St Tropez is one of the Mediterranean’s fanciest beach destinations, on a stretch of coast known as the French Riviera. It’s a small town that swells in the summer months when hundreds of yachts line the port and drop anchor in the deep blue waters of the Med.
This town is all about laidback luxury. Head to one of St Tropez’s many beaches, drink something chilled and fizzy while eating freshly grilled seafood. Join the jet-set crowd down by the waterfront in Vieux Port or take a walk up to the citadel that has great views over the city.
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St Tropez is as glitzy and glamorous as it gets – the rich, famous and beautiful come here to flaunt their stuff on the golden sands of the French Riviera’s beaches. They also shop in the town’s famously luxurious and forward-thinking fashion boutiques, drink and dance to the tunes of its unbeatably chic nightlife scene and soak up the vibes of its enduringly rich cultural heritage.
Indeed, St. Tropez is a place to see and be seen. And if you’re looking to hobnob with the ultimate stylish set then it’s the place for you. To help point you in the right direction, here are some of the best things to do in St Tropez:
Start the day at the Place aux Herbes
Mingle with the locals in a humble market setting. The original old morning market square in the Vieux Port (Old Port) area is where you can get a first feel for the slightly more modest side of St Tropez. It serves as a great alternative for when you need a breather from all the glamour and glitz of its beaches and bars.
Browse the deliciously fresh southern French produce that benefits from all the richness of the Mediterranean region’s sun. If you have somewhere to cook back at your accommodation, you can perhaps pick up a few items to whip up a French feast of your own. Take time, too, to stop for a coffee and some people-watching on the terrace of the famous Café Senequier nearby.
Hit the sand at Pampelonne beach
As A-list as it gets! It’s the sun, sea and sand that have most of the jet set flocking to St Tropez, and the Plage de Pampelonne (Pampelonne Beach) is the trendiest spot of all. The beach is also St Tropez’s longest and by far its most popular stretch of sand, set in a lovely sheltered bay not far from the village of Ramatuelle.
Pampelonne is famous for its exclusive beach clubs that are packed with A-list celebrities, but along much of the sand, you can also pull up your own towel or rent a deckchair. If Pampelonne doesn’t appeal, numerous other public beaches in and around St Tropez are just as stunning, including the Plage de Bouillabaisse and the Plage des Salins.
Must-See: Maritime History Museum of St Tropez
Discover St Tropez’s naval culture and history, The Musée d’Histoire Maritime (Maritime History Museum) in St Tropez traces back through a rich, enduring history as a maritime city, long outdating its more recent reinvention as an on-trend destination for the moneyed jet set. The museum is set in a fitting and photogenic location, set in the dungeon of St Tropez’s citadel.
This means that once you’ve explored the exhibitions of artefacts relating to voyages off the French coast and far beyond, you can also take in the stunning 17th-century citadel itself. The Citadel comes complete with lookout points over the sea and mountains – must-sees for incredible, sweeping vistas. Location: 1 Montée de la Citadelle, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France Open: Daily from 10 am to 6.30 pm Phone: +33 4 94 97 59 43
Explore the charming alleys of the St Tropez old town
Get lost in La Ponche’s backstreets. La Ponche comprises St Tropez’s ‘old town’ and evokes the kind of spirit that most people imagine when they think of the charming, character-rich south of France. Here you can wander the narrow, pastel-hued alleyways as they meander into one another, and feel the cobblestones beneath your feet as you take in the sights.
Popular attractions include the Église Paroissiale Notre Dame de l’Assomption (Church of Notre-Dame), but there are also restaurants, bars and cafés in this bustling, atmospheric neighbourhood – and, in truth, much of the appeal is in simply getting lost in its charm.
Browse the wares at the Place des Lices Market
For some of the best produce Provence has to offer. When you’re in St Tropez, the Place des Lices market is where you want to head to for good grub. Even those who aren’t necessarily foodies know that Provence is the place to come in France – one of the best in Europe, many would tell you – for choice cheeses, meats, bread, pastries and more, with Place des Lices showcasing the best of it.
The twice-weekly market is the perfect place to stock up if you’re staying in self-catering accommodation in St Tropez, or else to pick up supplies for an impromptu picnic. There are also homewares and handcrafted goods to discover – just be sure to get here early. Location: Place des Lices, 20 Boulevard Vasserot, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France Open: Tuesday and Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm
When in St Tropez, do as the French do.
Take Apéro on the Quay! There can be few more scenic places to partake than alongside St Tropez’s picturesque quay. Little sums up France better than the deeply ingrained cultural ritual of taking an aperitif before dinner. It’s for good reason that the French coined the term l’heure d’apéro, or apéro o’clock.
Open as it is from the early morning until the wee hours, Café Senequier is as good a spot as any to sip something refreshing as you watch the sun begin to sink down over the Côte d’Azur. The trendy and aptly named Bar du Port also has outside seating and makes for an equally solid choice.
Catch a show at the Carré Sainte-Maxime
Diverse cultural presentations in a forward-thinking space. The Carré Sainte Maxime is a multi-disciplinary performing arts theatre in the city of the same name, about half an hour’s drive north from St Tropez. If you’re looking to fill up on culture after spending your days bronzing on the beaches and your other evenings star-spotting in the nightclubs, then you’re in luck.
There’s a diverse and eclectic programme of events on offer here throughout the seasons (the venue itself is open every day of the year), from dance and theatre to live music performances, and even circus-style spectacles. Location: 107 Route du Plan de la Tour, 83120 Sainte-Maxime, France Phone: +33 4 94 56 77 77
End the day with cocktails at Les Toits Lounge rooftop bar
Toast glorious views in every direction. You just wouldn’t be doing your bling-bling St Tropez séjour justice if you weren’t seeing out your days in true style. Sipping expertly shaken cocktails with jaw-dropping views over the Provencal rooftops and out to sea is one great way to end the day here.
Make your way to Les Toits Lounge, then – aptly, les toits translates as ‘the roofs’ – for a luxury experience that will last until the wee hours. Les Toits is set atop the Hôtel de Paris Saint-Tropez; it’s actually open throughout the day, but it’s by dark that you really want to visit for a signature house cocktail or a well-deserved glass of bubbly. Location: Hôtel de Paris Saint-Tropez, 1 Traverse de la Gendarmerie, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France Open: Daily from 8 am to midnight Phone: +33 4 83 09 60 00
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