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Do You Know the Way to Saint-Tropez?

The port at Saint-Tropez during La Grande Braderie
The port at Saint-Tropez during La Grande Braderie


Last Wednesday evening Brian Dunhill, of Dunhill Financial, and I co-hosted our last quarterly “North American Expats in France Financial Forum” of the year, with special guest, Marylouise Serrato, Executive Director of American Citizens Abroad (ACA).

The focus of the forum and in particular, Marylouise’s portion, was the new Residence-Based Taxation (RBT) Coalition. This group of advocacy, think tank, and professional organizations support the adoption of residence-based taxation in the U.S. and the need for tax reform for Americans who are living and working overseas. You may not realize that the U.S. is one of only two countries in the entire world with Citizenship Based Taxation, and quite honestly, for us Expats and what are termed “Accidental Americans,” it’s simply unfair and unjust…at least we think so!

It was one very informative hour for Americans living abroad, and most importantly for those of us living in France. If you missed it, don’t despair—you can watch it free on Youtube!

And then stay tuned for our schedule of upcoming financial forums.


Our recent Living & Investing in France Conference, held in Nice at the end of September, was recorded so that even those who didn’t attend, can. In addition to the recording, we’ve added a Super Bonus of the “Finding Your Dream Home in France” portion, featuring myself and my top Niçois team members—my “two right arms,” as I called them—Ella Dyer and Jennifer Parrette.

It’s an intensive, in depth look at Nice’s fabulous neighborhoods and surrounding countryside, detailing specific areas and properties…and everything our group of experts love about the South of France. That’s just a bonus, because all of the conference video recordings from our full-day, intensive gathering on September 27, 2021 in Nice is part of the package. You’ll get all of the speaker bios along with details of each speaker’s expertise and qualifications, and a complete list of contacts so you can follow up with any additional questions you may have. On top of that, you’ll get valuable special bonuses including International Living’s Escape to France Owner’s Manual.

What’s more, with the Living & Investing in France Video Recordings & Conference Package, you’ll have an advantage over those who attended the conference because you can watch the videos at your leisure…skip around to the presentations that interest you…take notes…and view them as many times as you like so you’re sure not to miss anything.

But you’ll need to act quickly…this early booking offer is only good through midnight TODAY!

Click here now to learn more and get the recording!


Friday, in spite of the prediction for inclement weather, Patty Sadauskas, her sister, Janet (who is visiting) and I trekked to Saint-Tropez for the annual “La Grande Braderie des Commerçants” for the sole purpose of shopping for La Belle Terrasse…our new Fractional Ownership property in Villefranche-sur-Mer. We met up with my partner and interior designer for project, Christina Collier, more as a reconnaissance mission than a serious shopping excursion…to get ideas and if by chance we found a bargain, then even better.

Poster for the annual La Grande Braderie des Commerçants in Saint-Tropez

I hadn’t been to Saint-Tropez in 20 years; not since celebrating my 50th birthday with my New Orleans high school buddies one summer at a villa with a pool. Saint-Tropez is not that simple to get to, especially if you don’t want to go by car and avoid the heavy traffic into town during this particularly busy weekend. With a bit of research, we were able to take a train from Nice to Saint-Raphaël-Valescure and from Saint-Raphaël board a Zou bus that took us straight to Saint-Tropez. The bus ran into less traffic than we expected. The cost of the transportation was about 15€ each one way (with our senior discounts). We booked one night in an apartment not too far from center expecting to stay all of Saturday.

Handwritten sign in a shop window annoucing the Grande Braderie in Saint-Tropez

The weather held up well Friday afternoon—cloudy, but warm and dry. Saint-Tropez was bumper-to-bumper with shoppers and many shops had long queues to enter. Bargains abounded. The narrow streets were often jam packed, making it difficult to get a sense of what Saint-Tropez, the town, was really like. Impressive yachts lined the harbor. Cafés along the port were filled to the brim. This was likely the busiest period Saint-Tropez experiences all year round.

Boats docked at the port in Saint-Tropez

We started off with a copious lunch at Le Café de Paris on the port (of all the names!) starting with the largest artichoke I’ve ever seen! (And if you know anything about me, you know I LOVE artichokes!) It wasn’t as tasty as those I make, but no matter…it will always be memorable. Christina and I went off on our mission the rest of the afternoon, wormed our way into the popular housewares shops, and got a lot accomplished, even though we purchased nothing. Exhausted from the day and still satisfied from our lunch, we crashed at the “pad” (adequate, but nothing to write home about) with a light dinner snack.

Patty Sadauskas and her sister, Janet Brune, at lunch in Saint-Tropez

Patty Sadauskas and her sister, Janet Brune, at lunch in Saint-Tropez

Saturday morning the rains came pouring down, so we opted on heading back to Nice early instead of attacking the Grande Braderie a second time. We learned that our train tickets on the local trains (Ter Sud-Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) were valid at any time that day and we had just enough time for lunch in Saint-Raphaël at a restaurant facing the water, while watching the rain come down on a silver sea.

Open air market at the Grande Braderie in Saint-Tropez

Rain is predicted for all of this coming week here in Nice. Ugh. I might as well be in Paris with such wet-gray weather! And you know what I say? “Paris—you don’t come here for the weather,” but it IS a reason to come to Nice!…just not this week.

The weather forecast for the coming week in Nice


It’s easy to forget that Halloween even existed last night, as there’s little sign of it here in France. Trick-or-treating, if done at all, is done by visiting the merchants, not the residents. In fact, it’s hard to imagine the French opening their doors to anyone, even kids in costume with their hands out ready to take hold of a morsel of candy. They are just too private to do that…

November 1st, however, is a holiday in France, even if a religious one. They are so proud of their “laïcité”—secularism (the principle of separation in the State of civil society and religious society)—however, for some reason they can excuse just about anything that is Catholic in origin. “Toussaint,” or All Saints Day, is a Catholic feast day, celebrated on November 1st, in which the Catholic Church honors all saints, known and unknown, yet it’s also a National Holiday in France. Another example of this contradiction in terms is their general sentiments towards a burkini-clad Muslim woman and a Catholic nun. Can someone explain how this is different? French friends have tried, but I still see through their thinly-veiled prejudices.

Photo comparing women in Burkas and nuns in habits - spot the difference?

New Yorker magazine cover on Burkas vs Nun habits

Nonetheless, this is a day I normally visit a cemetery. But this year, I’ve chosen to spend it warm and dry in the comfort of my Niçois apartment without the ghosts.

A tomb in a cemetary for Toussaint in France

C’est la vie en France.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds in the rain in Nice, photo by Erica Simone http://www.ericasimone.comAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian in the rain in Nice, photo by Erica Simone

P.S. Check out the Alliance Française USA Network’s fundraising auction! I’ve donated a one-on-one two-hour consultation valued at 350€.

Browse and buy before Thanksgiving 2021 for the perfect gift for the Francophones and Francophiles in your life (including you)! Choose from the top immersion programs in France, authentic made-in-Europe art, technology, food/restaurants and more. All bidders are welcome!
All proceeds benefit the USA network of 100+ Alliance Française chapters. The proceeds from this event will be dedicated to a national grants program, so your bidding will directly benefit Alliance Française chapters in the U.S.

Bidding is online only and will end on November 23 at 8pm Pacific, 10pm Central, 11pm Eastern. Within three days of the close, most physical items will be sent by UPS (books will be mailed via USPS book rate). Item certificates will be emailed or mailed. Shipping costs are covered by the organization. Sorry, no shipping of physical items to outside the USA.

For more information, visit their site, or if you have questions, please email Linda Witt.


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