Posts Tagged ‘Guidebook’


Researching a Guidebook Off-Season

March 30, 2009
St-Tropez by Michael Gwyther-Jones

St-Tropez by Michael Gwyther-Jones

In a tourist-hot region like Provence there is one enormous advantage (bar the obvious) of travelling out of season – or rather on the cusp of the season as I have done for the past fortnight. Come Easter, this fabled part of southern France will burst into mad-busy life. But for the moment many hotels and restaurants are in a sleepy state of anticipation – painting woodwork, doing up shop fronts. Or they are simply shut full-stop … zero sign of life.


For me, researching a guidebook, this poses an interesting phenomenon. Instinct says ‘Pain in the neck! Have to come back!’ Selective judgment says ‘Great, easy as pie to spot where people who live here go!’.



Take St-Tropez. All those flashy, high-flyer celebrity addresses – Club 55, La Voile Rouge et al – are shut: summer’s jet set hadn’t arrived yet. Rather, it is down-to-earth, gutsy, simple bars and bistros like Brasserie des Arts, Le Sporting, La Dame de Coeur that are open, busy and buzzing. And have been all winter. That’s where I’ll send you, where the locals are.