Brigitte Bardot arguably put St Tropez on the map when she starred in the late 50’s movie ‘And God Created Woman’. St Tropez’s stock had already been steadily rising since the 20’s when Coco Chanel, the legendary French fashion designer decamped there. But the internationally acclaimed film, directed by her then husband Roger Vadim, catapulted St Tropez into the worlds consciousness. Brigitte Bardot has a home here and can often be seen with several dogs in tow.
Along the coast in the Baie de Pampelonne, there are several wide beaches along its five-kilometre shore. Many of the beaches offer windsurfing, sailing and canoeing equipment for rent, while others offer water sports, such as power boats, jet bikes, water skiing and scuba diving. Some of the private beaches are naturist beaches.
The heart of St Tropez is a delightful place to wander around. The streets are narrow and offer many opportunities to browse the quirky shops that are full of interesting artifacts, designer clothing and furnishings. As with the majority of villages in France, the civic pride is evident with wonderful displays of hanging baskets and flower troughs bursting with colour.
The Marina is worth a visit, here you can see yachts jam packed together with a combined price tag of the GDP of a small country. There are bars and cafes lining the harbour where you can sit and watch the world go by and stare in awe at the wealth on display.
Gassin is a truly delightful village and is classified amongst the most beautiful villages in France. When you arrive in Gassin, which is perched high on rocky land above the Mediterranean Sea, you are rewarded with a magnificent view of the Bay of Saint-Tropez and the surrounding hills. You can see a great deal of coastline including the resorts of La Croix Valmer, Saint-Tropez, Griamud, Sainte-Maxime and Les Issambres as well as the Massif des Maures to the north.
As you continue exploring along the Promenade Dei Barri you come to some more spectacular views and a few very nice restaurants with tables set to look out over the panoramic vista. This really is an unbeatable spot to stop for lunch.
The historic village is small and even the main square is hardly wider than a road but wandering round the ancient streets of Gassin is a joy. Look out for the old well and the street called l’Androuno which is claimed to be the narrowest street in the world. Everywhere you walk the delicious scent of Jasmine hangs in the air.
You can stroll around the garden L'Hardy-Denonain which presents examples of many of the plants that we associate with Provence: this garden is officially classified as a 'remarkable garden' in France.
There are not that many historic monuments in the village, unless you count the houses, but for lovers of old churches you’ll find the Notre Dame de l'Assomption, a 16th century church in the roman style with a square bell tower. Another religious monument is the Chapel of the Notre Dame de la Consolation, an 11th century chapel in a small park just below the main village.
The new village of Gassin, which has been built below the medieval village, was awarded first prize for the best new town in Europe. It was designed by Francois Spoerry who also won acclaim for designing the nearby Port Grimaud. It was designed using a style based on but not replicating the style of the medieval village above.
There are numerous beaches close to Gassin, including the famous beach at Pampelonne. Parts of this beautiful coastline fall under the protection of the Conservatoire de Littoral, an organisation established to preserve the flora and fauna along the coast and across the Saint-Tropez peninsula. Gassin is very close to Port Grimaud and St Tropez.
Located on the French Riviera, Port Grimaud is seven kilometres west of Saint Tropez and seven kilometres south east of Sainte Maxime. Port Grimaud began to rise out of the sand dunes around the marshes of the river Giscle on the north shore of the Golfe de Saint-Tropez in 1966. This extraordinary architectural experiment was the idea of François Spoerry who also designed the new sector of Gassin village. He envisioned a town built in the manner of Venice with channels of water and traditional French fisherman’s houses, each with a personal boat mooring space at the end of the garden.
Port Grimaud is a charming village with attractive Provençal-style houses on a network of canals. The houses are designed to be individually different, painted with soft pastel colours of ochre, pink and turquoise and feature shutters with wrought iron balconies with roofs of terracotta pantiles. Known as the ‘Venice of Provence’ and arranged into four little islands, the colourful houses are linked by bridges over the waterways and surrounded by gardens. Despite initial controversy concerning the concept of a marine village constructed with ‘faux Provencal’ architecture, after several decades the buildings have aged well and the result has been very successful.
The mainly traffic free town is popular with boat owners as most properties come with their own berth. The success of the first phase of the development meant that Port Grimaud 2 was completed in the 1970s and then again, Port Grimaud 3 was constructed in the 90s. The Church of St Francis of Assis in the place de l'Église contains stained glass by Victor Vasarely, a Hungarian-French artist, who is widely accepted as a "grandfather" and leader of the Op-art movement.
La Mole is little village between Hyeres and St Tropez. It's worth stopping to at least have a look at the magnificent little church, with its bright facade, pretty bell tower and sundial. There's a nice shady picnic area at the left side of the church, beside the little Verne river. Continuing up the small road past the picnic spot will take you to the dam and the Verne lake, or you can hike up to the hill-top Ste Magedleine chapel where the original villages stood from the 11th to 18th centuries. During his youth, Saint Exupery lived with his grandparents at the 11th century Chateau de la Mole. The classical chateau with its corner towers, about a km out of town to the east, was described by Saint Exupery in The Little Prince.
The tiny airfield just to the east of the village of La Mole is billed as the Aeroport International St Tropez, La Mole. The airport gets pretty busy during the summer months.
As with St Tropez, Port Grimaud and Gassin, La Mole is located in a stunningly beautiful part of the world. The light here is exceptional and has attracted many artists over the years to capture it’s brilliance. You too can experience the very same radiant sunlight, breathtaking countryside, and vibrant hues that inspired the great works of Ceszanne, Monet, Munch, Matisse, Picasso and Van Gogh.
St Tropez boasts a handful of beautiful beaches, made famous year after year by the celebrities who arrive on holiday. Here are few worth a visit.
This is one of only three very small beaches in the actual town of St Tropez. The bulk of the beaches associated with the area are a few kilometres away. La Glaye is located in the section of coastline just in front of the old town, between two of the old fortresses. It’s a beautiful beach but very small. Most people head out to the bigger, wider beaches, notably in Pampelonne Bay.
Nikki Beach is to the south of Pampelonne, in the same bay. This is beach club heaven and there are lots to choose from. Les Jumeaux is a great choice for families, as it has a playground attached and is open year-round, which is rare for St Tropez.
This is the most well-known of all St Tropez beaches, although most people don’t realise that the bay is broken up into lots of beaches with different names, each with their own character. This bay is the place to see and be seen on the beach. It’s full of celebrities, discrete beach clubs, and chic restaurants. It isn’t cheap. The real Pampelonne beach is in the middle of the bay and it’s a great place to simply sit and watch the chic crowd go about their business. If you want to go a little more upmarket, the Moorea Beach Club doesn’t take itself as seriously as some of the others, but has a good reputation and a great bar, Claudy’s.
The Plage de Tahiti is in the same bay as Pampelonne Beach but at the northeast end. It has one of the oldest beach clubs in the area that has been going since 1946, at the Tahiti Beach Hotel. There are other food and drink options on this stretch.
4 Rue Dr Boutin, 83990 St Tropez
+33 4 94 97 01 50
The town’s oldest restaurant remains the locals’ choice for always-good, copious portions of earthy Provençal cooking, like daube(braised-beef stew), tapenade-stuffed lamb shoulder, lobster and onglet (skirt steak) grilled over the fire with eschalot sauce. Booking a table is essential in the leafy courtyard. The wine selection is pretty special too.
Plage de Bouillabaisse, 83990 St Tropez
+33 4 94 55 91 00
Triple-starred chef Arnaud Donckele has established a gastronomic temple at the Résidence de la Pinède: expect exquisite ingredients treated with the utmost cheffy cleverness. But with offerings such as the Balade Epicurienne setting you back half a grand for seven courses with matched wines, expectations can rise to dangerous heights. Then again, this is St Tropez.
4 Allée du Quai de l’Epi, 83990 St Tropez
+33 4 94 56 10 73
Amazing food! The portion sizes are generous, so start with one order and see how you feel before ordering the second. The lamb dish and their chicken tajin, both quite good. Make sure to make a reservation because this place gets packed. A great restaurant, great service and beautiful food.
40 Rue du Portail Neuf, 83990 St Tropez
+33 4 94 97 76 78
This traditional maison de village (old stone terraced house) with coffee-coloured wooden shutters is a fancy-night-out favourite with locals, who know what award-winning chef Stéphane Avelin can do with good produce, and are prepared to pay. Its intimate interior is as traditional as its French cuisine: grilled veal liver or truffle risotto. For St-Tropez, the prices aren't too extreme.
24 Rue du Portail Neuf, 83990 St Tropez,
+33 9 83 66 78 28
A great Italian restaurant. The food is amazing, the burrata is just truly amazing, the food is cooked from the first step with a lot of love. The service is outstanding. The owner is Italian and really service minded. If you like Italian food and are in St Tropez don’t miss it.
67 Rue du Portail Neuf, 83990 St Tropez
+33 4 94 79 85 09
Run by ebullient owners Alain and Nuno, this pint-sized restaurant feels like it's peaking right now: there's so much skill and enthusiasm expended on making diners happy. There are only a few tables, so expect to queue – but the wonders issuing from the little open-plan kitchen make it worth the wait. Fresh market ingredients drive the menu, which changes regularly.
3 Rue des Tisserands, 83990 St Tropez
+33 4 94 97 59 62
Great food but an even better atmosphere. Try to get a table on their covered patio. Restaurant is tucked away in an allyway and not easy to find unless you know your way around Saint Tropez.
Quai Jean Jaurès, 83990 St Tropez
+33 4 94 97 03 87
A fabulous place with beautiful food and great service. Good wine list, excellent seafood, unforgettable Coquilles Saint Jacques! And by the marina with a nice scenery.
5 Rue des Remparts, 83990 St Tropez
+33 4 94 97 02 53
Open since the 1950s and having garnered a storied celebrity guest list, this boutique seafront property is within a minute's walk from La Citadelle de Saint-Tropez, a 17th-century fort and naval museum, and a 4-minute walk from the Le musée de l'Annonciade. The intimate restaurant offers outdoor patio seating and seafood dishes; there's an elegant cocktail bar and lounge.
27 Avenue Foch, 83990 St Tropez
+33 4 94 56 68 20
Amazing food/wine pairings and impeccable service. Beautiful outdoor patio with great ambience. The Mediterranean version of the Parisian 'Spoon', Ducasse's playful concept. Designer decor and soft lighting set the stage for creative cuisine.
13 Rue François Sibilli, 83990 St Tropez
+33 4 98 12 67 65
A delicious and a very unique dining experience. This is a beautiful garden cafe situated in the Courtyard of the Dior store. The drinks and ambiance are second-to-none and the food does not disappoint. Exceptional ambience, perfect service, exquisite food.
18 Rue Henri Seillon, 83990 St Tropez
+33 4 94 49 36 96
With a plum position near the Viex Port and such an obvious name, you'd be forgiven for thinking this bistro was nothing but a tourist trap, but the food and service are top-notch. Monkfish with lobster sauce, penne with prawns, salt-roasted bone marrow with toast: we guarantee you'll come away happy, and not much lighter in the pocket.
1 Plage des Graniers, 83990 St Tropez
+33 4 94 97 13 43
Quite expensive but a lovely beach club just a few minutes walk from the centre of St Tropez. Arrive by boat and they will come out and pick you up. Lovely sheltered bay. Good choice on the menu.
Rue Saint-Pierre, 83990 St Tropez
+33 4 94 55 57 86
A lovely slice of old-fashioned Provençal hospitality, this terraced bistro does great French service: few frills, great ingredients treated with skill accompanied by good wine, and a general sense that life is being lived right. The onglet (skirt steak) with eschalot sauce couldn't be more satisfying, while anything grilled on the open fire is bound to delight.
If you're an art lover you're going to be in your element in St Tropez. It's no accident that galleries and museums abound in this area of the Cote d'Azre. The quality of light here has drawn artists, no pun intended, from the world over.
After starting out in the art world at the early age of 22, today Daniel Besseiche boasts seven contemporary art galleries across France, Belgium, Switzerland and China. His impressive catalogue features masterpieces by the giants of the contemporary art including Picasso, Miro, Vasarely or Dufy. The Saint-Tropez branch is one of his seasonal galleries, aiming to make art available to people on the go. In the winter, skiers can appreciate his collections at the Courchevel resort in France and in the summer sun-seekers have a choice between Brittany (Dinard) and the Mediterranean (Saint-Tropez). Open in the cool of the evening until 11 p.m., art aficionados can first soak up the sun, then take a walk to the harbour where the Daniel Besseiche gallery awaits with some of the finest art by living artists.
10 Best Art Galleries and Studios
The beauty and climate of Saint-Tropez, one of the most popular resorts in the south of France, are a magnet for sun worshippers and the rich and famous. But with its Mediterranean light and the colours of Provence, Saint-Tropez has also attracted many an artist to settle here, giving rise to an art scene with many exhibition spaces, studios and museums.
Covering a total surface area of 160 square metres, Galerie Des Lices is the largest gallery in Saint-Tropez, and one of six scattered across Italy and Switzerland displaying works of some of today’s greatest modern artists. Any art lover seeking to expand their collection will be spoilt for choice between a sculpture by Armand or Cesar, audacious photography by Philippe Shangti or even a work by the contemporary maestro Damien Hirst. One of the past exhibitions at the Saint-Tropez Des Lices includes the sculptures, paintings and ceramics by internationally renowned artist Stefan Szczesny who lives and works in Saint-Tropez. A popular local figure, Szczesny uses the gallery as his base for managing his works through his enterprise the Szczesny Fatory.
Jean-Pierre Botella (aka jpb) loves seeking out new appealing talent from the contemporary art world. He is drawn towards art in all its forms including painting, sculpture and furniture. One particular sculptor who caught jpb’s eye is industrial welder turned sculptor, Patrice Racois, whose monumental metal sculptures are on permanent display in the gallery’s own sculpture garden. Inside, it is well worth seeking out some of the uniquely designed furniture pieces by Marseille-based Rolland Mellan or the contemporary take on wildlife by Brazilian-born sculptor Mozart Guerra. The jpdArt Gallery is tucked away in the backstreets of Saint-Tropez not far from the Citadelle.
Venturing away from the bustling streets of Saint-Tropez, the nearby mediaeval village of Grimaud is home to Paul Janssen’s stunning four-storey contemporary art gallery, converted from an 18th century townhouse. Each level showcases offbeat works by some of the biggest names from the CoBra Movement as well as pop art, street art and photography. Among the names to look out for in Paul Janssen’s collection are Andy Warhol, Karel Appel, Marc Lagrange, Helmut Newton and Banksy, while past events have featured works by French street artist Mr. One Teas and Belgian-born multimedia artist Delphine Boël. A gallery with a conscience, in a recent exhibition entitled Ceci n’est pas de l’ivoire (this is not ivory), Paul Janssen supported the campaign to protect wildlife in Africa.
The artist Henri Sié has lived in Saint-Tropez since the 1970s and opened his two-storey gallery in 1987. The blue turquoise façade is hard to miss among the boutiques of the cobbled streets winding in and out of Saint-Tropez’s centre. Similarly, Henrie Sie’s paintings are bursting with the colour and light of the Mediterranean and Provence. His vast collection is mainly based on the theme of Saint-Tropez and the surrounding area, showcasing landscapes, beauty spots and buildings. Apart from exhibiting his work at home in Saint-Tropez, Henri Sié’s paintings are also on show in Japan, the USA and Germany.
The Galerie dei Barri is perched up in the hills of Saint-Tropez in the village of Gassin on a delightful square overlooking the Mediterranean. Visitors have been climbing up to the gallery since 1969, not only to enjoy the beautiful panoramic views but also to get a taste of and perhaps buy some fine figurative artworks by established or emerging artists from across Europe and the USA. The gallery features the works of 15 artists ranging from ink drawings by Yvonne Cattier to watercolours by Jörn Konrad, acrylic paintings by Andrew Painter and steel sculptures by Dennis Thies. Galerie dei Barri welcomes its visitors from March to October.
Galerie Mason Noirez is the fruit of a partnership between a passionate artist Paul Richard Mason and a passionate art lover Alissia Noirez who have created a space for sharing their vision of contemporary art while offering customised interior design consultations, restoration of artworks and framing. Most of the works on show are by Paul Richard Mason himself, a self-taught American-born artist and sculptor. His works have travelled across Europe and the USA and are the product of his prolific imagination, ranging from acrylic on canvas or paper to sculptures in wood, stone or clay. Mason doesn’t mind observers watching him at work in his studio in the nearby Cogolin, where he uses different techniques, which include painting on the floor ‘to feel the earth’s energy’.
Before being drawn to Saint Tropez, Francis Chapus led a busy life as an architect traveling across Africa, Greece and Italy, all of which were to become a source of inspiration for his paintings that are now on show in his gallery situated in the heights of Grimaud, right at the foot of the castle. His work evokes the sacred work of the architect, zooming in on buildings and playing with volume. To meet the artist, you should visit the gallery during the summer months as each winter he heads to the artists’ quarter of Venice to resource his inspiration.
Small as it may be, the Musee de l’Annonciade is said to be one of the top museums for modern art in France. A former 16th century chapel of Our Lady of the Annunciation, Georges Grammont confided its transformation to the architect Louis Süe in 1950 and with a donation of 56 pieces from his private art collection, opened it up as a museum in 1955. This is where modern art lovers can enjoy some of the masterpieces of one of Saint-Tropez’s best-known artists Paul Signac, along with works by his friends Matisse, Derain, Cross, who visited him here during the early 20th century. Temporary exhibitions are mounted during the summer period, Christmas and Easter, and have witnessed some equally big names of the French school such as Rodin and Modigliani. The Musée de l’Annociade closes annually in November.
Sunshine Riviera Tour
Your private driver guide will pick you up at the Saint-Tropez cruise terminal at 9am. Begin your tour with a drive along the Gulf of Saint-Tropez towards Port Grimaud, known as the Provencal Venice. This village is classified for its architecture, which was the idea of François Spoerry who envisioned a town built in the manner of Venice with channels of water and traditional French fisherman's houses, each with a personal boat mooring space at the end of the garden. Port Grimaud today is a charming village with an extended development history encompassing attractive Provençal-style houses on a network of canals. The houses are designed to be unique, painted with soft pastel colors of ochre, pink and turquoise and feature shutters with wrought iron balconies with roofs of terracotta Roman tiles. Known as the 'Venice of Provence' and arranged into four little islands, the colorful houses are linked by bridges over the waterways and surrounded by gardens.
Your next stop is the town of Gassin, classified as one of France's most beautiful villages. The village has kept its old winding streets and ancient houses. It is a perfect place for lunch (not included in price) with the view overlooking the Gulf of Saint Tropez and the Maures ranges. From the top of the ramparts there is a magnificent view that extends from the Iles d'Or over the Maures Mountains - all the way to the snowy peaks of the Alps.
After lunch, if desired, you will visit a local winery where you will taste the rosé wine which is famous in Saint-Tropez. Provence produces most of the French Rosé wine, which is perfect to drink very cold while laying on the sunny beach.
Then head off the town of Ramatuelle, that covers the top of the hill. Have a stroll in its pleasant narrow streets which meander around the town in a circular pattern. Near the top is the place Gabriel Peri, formerly called ‘Castle Square’. The main historic sight in Ramatuelle is the church of Notre Dame, built in the 16th century against the protective ramparts. Its bell-tower doubled up as a look-out post. You will discover narrow shady streets, the stone buildings covered in bougainvillea and the stone gateways that once formed part of the town’s defenses. The town looks over the famous white sandy beaches of Pampelonne, heaven of the jet-set in the summer time.
At the end of the tour, your guide will drive you back to Saint-Tropez cruise terminal.
This is what a local council official had to say about shopping in St Tropez."St Tropez is a village with the services of a capital city," Never a truer word was spoken. St Tropez has a decent selection of the big-ticket brand-name boutiques you’d find in the posher districts of Paris or Rome or London. Where, in a small French village, you'd normally expect to find the butcher and the baker, in St Tropez you’ll bump into Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana, jammed into narrow streets, narrower shopping passages or the lovely Place de la Garonne. If you have a yen to max out the plastic you need to concentrate on the triangle between the Place des Lices, Rue Gambetta and Rue Allard. St Tropez offers a treasure trove of goods that are original, unique and that you are unlikely to find anywhere else.
Route Nationale, 83310 GRIMAUD
A family run business of traditional pottery. The 3 Terres Poterie has been in the family run since 1964. They make a wide range of hand decorated tiles, street and house signs, various different shaped lamps, tables, sculptures, crockery and garden pottery all in unique colours made by a subtle blend of enamel.
40 Rue Gambetta, 83990 St Tropez
Luxury clothing and accessories from Dior in St Tropez. Dior is located next to Les Jardins de l'Ambassade, in an 18th century building decorated in a traditional French style with contemporary elements. This boutique offers a collection of limited editions and a wide selection of luxury clothing and accessories. The men's boutique is situated across the street. The garden features a French restaurant named Dior des Lices which is open every day from 9am to 10pm and serves refined Provencal cuisine.
53 rue Portail Neuf 83990
A handmade customised jewellery boutique in central St Tropez. A delightful boutique where you can see the artist herself at work in her studio, creating individual and inspired pieces.
Place de l'Ormeau, 83990 St Tropez
La Vielle Mer is an antique boutique which offers a wide range of antiques, items for collections and decoration linked with the sea and its mysteries. You will travel through the era of pirates and old riggers in a truly maritime atmosphere; navigation instruments, port holes, lamps and other treasures.
28 Rue Henri Seillon, 83990 St Tropez
Famous worldwide hand-crafted sandals. Made in Saint-Tropez since 1933, by three generations, offering an elegant, good quality and timeless sandal.
Along with the new collections and its originals, K Jacques also gives you the opportunity to personalize a design according to your likes and desires.
36 rue des Remparts 83990
3D art work created with tiny paper boats illustrating Saint Tropez. Atelier Ivan Hor is an absolute treasure in the village of Saint Tropez. From beautiful paintings to elaborate 3D scenes, Ivan Hor's iconic pieces are made up from origami boats and miniature French model cars, to children's toys and lottery scratch cards with fun phrases and tongue-in-cheek captions, all presented with a touch of humour.
15 Quai Suffren, 83990 St Tropez
Utilising all the best natural materials creating a modern & elegant look, Gas Bijoux offers craftsmanship closer to that of precious jewelry than of costume jewelry. It is a family-run business that was founded in the early 60s so it has 40 year history of creating fine costume and unique handmade jewelry in a bohemian gypsy style.
11 Place aux Herbes, 83990 St Tropez
A wide range of tableware, lamps & many other unique pieces. Open from March to November, discover a wide array of leading brands in tableware, decorative arts and high-quality craft creation. Encounter exclusive products such as Biot style glasses with bright shades, Bugatti cutlery sets and small domestic appliances or colourful or pure craft crockery and tableware.
77 Rue Général Allard, 83990 St Tropez
A wide range of fantastic clothing for men. Superb fabrics and styling. They also stock shoes and accessories. If you’re looking for something a little different head to Boggi Milano.
Fly to La Mole which is the nearest airport to Saint-Tropez Airport. La Mole is located 15 km southwest of Saint-Tropez, in the Var department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. From there car hire can be arranged. An alternative is Toulon-Hyères which is 50 minutes away.
St Tropez is easily reached by car from any destination although in the high season bear in mind there is a lot of traffic and many delays could slow your progress. However, you might not mind so much as the scenery on route is terrific and you really notice the famed light quality. Having a car in St Tropez is also a good idea for those wanting to explore the area. There are some stunning villages and towns nearby to visit. Or perhaps cast your net a little wider and take in Cannes, Nice and many other seaside resorts along the Cote d’Azur.