The colourful port of St-Tropez on the French Riviera

Saint-Tropez is such a great destination, even during low season. The colors, the boats, the good life in St-Tropez. Nothing’s different except it is more quiet.. and bit cooler, of course.

The colourful port of St-Tropez on the French Riviera
Sea Pool in Saint-Tropez, French Riviera. Leica M (Typ 240), Summicron-M 28mm, f2 ASPH, 1/750 sec., f8, ISO 200

Saint-Tropez, but only during the low season

We had plans to go to St-Tropez for a photo shoot for a little while. I think we put this destination on the list in June or July. But going there during the high season is just not a good idea. For anyone, but especially for photographer. Too much crowded and nearly impossible to have a clear view on anything interesting. Moving around gets harder and finding parking can be complicated. Worst, getting there can take many hours because of traffic jam. Anyways, St-Tropez was on our list but only for the low season, which means November and after. Same thing for Port Grimaud which is just a just a few kilometers away from Saint-Tropez. And why not do both on the same day? That was the idea.

And after the rain

We had a lot of rain in the region during the last several days, and it makes sense to visit Port Grimaud and St-Tropez when the weather is good. Going up in the mountain under the rain is fine (and can be a lot of fun actually), but for St-Tropez great weather is advised. On Monday, the shoot started in Port Grimaud with a bit of everything which was just perfect. When we left for St-Tropez the sky had cleared and we could enjoy great weather. The last time I was there is about 2 years ago. But this week was the first time I visited when it is so quiet. St-Tropez is St-Tropez and you expect to see a lot of people there. To some extend it’s great like that because this is what St-Tropez is all about. But sometimes it’s just awesome to see it when everybody has left. The perspectives are different. I mean the way local residents live their life, the way sales people in boutiques and servers in restaurants approach and talk to you. And it feels so great not to be sweating in the extreme heat of summer. I had a backpack all day and barely felt its weight on my back. And no need to haul large bottles of water all the time. I think Fall is the best period to visit most places around the world, at least on this side of the hemisphere. On the French Riviera, October and November are my favorite months for photo shoots, along with March and April.

But wait, there’s more

This time I had all my time in St-Tropez and could go to places I haven’t gone before : The Citadelle and the Maritime Cemetery. The car was parked in the port so walking up to the Citadelle was our best option. A bit of exercise is not a bad thing either. Don’t worry, it’s a short walk and easy for anyone. But it’s absolutely worth your time. There is a museum within the walls of that Citadelle and it is very interesting and the program is well executed. I had a great time in there and learn quite a lot on the area and the French history in general (17th Century and after).

We pushed a little farther to the cemetery and I’m glad we did. Nice view and wonderful sky at a time we also planned to take advantage of what is called the “Blue Hour”. Walking back to the port allowed to shoot the village from behind, with the sunset in front of us, which was a gift. I saw a spot where we were just a few hours before and decided to moved down near the water to take advantage of some reflections on the water accumulated on a flat piece of land in the bay. The picture above was shot right there. Nothing to do with the traditional postcard photo..

What’s in the bag

  • Leica M (Typ 240) + spare batteries x 2
  • Summicron-M 75mm, f1.2 ASPH
  • Olympus VF-2 Electronic View Finder
  • Sony RX100 + spare batteries x2
  • 64GB Sandisk Extreme Pro SD cards x 3
  • Lens cloth & brush
  • Glasses
  • Apple iPhone 5

You can find the whole picture set on my website at

Good Light!


© Normand Primeau