St Tropez Overview
- Yacht-sprinkled bay
- Coast life
- Models and millionaires
Rock-star villas, luxury boutiques, Chanel bikinis... For a seaside fishing village, St Tropez has evolved admirably.
Under the hot sun, jet-setters pose on the promenade, basking in the enviable gleam of super-yachts and super-tans. Honeymooners, movie stars and millionaires mingle in slinky cocktail lounges, while the party crowd soak each other with champagne at Nikki Beach. But step back a little, away from the port and its A-list shenanigans, and a different Riviera light shines. Welcome to a more insouciant St Tropez, where pétanque balls clack in sandy, tree-lined squares, and senior citizens sup pastis in humble cafés. To be stylishly simple and flagrantly status-hungry takes confidence – and this town’s got it in spades.
Suitably St Tropez
If the streamlined vessels moored at the marina whet your appetite for the ocean wave, you can charter a yacht for the day and take to the Riviera seas with your own captain, from €500 a day, at L’Echo Nautique (+33 (0)4 94 97 73 66; www.echonautique.com). They can supply anything from a 10-metre yacht up to an Abramovich-proportioned monster with a helipad. For a more pocket-friendly option, hire a smaller-scale motor boat from Suncap (+33 (0)494 97 11 23; www.suncap.fr).
- You risk paying €25 to travel a distance that would take minutes on foot, so stick to walking or hotel shuttles.
- Tipping culture
- Service is always included in France. Round up cab fares to the nearest euro.
- Siesta and fiesta
- It can be 11pm before bars start to buzz. Most shops are open 9am–12pm, then 3pm–7pm. Banks ply their trade Tuesday to Friday, 8am–12pm and 1pm–5pm.
- Packing tips
- Deck shoes, nautical designerwear, and the glitziest jewellery, accessories and beachwear Mrs Smith can pile on.
- Recommended reads
- Out to Lunch in Provence by Mike Aalders; anything by Colette or Anaïs Nin, both cult 20th-century eroticists and St Tropez residents.
- Regional specialities
- The delicious and ubiquitous Tarte Tropézienne is a brioche-style cake filled with kirsch-laced cream and sprinkled with pearl sugar. The fresh catch includes sardines, red mullet, lobster and crevettes; fans of the loaded seafood platter are in the right place for a frequent fix.
- Time zone
- GMT +1.
- Dialling codes
- Country code for France: 33. Provence: (0)4.
- Do go/don't go
- The season in St Tropez follows the sailing calendar: May to September are the best months to go. Check your dates for diary clashes with regattas, when crowds and congestion may potentially mar your trip.
Don't go home without...
…visiting the yachtie hang-out Café de Paris on Le Port. Wander in for lunchtime noodles, salad and seafood, or book a table to see it liven up at night (+33 (0)4 94 97 00 65).