Our next stop on our mini tour of the South of France was Sainte Maxime, a small town only 15 minutes away from our house. Sainte Maxime is a popular seaside town, close to Saint Tropez, which boasts a thriving atmosphere, cobbled streets, a picturesque old town, busy dock and sandy beaches. We followed the coast road taking in the sea views and arrived at Sainte Maxime mid afternoon. As with everywhere I go we went exploring.
First stop was the harbour to take a peek at the many boats and yachts moored up, and to obviously compare them to the super yachts we saw in Cannes. Although a little more modest the dock was very busy and gave a great look out over the bay towards Saint Tropez. We headed to the Water Taxi office to find information about the boat trips across to Saint Tropez and beyond. While on the dock we discovered there was a number of boat excursions or private hire yachts that visitors could take advantage of.
After taking in the sea views we wandered back in land towards the old town. It’s clear to see from the buildings in Saint Maxime that it’s a town filled with a rich history. I later read that the town was founded in 1000AD by monks from the Lerins Islands outside Cannes who built a monastery and named it after one of the saints. For many years it’s main industry was fishing which has since changed to tourism.
We spent a good few hours discovering the cobbled streets filled with colourful buildings with shuttered windows and windowsills filled with plants. There’s a mixture of restaurants, bars, cafés, shops, market stalls and residential homes on these streets which really brings the town to life. Although we arrived in the mid afternoon the streets were already filling with people eating, drinking and perusing.
After discovering the old town and wandering alongside the sandy beach we headed in search for a restaurant for dinner. One of the joys of Sainte Maxime is the (what seemed like) hundreds of restaurants, bars, cafés and bistros. We were very spoilt for choice and settled on a bistro with a lovely outside eating area. One huge tip I will give you is to ensure you book your table in advance. We tried to book for 7pm at many places but found that there were no tables available until 10pm. So if I was to go back, I would book my table a day in advance to ensure I ate at a reasonable time. Before we headed for dinner we stopped at a bar on the promenade to enjoy a drink. Now the prices aren’t the cheapest however they were pretty reasonable for the South of France!
Our dinner was superb and I would of shared photos with you if I hadn’t of eaten a very Italian meal – no French dishes in sight for me which isn’t great! After dinner we bought some ice creams and churros and enjoyed a leisurely stroll back to the car. I would definitely visit Sainte Maxime again and would recommend it to anyone looking to holiday in the South of France. It doesn’t have the luxurious reputation that Saint Tropez and Cannes do, but it’s mixture of picturesque old town, sandy beaches and bustling restaurants and bars makes it a great place to enjoy a few days.