Still the epitome of the French Riviera, age never dims St Tropez

Are you still looking for a top destination for your summer holidays? Forget style and prepare for some chic this summer. St. Tropez remains the luxury destination on the French Riviera: for sun and sand, for dancing and dining, for people watching, superb luxury villas and more, St Tropez retains the magic that made it a magnet to the original Riviera pioneers back in the 1950s. It’s astounding now to think that St Tropez, a place so synonymous with sunshine holiday that it’s given its name to one of the world’s top tanning products, was little more than an isolated fishing village until half way through the 20th century. It was a village with history – the citadel and old harbor remain charming sites to this day – but beyond a few far-sighted artists, few people bothered to detour to this part of the coast in the 20th century.

Saint Tropez
Saint Tropez

One woman changed that. Brigitte Bardot’s 1956 appearance in “Et Die Créa la Femme” convinced a lot of men that god had indeed created woman in Brigitte’s form, and they’d very much like to find out where she might be.

Brigitte Bardot, source the book THE SPIRIT OF ST.TROPEZ by Henry-Jean Servat
Brigitte Bardot, source the book THE SPIRIT OF ST.TROPEZ by Henry-Jean Servat

Unlike Bardot’s earlier films – she was already a considerable domestic star – this film went global, and with it a picture of St Tropez as a sexually liberated place where one could be free. In this, Brigitte’s character was well ahead of real life. When, in 1964, topless bathing suits were introduced the mayor of the town went as far as ordering a helicopter to keep an eye on the beach for rebellious nipples.

There are fewer restrictions today (though topless sun bathing is falling out of fashion) and St Tropez is still inextricably linked with glamour, star-power, and the freedom to have fun. Among the hedonistic legends who have enjoyed holidays in St Tropez are Mick Jagger, Grace Jones, Elton John, Jack Nicholson, and more.

Lifestyle, source the book THE SPIRIT OF ST.TROPEZ by Henry-Jean Servat
Lifestyle, source the book THE SPIRIT OF ST.TROPEZ by Henry-Jean Servat

The list goes on and on, though today’s stars – like Pamela Anderson with her pop-up vegan restaurant last year – are more clean living. But the likes of Uma Thurman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kimberley Garner, Brazilian football genius Neymar, Jennifer Lopez and many more Hollywood, pop, sports and financial stars are happy to party away on and off the waves. When it comes to historical reputation, there is no doubt that the Hotel Byblos and its own nightclub Les Caves Du Roy are the most glittering of the town’s nightspots. There is much more though. The Maison Blanche Champagne Bar serves limited edition vintages in an historic courtyard in Place des Lices. Ice Kube Bar is themed around frozen sculptures and attracts an ultra-cool international clientele, who are offered a branded parka on arrival to see they don’t get too cool. The VIP Room is a great place to dance, and Bar du Port manages the tricky double of laid-back café by day and sophisticated party bar by night.

The Kube ice bar
Ice Kube Bar

Of course, you can always combine your cocktails and canapes with the white sands that Bardot draped herself across back in 1956. St Tropez is one of the original homes of the sophisticated beach club.

Again, there is a lot of choice when you are staying in one of our villas–  If you’d like young, beautiful people and themed parties then perhaps Nikki Beach is the place for you. For a more family friendly experience, Le Tabou Beach Club has a great reputation. La Bouillabaisse Plage Saint-Tropez has one of the best menus on the seafront, specializing in fine sea food. The beaches are what brought Bardot and her artistic predecessors here, and they’re still wonderfully well-maintained – fit for the real-life kings, queens, princes and princesses who lie on them. Pampelonne Beach is perhaps the most famous, and deservedly so, it’s enormous. La Glaye is contrastingly tiny, but if you can find a place in the sun you’re in a beautiful setting by the old town. Tahiti Beach lives up to its tropical name runing to the north of Pampelonne. You’ll find the Tahiti Hotel’s beach club still going strong after more than 70 years.

A hard day of doing nothing much at all on the hot sands is a perfect aperitif for an evening of fine dining, and St Tropez is studded with a galaxy of restaurants, including many with Michelin stars, that cover every imaginable cuisine and ambience in the inimitable French style. Top of the tree is the three-star La Vague d’Or, right on the beach at Plage de Bouillabaisse, and in receipt of a glowing assessment from the world’s most famous gastronomic guide that praises chef, Arnaud Donckele for his ‘passionné par son art’, which needs no translation. Elsewhere L’Olivier, Le Belrose, La Voile, and La Palmeraie all have single stars, and many of the town’s restaurants, including the RIVEA at the Byblos, and Bardot’s reputed favorite, La Ponche, mix chic dining rooms, the very best service and perhaps the chance to share some time with a world-renowned star.

St Tropez is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year, but the summer is magical. The sky is bluer, the sea sparkles, the sand whiter and brighter, and the social scene shines just as strongly. You will never be short of things to do in St Tropez – dancing, beach party, art exhibition, fashion show – but among the highlights of this summer’s season are the Harley Davison Euro Festival 2018, from June 7th to 10th, when Simple Minds road in to the area for a full-function rock festival. Before then, world-class equestrianism ends the month of May with the Athina Onassis Horse Show in Ramatuelle. The season is bookmarked by the Voiles de St Tropez regatta in September.

Finest Holidays has a hand-picked selection of luxury villas and luxury hotels in St Tropez, some are not published. Just call us on +34-661718061 or send an Email: and let us start planning your perfect vacation.

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