Party in paradise: July 4th celebration on the French Riviera (Photo Gallery)

Our most exciting July 4th celebrations occur in one of our favorite vacation spots, St. Tropez on the French Riviera.  Believe it or not, the French celebrate our holiday as exuberantly as we do at home!  And, since we all know that the best place to be is always where your friends are, for over 17 years we've met up with a large group of pals from all over the world in this ultra chic "fishing village" to celebrate our Independence Day.

After our first trip there in the early '90's, we were completely hooked.  I finally got to see for myself the inspiration that has existed there for decades for artists and writers.  You will never see "light" like this anywhere else in the world.  It bathes everything it touches in the warmest glow and could make a 90 year-old woman look like a wood nymph.  It's such a magical place that one can never imagine any illness or unhappiness occurring there.

The July 4th celebration in St. Tropez is actually sort of a week long party that always began at Club 55, the most elegant beach club, and ended at La Voile Rouge ("The Red Sail"), the wildest of them all.  Considered the birth place of the beach club, La Voile Rouge, sadly, no longer exists since the neighbors complained about noise levels.  I think this is surprising since it's never been anything different since it was brought to life in 1966 by the late Paul Tomaselli.  (This club was also the first to have topless guests.  Woo Hoo!).

In any case, we were thrilled to be there when it was still going strong and the tables, chairs, bars, walls, everything was covered in shades of red, white and blue for this festive occasion.  Even the waitstaff were all dressed patriotically.... skimpily, but patriotically!  The party started around noon and lasted until the sun was a burnt cinder and/or you ran out of energy, whichever came first.

As always on this day American specialties were served and included hamburgers, hotdogs and corn on the cob.  Even though we yearned for authentic French food, it was always fabulous fun by the sea.

We'll be celebrating this patriotic holiday stateside this year, but my spirit will be dancing on the tables at La Voile Rouge draped in an American flag and drinking copious amounts of le vin du pays with my friends.

Have a wonderful July 4th weekend and I hope your celebrations will be memory making, too!

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