Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Saint-Tropez peninsula: Another favorite hike

Our expectations of Saint-Tropez were dashed. In a good way! We expected modern, high rise, glitzy. Instead, we found a quaint village. Yes, there are upscale stores. However, the village and harbor are quite charming. We see the reason why this is such a favorite destination. We parked in paid parking near the harbor. We arrived before 9:00am on a Thursday morning before the crowds.

We were there to hike, so off we went in search of the trails described in 26 Gorgeous Hikes on the Western Cote d'Azur.

We stopped off at the tourist information office to get a detailed map and ask whether the restaurant at Salins Beach (Plage des Salins) would be open. They called, but no one answered. So, we stopped off at a take out place and bought sandwiches and chips. We had brought a large bottle of water and some nuts. You can get sugar coated peanuts in many places, but we bought a large jar at the grocery and then packed a small amount in a plastic bag for hiking. Again, we had our day pack and good hiking shoes. We also wore lightweight hiking pants for this one due to the warmer temps (70s F).

We found the trailhead at the Portalet Tower, but then the trail jagged back into town a bit. We missed that little spur and found ourselves on very difficult coastal rocks. We realized our mistake and climbed straight up the rocks to the cemetery to pick up the marked trail.

Back on track, we continued on the sentier littoral on the Saint-Tropez peninsula. There were no handrails on this trail. The terrain was varied. It could be rock, sandy beaches or shaded (and muddy) paths. It could be steep or flat. Narrow or wide. Scary or safe.

The only certainty was 5.2 miles of hiking on the first leg to Plage des Salins!

A great lunch spot at Pointe de la Rabiou:

The restaurant at Plage des Salins had just opened that day. It was too crowded for us, so we bought some cold water. We found out that there were no buses running back to town, so after a bit of rest, we decided not to continue on the hike to Tahiti Beach, but to hike the road back to Saint-Tropez. We're not exactly sure of the distance, but it seemed like 3-4 miles back to our car!

We enjoyed the hike immensely. Walking along the road back to town, we also enjoyed the fact that with resorts/villas on one side of the road, there were vineyards and little farms on the other side of the road. The land was flat enough to make the road walk fairly easy, though long.

We decided to try to come back on Friday to check out the other hikes.

NEXT: The Road to Saint-Tropez