“Saint-Tropez, situated at the entrance to the lovely gulf, formerly called Gulf of Grimaud, is the capital of this little Saracen kingdom, of which nearly every village, built on the summit of a peak in order to secure it from attack, is still full of Moorish houses with arcades, nar- row windows, wherein tall palm trees have grown up and are now higher than the roofs.” G. Maupassant
This was how G. Maupassant described, way backin 1887, this little fishing village hoisted to fame by Signac, Matisse and Colette. Picasso, inspired by the magic of the site, painted “L’odalisque” here and Françoise Sagan and Brigitte Bardot turned it into the meeting place of the stars! Not forgetting the actor Louis de Funès and his Gendarme de Saint-Tropez – the film that won worldwide acclaim!
But Saint-Tropez has so much more to offer than the usual clichés: an incredible quality of light, a unique bay and a charming village brimming with treasures just longing to be discovered! At sunrise, when the waters in the bay are still and quiet, the harbour offers a delightful show of colourful frontages and pretty café terraces. This is the perfect time for savouring a coffee at Sénéquier in the footsteps of Errol Flynn and Eluard, while admiring the little boats and large yachts moored at the quayside..
As you stroll around the old town, guided by the bell tower standing proudly over the rooftops, you will come to notre-dame de l’Assomption church. This Italian Baroque- style church harbours the bust of Saint-Tropez!
These charming, winding lanes will lead you on to Place des lices, where you can sit down at the “Café des Arts” to enjoy one of the memorable boules games forming part of everyday life in the village. And not only the locals play – celebrities love joining in too!
Don’t miss a visit to the Musée de l’Annonciade museum to understand how Saint-Tropez rose to fame from the 19th century onwards. It was actually signac – the leader of the Pointillist movement who fell in love with the site, attracting the era’s most talented artists in his wake. The museum is also home to works by Matisse, Braque and Maillol.
If you want to enjoy the very best views over the bay, you’ll need to take a little exercise and climb all the way up to the early 17th century citadel overlooking the town and sea! At the foot of the citadel lies a moving naval cemetery, caressed by the waves…
Saint-Tropez’s natural beauties can best be explored by walking down from “tour du Portalet”, then heading along the sea front to the mythical Pampelonne beach, via canebiers bay and the famous Madrague, forever associated with Brigitte Bardot who, having just celebrated her 80th birthday, is as loyal as ever to Saint-Tropez!
Saint-Tropez is of course world-renowned for its exceptional night life.
- Les Caves du Roy www.lescavesduroy.com
- Le Quai www.lequai-saint-tropez.com
- Chez Maggy www.facebook.com/chezmaggy
- Le Bar du Port www.barduport.com
- L’Opera www.opera-saint-tropez.com
- Le Bar du White 1921 www.white1921.com
- The genuine sandales tropéziennes strappy leather sandals made on the harbour from the 1920’s onwards. You can even have them made to measure at www.rondini.fr
- During the summer season, many shops are open 7/7, including luxury brands (Dior and Vuitton, Hermes and Gucci, Dolce Gabana and Armani, Prada and Loro Piana and Roberto Cavalli, Longchamp…).
- A detour to the Kiwi Saint-Tropez fashion and accessories shop is a must to appreciate the local label’s quality and creativity . www.kiwi.fr
- The Provencal market (tuesday and saturday mornings, “Place des Lices”) and the fish market (every day).
- Tarte Tropézienne: a light sponge cake perfumed with orange flower water and filled with confectioner’s custard – simply delicious! Not to be missed: the latest creation, “La Baby Trop”, for a truly delectable break! www.tarte-tropezienne.com
A few ideas for sleeping and eating at Saint-Tropez
- Résidence de la Pinède 5* Palace “Leading Hotels of the World” and its gastronomic restaurant “La Vague d’Or” which recently earned its 3rd Michelin star! The Chef Arnaud Donckele highlights exceptional products, combining them with gracious elegant service for an unforgettable experience!
- Chateau de la Messardière 5* is a Palace-rated establishment and Saint-Tropez’s largest hotel, with amenities including a spa, art gallery, 25-acre grounds for an outstanding stay. On the terrace facing the sublime panorama of the Bay of Pampelonne is L’Acacia, its gastronomic restaurant.
- The Hotel de Paris 5*, offers a warm inviting design, where the 90 rooms and suites unveil very colourful worlds inspired by the sixties and seventies. Le Suffren Café by George Restaurant orchestrated by the Chef George Blanc and Executive Chef Philippe Guérin: in the spirit of a French- style bistro, the menu highlights fresh local products with Mediterranean flavours.
- The Villa Belrose 5* is set between blue sea and skies on the hills of Gassin. Bordered by 2-acre grounds, it offers panoramic views over the Bay of Saint-Tropez, plus a Michelin one-star restaurant.
- Hotel Byblos 5* the legendary hotel of Saint-Tropez, offers all the charm of a little Mediterranean village in the heart of the village. Its restaurant, Le Rivea, offers dishes to be shared, made from local products and devised by Alain Ducasse
- Hotel Benkiraï – Saint-Tropez 4*. Its authentic Provencal architecture offers a fitting setting for the contemporary interior design by Patrick Jouin: a harmonious blend of modernity and Provencal tradition.