A magnet for the rich and famous, Saint Tropez miraculously has managed to retain its small village atmosphere. Although multi-million dollar yachts flock in the harbour, the quays are lined up with achingly expensive restaurants and chic bars, you do not need to be super-rich to enjoy the glamour of Saint Tropez.
Take a walk along Quai Jean Jaurès and stop for a cocktail at Café Sénéquier if you want to rub your shoulders with international celebrities. Prepare to pay around $10 for a coffee but star spotting is free of charge. In the old part of town, you will find tiny grocery shops flanked by high-end boutiques which only adds to the town’s charm. At the central square, Place des Lices, you can watch old local men playing pétanque. Every Tuesday and Saturday a local market sprawls across the square where you can buy anything from seasonal fruit to antiques. If you do not feel like wondering around the crowded stalls, take a sit in the famous old Le Café, sip a coffee and watch the bustling crowd. Another authentic Saint Tropez experience is shopping for fish at the daily morning fish market on Place aux Herbes.
Climb up to the 17th-century citadel for the stunning vistas over the Mediterranean, surrounding hills and the town roofs. Inside the fortress houses a pleasant maritime History Museum. Another museum that is worth a look is Musée de l’Annonciade with some great works by Matisse, Utrillo, Seurat.
No visit to Saint Tropez would be complete without an apéritif at sunset. Check out the glitzy Le Quai (Quai Jean Jaures, 22) or, for less vertiginous prices, head to Pan Dei Palais Hotel (rue Gambetta, 52) to sip a cocktail at the pool bar.
To get away from Maseratis, Bentleys and billionaires’ helicopters put your walking shoes on and head to “Le Sentier du Littoral”, a well-maintained coastal track with breathtaking views that will bring you to less crowded beaches.
Photos via Flickr by: Frédérique Voisin-Demery, Chris Robinson, Jos Dielis