While Saint-Tropez may be, at its heart, a fishing village, it’s been known for its glitzy reputation since Brigitte Bardot put it on the map in the 1950s. It was trending upward before that, too, as it became a centre for art lovers to flock to following World War II. Today, it’s a hot spot for the global elite, brimming with the best of everything: dining, shopping, nightlife and more, all while being close enough to visit the rest of the stunning French Riviera.
Everyday life in Saint-Tropez means meandering through the Place des Lices, partying on Pampelonne Beach and shopping in designer boutiques. But that just scratches the surface of life here. Many of the world’s top luxury experiences can be found in this glamorous location on the French Riviera.
Whether you want to take a helicopter ride to Nice for the afternoon, go jet-skiing on the Med or request what your chef prepares for dinner aboard your chartered yacht, there’s practically nothing you can’t find in St Tropez.
What Is Saint-Tropez Famous For?
How does a humble fishing village and military stronghold turn into a dazzling and affluent area that attracts jet-setters and other elites?
Post-WWII, Saint-Tropez began rising in popularity when artists from the French New Wave film movement and the Yé-yé music style flocked there. Then, in the 1950s and 1960s, celebrities like Alain Delon and Brigitte Bardot were spotted holidaying there, which launched the tradition of A-listers spending their free time on Saint-Tropez’s beaches and staying in its upscale hotels.
It continues to be a popular tourist destination, especially during the summertime. However, while many businesses shut down for a few months during the winter, the Mediterranean climate remains enjoyable year-round. That makes Saint-Tropez and other locales on the French Riviera tempting for buyers who are looking for a second home to visit on holiday and possibly rent out the rest of the time.
Where Is Saint-Tropez?
Saint-Tropez is located on the French Riviera in Southern France, in the Var department of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region. It’s 100km east of Marseille and 68km west of Nice. With many of the French Riviera towns in close proximity to one another, there are many ways to travel from one to the other to experience new sights or meet up with friends.
One of the fanciest destinations along the Mediterranean, Saint-Tropez’s stretch of coast plays host to superyachts, especially during the summer months. Plus, the area’s old town, called La Ponche, has retained its charm from when it was a simple fishing village up until the start of the 20th century.
How To Get to Saint-Tropez
Many travelers find that the easiest way to get to Saint-Tropez is by plane. You can fly into either the Nice Cote d’Azur Airport or the Marseille Provence Airport, then take an airport transfer or hire a car to get to St Tropez. There’s also the Aéroport du Golfe de Saint Tropez in La Mole for helicopter and private jet arrivals.
Another option is to fly into Nice and then take the 2.5-hour boat ride to Saint-Tropez. This is a nice way to approach the town and appreciate the rest of the coast along the way.
There are also bus and train routes to Saint-Tropez, and if you have a car, you can drive there. However, with so much traffic during the summer months due to tourism, you may opt to forgo the car and get to and around Saint-Tropez using other methods.
Luxury Things To Do in St Tropez
There are so many luxurious pastimes available in Saint-Tropez that it’s hard to focus on just one. Whether you’re traveling there for a few days or you’re hoping to move there full-time, it won’t be difficult to spend your time indulging in the best life has to offer.
Take a Ride in a Helicopter
One of the best ways to get around the French Riviera — and to see Saint-Tropez from a different vantage point — is by taking a helicopter ride. Helicopter tours can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, during which you’ll get a breathtaking view few people will ever experience. There are panoramic flights if you simply want to enjoy your surroundings, and there are also destination-based flights if you’d like to travel to a nearby French Riviera town by helicopter.
Also, keep this in mind if you’re looking for property to buy in Saint-Tropez: Homes with a helipad are in demand because travel by helicopter is such a popular option on the French Riviera.
Charter a Private Yacht
Chartering a yacht gives you the ultimate freedom to explore the coast around Saint-Tropez in a unique, extravagant way. Your onboard chef will prepare you and your guests delectable meals to your requirements, and the staff will be at the ready to prepare your favorite cocktails. Whether you’re hosting an event or planning an intimate voyage for a select group of people, there are several charter companies that can recommend the right yacht for your needs.
Top Up Your Tan
There are all sorts of beaches in Saint-Tropez, ensuring you’ll find exactly what you’re after for the morning, afternoon or evening. Some beaches are busy and popular, while others are on the calm side. Many are perfect for peaceful sunbathing, while others are hopping with partygoers at all hours. Despite where you head, you’ll be treated to that gorgeous weather the Mediterranean is known for — warm days and tons of sun.
Pampelonne is Saint-Tropez’s most well-known beach, a famous area where stars tend to spend their time (when they don’t mind being seen, that is). There are beach clubs here where you can rent a lounger, order a cocktail and a gourmet lunch, and then get a massage right on the sand.
This is also where the legendary Club 55 is, a casual eatery where practically everyone in Saint-Tropez goes at one time or another. Nikki Beach is on Pampellone Beach as well, boasting a bar, restaurant, pool and Champagne parties.
Want to try something different? There’s also Plage des Salins for water sports, Plage de Tahiti for some of the area’s oldest (and ritziest) clubs, and Plage de la Bouillabaisse for can’t-miss views of the Massif des Maures.
Treat Yourself to a Spa Treatment
Saint-Tropez is home to many spas and wellness centres, many of which can be found in the area’s luxury hotels. You can book all sorts of beauty and relaxation services, like a face or body treatment, a massage, or a hair appointment. As you relax before or after your treatment, you can look out over the Med as you recline in a plush robe while sipping sparkling wine.
Many local spas also have fitness and diet programs, indoor and outdoor pools, hammams, saunas, and fitness classes like pilates and yoga. However, for the utmost privacy, you may want to book a massage therapist to come to your hotel room or vacation villa for a spa treatment at home.
Go on a Designer Shopping Spree
It’s no wonder why Saint-Tropez is the premier shopping destination on the French Riviera: its streets are lined with jewelry shops and designer boutiques. Visit high-end, popular brands as well as posh local sellers to shop for clothing, perfume, chocolate, cigars, furniture, antiques and more. Don’t leave without a new pair of Rondini sandals, a staple of the area.
For top-of-the-line shops, head to Rue François Sibilli, where you’ll find Armani, Gucci, Fendi, Prada, Rolex, Valentino and more. When you’re in the mood to peruse handcrafted items, the Places des Lices market is where you want to go. And for fashionable swimwear and beach accessories, shop on Rue Gambetta.
Dine Like a Gourmet
Saint-Tropez has a host of dining experiences, from adorable eateries in old town to casual harbor-side bars and Michelin-starred restaurants that are worth the trip alone.
Sénéquier, one of the oldest establishments around, dating back to the 1880s, specialises in light fare, cocktails and ice cream, and it’s known for its terrace that overlooks the port — and its signature red awnings. Also visit the family-owned La Ponche restaurant, which has been serving Provencal dishes since the mid-1930s. The cozy setting is decorated with antiques that add to its welcoming feel.
For fresh seafood, you’ll want a table at Le Girelier, which is set right on the beach and is a favorite amongst locals. Then there’s the Michelin-starred La Vague d’Or in La Résidence de la Pinède, with a Mediterranean-inspired menu full of inventive dishes.
Book a Wine Tasting
Considering Provence has a beautiful and active wine region, it would be a shame to miss visiting the vineyards in and around Saint-Tropez. You can have as laidback or intense an experience as you’d like, whether that means simply tasting the area’s rosés with friends or booking a guided tour. And if you want to pop into a winery without making a reservation, it’s definitely possible that you’ll be greeted with accommodating staff members and generous pours.
Wander Around Old Town
Saint-Tropez’s old town is the perfect blend of old-world charm and modern luxury. Cobbled lanes and pastel buildings add to the alluring atmosphere, and some mornings, you’ll find a market where you can buy cheese, herbs, olives, fresh-caught seafood and other delicious ingredients to take home with you. When you’re not shopping, old town is the perfect place for people-watching, made even better when sipping a crisp drink on a cafe terrace.
Stay at the Pan Deï Palais
The Pan Dei Palais is one of Saint-Tropez’s most exclusive hotels, located in the heart of town, just off the Place des Lices. You’ll undoubtedly have a refined, relaxing stay at this Indian-themed palace retreat. It has a romantic backstory, too: The hotel was built in 1835 by a French general, Jean-Francois Allard, who wished to show his love for Bannu Pan Dei, a Punjabi princess.
Today, guests appreciate the serene design of the hotel, which creatively uses space and light to create stylish, inspiring surroundings. If possible, reserve the Shanti Suite on the top floor, and be sure to watch the sunset from your private terrace with a glass of wine in hand.
This gem of a town can be so intoxicating that you may be tempted to stay permanently. With more to do, see, eat, sip and buy than you could fit into a single trip, you’ll be enticed to extend your time here or even start the search for your own apartment or house with sea views.
HOMEHUNTS property agents are able to select beautiful, luxury Saint-Tropez property based on your specific search criteria. Search our site and browse our selection of luxury homes. You can also speak directly to one of our consultants by calling +33 (0)970 44 66 43.