Fabulous on a Budget!

St. Tropez, France…this destination is beautiful but it can be harmful to your wallet! I have prided myself this trip on creating major wows on a fairly low budget! Usually, I live by a “Don’t worry, live it up…it’s vacation!” mentality when I travel. But when the trip is 4 months long, that policy needs to be re-examined!

I knew the French Riviera would be my expense challenge! How can I play with the International elite without breaking the bank? Well, a lot of research and planning and I did very well by Cote d’Azure standards…

The 5 star hotels like Hotel Sezz or Hotel Byblos start at $500 a night and more often hover around $1000 a night! I found a lovely French hotel, Hotel Mouillage, and by booking in advance secured a rate well under $200. I was worried, but it’s a lovely French style hotel…clean, air conditioned, and decorated in a Provencal style…I have an amazing room with large terrace overlooking their great pool and gardens! Plus, its walking distance to town which saves on overpriced taxis! A total Score!

Now I needed to keep my spending in check…I decided to splurge on the beach clubs and lunch since that is the essence of life in St. Tropez! That splurge cost approx $150 a day between beach chairs and food! Of course, there are public parts of the beach which are free, but I am not a bare bones kind of guy! The hotel owner was so friendly and he matched me up daily with other guests so we could carpool together in a taxi to the beach! A huge savings…

I stocked up on drinks and snacks at the grocery store and there are a plethora of take out places, gourmet shops, and little bakeries that have delicious delicacies for take out! I would do dinner on my private terrace for $10-15 and really have a lovely and relaxing time. Grazing on authentic cous-cous, rich salads, delicious sandwiches, or amazing French pizza!

Then it was off to town nightly to enjoy the parade of yachts and the energy of the beautiful harbor!

I wasn’t luxuriating on a yacht, rubbing elbows with celebrities, power shopping at Hermes, or indulging in bottles of champagne…but I created my own “lifestyles of the rich and famous” week in the home of Brigitte Bardot, St. Tropez!

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