Have you ever watched or heard of the film production “ And God Created Women“? Most people my age haven’t and its normal, it is a French Drama from the 1950s. What is special about it ,is that the movie with Bridgette Bardot popularized Saint Tropez as a holiday destination which gathers together the wealthy elite and celebrities on its sandy beaches and partying locations.
Living on the French Riviera has given me the chance to visit the petite town quite a few times and to pinpoint some places as favorite.
I would love to share with you guys my experience and to give an inside to those of you who havn’t been there yet where you can go in Saint Tropez to experience it all.
Pampelonne beaches are the most popular ones, which attract fame since 1955 until today. Along this line of sandy beaches (which is 5km away from Saint Tropez in Ramatuelle) are located several beach clubs in a walking distance from each other, which in the early afternoon turn into full on party places where champagne is sprayed like water. Nikki Beach, Bagatelle Beach, Les Palmers and the most traditional from the times of Vadim’s movie – Le Club 55, are all there fully booked at all times, especially in the summer months of July and August.
I would like to mention also that these beaches are pricey, it can cost up to 100 Euros for a single sun bed (cheaper in June). On Nikki Beach a double bed around the pool where the party is hitting the hardest has a minimum bottle spend. However, there is also a cool bar for those who don’t want spend the whole day there and can just go for a cocktail, so it is not necessary to take beds if you want to go and have a little dance.
I personally prefer Bagatelle Beach, because it is next to the sea and you have the beach area with single beds where you can relax and have a chilled day, but also towards the restaurant area after lunch there is a party around the tables. So you have a choice, whereas on Nikki Beach, the party is everywhere.
Shopping in Style
Thinking of Saint Tropez as a traditional French village, you wouldn’t expect to find what you will – a hub for the luxury brands whose stores take considerable space in these tiny, narrow streets. Brands, such as Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Chanel have located their boutiques in the so –called Maisons, conventional Tropezian houses branded with their names. The concept behind some of the stores includes branded cafes/lounges with “jardin exotique”, which I believe creates a strong relationship between the customers and the brands itself. Saint Tropez’s luxury maisons offer the perfect way to present the new emerging trend in the luxury sector – experience driven shopping. A personal favorite of mine for afternoon cappuccino is Dior Café as it has a dazzling ancient style garden, which is in front of the flagship store of Dior. A few feet away is also Roberto Cavalli Café, which is also not a bad place for a coffee break. Considering this type of shopping is your thing I would recommend going to Place des Lices or Rue Allard.
Likewise, one of the reasons I love St-Tropez is because is not just glamour, yachts and expensive boutiques, it has managed to preserve its traditional side, which is expressed in the form of an art market at the harbor, where you can purchase paintings from local artists that could be the perfect gift for your loved ones and family on your return. There is also a weekly market, which offers everything from local food products, craftwork and vintage clothing traditional for the French Riviera.
And not to forget, for those of you who forgot your swimwear baskets of Kiwi beachwear and Vilebrequin stores are present at every corner of the town.
There is one place I am absolutely biased about and this is L’Opera. It is located right at the end of the harbor where the terrace overlooks the yachts. L’Opera is a lounge styled restaurant where you can have a delicious lunch in the daytime converts into Saint Tropez’s nightlife hub in the evenings with a cabaret show and fire performers, where the guests party in an atmosphere of the surround art designs. I recommend to those who visit the town if you have the chance to go to this unique place. Booking a table for the evening is strongly advised.
The second place I am a big fan of is Le Quai; it is located at the port area facing the beautiful boats. The concept is very similar to the one at L’Opera, the interior décor contains art photography work by Phillipe Shangti, which is provocative and chic. The lounge has an amazing selection of musicians and DJs, who entertain the guests. I went there a few years ago for my pre-birthday drinks; the place is perfect for dining and an aperitif.
For me the best time of the day is after 7pm when the sun goes down and the port area gets filled with beautifully tanned people, wearing light summery colors of casual chic apparel who go for a walk and aperitif in along the quai and L’Opera, and Le Quai represent the Tropezian life all along.
So later on when the party starts…