The summer is fast approaching and a small holiday was the perfect opportunity to take a road trip on the Cote d’Azur towards Saint Tropez. After visiting all of Marseille’s sights and surroundings, we wanted to go with our guest on a Côte d’Azur train trip, but unfortunately the unpredictable running schedule sprinkled with spontaneous strikes organised by the French SNCF lazy workers deprived us of this option. Another inconvenience would be that the train does not go all the way up to Saint Tropez, but only to Toulon or Nice, from where you have to take a local coach the rest of the way.
From Marseille to Saint Tropez there are only 150 km, but even for this distance, the train can be quite expensive if you do not buy the tickets well in advance. If you get a ticket today for tomorrow you can also spend around € 50 per person on such a train ride, so we’ve considered renting a car to make the trip.
Unfortunately, this option can be quite expensive also if you do not make the reservation a few days in advance, but if you are 3 or 4 people in the car it is generally worth it. At the rental company called Thrift a Renault rented for one day costs 60 Euro + the insurance that on the internet costs 37.5 EUR … but if you take it from the office booth you will get it for 60 Euro’s ….. ( without this insurance you are liable to pay 1,000 EUR damage even for the smallest scratch on the car), to which you have to add the cost of the gas you are using (the car needs to be returned with the full tank , same as you take it) and the cost of parking where ever you are going in France. It is very unlikely you will find free parking. In Saint Tropez at one of the main underground car parks we paid about 16 EUR Euros for 3 hours. The car, if you rent it in advance for several days, can be very cheap, around 25-30 euros per day, so I recommend you make the decision in advance.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is that the highways are toll roads in France, and they are not cheap at all! The fare is variable, but generally on the freeway you will encounter about every 50 kilometers a toll both where you pay between € 3 and € 8. In our case for a trip of around 300 kilometers driven on motorways, had to pay about 20 euros at the barriers. Now if I think about it, I can not say that the car rental deal was really the best option compared to public transport, but than I quickly remembered that the trains were on strike …. and still are (for 3 months, half a month, every month there is a general strike in national train company – Vive la lazy France! )
I generally recommend you get off the highway as quickly as possible and take the small coastal coastal roads to enjoy all the landscapes and beautiful sights of the Azure Coast. After Hyeres we got off the highway and took the D559 coastal road.
Once we got to Saint Tropez, the first impression can not be said to be something wow: a small coastal town that is actually less beautiful compared to others we have seen (an example of a superb coastal town is Cassis). The only difference is that here there are much larger yachts in the port, luxury cars and shops, and everything is much more expensive. Take great care where you sit down if you want to stop for a drink or eat something, some places like “Le café”, charge you double if you sit on their crappy terrace, a terrace that oversees a crappy park where old man play with their metal balls. These bastards charged me 12 EUR for a pint of beer and it wasn’t even that good. Ask in advance to order how much it costs!
The little historic center of Saint Tropez you will quickly cover, although it’s nice, it really nothing out of the ordinary in Southern France. In the absence of anything else, we climbed up on the main hill overlooking the town, to the military fortress “La Citadelle” , which is in the process of rehabilitation. The main fort has been converted into a maritime museum and the entrance fee is only 5 Euros due to the ongoing construction site. But most likely the price will increase considerably once the rehabilitation is completed.
To conclude, honestly the whole place of Saint Tropez is overrated. I can not recommend to anyone to go there specially to see it. If you take a coastal trip and it’s on your way, it’s okay to visit, but honestly after seeing Marseille, Cassis, Niolon and the Calanques National Park, this place fades in comparison and presents no novelty or interest.
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