“This food stand is our whole life.”- Pierre Guibert There are places that, despite being rather modest, are nonetheless utterly legendary. Over the years, this small food stand on the Place des Lices has become such an integral part of the local culture that a rumor runs through Saint-Tropez that it has been classified as an official historical monument. In any case, that's what Pierre and his wife Magali insist. They are both the protectors and the beating heart of La Baraque. “It was my wife's brother who gave it to us in 2006,” recalls Pierre, who first made his name working at the now-closed Ocoa Beach club. This celebrated little food-stand has always been the site of encounters and connections between Tropezians, who are united in the effort to maintain the memory of its founder. “Originally, it was Line Testannière who started the food stand, and it was called Chez Line,” says Pierre, his voice tinged with respect. “We used to come here for the one-franc candies and the chichi frégi fried dough treats. That's all she sold, and we always stopped by when we came back from school.” Since then, there have been different generations of owners and the menu has expanded to keep up with the times. “In terms of sweets, we offer pancakes, waffles, and churros, while on the savory side, there are paninis, sandwiches, burgers, kebabs, and pan bagnat tuna buns,” Pierre explains. He insists on opening the stand 23 hours a day, seven days a week during the summer season, which lasts from June 1st to the last of the Les Voiles sailing races at the beginning of October. “I'm the one who takes the night shifts,” he says. “We close at seven in the morning to do the cleaning and reopen an hour later for a new day.” Pierre has seen it all while running La Baraque at night, from the Rolls-Royce Phantoms to camper vans, from club kids to romantics. “We meet all kinds of people, the whole world comes to La Baraque, it's extraordinary.” He recalls the night he served Bruce Willis or his “impressive” meeting with Snoop Dog. But the most memorable moment was when the French national football coach Didier Deschamps came by with the World Cup team to have a late-night snack at La Baraque… Place des Lices is a strategic location, it's the center of the Tropezian world, and the staff of this little snack bar has understood this. They do their utmost to serve the effervescent clientele quickly and efficiently and always with a smile. “The big rush is noon, 8pm and 5am,” says Pierre, who is 40 years old and who has been working with the same team of seven people since taking over the business in 2006. Another cherished moment is first thing in the morning, when customers sit on the stools and sip their espressos as the sun rises and the first songs of the cicadas emerge from the plane trees. “A lot of people ask me why this food stand has been painted blue, and to be honest, I don't know,” laughs Pierre. “But this blue can never be changed, there's a very distinct color code and it always has to be mixed the same way. For each maintenance operation, I buy the paint from a professional in town who is the only one who can provide me with this exact shade of blue.” An affable man whose smile always comes easily, Pierre considers his regular customers–the most faithful who have been coming for 15 years–as proof of both friendship and quality. “If they come back, it's because they like it and they all tell me it's good. Maybe that's what makes me the happiest,” he admits. With the tourists, he sometimes thinks he has served every nationality in the world: Arabs, Spaniards, Russians, and Americans, who always seem to want kebabs, burgers, and pan bagnat tuna buns. “The average bill is around ten euros, including soft drinks. I seem to be one of the best deals in the area,” he laughs. A native of the village of Vidauban, he first arrived in Saint-Tropez at the age of 18. Pierre says there have been some fantastic offers to buy his shop, but ignores them because La Baraque means everything to him and Magali. “This food stand is our whole life, we'll never sell it.” He and Magali have three children: Oscar (12), César (9), and Scarlett (5 years). “They love what we do, and I'd like them to take over, but I won't force them to do anything–they'll do what they want to be happy. However, I often tell them that the La Baraque is a guaranteed job. And to repeat, we will never sell, just like a father does not sell his children.” La Baraque certainly has many beautiful summers ahead of it.

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