The Snake in St Tropez


Hidden behind expensive Italian sunglasses, our scaley friend tours the hot spots at the Voiles de St Tropez
Ask the man in the street about French history pre-World War 1 and you are likely to hear some talk of The Revolution, a snippet about Napoleon and a vague memory of The Roman Conquest (possibly remembered through a childhood familiarity with the cartoon duo from Gaul, Asterix and Obelix). St Tropez sits on the country's Mediterranean coast in the Provence region; an area invaded and occupied throughout its early history by just about anyone with his own battle-axe and enough skill to torch a hut. In 6th Century BC The Greeks founded Marseilles, but soon found that marauding, unwashed and scary Celts (endowed with a nasty habit of decapitating enemies and nailing the heads onto buildings...a British abroad thing) and the equally unpleasant Ligurians were forming an unholy alliance in the neighbourhood. This deadly tribal team set up raiding basas in the beautiful, rugged, mountainous region of Les Alpes Maritime, set back from the coast, forcing the nervous Marseillaise to invite the Romans over to stay for eleven centuries. a relatively comfortable, civilising peace was maintained in the region....until the fall of The Roman Empire. This collapse prompted frenzied activity in the Provence district from every hard case of 6th Century AD. Visigoths, Ostragoths, Saxons and lombards (former Roman mercenaries from Germany, not a warlike band of long-range sales reps from the English marine financing company of the same name) stormed the area. Any barbarians with an unhappy, disappointing homelife or equipped with an urge to travel and supress strangers, began rampaging through the region like dysfunctional scocktroops. Two centuries later, The Saracens rode into a chaotic Provence and established The Carolingian Empire; an attractive title for a dynasty that sparked bloody struggles between le croix et le croissant and led to 800 years of fuedal conflict, culminating in

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