Bonjour from St Tropez!
St Tropez has been on my dream travel list for years and I couldn’t wait to see it all. This charming coastal town is located in the southeastern part of France, in the French Riviera region. It is famous for its stunning beaches, luxurious lifestyle, and vibrant nightlife, making it a popular destination for both tourists and celebrities. St Tropez was even MORE than I expected it to be. We fell in love…and discovered that St Tropez was the perfect place to return to over and over again.
Here are our top highlights:
1. Beautiful Beaches and Iconic Beach Clubs
St Tropez is located on the Côte d’Azur (Blue Coast) and known for its gorgeous sandy beaches. Our favorite was Pampelonne Beach, which is the most famous (and longest) beach in St Tropez. It offers crystal-clear waters, a glamorous international atmosphere, and fabulous beach dining. However, the beach clubs on Pampelonne Beach really set St Tropez apart – and reveal the true St Tropez experience. These exclusive establishments have become synonymous with the town’s reputation as a playground for the rich and famous.
Each Beach Club boasts a unique charm, catering to every taste, from chic and trendy hotspots to serene oases. They spare no expense in providing top-notch facilities, offering luxurious loungers, plush sunbeds, and impeccable service to ensure a lavish sunbathing experience. The culinary offerings at the Beach Clubs are a true highlight, allowing us to indulge in a fabulous array of Mediterranean inspired dishes, fresh seafood, and creative cocktails. (I think the food was our favorite part!) Talented chefs use the best local ingredients to craft exquisite dishes catering to their discerning clientele. Also, these clubs come alive with lively parties featuring renowned DJs, creating an electric atmosphere that keeps the day’s excitement going into nighttime festivities.
We visited Nikki Beach Club, which is well-known for its youthful vibe and lively party atmosphere. The club was so fun, with boundless energy and live music. We could clearly see why the club remains wildly popular. St Tropez is a magnet for celebrities and the Beach Clubs are often their preferred spots to unwind and enjoy the Riviera.
Le Club 55
We also spent time at the iconic Le Club 55, a legendary beach club with a rich history dating back to 1955. Timeless with understated elegance, the club effortlessly exudes a sophisticated charm. It’s a haven for the rich and famous seeking a discreet escape. The food was incredible, and the onsite boutique offers fashionable beachwear.
Wandering further down Pampelonne Beach is the historic Moorea Beach Club, which is celebrating its 70th year. Moorea is a classic, albeit smaller club, known for its more personalized and private experiences. The settings are intimate which allows guests to enjoy a sense of exclusivity and luxury. In addition to the typical amenities, Moorea offers a wellness area with hairdressers and massages along with specialty shopping. It gives all day entertainment from coffee in the mornings, aperitifs in the afternoon, and dinner with dancing late at night.
Among the various beach clubs we visited, Bagatelle stood out as our absolute favorite. This upscale paradise, situated right on Pampelonne Beach, offered an exquisite blend of great food, impeccable service, and a chic ambiance. With private cabanas and VIP services available, we enjoyed the perfect mix of ritzy luxury and laid-back casualness. The atmosphere was energetic and infectious, with music adding to the charm throughout the day. However, as we lounged on the beach and the sun dipped into the horizon, we truly embraced the spectacular magic of St Tropez.
2. Old Town Charm
The heart of St Tropez, known as “La Ponche”, is its old town, featuring narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and charming squares. Place des Lices is the central square known for its vibrant market, fabulous restaurants, and traditional petanque games. Petanque is a fun game (similar to Bocce ball) that encourages social interaction. In France, it has become a cherished part of the country’s cultural heritage and it is not uncommon to see groups of people enjoying a game in public squares around the country. Old Town blurs into the marina – and both have amazing restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques.
3. Vieux Port (Old Port)/Marina
St Tropez is known for its picturesque harbor lined with luxury yachts and fishing boats. It was a wonderful spot for us to walk along the waterfront, enjoy a drink at the cafés, and to view the setting around us. The area exudes history, timeless elegance, and coastal charm with its centuries-old buildings, quaint fishing boats, and traditional architecture. Yachts and sailboats bob gently in the crystal-clear waters, creating a mesmerizing sight. We enjoyed browsing in some of the quaint boutiques and found it to be an incredible setting to watch the breathtaking sunsets of the Mediterranean Sea.
4. Lively Nightlife
St Tropez is renown for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars, clubs and beach parties that come alive after dark. We had reservations at Le Opera, located near the Marina. It’s a sophisticated and elegant venue which offered live music and a dinner party atmosphere. Professional entertainers put on a fun show with the waiters joining in during the evening. We also enjoyed the ambiance of NAO, perfectly situated under the trees of the Place des Lices in Old Town. It’s a Japanese-inspired Mediterranean experience with dynamic music, DJs and a great show. The food was also amazing.
Some venues in St Tropez have strict dress codes and entrance policies, so it’s wise to plan ahead and make reservations when possible. St Tropez offers an unforgettable nightlife scene that embodies the glamorous and vibrant spirit of the French Rivera.
5. Fresh and Flavorful Food
St Tropez’s food scene is a blend of Provençal cuisine and Mediterranean delights. With its location on the French Riviera, the area uses an abundance of fresh seafood, from succulent fish to briny oysters. Provençal flavors shine through in dishes enriched with olive oil, aromatic herbs, and seasonal vegetables. Dining in St Tropez offers a delightful journey of taste and texture, and our dining experiences were “over the top”. There was so much to sample – and all of it was absolutely incredible! (Our food favs will be highlighted in the next post!)
6. Luxury Shopping
There is a large variety of high-end boutiques and designer shops all over St Tropez. It’s certainly a shoppers paradise for fashion, art, and souvenirs. Many of the larger houses, like Dior, Vuitton, and Chanel, are found in stunning villas. Gucci, Fendi, and Armani are well represented, as well as many other European labels. A speciality item in St Tropez is the Tropezian Sandals made by Rondini. These are handmade in their workshop in the heart of St Tropez, crafted since 1927. Shopping in this luxurious environment was so fun – and I may have arrived home with a special purchase or two! 🙂
7. Yachting and Water Sports
The town’s coastal location provides plenty of opportunities for sailing, kayaking, and yachting to nearby islands. IF time and budget allow, we can highly recommend a boat day. Ours was fantastic! We went on a “small-ish” yacht that took us to Esterel Bay and Saint Maxime. A tender picked us up from the boat and took us to the beach in Saint Maxime. As a bonus, we found a cool little beach club restaurant right on the beach, called Bivouac. So fun! Taking a boat trip from St Tropez allows you to fully appreciate the captivating coastline and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea. It was such a relaxing day!
8. Mini Mokes
Transportation around the area of St Tropez can be challenging if you don’t have a car – and there is no rail service available. Finding Ubers or scheduling rides is nearly impossible during the summer months, especially from the Ramatuelle area. Car services are very popular with some hotels/Airbnb’s arranging these ahead of time for their guests. However, if you want the authentic St Tropez experience, the Mini Mokes are such a great way to travel. A Mini Moke car is a unique and iconic vehicle known for its compact size, open-air design, and beachy vibe. It became popular in the 1960s and 1970s as a beach buggy and leisure vehicle. Mini Mokes have minimalistic features, often lacking doors, windows, and a roof, making them perfect for sunny and warm destinations like St Tropez. These cars may not be comfortable for longer trips or rainy weather, but it’s ideal for short drives exploring the narrow streets and visiting nearby beaches. Renting a Mini Moke in St Tropez can add a touch of retro charm and adventure to your vacation – and they are SO fun!
St Tropez’s unique blend of luxury, natural beauty and location has made it a legendary destination on the French Rivera. We are enjoying our stay here as we experience the Mediterranean lifestyle firsthand.