Tag Archives: French cuisine

Secret Beach: Plage des Graniers

Today I discovered a secret beach! And thank goodness I did because Saint-Tropez gets unbearably hot and muggy by late morning. I was practically wilting in the heat, so we high-tailed it to the hills above town seeking the relief of a cool Mediterranean breeze.

St trop

view

The summit above the port is crowned with the ruins of a magnificent 17th century citadel – and breathtaking views of the sea below. As lunchtime draws nigh, yachts are already starting to jostle for space to drop their anchors just outside of town.

Citadel

cove

cove2

Beyond the ancient stone walls of the citadel, a dusty path winds down through the woods to a glimmering sandy cove. It’s the secluded location for a hip beachside restaurant frequented by locals and those lucky enough to hear of it by word-of-mouth. Surrounded by an overgrowth of bamboo, this free patch of beach is a discreet alternative to the ritzy beach clubs further down on Pampelonne.

path

Cove3

ent

Seated beachside under white tasselled parasols with my toes in the sand, I followed recommendations to try the grilled fish. So glad I did! Lunch was fantastic – and the view was mesmerizing. Afterwards, I took a snooze on the warm beach and observed the 30-minute rule before a post-lunch dip in the crystal blue water.

tassels

menu

I've got sole but I'm not a soldier.

I got sole but I’m not a soldier.

med head

On the road back from Graniers beach, at the base of the citadel, sits the Saint-Tropez Marine Cemetery facing out onto the Mediterranean. It is the final resting place of many a brave seaman and a few notable Tropéziens. The beauty of this site stopped me in my tracks and, for a few moments, was a place for quietude and reflection. I’m not sure what happens after our lives on earth, but I couldn’t think of a more heavenly place for a soul to rest through eternity. I threw out a few silent prayers to catch on the wind, and continued on my traveler ways.

grave

cem

crosses

One final look back at the striking blues of the sea and sky against the pure white of the sun-bleached crosses. I’m so glad I happened to discover this side of Saint-Tropez.

Lunch in Cotignac

Smile

Today we had lunch in the belle ville Cotingac. Built into the cliffs, Cotingac is a sleepy little Provençal village. We dined at Chez Loli on the terrace along the serene tree-lined town center. Their motto, emblazoned on the menu, is “We make people happy.” I love that simplicity – much like the classic pared-down regional cuisine typical in the south of France.

Contingac

Cotignac

Continac St

Chez Loli

Chez Loli

Chez Loli

Rose

Continac1

Rose shrimps, tomatoes, mesclun salad, peas, salmon tartare, celery remoulade

Rose shrimps, tomatoes, mesclun salad, peas, salmon tartare, celery remoulade

Clam Linguine

Clam Linguine

Dining is so elegant and relaxed here. I am eating less (you don’t have as much appetite in the heat) but the simplicity of the dishes and the quality of the ingredients is top-notch. I am discovering lots of inspiration for recipes I can cook back at home! Now if only I could get this view out of my kitchen window…
last

The Simple Life

Sometimes you just need a pool day. Lathering up with sun cream and laying out in the golden heat until your brain gets fuzzy. It’s like therapy for me.

hat

In the afternoon, it’s back up to the house for lunch on the terrace overlooking the rolling Provençal terrain.

Steps

House

Deck

melon

artichokes

pate

salami

celeriac

View1

Afterwards, I make myself swim sets of twenty laps to burn off all the cheese and paté!

Swim

Swim1

Eddie2

I don’t drink alcohol in the day. With the sun’s heat, I find it’s just too much. Instead, we usually wait until dusk and enjoy a drink or two before dinner watching the sun slip down behind the mountains.

Terrace

Flower

Eddie

poppy

Terrace1

Pool

Eddie n Me

View

Table

Spending time here reminds me to savor life’s simple pleasures: warm sun on tanned skin, the bliss of getting absorbed in a good book, the shock of hot skin plunging into a pristine pool, the juicy zing of a ripe melon, a gauzy linen shirt wafting in the summer breeze. This is French summer – wholehearted and pure.