Sky, sun and sea at Saint-Tropez
In the past, Saint-Tropez was a quiet hamlet - a small fishing village, as portrayed in the 1956 Roger Vadim film "…And God Created Woman". There are vast expanses of land covered by pines, oaks and cypresses that loom over the sea. There are fields of gnarled olive trees, and old wooden boats, whose paint has been eaten away by salt and erosion. Indeed, it was the ascent to world fame of the film’s heroine Brigitte Bardot that helped this humble village turn into such a popular destination.
Since then, Saint-Tropez has metamorphosed, all the while keeping its Provence village charm. There is Senequier, the most celebrated café in the region, where you drink ice coffees while leafing through Var-Matin; a myriad of beach bars where you find the crème de la crème of the international jet-set, and sublime landscapes bathed in sunshine. Then there’s the Mediterranean climate and the secret beaches, not to mention the smells of maquis, myrtle and rosemary.
The neighboring villages of Ramatuelle and Gassin have retained their old-time charm, with small flower-covered streets, ancient houses with stone walls, and hidden places where nature is still untamed. You discover them by chance, following the rocky paths strewn with pine needles. The walk is punctuated by the squawks of seagulls observing your unsteady gait through the rocky obstacles, as you try to reach the sea. The coastline is a succession of coves and fine sand beaches where you hear nothing but the slow sound of the waves.
In the port, the fishermen untangle their nets and throw the small fish into a bucket: these will serve to prepare the bouillabaisse. On the beach of l'Escalet, the table is set up in the shade of the trees. The meal, of course, is served with olive oil, and a regional rosé to be savored while listening to the incessant song of the cicadas. The afternoon is reserved for swimming in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean and games of petanque, one of many Provence traditions that make this region a foremost destination.
When to go?
The locals say that it is in the period of July-August when the region is the busiest and when Saint-Tropez transforms into a party destination. Perhaps rather choose the offseason, when you can enjoy the mild temperatures at your own pace.
How to get there?
The region can be reached by plane (Nice-Côte d'Azur International Airport is 1h30 from Saint-Tropez and Toulon-Hyères 50 min) or by train (the nearest train stations are Draguignan - Les Arcs, Frejus or Saint-Raphael). You then have to go by car to reach the small coastal villages.
A good option is to get off the train at Aix-en-Provence and then sit behind the wheel for 1h30 (the train travels very slowly to the succeeding stations along the coast).
Paddling and picnic in the moonlight
Meet up with one of our passionate sports and nature instructors on a paddle board just as the sun sets. Under their watchful eye, paddle out on the calm sea to a secret cove. A special candlelight picnic awaits you – feast on the fresh produce and rosé before heading back to the coast.
Early morning fishing
Embark on a boat trip accompanied by Yohann, a passionate fisherman who will teach you the basics of fishing - or if you’re already an experienced fishermen, share some of his tricks. Then return to the port with your catch and cook it with our chef who will pass on to you the Cote d'Azur’s best recipes.
Discover a renowned wine estate in the company of a cellar master
The promenade opens on a superb park belonging to the castle, a place where hinds have found their home. Follow the estate cellar master through the vineyards, the cellars and the rooms that regularly host exhibitions. Listen to his tips on how to train your palate while tasting prestigious cuvées on the castle’s terrace overlooking the Provencal countryside.
Our address book
On the docks
This celebrated fish and shellfish restaurant is located a stone's throw away from Sénéquier, in a postcard-like looking decor. Local and other fish specialties, such as paella and a superb bouillabaisse are served here. Those who don’t much care for fish can take solace in some very excellent spaghetti with truffles.
Quai Jean Jaures, 83990 Saint-Tropez
The BanH-Hoï is a perfect setting for a romantic dinner. The candles are lit, flowers decorate the tables and the spicy and delicate cuisine completes the picture. It is inspired by Vietnam, Japan and Thailand, a perfect trio for fine cuisine.
12 Rue du Petit Saint-Jean, 83990 Saint-Tropez
La Vague d’Or
Arnaud Donckele is none other than the youngest chef to have 3 stars in the Michelin guide. His cuisine is creative and delicate - especially the turbot cooked in seawater. The contemporary and colorful dressings make each plate sublime. We like the refinement of this locale under the maritime pines, a stone's throw from the famous Bouillabaisse beach.
Résidence de la Pinède - Plage de la Bouillabaisse, 83990 Saint-Tropez
In the jungle
Tropical inspiration in Ramatuelle. Bamboo huts and floating wood furniture create a special atmosphere in this place shrouded beneath lush vegetation. Sip cocktails as you watch the party being set into motion once the night falls.
Route de Bonne Terrasse, 83350 Ramatuelle
Feet in the sand
A restaurant under the trees, a place to nap on soft mattresses and a place to listen to music with your feet in the sand. Club 55, located on the beach of Pampelonne, is all this at once, which it makes it one of the most sought-after locations in the region. For lunch, order the beef tartare and the “pommes-poissons”.
43 Boulevard Patch, 83350 Ramatuelle
La Table Tropézienne
A retro bistro
Restaurant at noon, La Table Tropézienne transforms into a tea room in the morning and the afternoon. It has that retro bistro atmosphere, with leather benches and everything in red, hiding a floor above La Place des Lices. You should, of course, go for the celebrated Tropézienne created in 1950 and made famous by the actress Brigitte Bardot. Try the one with raspberries, a true delight.
Place des lices, 83990 Saint-Tropez
The shoes that fit your feet
For over 80 years, the Rondini family has been making leather sandals that have become celebrated all over the world. Les Tropéziennes which are handmade in the small studio adjoining the shop are a "must have" made to measure.
18-18Bis Rue Georges Clemenceau, 83990 Saint-Tropez
Time for a treat
The creamy texture and original tastes have set up these homemade ice creams for success. You only have to observe the crowds of people who come back here every day. We love the completely decadent Daim-banana-chocolate or Tarte tropézienne: how did we ever live without them?
2 Rue Général Allard, 83990 Saint-Tropez
Le Marché de la place des Lices
Shopping at the market
A perfect place to get everything for your summer barbecues, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables from the region. You can also buy beautiful Provençal products and lovely shopping baskets. Go there early in the morning for a quiet stroll between the colorful stalls and then leave the port as it begins to fill up, for a walk in the small streets that lead up to the citadel.
Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 7 am to 1 pm
18 Boulevard Vasserot, 83990 Saint-Tropez