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Prior to St Tropez, movie stars and business moguls congregated in Beaulieu, where they kept cows on ships and stripped in front of antique shops. It's a calmer narrative today.
It takes about 15 minutes to walk from one end to the other. However, there is always a lot going on. The beautiful clay-court tennis club where you can polish your backhand is free to non-members as well as the newly renovated theater behind the casino, which shows arthouse films and opera. And new celebrity chefs, fantastic bistros, wine bars, and shops are springing up all over the place these days. Even the long-abandoned Hôtel Métropole is getting a new lease on life.

There are many restaurants with chalkboard prix-fixe menus; on a beautiful day, locals flock to the mini-row marina's of bistros. Later in the afternoon, as the cafés reopen and set up tables beneath the tall plane trees, everyone returns to the Place Marinoni. While the kids tear around the plaza or play inside the old-fashioned kiosk, young mothers converse over tall glasses of emerald-green menthe à l'eau. It'll be apéro hour before you know it, and the festive lighting hung across the branches will turn on.


A photo of a street in Beaulieu by Alice Gao