, troops marching down the Champs Elysees.

How is Le Quatorze Juillet celebrated on the French Riviera?

Fireworks. Lots of fireworks or "Feux d'Artifice". Fireworks with the entire population poured onto the streets, the piers, the beachside promenade to watch. 

Every single town will have its fireworks tomorrow. 

Where there's the sea, they usually take place over the bay. On the French Riviera, this is the case in Nice, in Cannes, in Saint-Raphael, in Sainte-Maxime, in Saint-Tropez.

Watch out for the time.

You might expect the fireworks at midnight, but they're usually around 10PM or 10:30PM.

Before then, you might be treated to some festive music along the promenades such as in Nice.

Nice's Prom Party begins at 9:30PM on July 14th this year around the Palais de la Méditérannée. Valbonne with also host  music at the Place des Arcades at 9PM. In Saint-Tropez, you will be able to dance at the local bal  starting around 10:30PM while the fireworks will start at 10:45PM.


Fireworks AzurAlive: Bastille Day on the French Riviera border=

St Tropez: Armani's Provençal Home

Armani's Home in StTropez

The June 2015's edition of Architectural Digest offers a peek into Giorgio Armani's little St Tropez abode. 

Contrary to what you might expect, it isn't a palazzo of gigantic proportions, but a cosy provençal house of human proportions. Armani has designed his St Tropez house interior mostly himself, and it is impressive.

A shame I am not invited for a sip by the pool.  You can taste the beauty of its recent renovations through the AD article.

Barrios Sculptures Add Dimension to St Tropez Rafael Barrios in StTropez
On the French Riviera's St Tropez this summer, large scale sculptures by Venezuelan-American artist Rafael Barrios challenge the laws of physics and our sense of perception.

Standing three meters high in bright laquered blue in front of café Senequier, blocks of hand-shaped steel hang out in space. Captured on photo, the blue structure jumps out of the picture to grab you. Rafael Barrios in StTropez
At the Place de la Garonne, another grand sculpture by Rafael Barrios appears more discreet in pale grey, only to better strike from its unlikely posture. Rafael Barrios in StTropez
Walk by the port to St Tropez' Annonciade Museum and an assembly of pink elements climb toward the blue of the sky. Folks sit around it as if it had always been there, but beware. It may move.

All of Barrios' large structures will disappear from St Tropez on September 15, 2014, to be beamed elsewhere.

Saint-Tropez is such as multi-faceted place. It is not what it seems to be. The town made a perfect backdrop for Rafael Barrios' wonderful trickery for the senses.

Thanks to the Galerie des Lices and Bel Air Fine Art Gallery for their help bringing this artistic treat to town.


The most exclusive hotels in France

Château de la Messardière, St Tropez
Photo: Château de la Messardière, Saint-Tropez

In July, the travel site allovoyages published a study on the most expensive resort hotels on the French coastline.

Hotel sezz, St Tropez
Photo: Hotel sezz, Saint-Tropez

Saint-Tropez topped the list. Monaco followed closely, then Antibes, Port Grimaud. Sainte-Maxime took sixteenth place. Top four on the French Riviera.

Hotel La Ponche, St Tropez
Photo: Hotel La Ponche, St Tropez

I wasn't surprised to read this. St Tropez has a generous offering of first-class luxury hotels such as the exclusive Chateau La Messardiere, the charming and full of history Hotel La Ponche in the old fishermen's quarters, or the modern le Sezz, all pictured above. 

I was surprised not to see Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat among the top ten, for hotel palaces such as the lavish Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, or even the Voile d'Or.

AlloVoyage study website.

Hotel La Ponche, St Tropez

Château de la Messardière, St Tropez

Hotel sezz, St Tropez

Best Beach: St Tropez's Tahiti Beach

AzurAlive: Tahiti Beach, St Tropez, France

Tahiti Beach is essentially the northern tip of the very long (in full, 5 km) stretch of beach on the St Tropez peninsula called Pampelonne Beach between the Cap du Pinet and Pointe de la Bonne Terrasse.

La Plage de Pampelonne is famous for its beach clubs such as Nikki Beach, Club 55, and others where plush mattresses and cool drinks line up facing the Mediterranean. 

I like Tahiti Beach but it is less glam than its adjacent sister on Pampelonne Beach. Tahiti's beach restaurants are more down to earth than the bigger names further south. 

Like all beaches here, Tahiti Beach offers a free section of public beach. The public beach sits between the private clubs, the larger free section being south of Tahiti Beach, the club. You can spot it on the map below. No one will offer you a beach mattress & parasol on the free section, but no one will ask you for money either. 

Nina's Delicious St Tropez

Nina St Tropez by Nina Parker

London-based chef Nina Parker has just published a fabulous cookbook inspired by St Tropez.

Nina St Tropez On th Beach

What makes the book so special are not just the photos of the now famous little fishing village, its narrow streets and beaches, its markets, its iconic characters.

The book is infused with the taste of the summers Nina spent in St Tropez. Every recipe oozes with the warmth of summer and the abundance of seasonal fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and game in this region of Southern France.

Tarte Tropezienne

Along the pages, you'll find a tribute to the people who have accompanied the author's summers by the Mediterranean. You'll meet Patrice de Colmont, owner of Club 55 and his famous vegetable platter. You'll taste Le Mazagran's slow-cooked ratatouille and fisherman Lucien's special sardines. 

It's a colorful, personal cookbook that quickly climbed up to the top of my list of favorites. Highly recommended!

New Beach Club in St Tropez

Bagatelle, St Tropez

As of last month, there's a new kid on the block at the long and buzzing Pampelonne beach by St Tropez, France. 

It's Bagatelle, a Mediterranean-styled pool club that already lives Miami, Las Vegas, LA, NYC, Sao Paulo and Saint-Bath with Aymeric Clemente et Remi Laba at the founders' helm.

How is it different from its next door neighbor Club 55 or Nikki Beach or any of the other beach clubs on the long stretch of sand at Pampelonne beach by St Tropez? 

If this may be any indication of what's to come, the club hosted locally famous DJ Kris Corleone for a reportedly great opening evening. We'll keep an eye out and see how everyone enjoys it.

If you are in the area, check it out and drop us a comment line to tell us how you liked it.

Bagatelle, St Tropez


Dotting St Topez

Pointe St Pierre by Theo Van Rysselberghe

St Tropez has entranced many painters over the years.

Paul Signac setlled in the village in 1892 and was one of the first of a long lineage of artists to soak in and then express the sights of St Tropez, the delectable sea, the pine trees leaning away from the wind, the contrast of vivid colors.

Others soon followed suit such as Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Bernard Buffet, but also the frequent traveler and talented belgian painter Theo Van Rysselberghe whose "Pointe St Pierre, St Tropez" is seen above.

Red Buoy Of St Tropez by Paul Signac

A new style of painting soon flourished in St Tropez, the pointillist style. Rather than brush color on the canvas, the pointillist painters dotted their canvases with a mutlitude of tiny drops of pure paint. arranged precisely across the frame. Through this style, shapes, nuances, shades and colors come to life in the eye of the observer rather than through the mixing of colors on the artist's palette.

In a way, it's the precursor to computer dot printing where tiny jets of ink are applied to a page. Of course, this was done not through the churning of bytes by computer processors but through the visionary minds of artists drawn to a new form of painting. It was a revolutionary way of painting that broke with tradition. As a result, it rubbed a few critics the wrong way at the time.

You can admire some of the pointillists' paintings at the St Tropez Annonciade Museum.

Pine Tree At St Tropez by Paul Signac