St-Tropez was a military stronghold and an peaceful fishing village until the beginning of the 20th century, and the first town on the Mediterranean coast to be liberated during World War II. After the war, it became an internationally-known seaside resort, renowned principally because of the influx of artists of the French New Wave in cinema.
Picturesque Saint-Tropez with its red-tiled roofs and church tower. A cruise ship sails across the bay. © Atout France/Michel Angot
Cruise ships passing luxury yachts in Saint-Tropez bay. © Atout France/Michel Angot
The change is probably down to Brigitte Bardot, who starred in Roger Vadim's film And God created Woman (Et Dieu Créa la Femme), which was shot here. The success of the film sealed St-Tropez's destiny, for good or bad.
Before the film, St-Trop, as the French like to call it (pronouncing the 'p'), was discovered by writers and artists in the early 1900s, and was visited by the author Colette in the 1920s. Today, in spite of the clamour, it has its attractions and some redeeming charm, not least the seemingly unlimited scope to sit at street cafés watching the world go by, quite a lot of which may well be rich and famous, well, rich anyway!
But be warned
St-Tropez has major traffic issues, and is best visited out of the main tourist season...and then explored on foot. The easiest approach, it has to be said, is by ferry from Port Grimaud across the bay.
Château de la Messarditre © Atout France/Cédric Helsly
The beaches are along the Baie de Pampelonne, south of Saint-Tropez and east of Ramatuelle. Pampelonne offers a collection of beaches along its 5km shore. Each beach is around 30m wide with its own beach hut and private or public tanning area. Many of the beaches offer windsurfing, sailing and canoeing equipment for rent, while others offer motorised water sports – power boats, jet bikes and water skiing, and scuba diving.
Some of the private beaches are naturist beaches.
In the event of St-Trop overload, head for the Musée de l'Annonciade, which contains an impressive collection of modern art, or you can take a stroll to the Citadelle de St Tropez for the views across the bay.
Quai Jean Jaurès, Saint Tropez
Tel: 0892 68 48 28
In the summer season there is a ferry service between St-Tropez and Nice, Sainte-Maxime, Cannes, Saint Raphael.
There is no airport in Saint-Tropez. The nearest airport is La Môle–Saint-Tropez Airport, 15km southwest of Saint-Tropez.
There is no rail station in Saint-Tropez. The nearest station is 'Saint-Raphaël-Valescure' located in Saint-Raphaël, which offers also a boat service to Saint-Tropez. There is also direct bus service to Saint-Tropez, and the rail station is connected with bus station.
There is a bus station in Saint-Tropez called the Gare routière de Saint-Tropez located in Place Blanqui.