St-Tropez: A pocket guide
St-Tropez is basically a small fishing village with a big reputation. It has long been popular with writers and artists, from Colette to Picasso, but it really hit the big time after Brigitte Bardot was filmed here by her husband Roger Vadim in And God Created Woman in 1954. Her youthful sun-kissed hedonism spawned millions of imitators who still throng the streets and beaches of St-Tropez today. Despite the summer crowds, the awful traffic, the Johnny Halliday look-alikes, and the glitz, St-Tropez remains as fashionable as ever and is still a place to be seen by celebrities, who rent or buy villas or lounge in the harbor on glamorous yachts. The little town itself is still very pretty, with its winding medieval streets of traditional pastel-painted fishermen’s cottages, boutiques, and restaurants and its port where fishing boats are moored alongside huge yachts. Visitors can combine rustic Provence and the chic Côte d’Azur with a visit to the marketplace on Place des Lices in the morning and an evening spent in the cafés around the harbor, where you can sip cocktails and people-watch.
There’s not an awful lot to do in St-Tropez. The point is simply to be there. It’s worth wandering around, to see how the jet-set aspect of the town has actually fitted in brilliantly with the old surroundings without ruining the feel of the place at all. Although an international tourist mecca, St-Tropez is largely responsible for the allure of the whole area. In St-Tropez everything seems to be famous and familiar, from the Beaches of Bouillabaisse to Caneliers Beach, Salins Beach, and Pampelonne Beach. There are around 40 beaches on the peninsula, and these are hugely enjoyed by guests from all over the world. Beach bars and restaurants are plentiful throughout the area, and it’s really fun to drive up into the hills to look at some of the beautiful villas. St-Tropez has an elegant feel to it, and over the years many famous families have built beautiful homes there. The nature of the place has of course changed as different nationalities have played dominant roles in the real estate market, buying up the best estates, but the basic feel of the place has remained the same and you can get a glimpse into a very attractive part of France. A few restaurants to enjoy during your stay could include Residence de la Pinede, Auberge des Maures, Au Caprice des Deux, La table du Marche, Brasserie des Arts, and Le Sporting. Wonderful seafood is obviously plentiful in St-Tropez, and the markets are a joy for food shopping if you prefer to dine at home in your villa.