Saint-Tropez - A "Must-See" Part Of The French Riviera
In the year 68 A.D. Knight Torpes was the highest steward of the Emperor Nero. As a devout Christian, Torpes attracted Nero's anger by refusing to accept multiple gods. The Emperor had him tortured and beheaded. His dead body was put adrift in a boat, which after several months, ended up at Heraclea. A villager recovered his body and deemed him the 'patron saint of the village', which was later renamed Saint-Tropez in his honor.
The history of this village is extremely rich, and is celebrated annually during 'the Bravades' festival from May 17th to May 19th. Although Saint-Tropez only has 5,000 permanent residents, it can become extremely crowded during the summer months. Booking a hotel during the holiday season is impossible. You must make reservations well in advance; sometimes years in advance for the best locations. The village is beautiful, unique, and well worth the detour even if only for one day. All amenities, usually "high standing" are available at Saint-Tropez, from world famous cuisine, to four star luxury hotels, to exclusive night clubs and private beaches just to name a few. If you are looking for a low-key, quiet and affordable location, Saint-Tropez is probably not for you - especially in July and August.
A Haven for CelebritiesSaint-Tropez is famous for attracting the rich and famous. Anyone who is anyone in show business has been to Saint-Tropez, from U2's Bono to Paris Hilton. During the high season, celebrity sightings are common. This all started in 1887 when the famous French writer Guy de Maupassant discovered the village's charms, but it really "took off" when local prodigy Brigitte Bardot became a world famous actress in the 1960s. It's popularity increased further with the release of the French movie "Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez" (1964), a classic French comedy starring Louis de Funès. The movie was so successful, it lead to a series of movies (Le Gendarme a New York, Le Gendarme se Marie, Le Gendarme en Balade, Le Gendarme et les Extraterrestres, Le Gendarme et les Gendarmettes), some of which were made nearly twenty years later. For an entire generation of French people, this is what comes to mind first when they hear the name Saint-Tropez. This is also why you will see people taking pictures of the Saint-Tropez gendarmerie.
* Original sound clip from the movie "Le
Gendarme de Saint-Tropez" in 1965 (by Geneviéve Grad).
* Covered video clip from the Canadian singer Jenny Rock interpreting: "Douliou douliou Saint-Tropez" in 1965.
Things to See in Saint-Tropez:
- La Citadelle (the citadel): Located on the hill (la colline des Moulins) next to Saint-Tropez, the citadel dated back to 1583. It's history is very intense, tumultuous and was still being made during World War II. From here you will have an excellent view of the bay and enjoy the company of wild peacocks. A short walk down the hill you will find the "nautical" cemetery of St. Tropez just a few feet from the waters of the Mediterranean sea. Many celebrities are buried here.
- Annonciade Museum: A collection of paintings from 1890 to 1950 essentially pointillist, fauvist and nabis periods (Signac, Matisse, Seurat, Derain, Maillol, Braque, Bonnard).
- The Old Port: This is where you can find boats still used by local fisherman, and the mega-yachts of the rich and famous. Here you can also see the statue of Pierre-André de Suffren, the second major figure of Saint-Tropez. You can also admire the Portalet Tower, one of the defensive structures built during the XV century. This is also where the very enjoyable "literal pathway" (le sentier du littoral) starts. Over twelve miles long, this beautiful path along the water will create everlasting memories.
- Early morning Market at "la Place aux Herbes": Fruits, vegetables and other fresh local products.
- Place des Lices: This is one of the most famous areas, where local and international stars are seen in their sandals playing "petanque". From May to mid-June on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, you can find a typical Provencal market here as well.
- Church Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption: If you walk around town you will see this church. Walk the "back" city streets, to find many more interesting items.
- The Chapel Saint-Anne near Saint-Tropez: This chapel was erected in the early XVII century and is famous for having spared the village from the plague.
- Butterfly Museum (Maison des Papillons): 4500+ specimen of butterflies from all over the world!