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French Riviera – Ramatuelle, Gassin, St Tropez

Domaine de Réve - Gassin

I am writing this from the terrace of Domaine de Réve. Sitting here, up on the hill overlooking where the vineyards meet the sea really is like the house is named " a dream".

I am so lucky to stay at my dear friend and the most fabulous travel buddy (Kate Holstein) home. I recommend renting a house if you can stay for any length of time. A kitchen and place to relax allows you to get accustomed into the French way of life and to feel like you are living here, at least temporarily, which to me, is a one of the most special parts of spending time abroad.

The French Riviera is known for incredible ocean views, picturesque towns, rosé vineyards and delicious restaurants. Domaine de Reve is located outside the picturesque village of Gassin, Les Plus Beaux Villages de France.

This guide covers some of my favorite stops along the way, spending days exploring quaint towns, swimming at European beaches, visits to the boulongerie, treasure hunting at the brocantes (flea markets),  enjoying delicious meals and of course the rosé.

I am already looking forward to my next trip back!

eat

La Forge - Ramatuelle
FABULOUS Italian restaurant. La Forge is a must, we went here twice. There are only a handful of restaurants in Ramatuelle and they are all located on the one coblestone street that has views down to the sea. The owners/chef Paolo et Francesca are beyond charming! The food is excellent. It is open for both lunch and dinner. They have a sister restaurant that serves pizza next door.
11 Rue Victor Léon, 83350 Ramatuelle, France | +33 4 83 12 09 86
www.laforgederamatuelle.fr

 

La Verdoyante - Gassin
Nestled in the Minuty wine estates vineyard, La Verdoyante makes you feel like you're visiting family. It is located below the village of Gassin and overlooks the Minuty wine estates and the Gulf of Saint-Tropez. We enjoyed Sunday lunch here and you can tell it was the same regulars who come every Sunday.
www.la-verdoyante.fr

 

beaches

Morning and evening are my favorite times for a dip. Start your morning at the Boulongerie (La Tarte Tropézienne) with a croissant and cappucino, then take your petit-déjeuner and head down to the beach. Equally as nice in the evening to bring a bottle of rosé from any of the local winerys (Minuty is my favorite) and some cheese and head down to the beach.

Pampelonne

La Réserve à la Plage - Pampelonne Beach

Gigi

Pampelonne

Pampellone Beach

This is the beach to go to when you think of Saint Tropez. Situated in Ramatuelle but this is where most people in at Tropez go to beach. Long beautiful expanse of beach lined with small beach clubs. It is situated near our house so we enjoy coming for a morning dip after grabbing the essential cafe and pastry. The beach clubs have fun scenes if you want to have a day at the beach. Call ahead to reserve a beautiful beach chair/ umbrella where you can order rosé and snacks.The beach clubs have great food.
There is parking at many points along the beach for about 5euro. There are many beach clubs where you can have lunch (always best to make a reservation). And if you are making a day at the beach you can rent a cabana.

Jardin Tropezina - beach club, great dinner
Live music at dinner. You can reserve beach chairs during the day fun beach club for a beautiful dinner on the water.
www.jardin-tropezina.fr

Gigi
The ‘IT’ spot to be on Pampelonne beach! So fun to watch the scene. Completely open restaurant (only go if weather is nice), located a little bit back from Pompelonne beach. We went for a leisurely late lunch, try the pesto trofie, so yummy. Fun live music. Stop by the pool after for an espresso and rosé. They have the cutest yellow cars that drive around St Tropez to promote the club.
www.gigi-restaurant.com

La Réserve à la Plage
La Réserve is the beautiful beach club associated with five start hotel La Réserve in Ramatuelle.
www.lareserve-plage.com

L' Escalet

L' Escalet Beach

For something more low-key, head to the tucked-away cove of L’Escalet Beach, where you can spread out on a shore sans tourists. Bring your sneakers, it only takes about 5-10 minutes to walk to the next beach coves, which has crystal clear water and perfect white sands and a lot less people. There are a few snack bars. Parking is first come.

Do

A highlight has been treasure hunting at the local Brocantes/ Flea Market. They happen all over and just a little time spent googling will show you where and when the best ones are. We have founds so many treasures for the house.

 

gassin

The closest village to Domaine de Reve.

stops for next trip....

Club 55 - And this we have to go to because it's famous...
www.club55.fr/en/

Les Moulins - restaurant
Go for afternoon drinks, so cute. Located in between St Tropez and Ramtualle on the way to Pampelonne beaches.
34 Chemin des Moulins 83350 RAMATUELLE | +33 4 94 45 69 72
www.lesmoulinsderamatuelle.com

Indie Beach House
www.indiebeachhouse.com

Next was Provence, for beautiful lavender fields and wineries amongst hilltop towns like Gordes and Menerbes (separate travel guide coming for Provence!).

South of France

Saint Tropez

A few weeks back Kate Holstein asked me to join her on a a travel adventure in the South of France. Obviously I said YES.

Our adventure started in the French Riviera area. We arrived at our first stop just outside of Nice in the medieval mountain town of Saint Paul de Vence.  Followed by 2 nights in the the chic beach town of St Tropez, where our day trips consisted of visiting nearby villages of La Garde Freinet and Grimaud. From the French Riviera we moved north to the Luberaon in Provence. And we finished the trip with one night in Paris.

We had a unique reason and way to see this area.  Kate and her young family are in search of a home to spend a year in France.

It was a perfect and unique way to explore these charming towns and to get a glimpse at life in this area. This French Riviera guide covers some of my favorite stops along the way.

Paris

 Le Marais is one of those areas in Paris that you will just never be able to get enough of. The neighborhood is packed to the gills with exciting cafes, boutiques and boulangeries… to pop into.  Below I am sharing a selection of my personal favorites in Le Marais:

Stay

Le Marais
Le Marais

Maleka Designs Paris
Beautiful Marais Apartment across from the Picasso Museum
2
2 Rue de Thiorny Le Marais Paris | Airbnb.com
Living like a local, not a tourist is always my aim when traveling. This airbnb is authentic Parisian living located in the heart of my favorite neighborhood Le Marais. Charming, stylish, peaceful and light filled one-bedroom apartment, beautifully renovated and furnished with antique pieces.

Dine

Folks and Sparrows - Paris

Used Book Cafe - Paris

Broken Arm - Paris

CINÉMA CAFÉ - Paris

Café Charlot Paris

Boots Café - Paris

 

Café Charlot – best for lunch
38 Rue de Bretagne
This is the place to be in Le Marais. I can sit here for hours soaking in all the fashionable people.  The menu is simple and delicious, the chèvre chaud is devine!

Folks and Sparrows – best for breakfast
14 Rue Sain Sebastian, Paris 75011
Adorable rustic café tucked away on a quiet street in Le Marais. Loved it for breakfast.

Used Book Cafe  – best for afternoon coffee after shopping at Merci
111 boulevard Beaumarchais 75003 Paris (located on ground floor of  Merci)
Rendez-vous over a cup of coffee or for a quick lunch surrounded  by over 10,000 books. Loved it for an apres shopping at Merci cappuccino stop.

Cinèma Café – best for  lunch
Bright, chic, fun vibe, great place to meet for lunch around a plate of charcuterie, salad or soup. Try the ginger lemonade.

Broken Arm – best for breakfast
12 Rue Perrée, 75003 Paris
Offers great coffee in a trendy setting inside or out.

Boots Café – best for breakfast or a late afternoon pick me up
19 Rue du Pont Choux, 75003
Open 10 – 6
Paris’s smallest coffee shop. They advertise Coffee to go, but its super cute cafe decor will make you want to stay at one of the two tiny tables and enjoy your coffee there.

Marché des Enfants
39 Rue de Bretagne, 3rd
At 400-years-old, the Marais-based Marché des Enfants Rouges is worth browsing whether you’re hungry or not (you can always stock up on fresh cut flowers, fruits, vegetables and the best butter you will ever have).

Shop

Merci –  Concept Store
111 blvd du Beaumarchais
It is impossible to go to Le Marais without spending some time wandering through my favorite concept store. Great spot for gifts, check out the Merci line of lines, to have a café crème in their Used Book Café or a bite to eat in the chic Cinema Café.

Isabel Marant
47 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris
Bought the coziest sweater here. Beautiful chic french line

Closed
Rue Debelleyme 22
German company, most clothing is made in Italy. They are known for their denim, but I purchased a beautiful small leather cross saddle bag.

Le Labo Fragrances
7, rue Froissart 75003 Paris
Paris is the place to purchase perfume. Le Labo makes 10 handmade exclusive scents which they customize for you in the shop !

 

 Venturing outside of Le Marais

Buvette Paris

Vélib
For 8 euros for a week pass you can bike around the city using one of the 20,000 bikes available in the city. You pick up the bike at one destination and deliver it at another. Be sure to check out the bikes before picking yours, as they often have flat tires…. Biking can be daunting in Paris, stick to the smaller streets and it is a great way to get around. Most busy roads have a bike/bus lane.

Claus– favorite time breakfast, must make a reservation
14 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001
On the ground floor there’s a carefully curated selection of biscuits, mueslis, jams and other condiments, and in the green-carpeted dining room upstairs, you settle at a white table for a good feed. Combines a chic boutique vibe with a cozy home atmosphere.  Ride bikes from the Marais.

Buvette –  9ème – South Pigalle – favorite time dinner
28 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris, France
Rustic chic French bistro. Short and sweet menu, order a lot and share. I dream of the tartines slathered in mint pesto and fava beans and for desert the peach tart with whipped crème fraiche.

Cafe Charlot - Paris