A playground for the rich and famous, St Tropez offers plenty of luxury – but it’s not all about the glamor. Head away from the yacht-filled marinas and flashy Ferraris and you’ll find bags of old-world charm.
This guide will help you find the best things to do in St Tropez, whether you’re looking to live it up, laze on the beach, or get your culture fix! Here’s what to see and do:
Explore a dungeon
Built in 1602 to defend the coast against Spain, the Citadelle de St Tropez occupies a stunning hillside spot. The coastal views here are amazing, as are the citadel’s fascinating dungeons. Just a few years ago the Museum of Maritime History opened, allowing visitors access to the dungeons for the first time. It tells the story of generations of local merchant seamen through dozens of interactive exhibits. A trip to the top of the fort afterward will reward you with panoramic views over the Gulf. Entry is around €3.
Laze on the longest beach
No list of things to do in St Tropez would be complete without mentioning its most famous beach. The longest and most popular in the region, Pampelonne Beach is where you’ll find the celebrities, the beach clubs and the super yachts. There are public areas where you can lay down your towel, as well as innumerable restaurants where you can hire sunbeds and dine with extravagance. A regular bus service runs from central St Tropez to Pampelonne.
Lined with sable-colored houses and packed with cafes and restaurants, Vieux Port is the first thing you see when you arrive in St Tropez. Many visitors find it fascinating to wander around the port gawping at the many super yachts. Here, daily mooring fees can hit €1,500 a day and wealthy yacht owners hang out on deck, fully aware of the fact that they are being stared at by hundreds of passers-by.
Stock up on local produce
Every Tuesday and Saturday morning, a traditional open-air market is held in the heart of St Tropez. Pretty plane trees line the Places Des Lices, dividing the area into long arcades. You’ll find a range of produce from local farmers, as well as clothing, antiques, arts & crafts. The square is lined with quaint cafes and restaurants, making things feel more old-time Provence than glitzy St Tropez.
See some art
The small but famous Musee de l’Annonciade is a converted 16th-century chapel that showcases an impressive collection of post-impressionist paintings. The collection includes works by Derain and Matisse, who spent the summer of 1904 in St. Tropez. Works by George Braque and Picasso are also displayed. Entry is around €6 for adults, or free for children under 12.
Party with the ‘in-crowd’
One of the most famous drinking spots in St Tropez, Nikki Beach is renowned for its champagne-fuelled parties. It boasts plush decor, famous DJs, and a first-rate restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine – all set around a huge pool. Famous faces from around the world can be seen here so it’s the place to go if you want to hang out with the ‘in-crowd’.
Relax and unwind
For something a little more relaxing, head to Bouillabaisse Beach just west of St Tropez village. Here the golden sands are lapped by clean waters and backed by a handful of Provencal-style buildings. There are a few restaurants along the beach with sunbeds and parasols to rent. You’ll also find ample parking close by.
Brush up on cinema history
Looking for cultural things to do? Take a stroll around the town and you’ll probably pass the Gendarmerie Nationale. If the name sounds familiar it’s because the facade of this former police station has starred in numerous films including the classic comedy ‘Le Gendarme de Saint Tropez’. Now a museum, it taps into local silver-screen history with fun exhibits and movie memorabilia. Entry is around €4.
Go shopping in the old town
A top spot for shopping, the ochre-hued streets of the old town are home to big-ticket brand names and local grocery stores alike. You’ll find names like Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana in the lovely Place de la Garonne, as well as local fashion specialties like ‘Sandales Tropeziennes’ – the famous sandals created by the renowned Rondini family.
Enjoy a coastal walk
For something a little more energetic, why not take the seven-mile walk along the coast to Pampellone? The track (le Sentier du Littoral) starts at La Ponche and is well-maintained and clearly signposted. Along the way you’ll pass the charming little beaches of Plage Graniers, Plage des Canebiers, Plage de la Moutte and Plage des Salins. At reasonable walking speed it takes about 3 hours to walk the length of the trail.
Hit the sales
Not to be missed in St Tropez is the annual Grande Braderie fashion sale. During the sale, the designer boutiques of St Tropez move piles of their stock out into the streets to sell them off at extremely reduced prices. This sale is one of the most famous in the region and is one of the best things to do if you love a bargain. It takes place over several days in late October.
Watch a Porsche rally
If you’re a fan of sports cars, the Paradis Porsche Rally is a real don’t-miss. In mid-October, thousands of Porsche owners from across the Mediterranean gather in St Tropez to rally around and show off. It’s a superb event for owners and enthusiasts.
Join a sailing regatta
Racers and sailing enthusiasts flock in from all over the world to take part in the world-famous Les Voiles de St Tropez regatta. More than 300 boats and 4000 sailors take part in this annual program of competitive racing and lively social events – it’s usually held in September.
Dance at the best nightclub in France
No trip to St Tropez would be complete without a visit to Les Caves du Roy – the most prestigious nightclub in France. Entry is free (if you can get past the doormen) although drinks are pricey at around €30 each – nevertheless, it’s a small price to pay for a night of superstar spotting.
Eat award-winning meals
With so many award-winning restaurants to try, it’s no wonder that eating out is one of the top things to do in St Tropez. And for fine dining at its very finest, you should book a table (well in advance) at La Vague d’Or. Located at the uber-exclusive Residence de la Pinede, this eatery also boasts five toques and a rating of 19/20 by the Gault and Millau restaurant guide. The set menus start at €295.
Dine on a budget
For a no-frills dining experience at more affordable prices head to Le Sporting cafe-brasserie on the Place des Lices. Open all year round from 6am to midnight it serves a variety of dishes including pastas, beef tartare, mussels, foie gras and more. You’ll find cheerful service, a warm ambiance and main courses for around €20.
Check out Mick Jagger’s wedding venue
Located high on the hill of Mont Pecoulet, Chapelle Sainte Ann was built in 1618 as a worshipping place for local seamen. It’s also where Mick and Bianca Jagger got married in 1971. It appeals to history and showbiz buffs alike as well as to anyone looking for panoramic views over St Tropez.
Visit a butterfly museum
Spread across two floors, the Maison des Papillons (Butterfly Museum) features over 35,000 butterfly specimens including rare species from Africa and South America. It was created by painter Dany Lartigue in his own private house and all the butterflies are displayed over landscapes painted by him. Entry is around €2 for adults and free for children under 12.
Charter a luxury yacht
Along with the refined restaurants and designer boutiques, you’ll encounter myriad yacht charter companies in St Tropez. Whether you want to charter a boat for a day, a week or even months, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Day-boat rental starts at around €200 for a low-powered dinghy for up to 6 people and rises into the tens of thousands (sometimes millions) for the crewed yachts.
Wander around ‘Little Venice’
Nicknamed the ‘Little Venice’ of Provence, Port Grimaud is an enchanting urban development styled to look like the old quarter of St Tropez. This charming seaside village features winding waterways, cobbled lanes and quaint fisherman’s houses, each painted in a different color. Wander around the port and back streets, or cruise the waters aboard a sightseeing canal boat.
Find one of the world’s narrowest streets
Perched high up on a hillside just a few miles from St Tropez is the picturesque village of Gassin. Hailed as the most beautiful village in all of France, this is a great spot for a day trip. The town was built as a lofty refuge from the marauding bands of pirates who used to pillage along the coast. It has traditional stone buildings, panoramic views and a beautiful church located just steps away from one of the narrowest streets in the world, l’Androuno.
Sample some local wine
If you’re a lover of wine, why not take a tour of one of the many wine regions around St Tropez? The various estates include Minuty, Bertaud, Belieu and Pampellone, where you can sample delicious local wine. Belonging to the Matton-Farnet family, Chateau Minuty is one of the most famous estates and boasts a fantastic range of red, white and rosé wines. It’s located just below the village of Gassin.
Tee off on a top golf course
For fantastic golf in gorgeous surroundings head to the exclusive Golf Club Saint Tropez. Just a short drive along the coast, it features an 18-hole par 71 course designed by course architect Thierry Sprecher and French number one Gery Watine. The 110-hectare estate also includes a 9-hole course, a driving range, a pro shop and a clubhouse with a boutique spa and refined restaurant offering original French cuisine all year round.
Ride on a rollercoaster – at night
From adrenaline-pumping rollercoasters to kid-friendly playgrounds, Azur Park has something for everyone. Open nightly from April to September, it features more than 35 rides plus two 18-hole crazy golf courses. When you’re ready to refuel you can enjoy a delicious meal at the park’s excellent Rotisserie restaurant which is open every evening.
Enjoy a change of scene
Bypassed by super yachts and without St Tropez’s glitz and glam, Sainte-Maxime is a great spot for a change of scene. A charming town on the northern shore of the Gulf, it has golden beaches, a scenic old town and a quaint harbor filled with colorful fishing boats. Plage de la Nartelle is the pick of the beaches with fine sands and clear waters but none of the crowds you’d find over the water. The Green Boat ferry shuttle runs regular crossings from St Tropez to Sainte-Maxime and other coastal towns.