Like so many of the modern resort towns St Tropez began as a fishing village when the Greeks were in control of this area. The Saracens destroyed the village in 739 and in the late middle ages it was fortified. It is on a peninsula, best reached in earlier times by boat even as late as the 1880’s when there was still no real road. You need a long purse, and preferably a boat of your own to come here in high summer. Failing that there is plenty to offer at other times – spring and autumn are recommended.
The old port is where you will see the daily fashion parade from an agreeable café – there may well also be jugglers, fire eaters and other entertainers.
At the other side of town is the Place des Lices – much more typical perhaps of southern French life with its plane trees, now fewer than they were, and the click of boules in their shade, and this continues into the dusk. In between the two you can shop, or just window shop, to your heart’s content for fashion, objets d’art and even flashy bling which everyone needs from time to time. The shops stay open very late, well after dinner. For more practical shopping there are out of town superstores along the 5km of road from La Foux.
The town has long attracted those of an artistic temperament such as Matisse, Dufy, Bonnard and later film makers such as Roger Vadim. Nowadays you can perhaps spot modern celebrities such as the Beckhams and Robbie Williams on visits. George Michael has property in the area and so does Jean-Paul Belmonde.
Activities here during the day tend to concentrate on soaking up the sun and of course enjoying all the sea has to offer from boat trips to surfing, or even just a paddle. Being such a favourite place with celebrities means plenty of golf courses in the vicinity. Having long been known as a place for artists there are lots of local scenes depicted, some of which can be seen at the Musée de l’Annonciade which is in fact a deconsecrated late medieval chapel. A quiet place to enjoy views of all seasons. It is especially good with works from the late 19th century into the 1940’s. There are nightclubs galore. I won’t recommend one as it depends so much on your individual taste in music, but la Bodega du Papagoya has theme nights so look out for your favourite style there.
Food and Drink
Whatever your budget there are restaurants to suit you – from tiny bars to huge affairs. If wish to cook your own there is a fish market open daily almost all year as well as other food markets – the main ones on Place de Lices on Tuesdays and Saturday. This is also the place to find Le Café – so famous it needs no other name. Try stuffed vegetables a nd of course the sea food. This is a place for the gourmet, though its web site advertises it first of all as a place to pay boules. Be warned that a large tip is expected over and above any service charge, but at least you get a chance to try the fish soup and the famous leg of lamb in a wonderful ambience – it gets very crowded on market days, so do book or arrive very early. Close by is La Tarte Tropezienne where you can buy pastries to die for.
- Le Baron, 23 Rue de L’Aioli, St Tropez, Tel no: 94 97 06 57,22€
- L’Echalotte, 35 Rue Allard, St Tropez, Tel no: 94 54 83 26,30€
For those who can afford it this is a great place to invest in a property. There is always a movement in and out which means that new properties of all types come on the market frequently and of course if you go a few kilometers further inland your choice is increased. This life style isn’t for everyone, but for those who do enjoy hedonism, or would like to, then St Tropez has lots to offer. Consult Sextant properties and they will be able to put you in touch with a local bi-lingual agent who can tell you what is available as well as course as accompanying you on any viewing visits. They will be able to answer all your questions and take you one step nearer that dream property.