Saint Tropez is famous for its intense social life, frequented by VIPs and animated by party nights, thanks to the countless clubs and restaurants in the harbour.
But Saint-Tropez is also a beautiful town: its pastel colours range from pink to orange to bright red. The centre is framed by a romantic harbour, where boats sway placidly, and by sweet little squares where you can watch the locals play petanque (boules) in the shade of plane trees or browse the stalls of the lively markets.
However, there is no hiding the fact that, while once a small town with a timeless charm, Saint-Tropez today is home to yachts, luxury boats and a constant stream of wealthy people wearing designer clothes in search of a perennial catwalk.
Saint-Tropez thus possesses a double soul: on the one hand its worldly vocation, on the other a beautiful town with bright red tiled roofs, a bell tower and a charming old town.
The best way to discover the subtle charms of Saint-Tropez is to walk around it, letting yourself be guided by the charming alleyways of the centre.
The historical centre of Saint-Tropez is better known as La Ponche, a stone’s throw from the picturesque Vieux Port. Once a fishing village, today it is the most picturesque area of the city, with its narrow alleys and colourful cobbled streets teeming with small shops, luxury boutiques, cafés and restaurants.
Streets to be walked unhurriedly include Rue de la Citadelle leading to the centre of the old town, Rue du Portail-Neuf leading to the Church of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption, with its colourful bell tower, the most representative image of Saint-Tropez.
The Vieux Port is the heart of Saint-Tropez: once the landing place for fishermen, it is now the pier where fashionable yachts and luxury boats from all over Europe dock.
Around the quays you can admire the charming pastel-coloured houses and relax in the lively cafés with their outdoor terraces that come alive at aperitif time.
The best view of the old port can be found at the Môle Jean-Réveille, a promenade with an exceptional panorama that once inspired impressionist painters.
If you are looking for the most authentic Saint-Tropez, then you must come to this shady little square early in the morning, when the revellers are still asleep. In the old market square, you will find colourful stalls selling fresh produce, jams, olives, pâté, and everything you need for a zero-kilometre snack.
If, on the other hand, you want an exquisitely French breakfast, you will have to go to the nearby Café Senequier from where you can observe the bustle of people.
In the heart of the city, just a few steps from the Vieux Port, there is a pleasant shady square that retains the village atmosphere of yesteryear: in the cool of the plane trees, the elderly of Saint-Tropez gather in Place des Lices to play petanque, the ancient game of boules . On Tuesday and Saturday mornings, however, ladies go to the traditional Provençal market to do their shopping, amid colourful stalls full of fresh local fruit, vegetables and flowers.
If you like to browse, then don’t miss the nearby Halle aux Poissons, the fish market, which arrives freshly caught every morning.
If it is a very hot day, head to the hill overlooking the city and visit the fortified Citadel, dating back to the early 1600s. Its cool basement houses the Maritime History Museum, which traces the lives and stories of the fishermen of Saint-Tropez: skilful and daring navigators, over the centuries they went beyond the confines of the Mediterranean Sea, first reaching Africa in the 18th century and then reaching the furthest corners of the world such as Cape Horn and India.
The most interesting attraction of Saint-Tropez is its art museum, inside the Chapel Notre-Dame de l’Annonciade, near the port of Saint-Tropez.
Once the Church of the White Penitents, a medieval Catholic confraternity, today the museum boasts a remarkable panorama of Impressionist paintings. The large collection of artworks includes the likes of Paul Signac, Georges Braque, Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse, Edouard Vuillard, Raoul Dufy and Maurice de Vlaminck.
The town boasts some of the most beautiful beaches on the coastline that can be reached on foot or by car. In fact, although Saint-Tropez is famous for its private and exclusive establishments, such as Pampelonne Beach7
For example, Plage des Canoubiers8 is a large beach of fine sand, with free public showers and toilets, popular with the city’s inhabitants.
Wonderful Plage des Salins9: thanks to the shade of the pine trees and the crystal-clear waters, this beach is a must-see.
Plage de la Ponche10 and Plage de la Fontanette11 are located in the heart of the old town, in the district of La Ponche, on the banks where fishermen once moored their boats. Little frequented by tourists, these small beaches are quiet and solitary.
If you love nature and unspoilt shores, then you should go to Plage des Graniers12, near the citadel, with its wild and rugged atmosphere, devoid of amenities and services. Perfect for loners Plage de la Moutte13, a small sandy bay, accessible only by the scenic Treilles de la Moutte path. Please note: together with the neighbouring Plage de l'Escalet14, Plage de la Moutte is popular with nudists and naturalists.
The stretch of sea in front of Saint-Tropez is rich in underwater life and has therefore become a paradise for divers. You can find well-equipped diving centres at the Parking du Port at Nouveau Port, at the Kon Tiki campsite and at the Plage de Pampelonne they rent canoes, pedal boats and windsurf boards.
Fun boat trips can be made to the Baie des Cannebiers, also known as the Bay of Stars because of the many celebrities that can be glimpsed. Boats depart from both the old and the new harbour.
The stretch of coastline surrounding Saint-Tropez is enchanting: it can be an opportunity for some regenerating walks in the midst of nature, followed by a nice swim in the sea at some of the most beautiful beaches.
Sentier du littoral Saint-Tropez15, for example, is an ancient path, 20 km long, used by customs officers to monitor the coast between St. Tropez and Cavalaire. Between Cap Taillat and Cap Camarat, the maquis overhangs the turquoise water in a succession of beaches, coves and many historical relics.
Another route connects the port of St. Tropez with the Bay des Canebiers (2.8 km – 50 min). The route starts at the Tour de Portalet, reaches the cemetery and continues along the dirt road to Plage des Graniers.
On the other hand, the path from Baie des Canebiers16 to Plage des Salins is 6.2 km long and takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes: after Canebiers Bay, you will have to follow the dirt path de l’Estagnet. At Cape St. Pierre, the route leaves the coast and continues to La Moutte.
To admire three beautiful beaches, you can follow the path linking Plage des Salins17, Cap du Pinet18 and Plage de Tahiti19 for about 3.5 km, 1 hour’s walk. After plage des Salins, take the path to Pointe de Capon20 that continues along the cliff.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
Sleeping in Saint-Tropez is relatively easy and accessible during the months of September to May . But with the arrival of summer, the town fills up with tourists and finding accommodation becomes more difficult. Indeed, the high season causes hotel prices in Saint-Tropez to skyrocket. Flats and rented houses are also taken by storm.
The centre of Saint-Tropez is obviously the most pleasant place to stay, ideal for sightseeing and enjoying the shops, cafés or restaurants in a maze of colourful little streets. It is the perfect solution for those who want to immerse themselves in the city atmosphere, but is relatively inconvenient for those who are looking for the beach life. To reach the most beautiful beaches, which surround the village, one needs to take a car.
In the centre, one can find all kinds of accommodation, from luxurious hotels to microscopic flats, but they all agree on one thing: high prices, especially in the high season. To find tourist accommodation with good rates, you have to anticipate spring or postpone to autumn.
If you are looking for peace, tranquillity and more honest prices, you might decide to stay in the hamlets of Saint-Tropez, which cover almost 5 kilometres in its surroundings.
This choice is particularly suitable for those who wish to enjoy the sea and the numerous beaches surrounding the town. The most popular hamlets are:
What's the weather at Saint-Tropez? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Saint-Tropez for the next few days.
Saint-Tropez is located on the French Riviera, very close to the Italian border and the cities of Cannes and Nice.