Ramatuelle Travel Guide
  • Photo: kodachrome25 / iStockphoto

Ramatuelle

A typical hilltop whorl of red-clay roofs and dense inner streets topped with arches and lined with arcades, this ancient market town was destroyed in the Wars of Religions and rebuilt as a harmonious whole in 1620. Now its souvenir shops and galleries attract day-trippers out of St-Tropez, who enjoy the pretty drive through the vineyards as much as the village itself, while its luxury villas attract A-listers, like Formula One driver Jenson Button, who had $455,000 worth of jewelry stolen in the summer 2015 as he slept next to his wife—headlines reported he "may have been gassed." During high season, traffic jams can be spectacular between the blurry line where Ramatuelle ends and St-Tropez begins, inflating what should be a short drive into a three-hour crawl. From mid-June to mid-September, a daily courtesy bus (navette) will take you from the parking lots to the top of the village, where you can visit the Moulin de Paillas, on Route du Moulin de Paillas, a windmill restored in the old style with a mechanism made entirely of wood; the site offers a panoramic view of the coastline. Free guided tours of the windmill are held every week; check with the tourist office for times. For music lovers, there's a jazz festival mid-August. The town cemetery is the final resting place of Gérard Philipe, an aristocratic heartthrob who died in 1959 after making his mark in such films as Le Diable au Corps. .

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