100 Places in France
Every Woman Should Go
Release date: October 21, 2014
at Travelers’ Tales.
Told in a series of stylish, original essays, 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go is for the serious Francophile, for the woman dreaming of a trip to Paris, and for those who love crisp stories well-told. Like all great travel writing, this volume goes beyond the guidebook and offers insight not only about where to go but why to go there. Combining advice, memoir and meditations on the glories of traveling through France, this book is the must-have in your carry-on when flying to Paris.
Award-winning writer Marcia DeSanctis draws on years of travels and living in France to lead you through vineyards, architectural treasures, fabled gardens and contemplative hikes from Biarritz to Deauville, Antibes to the French Alps. These 100 entries capture art, history, food, fresh air and style and along the way, she tells the stories of fascinating women who changed the country’s destiny. Ride a white horse in the Camargue, find Paris’ hidden museums, try thalassotherapy in St. Malo, and buy raspberries at Nice’s Cour Saleya market. From sexy to literary, spiritual to simply gorgeous, 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go is an indispensable companion for the smart and curious traveler to France. [provided by the author]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marcia DeSanctis is a former television news producer for Barbara Walters, NBC and CBS News.
She has written essays and articles for numerous publications including Vogue, Marie Claire, Town & Country, O the Oprah Magazine, Departures, and The New York Times Magazine.
Her essays have been widely anthologized and she is the recipient of three Lowell Thomas Awards for excellence in travel journalism,
as well as a Solas Award for best travel writing.
She holds a degree from Princeton University in Slavic Languages and Literature and a Masters in Foreign Policy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
From a chapter on St. Tropez called SEX ON THE BEACH.
In summertime, St. Tropez is crowded and loud, packed with nubile blondes in Dolce and Gabbana beachwear and gold stilettos who parade to and from yachts moored in the tiny port. It’s true. St. Tropez is all this, and it can stir up an unfortunate sense, of how do I say this? uninvitedness, even if you’ve never been way up there on the guest list with Jay Z and Beyoncé anyway. It’s tempting to dismiss this Mediterranean resort town as a blinged-out ruin from classier times on the Riviera, or to avoid it because it feels buoyantly young and you feel decidedly less so.
You should visit this fabled town once and, if possible, a whole lot more. Before you go, watch Roger Vadim’s 1956 film And God Created Woman, which catapulted his 22-year-old wife Brigitte Bardot—as well as St. Tropez itself—into instant legend. The plot is forgettable, but not the scenes of the sleepy fishing village or the unprecedented sensuality of Bardot. Her first tease in the opening shots of the film, where she is seen lying face-down behind a white sheet that ripples in the sun, her nude, perfect curves displaying no tan-line whatsoever, was the moment everything would change in the south of France. From then on, St. Tropez would be synonymous with all things sultry and alluring and Bardot would be a popular standard by which women, French or otherwise, would be measured. Now almost 60 years later, Bardot lives quietly in the house she bought in 1958, genuinely untouched by plastic surgery and active in animal rights as well as, at times, fringe politics. Somehow, her young and beautiful silhouette lingers here both in town and at the beaches, which are lined up along the Plage de Pampelonne in nearby Ramatuelle.
Through the years, though I have grown up and older, the bones in St. Tropez have not changed at all and I dare say they are more graceful than ever. Once, I reveled here doused in expensive champagne, young, silly and brown as a nutmeg (the St. Tropez tan being the marketing gambit of the sunscreen brand Bain de Soleil). Several consecutive summers, I accompanied my new artist husband here while he worked on a sculptural installation at La Plage de Pampelonne. We still did the nightlife but it was the jasmine-scented mornings I savored, and the low, cottony surf at the beach. Once, I came here at my all-time nadir of glamour — with a toddler in tow, carrying baby weight under baggy, unflattering clothes. Much to my relief, I found an empathetic place where waiters at the Brasserie des Arts on the central Place des Lices were delighted to serve my son plain pasta and fill up his bottle with warmed milk. After dinner, we sat under hundred-year-old plane trees to watch the locals play boules. At the Plage des Jumeaux, where we spent our days, they would proffer a random plate of frites for him, just because.
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