Marathon du Golfe de St Tropez March 2018

Exciting News, all the communes in the area have go together to plan a Marathon along the model of the Marathon du Medoc.

  

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It will start in set Maxie and finish in Calvaire

March 25th 2018 is the date.

Facebook link below

https://www.facebook.com/marathondugolfedesainttropez/videos/1834309250141075/

I have entered and particularly like the wine tasting en route

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Winter Visit 2016

We've just returned from a week in Plan. This was the latest we have been there and coincided luckily with an Indian Summer where we got sunshine every day for a week. We were at the beach a few times where there were people sunbathing and even the occasional swimmer. I don't think this is "typical" weather for November but it was a pleasant surprise.

The whole area is a lot quieter. Some restaurants are taking a well deserved winter break after the long summer season. Parking is much easier to get in the towns and is free in Ste Maxime from 1st November to the end of March.

The early mornings were crisp and when I went for my usual  jog around the local fields there were some spectacular views like this one below.

The vines are bare, turning brown and the schools are closed for Mid Term.

Halloween on the 31st of October is a relatively new festival in France but was very lively in the village with hundreds of people dressed up. There were various "Witches Coverns" and haunted houses set up around the village and al the local shop keepers were giving sweets and treats to the children many of whom were "en famille" with the parents also in fancy dress,

The restaurants has special Halloween menus and it was really lively

Local Restaurant getting into the Halloween spirit!

Local Restaurant getting into the Halloween spirit!

The 1st of November is the feast of All saints or "Toussaint" where everyone visits the graves of their deceased relatives and Friends. Bunches of Chrysanthemums are on sale everywhere.

Back at the aparmtment we did a little painting and decorating moving from a blue theme to a grey theme in the bedroom where we also replaced the mattress with a new memory foam model.

All in all this is a great time of the year to visit.

 

 

 

The Braderie in St Tropez

Not being a great shopper this wasn't something I was very aware of but it turns out that every year for the last weekend of October the shops in St Tropez have a big sell off or "Braderie" with big discounts on everything and crowds coming from all over France and beyond.

It looks like everyone likes a bargain and it was amusing to see the inhabitants of huge yachts moored in the harbour heading off bargain hunting.

The event runs from the Friday to the Monday with previews on the thursday night for the local customer of the shops. 

The crowds were huge and the traffic jams getting into St Tropez were not pretty. It took well over an hour to get from the famous roundabout at la foux to parking at the port. There were many "genuine" bargains to be had with long queues outside the more established stores. 50% reductions were common.

Queue to get into one of the shops

Queue to get into one of the shops

Many people took the easier option of parking in Ste Maxime and getting the ferry across. The ferry costs about €13.50 per person for the return, Parking in St Tropez for the day would be €12-€15 and petrol to get there and back at least €10 depending on the traffic jam. The ferry takes 20 mins and is a lovely way to see St Tropez from the sea.

Finally, there was more security than usual this time with checkpoints on the way into the shopping streets where security staff were checking bags.

 

Running La Maximoise

I do a bit of running and was keen to enter a race in France to see how the experience compares with here in Ireland.

I found an race which was happening while we were there  in late October and entered on line.

Sign for the Race.

Sign for the Race.

There were 3 options 8K 11.5K and 20K. I entered the 11.5K which sounded easy enough. The sign didn't mention that most of the race was uphill. The entry fee was a very reasonable €11 with €1 going to a local charity.

The first thing I discovered was that you need a medical cert to say you are fit to run. I later discovered that this is the case for most sports in France including Tennis. I went one of the local doctors (chez le medecin) in the village the day before and after a pretty basic examination and checking that I had run races before he gave me the necessary certificate. 

On the Sunday morning of the race I turned up early to get my Number and check in for the race. We were all given a Tee-shirt and a "quart" of Rosé which was a definite difference with races in Ireland!

The rules for the race and the Course map were also available to review. It was immediately obvious that this was more of a hill climb than a conventional race with a 337M Peak to ascend.

We started on time at 09:30. It was pretty tough especially as the sun was shining and it was pretty hot even that early in the morning. I had to walk up some of the bits near the peak and the decent was scarily fast on very rough ground. I finished in 1 hour and 5 mins which wasn't too bad for 11.5Km and I think I came 3rd in the Over 50 Male category.

After the race there was a fantastic spread of food laid on by the running club who organised the event and there was an amazing collection of trophies...

Food galore!

Food galore!

Lots of Trophies

Lots of Trophies

All in all it was a great experience and I will enter more races next time i get a chance. There is a very popular race near St Tropez which I would like to enter and it looks like there will be a new Marathon on the area in March 2018 around the Golfe of St Tropez. This event is in the planing stages and is going to be modelled on the Marathon Du Medoc which lots of wineries to be traversed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The upgrading continues

Just back from a fortnight in Plan. Once again we upgraded some stuff in the apartment. first of all an Oven to broaden the culinary options and complement the Grill. this has proven excellent for cooking some of the lovely dishes you can find in the local supermarket and will even cook a pizza from frozen if you decide to eat in some evening

New Oven

New Oven

We also bought a portable A/C Unit for the bedroom. This was my first time there in July and it did get pretty hot up to 30C even at night. This unit was great at getting that temperature back down and helping one get a nights sleep. We also bought 2 fans which can be moved around the apartment.

Cool Nights!

Cool Nights!

 

Finally we upgraded the patio furniture. Getting rid of the old white plastic and replacing with Grey metal.

New Patio Furniture

New Patio Furniture

Food and More Food

With two weeks in Plan we got a chance to sample load of food. These are a few examples that might help you with your choice of Restaurant while staying there. The first two are from the excellent lunchtime menu at Le tour du Plan which is the closest restaurant to the apartment just 200 metres across the boules ground.

Duo of Salmon and Gambas

Duo of Salmon and Gambas

Moules

Moules

Melon

Melon

This next dish is from le Temps Du Copains in the square. This is a lovely restaurant famed for its music evening when a band will provide entertainment and the charming host Maguy will encourage some dancing in the streets. There are beef, lamb and chicken variation of this brochette. the fries it comes with are particularly nice.

Chicken on a skewer

Chicken on a skewer

Finally, this is the latest Pizza from Pizza Pierrot (See elsewhere in the blog). At first glance I thought it would be awful but it tasted really nice.

Finally this is a Croque Monsieur from La Tomate Blue in the main square opposite the town hall. this is one of their excellent lunch choices which includes a tasty Quiche of the day for €7.50.

Bastille Day in France

This was the first year I was able to visit the apartment in high season. I was keen to see how things were at this time of the year. It was interesting that even by 14th July that the area is far from full and that most of the french have not started their holidays yet.

This year of course was ruined for many by the terrible atrocity on the prom at Nice, a place I know very well and had walked along just a few days later. While this tragedy was unfolding I was  totally unaware of it 50 Miles up the coast in Ste Maxime.

We had gone to see the "Ceremonie Patriotique" and it was a very quiet and simple ceremony with a large crowd attending and a reception for the whole town afterwards. There are some pictures below.

 

Waiting for the ceremony to get started

Waiting for the ceremony to get started

 

 

War Veterans

War Veterans

Medal Awarded to old Soldier

Medal Awarded to old Soldier

Rose for all

Rose for all

After the ceremonies we had dinner and then went dancing. The town had laid on two "bals" one at the beach for the younger generation and another in the middle of the town for the "older" generation. Though not in the first flush of youth we preferred the one for the younger generation

free concert

free concert

At this stage the whole town was out partying. The fireworks were unfortunately called off due to high winds and the risk if starting a forest fire. while all this was going on we were totally unaware of the carnage in Nice and only found out about it the following morning when we awoke to calls from anxious relatives. So sad for France and its people.

Internet at Last

One of the challenges of holidaying in France for most of us is that Internet is not always widely available. Im the apartment for example there was as choice between slow communal wifi at €20 per week or you could eavesdrop on the Local Tourist office who had decent wifi for free.

As soon as we took over the running of the apartment I was keen to get Internet installed. After a delay of some months while the internal cabling was upgraded I ordered via Orange.

So last month the Internet arrived, firstly a router which had to be collected from a local flower shop which was a great idea because it was open 7 days a week and opened late in the evening. Then a technician needed to visit to install the router. Finally, because the apartment didn't have the right wall socket this had to be installed.

Now it's all working and all our visitors can Whatsapp, Skype and FaceTime to their hearts content not to mention stream TV from wherever they wish.  

Here are a few pictures of the installation.

The Router (that red light will be green normally)

The Router (that red light will be green normally)

The wall socket

The wall socket

The Mysterious plug

The Mysterious plug

The demure where the cable comes into the apartment

The demure where the cable comes into the apartment