Saint Laurent du Var is one of those Southern French coastal villages where many people pass by as they travel to and from the airport Nice Côte d’Azur. And that’s a shame because Saint Laurent du Var is a typical port town with good restaurants, cozy cafes and night clubs with a great local atmosphere and obviously many locals and a few tourists.
The village itself is a long shopping street with a church and a constant buzz. The port of Saint Laurent du Var is a little further towards the sea and has developed since 1950 a cozy little haven where more and more restaurants began to settle. Obviously, because a beer or wine tastes extra delicious while watching bobbing sailboats.
In the evening it is pleasantly busy, with lots of nice people and no whining here. By all the positive feedback and experiences the hospitality stretched the outside terraces; the official four meters grew into seven meters. This is, of course, illegal, and one day an official arrived with a tape measure. In 2002, some thirty restaurant owners were fined for illegal extension of the terrace, on penalty of 150 euros per day. Jointly the restaurants decided not to start court proceedings. This matter would drag on for fourteen years; even exceptional for French standards!
More and hefty fines were issued by the State ranging from 200,000 to 1.2 million, but in the meantime the restaurants were still open because the trial was not over. Last year September 2016 finally an endcame to the impasse. For those who then came to the harbor for a delicious entrecote it was a shock; all restaurants were closed. In October a complete renovation of all the restaurants started including a seven meters terrace with sleek Italian design.
Cost of all this: about six million, paid by the port which made arrangements with the restaurants to repay this amount with a few hundred euros a month. The fines are minimized by the State up to 5% of the initial amount, provided that the permit includes the larger terraces were issued and renewed until 2030. The State insisted that it would not pay any euro to fund the project. A nice deal where entrepreneurship and reality has won. The government opted for local employment and the growing tourism, and that makes Saint Laurent du Var for the next decades a good shelter for fun and entertainment.
For those who want to see the renovation of the restaurants Saint Laurent du Var; walk to CAP 3000 from the airport across the bridge. Walk a little further towards Cagnes sur Mer, and you will arrive half way in the heart of the port of Saint Lau. A great discovery! Opening july 2017.