Monday, 17 February 2014

Villages Around St Tropez, South of France

Often known as the gateway to St Tropez, La  Garde Freinet is situated just to the north of the glitz and glamour of St Tropez but has a character all of its own – calm, tranquil and authentically Provencal.

La Garde Freinet is dominated by its 450 metre high Fort Freinet which offers panoramic views over the surrounding Provence landscape and down to the coast. In view are the Miremar hills, the Mediterranean and you can see all the way up to the Alps.  Also in view will be a large number of vines and olive trees, cork oaks and chestnut trees representing the four locally grown crops.

The rose wine of Provence is exported all over the world but is still underrated. There are literally hundreds of small vineyards producing an excellent range and at a very reasonable cost. Cork oaks still predominate here, feeding the wine industries need for corks, but these forests are now seeing less demand due to the use of plastic wine ‘corks’. La Garde Freinet also has a history of producing chestnut cream.  This, as its name suggests is made from locally grown chestnuts and is adored locally, notably at Christmas time.

The village itself has history going back to the 11th century and some of the original buildings can be still be seen in the pretty streets which surround a lovely square which itself is surrounded by restaurants, and is a very lively place both day and night, especially in the summer season. There is also a highly developed local art scene with galleries and artists seemingly on every corner.  Many well known artists have connections with the area, and many of them have works exhibited in the town.

A number of smaller hamlets can be found in the area, but of course the major attraction is St Tropez a mere 15 minutes drive away from La Garde…..  The wonderful harbour, the yachts and the fantastic beaches have long since been synonymous with St Tropez. This small former fishing village was made famous in the mid 1950’s when Brigitte Bardot spent her summers in the resort.

For those visiting St Tropez this summer, we have over 60 villas available to rent, here are some examples, not all of which will break the bank.

La Balandrine 
La Pouniche  

Villa Katarina