Facing St-Tropez across its gulf, Ste-Maxime is the perfect Côte stereotype: palmed corniche and enormous pleasure-boat harbour, beaches crowded with bronzed windsurfers and water-skiers, and an Art Deco casino presiding over the seafront. It sprawls a little too much – merging with its northern neighbours to create a continuous suburban strip up to Fréjus. But though hardly as colourful as St-Tropez, it’s less pretentious and the beaches are cleaner. If your budget denies you the pleasures of watersports, you might find Ste-Maxime a little lacking in diversions. You can, at least, eat at reasonable cost, since there are plenty of crêperies, glaciers and snack places along the central avenue Charles-de-Gaulle.