The footpath in Saint-Tropez is lined by the Mediterranean coast and passes some of the luckiest homes that overlook crystal clear water. This is something special I thought as I walked and enjoyed each breath of French air. At least until a bicycle “bringing!” horn “bring, bringed!” right up my backside. I spun my head around to find a pleasant old woman riding her bicycle. This deflated the tension in my veins. I recall thinking how adults often said while I was younger, it’s just like riding a bicycle, you never can forget, while they’d teach me difficult activities of life. It must be the same here in France, I thought as I dropped my eyes off the lady and her bicycle.  

 

To my right a silver Ferrari passed by, its engine purred up the ride in the opposite direction to where I’d parked my car. It was heading for St Tropez’s centre. So was I. I still had around 4 km to walk. I’d parked my car not long before. You couldn’t get parking in the centre on this particular day. It was a Sunday so markets had lined the streets in town when I did my morning drive by for a park. Nonetheless, I was feeling fine for my walk and there were various super yachts out on the sea. I really wouldn’t know what you’d need to be worth to own one of them, nor did I know the estimated cost of one of them, but judging by the five visible levels on three of them within my visual field they’d be somewhere between 2 million and 20 million – that’s a big range of I’ve-got-no-idea I know.

 

Another bike horn sounded, shattering my imagination from behind. I spun my head around to see a couple riding together. I’d initially thought, can’t they just go around? When I saw them, this defused as they were a mid-forties couple who didn’t seem to have it in them to hurt a fly. They road by and I thought they appeared German or from a neighbouring country to France, judging by their Jesus like fabric sandals and blonde, orange tinged hair. They travelled ahead and their colours soon blended with the colours of the footpath and sky. A Porsche drove by with a similar tune to the Ferrari. I think this purr was less Formulae One sounding, but I’m sure it’d still get up and go if you touched the pedal to the metal. The walk was nice, no graffiti on the streets and buildings, unlike the busier French cities I’d been to. They seemed to look after cleanliness here. All of the cars that passed me were the pricier or the pricey. I’d say there’d been at least ten Ferraris that vibrated the concrete near my feet as I travelled in my shoes. The build-up of walking to before arriving in Saint-Tropez centre might not be for the faint hearted, parking in there isn’t for those with dainty pockets. Then, another “briiinnnggg, briiinnnggg, briinnggg!” sounded and I nearly shit my paints. This had happened to me about ten times by this stage. Did they think they were doing me a favour, telling me to move out of the way, or warning me they were coming? I had no idea, but those ringing bells were truly starting to piss me off. Nonetheless, I smiled, then a French man cycled by. Sure beats paying for parking. Then, another bell rang. Maybe I should have paid? But then I’d never experience a walk that was perfect, apart from those ringing bells.

 

Gaston Cavalleri is a travel writer, author and screenwriter from Australia.

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