BeachNuts Beach Guide for:
Beaches of St Tropez
Europe's Hollywood - The people of St. Tropez have a deep devotion to the sun and the sand. What was once a small fishing village has since turned into a playground for sun and fun-worshipers. The self-proclaimed "jewel of the Riviera" is often surrounded by yachts, and hosts several regattas throughout the year. A series of golf tournaments and the always beautiful beaches make St. Tropez an ideal getaway.
In St. Tropez you will find long stretches of sandy beach, as well as St-Tropez's sparkling waterfront and many unique shops, cafés, and restaurants. The narrow streets are a maze of pastel-coloured buildings sprinkled with shuttered windows. As you'd expect all the designer shops are here, but so are places where you can buy a fresh baguette or the local tarte Tropezienne, a wonderful sponge cake full of custard cream. The Tuesday and Saturday market at Place des Lices is one of the best in France.
Lying on the Mediterranean coast between Hyères and Sainte Maxime St. Tropez is an international tourist mecca; its mythical name has played a large part in the renown of the whole Côte d' Azur.
The harbour in August is full of expensive yachts. Every inch of quay side is crowded with artists trying to attract the attention of the holiday hordes. This hustle and bustle creates enormous energy and is part of the attraction.
Whether you just wish to mingle around the harbour or go to the beaches on the other side of the headland and let it all hang out, few people will fail to enjoy a day in St Tropez.
Our advice, stay away during summer months when tourists and residents clog the single road which serves the cape and small cruise ships, carrying mostly Americans, dock in the Gulf of St Tropez.
In fact, the city attracts so many people, cars, and money that helicopter is the preferred mode of travel. St Tropez is less a town than a knobby peninsula. Most think of the beach and town as St Tropez, but it is actually an expanse of slightly hilly land that juts into the Mediterranean sea.
The Beaches of St. Tropez
Pampelonne-Ramatuelle Beaches -
There is no beach at St. Tropez. The best beaches in St Tropez are located away from the town center. The beach, called Pampelonne, is 20 minutes to the south down a poorly marked road that winds through canebreaks and vineyards.
The most serious collection of beaches are along the Baie de Pampelonne, south of St Tropez and east of Ramatuelle, a long goldensweep with concessions, restaurants and clubs.
The Pampelonne beaches at St-Tropez are diverse -- some are smaller and quiet, some are good for people-watching, some have excellent cafés.
You'll need to drive out the D93 road for about 6 km, then turn off to the left on one of the beach access roads.
Thre are many private and public beaches that go all around the coast here.
People come from St. Tropez on their boats, or from Cannes, and dock offshore and spend the day here.
The standard St. Tropez beach club offers chaise lounges for rent on the sand, as well as a bar, restaurant, and even boutiques selling tiny bikinis and beach wraps for hundreds of dollars.
Pampelonne is 3 miles of soft, golden sand partitioned into 31 private and public social areas that fall into three categories:
Nouveau riche beaches - where jewelry and a minute triangle suffice for a bathing suit
Windsurfing and camping beaches - populated mostly by Germans with a penchant for nude sunbathing, and
Distinguished beaches - where people lunch rather than a swim.
The most famous beach is Tahiti-Beach -
Tahiti is a long established showbiz favourite and is where Brigitte Bardot came to film And God Created Woman, and in the process put St Tropez on the map.
Tahiti is France's most infamous beach, mainly because of all the topless or bottomless action going on. Ever since the days of Brigitte Bardot, this beach has been a favorite of movie stars. It's very cruisy, very animated, with a French nonchalance about nudity. If you bother to wear a bikini, it should be only the most daring.
Moving South from Tahiti you will reach Moorea Beach. This is where the glitter crowd exposes itself. At the entrance, a duckboard walk links the few shops, and a restaurant. On the sand, bronze bodies on brightly stripped red and white cushions lie within a discreet arm’s length of each other.
Off shore, yachts and and speed boats ride at anchor. Whenever someone wants to come ashore, they blast their boat horn to the summon the beach’s boat taxi.
Moorea’s beach neighbor is La Voile Rouge (The Red Sail) is infamous for its beautiful women and well-defined men. The restaurant La Voile Rouge, one of some 30 similar establishments on the spectacular three-mile sweep of Pampelonne beach, has been a St Tropez fixture since 1968. The volume of its music, the extravagance of its cash-only pricelist, the clattering of the helicopters chartered by customers too impatient to make the short trip from town all have helped forge the St Trop image.
The middle section of Pampelonne beach is home to cavorting nudes, mostly with Northern European accents. The beaches in the middle are are not as well swept of sea weed as the upscale beaches. Nor do they offer good restaurants or cool drinks served at your deck chair. But they are cheaper to hang out on.
Towards the southern end of Pampelonne, is the restaurant Le Club 55. The restaurant is set back in foliage, nearly out of sight of the water. No one swims at Le Club 55. They brunch. The restaurant, styled like a small Moorish house with tables in the interior courtyard, is pleasant. The food is good, but pricey. The film crew of God Created Woman truly created Le Club 55. It's a café which grew out of a beach cottage whose owner was asked to provide meals and seized the opportunity to start what is now the elegant Club 55. Here the rich and occasionally famous arrive by yacht and exotic cars, rent a mat to lie in the sun, then enjoy languid lunches.
The L’Aqau Club is the last stop on the beach. It’s a favorite restaurant / beach for gays, and by far the liveliest spot on Pampelonne. It’s the only beach restaurant open year-around and has a broad selection of loyal local clientele. There is always something going on at L’Aqua, like a fashion show or an impromptu revue.
Further south, at the cap Taillat is a well-known beach to the initiated Tropezians: la plage de la Bastide-Blanche. Make an effort to find it at the end of a bad road and you will be rewarded.
For some all of this glammer, glitz and commercialization has its downside. Beautiful the beach certainly is. Or at least it would be, were it not packed with half-naked, greased bodies sipping £25 cocktails on cushioned sun-loungers in front of the Tahiti, the Blue Lagoon, La Voile Rouge and the rest.
Some Beaches Closer to Town
A few beaches are located nearby to the west of the town, within reasonable walking distance.
Plage des Graniers
The nearest one and mainly visited by St. Tropezians. The beach gets very crowded. Located East of town in a little cove past the cemetery. It's a long walk or a short drive away.
Further east, on the route des Salins, is the Plage des Cannebiers. This beach has creeks and crowds too. Located just below the Citadel. Baie des Canebiers also attracts crowds.
The plage des CANEBIERS is slightly larger and overlooked by Brigitte Bardot’s villa, La Madrague.
Bouillabaisse Beach - west of town centre, is coming back into trend after years of declining. It’s a simple local beach, more favourite to the native St. Tropeziens.
Plage Port Grimaud: This long golden-sand beach is set against the backdrop of the urban architect François Spoerry's cité lacustre, facing St-Tropez. Spoerry created this 247-acre marine village inspired by an ancient fishing village--"the most magnificent fake since Disneyland." The world has since flocked to Port Grimaud and its beach, including homeowners like Joan Collins, who comes here to hide from the paparazzi. Some of the Riviera's most expensive yachts are tied up in the harbor. This beach isn't as decadent as those at St-Trop, but it does pick up the "overflow" on the see-and-be-seen circuit.
In 2001, St Tropez lost its Blue Flag award for top-quality bathing waters, apparently because of oil pollution and smelly drains. The mayor, Jean-Michel Couve, says the jury's decision is "incomprehensible", noting the town has spent £5m on beach cleanliness and hygiene.
In season, some 30,000 people a day now cram into the town's winding, ochre-coloured streets and spill on to its beaches.
Whatever the news may be about St. Tropez's beaches, how glamorous does it sound when you tell your friends you visited "St Tropez"? A coasline oozing with glamorous golden shores, glittering waters and splendid sunshine. When you get to St. Moritz, head to Plage de la Bouillabaisse where even the sandy beaches get groomed and the weather is as hot as the stars that visit here!
THINGS TO DO:
Walk along the coast and admire its impressive yachts in abundance
Sip wine at La Plage des Jumeaux and enjoy the show.
Loads and loads of shops and restaurants.
People watching, eating, shopping. The most popular people-watching spot is Senequier’s, an open-air cafe facing the harbor.
Visit Place des Lices, a rectangular square two blocks inland from the harbor.
Take a soft walk up the hill behind St. Tropez to the bay overlooking Citadelle
Rent a beach chair
Visit the Pampelonne beaches
Remove your clothes, except for your gold
Take in the beautiful scenery
Run into the ocean for a dip