Brigitte Bardot's Personal Playground - St Tropez
Many describe St Tropez as indulgent. In the summer heat, there is nowhere as opulent as a Champagne bar overlooking the harbour which is full of million pound "Gin Palaces". Maseratis and Bentleys transport the rich to the little French town, only out-matched by the personal helicopters. This image means many of us are put off by this beautiful town as a holiday destination, however there is something for everyone on any income in St Tropez, you just have to scratch the surface to find it.
What to do - With beautiful beaches and high-end bars, it is not difficult to work out what most people do when they visit St Tropez. However there also other options including a one hour cruise on Brigantin II (lebrigantin.com) where the captain will tell you about the comings and goings of the rich and famous in St Tropez, a very entertaining hour. Shopping is also a must, the boutiques and pretty little tourist shops are very intriguing, however this is supplemented on a Saturday morning with a market in the central Place des Lices. Here you can get horse-meat sausages, Iranian carpets and camouflage bikinis. Every man and his dog, regardless if he drives a Ferrari or a scooter, converge to grab linen, soap and paella bargains. In the early afternoons, a beach club is a great destination. where there is a beach club for everyone - Club 55 for the self-styled elite, Aqua is popular with gays, and so on. At Nikki Beach, bikini tops are optional while New Coco Beach is a much more relaxed affair, while still maintaining a high degree of chic. And if you are feeling adventurous, get yourself on a yacht and do the Rolex Giraglia that is an amazing rush of adrenaline to put yourself against some of the best racing crews of Europe with a final destination of Genoa (http://www.atlanticcharters.co.uk/racing/giraglia-rolex-cup-yacht-race-2014/). I personally recommend this race.
Where to eat - There are so many great places to eat in St Tropez. Colette, at the Hotel Sezz, has a wonderful open air restaurant where you can gaze at the stars while trying a neo-Mediterranean menu formulated by a Michelin Starred chef. You could go Italian, where the Italian quarter tempts you in with some amazing and authentic restaurants tucked away in little alleys. For lunch, why not try the La Cabane Bambou (cabanebambouplage.com) a laid back beach club that is ideal for Sunday lunch. Plenty of sea food here. One of the best things about St Tropez is the choice of quality eating establishments; my recommendation is to wander and see what you will find.
Where to stay - There are plenty of places to stay in St Tropez, from boutique hotels to camping on the outskirts. For a retro and cool location, why not try the Hotel Ermitage (ermitagehotel.fr) and enjoy its panoramic roof terrace restaurant. The B. Lodge has a pleasant bar and restaurant and also sits on the cheaper end of the market (hotel-b-lodge.com). The Pan Dei Palais is a grand establishment of wooden screens and statues of Gods, maybe good
for a celebrity spot? (pandei.com).
How to get there - Fly into Nice or Toulan, or a train to St Raphael, followed by a bus to St Tropez. Difficult parking and busy summer roads may turn off the car tourist; however there is always private helicopter?