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St. Tropez

Harbor Yachts

About St. Tropez

Today’s St. Tropez is synonymous with extravagance and glamour. But its history as a quiet fishing village is more modest. Legend has it that St. Tropez adopted its name in 68 AD, when the remains of the fallen Christian soldier Torpes, martyred in Pisa, washed up on its shores. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the town eventually became an Arabic-Muslim colony.

William I, Count of Provence, moved in on the Muslim colony in 986, and for hundreds of years the French maneuvered to secure Provence and the small coastal town under various families and rulers. As a small republic, St. Tropez resisted attacks from the Turks and Spaniards. In 1672, Louis XIV reasserted French control over the peaceful fishing village.

During the 19th century, St. Tropez began to draw a bohemian crown of Parisian artists and writers, while fishermen stitched their netting on uncrowded beaches. In the 1920s, the city lured the likes of fashion icon Coco Chanel. World War II interrupted its growing popularity, but it was the first coastal town Allied troops liberated during Operation Dragoon in August of 1944.

In 1955, Brigitte Bardot donned a gingham bikini on St. Tropez’s Tahiti beach while making the 1956 film And God Created Woman. The film turned the international spotlight on this French Riviera hamlet as a destination for the famous, well-heeled, and well-tanned.

St. Tropez Lifestyle and Culture

St. Tropez is renowned for glitz and glamour, sun-kissed days on pebble beaches and champagne nights amid medieval-flavored streets. In this jet-setting Provençal playground, old-world facades line the quays and the extravagant yachts of millionaires, royals and celebrities bob on Mediterranean shores.

Away from the quays and along the quieter streets of this charming enclave, glimpse the pre-Bardot serenity of St. Tropez’s fishing village history. In the central square of Place des Lices, find locals sipping anise-flavored pastis while men enjoy a casual game of pétanques in caps and cardigans beneath the shade of plane trees.

The famous Café des Arts (Le Café) has been the gathering spot of bohemian intellectuals and creative artists and writers for decades. Twice a week, a traditional Provençal market brings the square to colorful life with stall after stall of flowers, fruits, soap, honey and other local goods.

For over 450 years, the residents of St. Tropez have celebrated “La Bravade” in honor of their patron saint. The May festival is a mix of ceremonial military parades, a musket-firing salute, carnival processions, and performances in folk costume, including women’s white bonnets and wide-brimmed hats.

St. Tropez Sights and Landmarks

The picturesque quays of Vieux Port are shared by stylish yachts and fishing boats. Amid ochre-colored buildings, artists hunch over easels to capture the view and a statue of Bailli de Suffren, a sailor who fought in the Seven Years’ War, peers out to sea. With its red awnings, the venerable Café Senequier provides the perfect spot for port- and people-watching.

La Ponche is the city’s historic fishing quarter and most atmospheric district. A walk along the medieval maze of cobblestone streets and through charming squares dotted with fountains, jasmine trellises, and wrought-iron birdcages leads to the 18th-century Italian baroque Église de Saint-Tropez (Church of St. Tropez). A city landmark, its butter-hued dome sits atop a pink bell tower.

Built to defend against the Spaniards, the old Citadel de Saint-Tropez has towered over the city since 1602. Its grounds and walls provide stunning views of the bay. The dungeon has been transformed into a museum of maritime history, where you can discover the fascinating stories of those who helped shape the village’s past.

St. Tropez Entertainment and Activities

To soak up the natural beauty of St. Tropez, wander the seven-mile scenic seaside path, Le Sentier du Littoral. The scenic walking trail leads past colorful coastal flora, sandy stretches of beach and magnificent Mediterranean views.

Tahiti Beach is the oldest and most famous, where Brigitte Bardot filmed her famous scene. At La Plage des Salins and Plage de Pampelonne, beachgoers lounge under striped parasols. Off the Quai Mistral, La Glaye beach is a small, sandy beach nestled among historic buildings.

The Musée Saint-Tropez (Musée de l’Annonciade) will captivate art lovers. Located inside an early 16th-century chapel, it holds the French Riviera’s best collection of Postimpressionist paintings. Find stunning works from masters such as Matisse, Utrillo, Seurat and Dufy. Admire the inspired paintings of pointillist Signac, the first of many avant-garde artists drawn to St. Tropez in the late 19th century.

Venture farther afield to the quaint, traffic-free village of Port-Grimaud. Its scenic maze of channels creates the atmosphere of a Venetian fishing village. Roam its splendid walking paths alongside colorful houses with pastel shutters, many with a mooring place right outside their front door, or rent a motorboat to explore the charming waterways.

St. Tropez Restaurants and Shopping

The dining scene in St. Tropez is known for its style and seafood. Treat yourself to gastronomic luxury or find a cozy café table to while away the afternoon.

Chef Vincent Malliard creates tapas-style dishes, with ingredients sourced from the French and Italian Rivieras, at the palm-shaded terrace of Rivea. Sample the marinated tuna while sipping a glass of Château Miraval.

For a real gastronomic splurge, visit the excellent La Vague d’Or. Here, you can taste your way through Head Chef Arnaud Donckele’s culinary specialties with the “8 Act” Epicurean Adventure. Or try the zitone pasta, with black truffles, foie gras, and purple artichoke.

Sweet lovers must make a pilgrimage to La Tarte Tropézienne, the birthplace of St. Tropez’s famed sugar-crusted sticky bun with its orange blossom cream custard center.

As a glamour hub, St. Tropez is known for its stylish shops and trendy boutiques, and the city’s central Triangle d’Or (Golden Triangle)—defined by Place de la Garonne, Rue François Sibilli and Place des Lices—hosts an assortment of high-fashion designer labels.

Strolling the Vielle Ville, you can weave in and out of unique boutiques, especially along Rue Sade, Rue de la République, and Rue James Close.

Follow in Brigitte Bardot’s footsteps in your own pair of the city’s iconic hand-sewn sandals, which you can find at the original sandal cobbler Rondini, as well as at K. Jacques. Or buy a colorful beach shirt from La Chemise Tropezienne.