If you visit St. Tropez now, you will find it hard to believe that it used to be a sleepy fishing village at the heart of the French Riviera. The coastal town may never have moved, but it is a long way from its simple and humble beginnings. Today, it is simply the most famous resort in Europe, attracting thousands of upscale tourists.
Prominent personalities from Paris like Picasso, Boris Vian and Sartre frequented St. Tropez during their time, but it was the filming of the movie, Et Dieu Crea la Femme (And God Created Woman), that really put this French village in the tourist map. The movie catapulted the image of Brigitte Bardot and made her a certified sex symbol in the ’50s. She and her oozing sexual appeal onscreen made people want to see if St. Tropez is really a lustful spot to lounge around under the sun.
Of course the main reason for visiting the village is its beaches that cuddle the Mediterranean Sea and embrace the wonderful warm weather. If you are seeking the quintessential glamorous St. Tropez beaches, where folks come to see and be seen; then Nikki Beach and Plage Port Grimaud make perfect choices. Those who love the idea of a clothing-optional policy on a sandy stretch, will find Place de Tahiti very ideal.
The three mile sandy Pampelonne is one of the iconic beaches associated with St. Tropez. Although the beach’s beauty hardly disappoints, it is not as accessible as you might think. The famous beach is situated four miles away from main St. Tropez and is technically part of the nearby commune of Ramatuelle. Other viable beach options include Plage des Graniers, Plage de la Bouillabaisse, and Plage des Jumeaux.
After spending hours on the sandy shore, you can head out to some of the notable sites in town, which include Chapelle Ste. Anne, Museum of l’Annonciade (Muse St. Tropez) and Pointe du Capon. To explore what St. Tropez can offer on water, go for a boat tour, which usually leaves from Vieux Port. There is no denying that St. Tropez is an upscale destination. If you want to rub shoulders with the celebrities, then dress to impress and go for a night out at Les Caves du Roy, a popular nightclub housed in the Byblos Hotel.
St. Tropez can host thousands during summer, particularly during the months of July and August – but if you come out of season, you will most likely get to know the village’s more serene side. Life is a bit slower at this time; giving you more opportunity to appreciate the things that usually get drowned out by the huge crowds. The cobbled streets especially in the old fishing quarter of La Ponche will particularly charm you. Quaint cafes will be a perfect respite from a day of exploring. Here, you can order your favorite drink while watching the locals go about their day.
Whichever period you choose to visit St. Tropez take note that there is barely any public transport in the area. If you come during the peak months, driving a rented car may be too inconvenient due to heavy traffic flow constrained parking. So the best way to get around and tour is to walk or to ride a bike or scooter for longer distances.