The Summer Guide: St. Tropez
The second chapter to our European guide lands us in St. Tropez, where the sun shines brighter, the sea is bluer and the rose is lighter. If your perfect holiday includes days spent on the beach interrupted only by shopping and fine French food, St. Tropez is the one for you. Read our full Summer 2017 Guide below:
The well-known Pampelonne beach is St. Tropez's crown jewel of beaches. Nearly five kilometres of fine, white sand merged with the backdrop of sparkling turquoise sea magnifies the natural beauty of one of the world’s most stunning locations. The beach is split between public areas, where you can lay down your towel and belongings, to a range of beach clubs where you can hire sun loungers, parasols and dine with some extravagance. Le Club 55, perhaps the most exclusive of the beach clubs, is a main attraction to visitors over the months of summer. Previously hosting clientele such as, Kate Moss, Sir Elton John and Paris Hilton, amplifies the class associated with the Bohemian-style beach club. 55 adopted its name after the 1955 movie starring Brigitte Bardot, ‘And God Created Women’, showed the world how truly stunning St. Tropez was. True to Bardot’s film, it has never lost its appeal among the fash pack. To have any chance of a summer table, book ahead and be prepared to pay extraordinary amounts of money for some pretty humble catering.
The Place des Lices, in the heart of St. Tropez, is a delightful place to hold an open-air market. Every Tuesday and Saturday from 8:00 am- 1:00 pm exactly that happens. Over the two days just about everyone in St. Tropez goes, locals and tourists alike stock up on everything from hand-made T-shirts to local olive oil and soaps scented with lavender grown nearby. Prices are very reasonable here, a rarity in this glamorous village.
If the open market is not your style, do not panic. With its fair share of big names, boutiques and designer brands St Tropez has everything you could possibly desire. From the bikini, bathing suits and trunks of local brand KIWI, to the family shoe business of Rondini, you will be kitted out from head to toe for any occasion the glamorous St. Tropez may bring. The Tropezien Sandal is famed for its elegant simplicity - the Rondini family have been making these chic sandals in St Tropez since 1927. To truly experience the best that this town has to offer then this shop must not be missed. For designer brands stick to the areas around Rue Gambetta and Rue Allard and of course Place des Lices but make sure to avoid on market days as it’s very busy from the early hour.
There are many scrumptious restaurants in the town of St. Tropez but none finer than triple Michelin star restaurant, La Vague d’Or. Opened in 1954, the restaurant resides in the stunning hotel of Residence de la Pinede. The hotel is only open from April until October and has a private beach as well as being a ten minute walk away from St. Tropez Town. Expect impeccable service, pristine decor and artistic plates of food, Head Chef Arnaud Donckele uses 100% local produce as the principle attraction to his restaurant. His set menus start at around €230 and go up to around €350 without wine. The full menu can be viewed here.
A slight alternative to fine dining, part of Christophe Leroy’s eating empire, La Table moved house in spring 2011 – but hasn’t changed its style. The restaurant stays true to its traditions; a deep red wooden front with two-storeys inside complete with its dimly lit contemporary style. La Table is not only a restaurant but a tea-room, a patisserie and a deli, serving simple southern cooking. Look out for scrambled eggs with sea urchins, Moroccan-style lamb with lemon or spit-roasted chicken. They also serve daily specials at €26 a throw. On Tuesdays, it's duck shepherd's pie with foie gras (of course).
If you’ve gone slightly over on the shopping budget, worry no more. Le Sporting is a standard café-brasserie; no frills, tight-packed with locals in for a beer and kids running about just like in any other French town. They are characterised by the scrape of metal chair legs on tiled floors, and the sense that community life that flows through.
Moving onto one of the most famous hotels in one of the most famous locations; Hotel Byblos. Plotted in the centre of St. Tropez, Byblos unravels down slopes into the heart of the French village. None of the 50 rooms or 41 suits are alike. Although, a common theme amongst them all is that the rooms are for relaxing: space is ample, even in standard rooms. Colours are soft but not neutral; splashes of magnolia, light blue and red offsetting whites and greys.
At the top of village, in the lee of the Citadel, sits the affordable Hotel B Lodge. Although it’s hard to find value in St. Tropez, Freedom may just have done so. From €82 per night you can expect pleasant terraces, contemporary rooms, historical charm and a personal service. Only offering 12 rooms and a large suite, it is the perfect hotel for a romantic getaway with your other half.