My Life Lesson Learnt in Saint-Tropez

Saint-Tropez is easily one of the most recognizable names on the French Riviera – and conjures up images of champagne-fuelled yacht parties on millionaire moorings and star-studded beaches. Well known for its hedonistic reputation, beaches and nightlife, the town attracted the international ‘jet set’ in the 1960s, and remains a jet-set favourite.

You'd never know it judging by the glitz and the glamour, but having spent a fair amount of time moored in the port of Saint-Tropez while working on luxury yachts, I realized that all kinds of chaos goes on behind the scenes. The early hours of the morning, when the jet-set have retired to bed, finds delivery vans speeding through the narrow streets, marketeers setting up their stalls, deckhands washing down the yachts and street workers scrubbing down the streets to remove the vomit of drunken partygoers. Very unglamorous and even rather sordid!

The life lesson I learned is not to be fooled by a life of glamour and wealth. The serene swan appears to glide effortlessly across the water, but underneath it is paddling furiously. So too, much hard work and effort goes on to create a veneer of glitz and glamour.