From sunrise to sunset, St Tropez bustles with life of the most extravagant kind. This once quiet fisherman’s hamlet on the French Riveria is now overwhelmed by a plethora of fast cars, super yachts, holiday villas, and high fashion labels.
The alluring beauties who bask in the admiring glances of passersby in the streets seem to have walked straight off the covers of Vogue. By the side of these delicately flawless creatures are well-heeled gentlemen twice their age. Also legion are age-defying female parodies that evoke memories of surgery-gone-wrong television shows.
Strolling around the centre of town I spot an elderly man sitting in the iconic Café de Paris, sporting an oversized sailor’s hat and being spoon fed by a middle-aged blonde in a red dress and killer heels.
Wedding bells ring in the distance, the third wedding of the day: couple’s paradise meets adult playground in this tres chic region of Provence.
Summer entertainment here is impressive with the likes of Paris Hilton, Kate Moss, Ivanna Trump and Elton John seen to frequent the notorious clubs of VIP and Byblos.
Tourists flock to St Tropez by the thousands, their favourite pastime being ‘spot the celebrity’ and taking an endless number of photographs posing in front of boats and cars that do not belong to them, much to the disdain of the locals.
The busker dressed as a French Legionnaire mimics the walk of the unsuspecting self-important people that pass by, to the amusement of bystanders. His satirical impersonations are both funny and sad as his antics draw attention to the excesses that are now commonplace in what was once a quiet and quaint part of the world.
It is not for nothing that the French now call the place “De Trop”.
On the upside, the locals have managed to thwart avaricious developers and the village is still relatively small and retains its medieval character. There are no large blocks of units to block out the sun or mar the magnificent views of green pines and turquoise waters.
Yes, despite everything St Tropez still retains its magic and for this we are grateful.