Have you ever watched… And God Created Women? It was summer, 1956, and Saint Tropez came into the spotlight, along with the star of the film, Brigitte Bardot, who purchased a villa there, the famous Madrague. Film shooting began on May 3 and this small fishermen’s town became known to the world. The story of Saint Tropez’s fame, however, started many years earlier, in the early 1900s, when the town became an extension of Paris’s Rive Gauche, as the summer holiday retreat for Juliette Greco, Boris Vian, Sartre and Picasso.
Today, Saint Tropez is in no way less glamorous than it used to be: the rich and famous gather at the Yacht Club, or in private villas, or at Le Club 55 on the beach of Pampelonne or at the Hotel Byblos’s Les Caves du Roy nightclub. Which explains why this town’s narrow streets- divided into the lower part, the more chaotic and busy area around the harbor, and the upper part, filled with shops- are lined with yacht hires, luxury real estate agencies, expensive restaurants and designer boutiques…
Guide for a special holiday
Here is a small guide to the town and some helpful tips for planning a short trip to Saint Tropez. And make sure you don’t miss a tour of the town’s wonderful surroundings: the woody and rocky peninsula of Saint Tropez is absolutely spectacular and the view of the sea towards the Maurs mounains is breathtaking…
Three days in Saint Tropez
A small guide for a long weekend, to take in the town’s freethinking and voluptuous spirit.
Upper Saint Tropez
For an elegant dinner: do not miss the La Ponche, breathtaking view and excellent cuisine; the picturesque Le Pescadou, shabby chic-style interiors and small lights hanging all over the place; and the Caprice des Deux, mostly frequented by French customers. However, Saint Tropez’s best-known restaurant is still the Hotel Byblos, where Mick Jagger proposed to Bianca. The Hotel now houses the Rivea restaurant run by Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse and the evergreen disco Les Caves du Roy.
Stop for breakfast, at least once, at the Senequier, Saint Tropez’s most photographed café. The Petit Plage is located along the harbor’s promenade and tables are set on the beach, so you can bury your toes in the sand, it’s always crowded. Not far from it is the super cool Le Quai, live music and dancing till late night. At the Operà, there is always a parade of fancy cars with very elegant women getting out.
Beautiful women, boats, music… these are the basic ingredients of the long beach lined with all the French Riviera’s chicest beach clubs.
Orange beach umbrellas contrasting with the colors of the sea, a restaurant serving freshly-caught fish and sushi, the loveliest shop on the beach: these are the key features of the most glamorous of the Pampelonne beach clubs, where guests arrive even by helicopter. It’s worth a visit at least once, more peaceful in the morning, it starts getting crowded around lunchtime and reaches its peak at aperitivo time. Tahiti beach >>
Le Club 55
It’s a classic, as beautiful as a vintage postcard, although it’s not one of my favorites. You sunbathe on large airbeds on the sand and sip Champagne at the always crowded restaurant. Don’t forget to visit the boutique. Le Club 55 >>
The most popular club, you have to book at least one week in advance, it’s always packed. But it’s worth the effort: a harmonious mix of white and light-blue evoking the carefree ease of summertime. One of the Coast’s must-sees, even you’re not the fashionable beach club type. Bagatelle >>
Straight from St. Barth, a beach club full of young people, which combines beautiful views and entertainment: under the shabby-chic bamboo pergolas, DJs playing music, cocktails and dancing until late night. Excellent cuisine by Yiannis Kioroglo. Shellona >>
Just like the above-mentioned club, sun & dancing, but in a more Caribbean style. You can taste selections of sushi and sashimi, but there is also a small, super chic department store with four shops for him and her. Moorea Plage >>
Club des Palmiers
A Zen atmosphere, the key word here is relaxation, although very expensive….Designed by Philipp Plein, this beach club is a rhapsody in white, where privacy is protected, but with great music and dancing at sunset. Club des Palmiers >>
Services from family
In addition to the best-known clubs, here is a list of more family-friendly beach clubs, the ones I prefer because of the accurate service.
A colorful and family-oriented club, with its orange umbrellas and strategic position in the middle of the Pampelonne coastline, where the water is wonderfully clean and clear. An excellent choice. The restaurant is also very good. Tiki Beach >>
One of my favorites, it looks like a fantastic black and white chessboard: beach umbrellas, sofas, tables and extreme care about details. Very enjoyable creative cuisine. Maison Bianca >>
Plage de L’Orangerie
Another of my favorites: an Asian-chic atmosphere with wooden interiors. Excellent fusion cuisine combining Oriental flavors and French dishes. Plage de L’Orangerie >>
Plage des Jumeaux
A great alternative to Club 55, with airbeds on the sand and all the décor in the tones of green and white. The cuisine is light and unpretentious, ideal for everyday meals. For me, because of its informal but carefully designed style, it’s one of Saint Tropez’s best beach clubs. Plage des Jumeaux >>
This club’s greatest asset is the view. The restaurant features a terrace that makes you feel like floating on a boat at sea. A beautiful, not too crowded beach. Manoah Beach >>
Small, exotic huts, very comfortable double sunbeds, an informal but very pleasant style. You can go there even only to spend the afternoon and have a delicious pre-dinner drink. Polyneisie >>
White, in all its nuances: relaxation, a beautiful beach, gourmet cuisine based on top-quality ingredients. It’s last on my list because I’m literally crazy about it. A true experience of all five senses! Tropicana >>
Food & Wine a Saint Tropez e dintorni
A small glossary that will allow you to survive, that is, food&wine terms!!!
Mules: all sorts of mussel dishes
Loup di mer: sea bass
Foie gras: goose liver
À la Piscine: Champagne served on the rocks
Granadine: My little Ines’s favorite drink, alcohol-free with strawberry or sour black cherry syrup diluted with water and ice
Caffè gourmet: A taste of a selection of desserts by the chef, there are always macarons included
Tarte Tropézienne: a brioche filled with a mix of vanilla and lemon cream
Surroundings of Saint Tropez
Saint Tropez is terrific, but if you’re staying for more than a few days, I recommend going on a tour of the surrounding towns, which can be easily reached by boat or by car. Each different in its own way, I particularly enjoyed the inland towns of Ramatuelle, Gassin, Grimaud, the seaside towns of Saint Maxime, Port Grimaud, Cap Ferrat and two unique islands, Port Cross and Les Porquerolles.
Look at my other travels