I was up again at 0800 and having my usual breakfast yet again. I planned my day to be slow and calm. After breakfast I went for a slow shopping morning in the rue d’Antibes. I had been reading all the newspapers in the morning and read that many celebrities were also here in the Cote d'Azur, mainly in St. Tropaz. So i decided to take a drive there and see the town, who knows I might see someone famous! I decided to take the coast road instead of the motorway. My satnav indicated it was only 45 miles, that shouldn’t take long, should it? Well how wrong I was, the road was slow and bendy and as I got about half way it seemed that everybody else was heading in the same direction. The traffic was stop/start most of the way and it got slower the closer I got to St. Tropaz. It took me over 2 hours to drive 40 miles. I parked in the central car park for the extortionate price of 7 euros for 3 hours! I took a short walk through the town and port area, which was pretty with many small lanes full of expensive designer boutiques. The streets were very dirty with liquid stains all around whose source was worryingly unclear. Every so often a burly man dressed badly would be loitering outside a very expensive boutique, which I recognised was a body guard for a celebrity shopping inside. I continued walking and browsing until I was tired and thirsty, and decided to sit in a cafe near the port, which had tacky plastic chairs and tables but was well located near the port. I ordered a coke and asked if I could use the toilets, they said they did not have any and that I would have to use the public toilets nearby. I sat and drank my coke and watched the entire town walk by, mostly tourists, not celebrities nor locals. Everybody seems to be here for the town’s reputation rather than for a good time. I asked for the bill and found to my disgust that the coke cost me 5 euro and that was without even use of a toilet. I paid and left very disappointed and continued my walk, the buildings were typical Provençal and felt lovely under the heat of the day. Soon the fact I did not have convenient access to a toilet, and was thirsty again and the heat was bearing down on me made me feel unwanted in this town. All the public toilets were automatic and wanted exactly 50 cents which I did not have, and a simple drink needed a second mortgage. The restaurants prices were also extortionate. I felt I should not be in this place, and I decided to leave, found my car and drove out of the town back to Cannes which had a place for the rich and the poor, without alienating either. St. Tropaz is only for the wealthy and quite frankly they can have the town and their 5 euro cokes to themselves. I hope for St. Tropaz that the wealthy do not fall out of love with it otherwise a lot of businesses will collapse, perhaps that is what is needed to make this town alive again with real people rather than and audience of celebrity chasers. The businesses that sell at such extortionate prices do not sell to the wealthy just to day trippers who want to visit. The wealthy arrive by helicopter and are picked up by limos with blacked out windows and taken to private viewings at Chanel, D&G etc. They do not sit in cafes in the town, so why charge an abusive price and not offer any service or toilets to match? They do this because they can and I feel because of that they should fail but this is capitalism so perhaps they will not. Well not until the celebrities move their bandwagon on to another chosen destination.
The drive back to Cannes was even more painful than the drive out. I even decided to take the motorway to reduce the time but all that did was take 5 euros from me for peage. When I got to the Cannes exit it was stationery all the way to the centre. I arrived at Cannes around 1900! I was tired, bursting for the loo, thirsty and hungry. I so hated St. Tropaz and vowed never to go again nor to recommend it to others but at the same time, I reflected on the beauty of the town’s buildings and it's small lanes and couldn’t deny I liked some aspects of its character.
With the evening now nearly gone I rushed out to search for a comfortable but inexpensive place to dine. It was either a cheap pizza or pasta, or the full menu for much more money. Not that all the prices were high but I did not want to spend so much for food every day. I finally found a small café/bistro tucked away near the old port and ordered a nice large salad and glass of wine, all for the price of 16 euro. I was in sight of some luxury boats moored alongside the port with their wealthy owners sitting aft eating and drinking as I sat in the corner cafe with my salad. How amazing that Cannes can welcome all categories of visitors with such harmony, while St. Tropaz cannot. I now felt refreshed and welcomed again and wanted more of Cannes, so I promenaded along the Croisette once more and found my favourite watering hole at 72 Croisette next to the Martinez hotel where I sat with two more glasses of wine.
Tonight for some reason the town was full of wealthy Arabs, the women sat on the Croisette in their female only huddles without males but dressed very expensively. Had a few super yachts arrived from Dubai with a huge influx of Arabs? The Arab men sauntered along the Croisette and sat in bars with a few of the more brash looking women. Cannes was again welcoming another category of visitor in its stride. This town just loves the whole world and does it with style and grace like no other. It's like a London or Paris but by the sea. It was nearly 1am when I decided it was time for my bed.