Colette & Julia Child à St. Tropez
Her neighbors, the van der Hensts, had warned her that Saint-Tropez had become “uninhabitable.” An explosion of development had crowded the coastline with new villas, and the unsullied little port had been taken over by the “sort of people photographed by Vogue.”
Colette (who was, as Joanna Richardson notes, also photographed by Vogue) was disgusted by the spectacle of Hispano-Suizas and Bugattis triple-parked in front of the little shop where she bought her toilet paper, and by the crowds of movie stars, moguls, and titled ladies wearing overalls and beach pajamas. One morning, she found a horde of curious tourists waiting for her outside the stationer’s. “I didn’t hide what I thought of them,” she told Moreno.
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This was irritating, especially after two sets of American tourists and a Canadian family in a minibus drove right up our driveway asking for us. As instructed, Jeanne and Laurent told them, “The Childs aren’t here.” It seemed to do the trick.
As we descended toward the coast, a fog lifted to reveal Saint-Tropez, with row upon row of pink, yellow, white, and rust-colored stucco villas strung along the sea. It must have been a beautiful, simple fishermen’s port fifty years earlier. But now every beach and café was filled with city slickers, faux fishermen, artistes, movie types, and the leisure class trying to see and be seen. Two large buses disgorged tourists from Germany and Denmark. Gleaming automobiles with license plates from a dozen countries inched along the narrow streets. The harbor was clogged with yachts. Man had crushed Nature along the coast. We were both drawn to the simpler, more rustic interior of Provence.
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