Saint-Tropez: The place Brigitte Bardot made famous.
What is the first image that comes up in your head when we mention Saint-Tropez? Designer boutiques, celebrities tanning, or exclusive beach clubs? Saint-Tropez’s bonafide popularity started when Parisian stars like Brigitte Bardot, began spending their summers there. Since then, this upscale city has attracted socialites, artists, politicians, movie icons, pop stars…etc. But Saint-Tropez is first and foremost a little southern French town with a preserved traditional architecture. Like most southern seaside towns, it was a modest fishing village. But it has come a long way since then! Here is how to make the most of 48h in Saint-Trop!
HOW TO GET THERE
Getting to Saint-Tropez is no easy task! We suggest taking the car, as it is by far the easiest solution! If that’s not an option, then you will have to take the train followed by the bus. But Saint-Tropez does not have a train station, which gets complicated. From Nice, take the train until Saint-Raphael, then proceed to the bus station to take one of the two buses that lead to Saint-Tropez.
Fortunately, we present you with a third option: the ferry. What better way to see the French Riviera than to take a boat off the coast? Departing from Nice’s harbor, it is approximately a two-hour boat ride, and the sights are breathtaking!
If there is one thing to retain: you must earn your weekend in Saint-Tropez!
Morning: The Citadel
Surrounding the old part of town, the striking citadel is hard to miss. Constructed in 1602 by the king’s engineer to prevent the Spanish from attacking; the citadel had a defensive purpose. But, in 1873 the fortress lost its function when its walls could no longer withstand the power of cannonballs. Typical of 17th century fortifications, admire the distinctive marks that adorn the façades. Overlooking Saint-Tropez and its harbor, the views are incredible, so we strongly urge you to climb at the top. If you see peacocks wandering around, don’t call the zoo! They are part of the citadel. You know you are in Saint-Tropez when exotic peacocks freely roam the grounds! Proud of Saint-Tropez’s maritime past, a Maritime Museum was built inside the citadel, so consider visiting it!
Lunch: The Senequier
29 Quai Jean Jaurès, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France
Located on the harbor, the Senequier is one of the most famous cafés in Saint-Tropez! Thanks to movies, such as: “Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez” and “Et Dieu…créa la femme,” the café has gained an undeniable importance. Attracting an overall jet set clientele and passing tourists, the Senequier is a must-do as it is one of the oldest and proudest institutions in this town. Opened since 1887, many people have walked the inside of this café, including: Jacques Chirac, Francois Pinault, Karl Lagerfeld, Brigitte Bardot…etc. Enjoy its sunny terrace either for a drink, lunch or dinner! A la carte: salmon, wild sea wolf, truffle raviolis, and marinated lobster. The Senequier revolves around two core values that haven’t changed since its opening: quality and authenticity. It is also the perfect spot to enjoy the typical southern delicacy: la Tropezienne!
Afternoon: Wander around Le Cap Camarat
Cap Camarat is covered in idyllic beaches, scenic bays, and beautiful wildlife. If you wish to see Saint-Tropez in its entirety, set sail to Cap Camarat then climb to the top of its lighthouse built in 1828! More than 130 meters high, this lighthouse is the second highest in France. Admire the beautiful coastlines, the bay of Pampelonne, and various caps. For adventure-seekers, hiking or scuba diving should be on your agenda! Cap Camarat is known for its incredibly rich flora and fauna so keep your eye out for snakes, lizards, tortoises, and falcons! For beach lovers, you are in luck! A picturesque beach rests at the foot of the lighthouse. Leave the noise of Saint-Tropez behind for a day and enjoy the calmness and the sense of wellness you will experience in this worthwhile destination.
Drinks and Dinner: La Vague d’Or
Plage de la Bouillabaisse, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France
La Vague d’Or offers an orchestra of emotions, as you savor the dishes meticulously prepared by chef Arnaud Donckele. Voted as 2019’s best chef in the world, Chef Donckele pours his heart into each plate, mixing creativity and elegance. You have the choice between various set menus, each celebrating the history of Saint-Tropez. We can see the chef’s love and passion of food through his dishes. From cooked prawns seared in grapefruit to roasted filet mignon; every ingredient is fresh, local, and of the highest quality. Perfectly paired with a great wine, enjoy a three or seven course meal on the outdoor terrace bordered by pine trees in a typical southern ambiance. It is no wonder that La Vague d’Or is a three-starred Michelin restaurant!
Sleep: Cheval Blanc
Plage de la Bouillabaisse, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France
Even though this establishment is world-renowned and spending a night there costs more than a designer handbag, Le Cheval Blanc is a very low-key and intimate establishment, making it attractive to many. Le Cheval Blanc represents the ideal haven, and you would never guess that it is within walking distance from the center of Saint-Tropez. Framed by pine trees, with an unobstructed view on the ocean, Le Cheval Blanc is a southern paradise. After a full day of sightseeing, relax on the hotel’s scenic private beach (the only one on La Cote d’Azur.) Le Cheval Blanc offers many unique amenities to ensure an excellent stay, such as: a culinary program, Michelin-starred restaurant, Guerlain spa, custom made activities and trips around the French Riviera, and many more. Le Cheval Blanc is a quiet and intimate oasis in the middle of a dense – and sometimes – overwhelming town.
Morning: Sunbath on the Pampelonne beach
Think of the Pampelonne beach as the king of beaches! Located in Ramatuelle, this beach is covered in stunning white sand, tall dunes, and peacock blue water. The beach’s second claim to fame? Construction free, since a law has recently stated that commercial buildings will no longer be permitted on the beach. So regardless of how long you look for a bar, a café or a snack shop; you won’t find any on Pompelonne now that it’s famous for staying free of unnatural change. If you wish to spot some celebrities and socialites, this is the best place to do it. Enjoy some of the most famous beach clubs of the South, such as: Club 55, Le Jumeaux, Aqua Club, and numerous more; as they will be demolished in the coming years. Jet skiing, winsurfing, and other water sports are on the program for the most courageous. The beach is divided into two main parts: one suited for families, and the other is a nudist zone. There is always something for everyone is Saint-Tropez!
Lunch: Club 55
43 Bd Patch, 83350 Ramatuelle, France
For a quick lunch in a relaxed atmosphere, head to Club 55 on the Pampelonne beach! The staff is friendly, and makes you feel instantly at ease, as per the establishment’s philosophy: “The customer is not king here…because he is a friend.” Club 55 has gained a lot of popularity thanks to the movie “Et Dieu…créa la femme,” where many scenes were shot in this restaurant. Backdrop for many A-list parties, the rich and famous have all been there, as well as tourists passing through. Since its opening in 1955, Club 55 has been the place to be. For lunch, the Mediterranean dishes are simple and light, perfect for a sunny afternoon on the beach. Despite attracting the jet set world, Club 55 remains a down-to-earth hotspot, welcoming everyone – as they say – like a friend.
Afternoon: Le Musée de l’Annonciade
2 Place Georges Grammont, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France
Saint-Tropez can get very crowded and hot during the summer, so why not stay inside visiting Le Musée de l’Annonciade? This 16th century chapel converted into a museum is a must if you are an art lover. Built in 1922, this was home to multiple works of art from every great French artist, such as: Matisse, Marquet…etc. Numerous paintings depict Saint-Tropez, its coastline; and the overall uniformity of the gallery is very soothing. The art works displayed range from the 1890s to the 1950s dispersed throughout 56 rooms. The Annonciade museum is part of the town’s history as it retraces Saint-Tropez’s important role in 20th century art.
Dinner, Drinks, and Sleep: Le Byblos Saint-Tropez
20 Av. Paul Signac, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France
Le Byblos in Saint-Tropez combines a beautiful and pastel-colored hotel, as well as a gastronomic restaurant. Two for the price of one (figuratively speaking… because it is quite expensive.) The hotel, or should I say five-star palace, is located at the center of Saint-Tropez, but hidden away. With its pastel-colored façade, and the pink cottages; Le Byblos resembles a southern little French town all on its own. The hotel offers 50 suits, and 40 bedrooms, all rocked in a typical Byzantine style. Secret, but selective, Le Byblos is home to the spiciest club in Saint-Tropez – Les Caves du Roy, a luxurious spa, and many restaurants, including: Cucina Byblos. Speaking of restaurant, Cucina Byblos may not be gastronomical, but it is enchanting. Under the supervision of the famous French chef – Alain Ducasse – Cucina Byblos has thrived and attracts its customers through the restaurant’s alluring Mediterranean atmosphere. On the menu: authentic and generous Italian dishes. Even though the restaurant is in the hotel, it is not pretentious but rather cozy and serene. Recommended by locals in Saint-Tropez, enjoy the low-key ambiance of Cucina Byblos while savoring exceptional Italian cuisine!
Eve spent three days in Saint-Tropez.