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  • Angela Louie and Allan de la Plante

Do You Know the Way to Saint-Tropez?

“We can drop down into Saint-Tropez on our way to Peillon,” Allan suggested. It was a place he had frequented when he was shooting Formula One and it was also a major landmark in his novel The Summer of Arnie Trout. We had to find the log where Cassandra and Arnie meet up. Allan had last been there 30 years ago. “This wasn’t there 30 years ago!” he lamented. One thing that had changed to both our chagrin was the congestion. 30 years ago, Saint-Tropez was a quieter vacation spot, made famous because Brigitte Bardot lived there. If you haven’t heard of Brigitte Bardot, you know it was a long time ago.

Martha our GPS said it would take 5 minutes to go the last 5 km to Saint-Tropez. In reality, it took about an hour to snake our way along single lane roads bumper to bumper in the hot sun. The hot sun didn’t matter at this point since we were still in our air-conditioned car.

We turned down many roads and went through someone’s vineyard to try and find the exact location Allan remembered from his past. We ended up at Neptune Beach. It was a beautiful beach on the French Riviera. In the background there were humungous yachts; in the foreground, lots of people.

Saint-Tropez is known for its liberal attitude about nudity. However with the influx of tourists who may not be so liberal, the beach is mostly filled with fully clothed bodies. Every so often, you’ll see men and women sunning or walking au naturel. But there was a beach further down that was marked “au naturel”. I guess it was to warn the more conservative visitors before they arrived.

And the log? We walked as long as we could in the hot sun, but this was the only log we found. Cassandra and Arnie’s log was probably just around the corner on the beaches of Saint-Tropez.

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