This popular summer destination on the French Riviera is favoured mainly by the upper class due to its name and shops that reside here. However, there’s much more than this first impression that “Saint Trop” has to offer.
Saint Tropez is a village of layers
Looking at St. Tropez from the bird’s-eye view (or a map, up to you, my friend) gives you a clear image – it has layers!
The background is comprised of the old traditional fishermen’s village with houses one beside another and painted in the shades of yellow/orange etc. Simply said – the good old St. Tropez from Brigitte Bardot‘s films. It is always partly present, just overshadowed by the more dominant elements of the new layer. Let’s go through them…
- The fancy glamorous layer
The centre of the buzz is the port itself together with the promenade enclosed, as it is also the point where you’re entering the village coming from the sea. That’s the place where you go to show off with your shiny boat, a latest collection dress and the highest heels.
Or just to sit down at the café terrace and wait to see some of the big names passing your table. (No bluffing, we were lucky to see Karl Lagerfeld. With his gloves on in the 30° heat, pure devotion.)
- The market layer
Radially, a couple of blocks further from the port, a nice market layer is located. It includes mainly boutiques with white beach dresses, but also patisseries (you MUST try “La tarte tropezienne”, absolutely delicious and various in sizes from 1-person to huuuge ones), little shoe shops, fresh fish markets and groceries. Together with the restaurants, it still creates a quite living layer.
- The quiet and calm layer
The third layer is where travelers want to get – the streets are more quiet and give off a more residential vibe. From time to time, you come across a shop with interior design, a basketry or a half-empty café. Suddenly, the buzz from the first layer seems miles away and you’re enjoying the real wandering around the Vieille Ville.
And the highlights?
- La Citadelle – the hexagonal fortress from the 17th century that you can always spot at the peak of the hill above St. Tropez. For some reason, it is not very frequently visited which is a shame; there is a nice museum of maritime and it must have been pretty challenging to build up the exposition in the tiny space of a former prison.
A big reward after the short hike up the hill is the well-know postcard view on St. Tropez with the gorgeous bay full of sailing boats.
- La place des lices – a refreshing spot where you can sit down on a bench in the shadows of plane trees.
On Tuesday and Saturday morning, the much recommended Southern-French market takes place here.
Besides that, (not only) older men participate here in a “pétanque” tournament.
- A hidden passage in the first layer that drives you immediately into the historical atmosphere – you’ll find it on the right sight of the tower du Pourtalet, on the very left side of the port when coming to St. Tropez. The northern side, I guess, you don’t say left.
You can sit down and observe the facades unspoiled by touristic shops, signs or crowds of sweaty people. Just keep an eye on the coming wave. 😉
- L’Annonciade -this gallery mainly focused on paintings of local authors used to be a chapel. It was converted to a museum in 1950s and is a great example of a must-see exhibition space since the floorplans were nearly not reorganised.
To sum it up, Saint Tropez is for people who need Dior, Chanel or LV for their living but for the “others” as well. 🙂 There are surely enough places to see for a day or a night-out. A village that makes you forget about your personal issues and enjoy your day-off. So why don’t you take one this summer?
Let me know then if my “layers theory” worked out for you too!