Saint Tropez is known for its decadent lifestyle, high-end fashion, laid-back beach vibe and over-the-top partying. It does have other things to offer too, like art, history, beautiful scenery and wonderful walks. Here’s our hand picked list of the top things to see when you visit.
If you’re put off by the overpriced bars, restaurants and posh fashion houses, at least you won’t have to pay to soak up Saint-Tropez’ opulent ambience.
Take a stroll along the Jean Réveille jetty that keeps the Mediterranean out, look back awestruck at the yachts and bask in the light and ochre hues that wowed the early-modern painters more than a century ago.
The quayside is full of painters trying to capture this beauty, and you might like to browse their work for a souvenir.
See Avant-Garde Art at the Musée de l’Annonciade
The penitent monks of St Tropez built an old chapel in 1510 where they looked after returning prisoners of war. It’s a beautiful building. Now it houses the art museum specialising in art from the early half of the 20th century, particularly by Paul Signac. Small but beautifully formed.
Musée de la Gendarmerie et du Cinéma
St Tropez has a rich film history. Several classic movies were filmed here and the film industry – thanks to Brigitte Bardot – put St Tropez on the map. The old police headquarters, the “gendarmerie” used to be housed in this building but now it’s home to the Museum of Police and Cinema. There is a link – the highest grossing movie of 1964 in France was “The Troops of St Tropez” about a police officer transferred into town to deal with nudists and his errant daughter. Charming and cute.
Musée de la Gendarmerie et du Cinéma, Place Blanqui, St Tropez +33 (0)4 94 55 90 00
Church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption
This large church presides over the whole town and it’s well worth a visit. You’re not allowed to take photos but there is some lovely artwork inside. The views from the top of the hill are stunning.
Chapelle Sainte- Anne
Completed in 1618, Chapelle Saint-Anne hides in a conifer grove on Mont Pécoulet, a hill behind Saint-Tropez.
In the 19th century long-distance sailors would ride up to this spot to seek protection from St.
Anne before departing.
The chapel is in a very pretty spot, blessed with vistas of the resort and the azure sea, but also appears in the annals of pop culture.
Mick and Bianca Jagger were married here in 1971, and guests included Paul and Linda McCartney, Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr.
At the deepest nook of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez is an enchanting urban development begun in the early 60s and the brainchild of architect and urban planner François Spoerry.
Port Grimaud is a tangle of waterways between rows of buildings designed to look like the old fisherman’s houses in the old quarter of Saint-Tropez.
Each of these homes is directly next to the water and has a berth for a boat, usually filled by a sleek-looking yacht as this “Little Venice” is home for some very wealthy individuals.
Take in the Views over Cap Camarat
The Cap Camarat lighthouse is the second highest in France and offers amazing views over the bay. Afterwards you can swim on the beach below, called Bonnes Terrasse, or continue further round the coast on an even longer walk. A perfect escape from the parties and living the “high life”.
With Les Bateaux Verts ferries you can hop from Saint-Tropez to Port Grimaud, and also across to the charming resort of Sainte-Maxime on the other side of the gulf.
After landing you could have a wander around the harbour and old quarter, which are refreshingly down-to-earth: There are French local shops and a large community that lives here all-year-round, not just in high season.
Then see what you can find along 10 kilometres of coastline.
Plage de la Nartelle is the pick of the beaches, with golden sands and clear waters but none of the crowds you’ll be accustomed to at Saint-Tropez.