Nestled in the heart of Provence, Saint-Tropez’s colourful little port, historic quarter, sandy beaches and shaded creeks never fail to charm. A world-renowned celebrity hub, the town is also a concentrate of history and culture – a legacy to its glorious history.
Saint-Tropez: The good life
Originally a simple fishermen’s village, Saint-Tropez rose to worldwide fame in the fifties, when wealthy clients first anchored their yachts in the little port and set down their bags in the town’s lavish villas to revel in Saint-Tropez’s legendary atmosphere, luxury boutiques, chic cafés – including the famous Café Sénéquier, a genuine local institution easy to spot with its terrace and red chairs -, restaurants and buzzing night life. Cradled by a gentle Provencal climate, Saint-Tropez celebrates life’s pleasures in an enchanting setting.
A little port, citadel, and beaches
The Bay of Saint-Tropez is graced by the gods. Set against the backdrop of the Maures hills and beautiful villages of Gassin and Ramatuelle, its jagged coast alternates coves dotted with umbrella pines and seductively-named sandy beaches: Plage Tahiti, Plage des Salins and Plage de Pampelonne. Set in the heart of the old quarter under the town’s distinctive orange and ochre church bell tower, the port of Saint-Tropez, where crowds flock in summer, is lined with charming old houses painted in pastel colours. Erected in the early 17th century, the Citadel stands guard over the town from its rock.
A celebrity hub
Over the decades Saint-Tropez has attracted the world’s greatest artists, drawn by the town’s unique quality of light and genteel lifestyle. In the late 19th century, Guy de Maupassant anchored his yacht, Le Bel-Ami, in the little port. The author immediately fell in love with the town, as did the young artist Paul Signac some years later. Henri Matisse painted “View of Saint-Tropez” there. From 1925 onwards, the writer Colette spent every winter in Saint-Tropez. The town was also frequented by Errol Flynn and Jean Cocteau. In the Sixties, the town was the location for the mythical film And God Created Woman by Roger Vadim, starring his dazzling wife Brigitte Bardot. During the same era, famous French actor Louis de Funès was making his mark at the local Gendarmerie with the hilarious Troops of Saint-Tropez film saga; the site has now been converted into the Musée de la Gendarmerie et du Cinéma.
The history of Saint-Tropez dates back to ancient times. Legend tells that the town takes its name from the Roman centurion Caius Silvius Torpetius. In 1 AD, he converted to Christianity, spurring the rage of Emperor Nero, who order him to be decapitated. His body was placed in a rowing boat on the river Arno with a rooster and a dog. A few days later, the drifting boat reached the shores of Saint-Tropez. Between the 15th and 17th centuries, Saint-Tropez was a republic inhabited by Genoese families devoted to defending the town. Their role lasted until the reign of Louis XIV. A strategic port, Saint-Tropez was also one of the key locations of the Allied Landings in Provence on August 15th, 1944. Today, this rich and ancient history has taken a back seat to the town’s festive, magical and bewitching atmosphere.
Tarte Tropézienne, sandals, and the Grande Braderie
You simply can’t visit Saint-Tropez without tasting THE local speciality: the famous Tarte Tropézienne – a brioche generously sprinkled with sugar crystals and stuffed with a blend of two creams, created in 1955 by pastry chef Alexandre Micka. Another must: the “sandales tropéziennes”, with their distinctive thin leather straps. You can find them, among others, at the Atelier Rondini, a family-owned business that opened its doors in 1927. Shopaholics will also enjoy the Grande Braderiede Saint-Tropez: a giant street sale where you can pick up fashion and decorative items at rock bottom prices.
TOP PROVENCE RESTAURANTS
Friends, couples, or solo travellers who love a good meal, discover these tasty tables that honour the flavours of the South. Get your forks ready and dig into our top 10 Provence restaurants!