On-line Guide: Cote d’Azur daytrips: St Tropez
Posted May 2018 in Go & Do
Like St Tropez itself, the voyage to the playground of Mick Jagger, Béyonce and Kate Moss is extremely beautiful but far from cheap. From Nice, it isn’t the easiest of places to reach (in the summer the roads can get very, very congested…)
The Trip: The bargain option is the 55-minute SNCF hop from Nice-Ville to St Raphael (around €20 return), followed by the 10.30am coastal cruise courtesy of Bateau Saint Raphael (one-hour, €26 return).
From May through to September, Trans Cote d’Azur runs a 9am shuttle service from Nice-Port, returning at 7pm. It’s a heavenly voyage that calls at the Lérins Islands, zips around the bobbing boats off Cannes, then pulls into St Tropez’s superyacht harbour two and half hours later. At €65 per person it’s St Trop’ prices all the way.
Why Go: Glamour and history in equal measure. Borrow a set of pétanque bowls from Le Café on Place des Lices and you could be having a game of boules next to Naomi Campbell. The accompanying double espresso (at €6.50) or sneaky Pastis may be pricey but Leonardo DiCaprio might just be relaxing under the Plane trees at the next table.
For out-and-out bling hit Plage Pampelonne, a €3 bus ride away. Club55 is where celebrities spray Champagne over one another (it’s a local ritual) then shuttle back to the flotilla of yachts offshore at sundown. Most importantly, this 5km beach of fine white sand is mostly public and it’s genuinely Caribbean class.
How this former fishing village made its name is clear in the Musée de l'Annonciade contemporary art museum. Opened in 1922, canvases from Paul Signac and Raoul Dufy show how the colourful port outside looked during the Belle Epoque. Like early Instagram shots, their paintings attracted Europe’s elite south to such sunny scenes, until the silver screen launched St Tropez into the stratosphere through Brigitte Bardot.
What's New: In 2018 Le Musée de la Gendarmerie et du cinema de Saint-Tropez has a temporary exhibition entitled: ‘Des Animaux et des Stars’ (Pets and Stars) showing the work of photographer Edward Quinn and his fascinating pictures of celebrities and their beloved pets (Brigitte Bardotte (of course!), Alfred Hitchcock, Pablo Picasso and Grace Kelly among them).
The Souvenir: A Tarte Tropézienne. It might not be the healthiest of snacks (beautiful brioches sandwiched together with speciality cream – all made to a top secret recipe) but has been a local delicacy since it debuted in 1955 and was named by Brigitte Bardot. Essential eating for anyone visiting St Tropez - just don’t munch it – or squish it – on the ferry home. For sale in bakeries across town.