Le Lavandou, a busy little town about a half-hour west of St. Tropez, was once a simple fishing port. Today, amid the usual Riviera trappings of luxury marina, restaurants, shops and nightclubs, a small fishing fleet remains active. Walk along the section of the marina closest to the quai to watch tradtional fishermen bringing in their catch. They sell their catch here every morning between 8 and 11 am.
Le Lavandou probably takes its name from an ancient wash house (lavoir) and its washerwomen (lavandeuses) rather than the more obvious Provençal lavender.
Le Lavandou, in addition to its 12 km/7½ miles of narrow, fine sand beaches (12 different beaches in all), is also a good base from which to launch a walking tour into the Maures or along the coast. The GR90 long-distance path into the Maures begins on the road between Le Lavandou and its nearest neightbour, Bormes les Mimosas. The GR51, The Balcony of the Côte d’Azur coastal path, passes immediately north of the town. The tourist office will supply maps for dozens of local walking paths as well. The town website has live webcams aimed at several of the best beaches, so you can “look before you buy.”
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