The name St Tropez conjures up images of exclusivity and opulence.
The town has a long and interesting history, however it only became a popular tourist destination in the early 20th century due to it’s famous visitors and the various movies set in St Tropez, most notably those featuring French actress, Brigitte Bardot.
The port is lined with super yachts, expensive restaurants, cafes and local artists selling their works. Behind the port is an array of beautiful little streets, flooded with shops and cafes, not to mention the famous Place des Lices (the markets held here on Tuesdays and Saturdays are an absolute must!) An archway not far from Place des Lices leads to the charming ‘old town’ which is where our stunning hotel was located.
Where to stay
First things first, check into Le Yaca in the historic old town. It is a charming luxury hotel, neighbouring ‘La Ponche’ beach and only a few minutes walk to the Port. We visited a few of the hotels in the area and we truly felt as though we had the pick of the lot. The staff were also incredibly warm and accommodating which enhanced our experience.
A few things to note…
Something to be aware of before planning a trip to St Tropez is that it is INSANELYexpensive. I’m talking 8 euros for a cup of coffee and 25 + euros for a caprese salad. And that’s pretty much across the board here. We often found ourselves sharing a main dish (which was usually plenty) and filling up on the delicious *complimentary* french bread and olive oil… But hey, at least that meant we had room for dessert!
Also, St Tropez is not an easily accessible location. From Nice airport to St Tropez is 1.5 to 3 hours drive, depending on traffic (and transfers are not cheap). Another option is to fly into Hyères and then there is a bus that takes you from the airport to the port of St Tropez. It takes about 1.5 hours and costs 3 euros per person. The difficulty, however, is that flights into Hyères are not as frequent.
Where to eat
This was our favourite meal of the trip. We had the Japanese style brown rice bowl with marinated organic sashimi salmon, avocado, wakame and a side of wasabi and sesame soy dressing. You can tell they use the finest quality ingredients just from looking at the produce, earning them a michelin star.
Aside from the fantastic food, it is also the most idyllic location on the sand of Les Graniers beach. We recommend booking a beach chair for the afternoon to soak up the sunshine, enjoy the delicious cocktails and take a dip in the crystal clear water.
Another highlight meal. There is no shortage of Italian food in St Tropez but we can’t imagine it getting much better than this. We shared the burrata salad to start (easily the tastiest tomatoes I’ve ever had), followed by a delicious eggplant parmigiana. We also saw a few of the pasta dishes come out which looked incredible.
Even if you are not staying at Le Yaca, we highly recommend visiting the restaurant. We sat outside in the stunning courtyard which overlooks the pool. They are famous for their “Yaca Tagliatelle” which is prepared in front of you in a giant cheese wheel… Definitely worth trying if you’re up for it! It is delicious, but very rich. They also have wild caught fish and vegetables for something lighter. For a vegetarian option they have a few pasta dishes, including gluten-free pasta on request.
As we were staying at Le Yaca, we also enjoyed their daily continental buffet breakfast which was a delicious spread of fresh fruit (the berries were to die for), natural yoghurt, granola (including a gluten free option), nuts and fresh bread. AND to my surprise they even offered almond milk coffee… To say I was excited would be a major understatement. To my fellow almond milk coffee drinkers… be aware that this is not commonplace in France. When we later travelled to Provence, I actually brought my own almond milk to add to my morning espresso. Commitment, I know.
The Dior restaurant/hotel is absolutely stunning. Definitely worth a visit just to soak up the atmosphere. I must say though, the food here is even more outrageously priced… I’m talking 28 euros (each) for a *single* zucchini filled with olive tapenade (the only vegetarian option on the menu). Nonetheless it was a very enjoyable experience.
Located right on the Port, Amorino ice cream is not to be missed. They have a great selection of organic sorbets and ice creams, and they use all natural ingredients. I can never go past the classic combo of hazelnut and dark chocolate sorbet.
Where to go for a drink
The Byblos is a famous hotel/restaurant with a very Moroccan feel to it. It is a popular place for celebrities to stay (so much so that you are not allowed to take photos inside the hotel). It is a great place to sit by the pool and enjoy a cocktail before dinner… I’m sure the food would be great too.
Les Toits is a rooftop bar at the famous Hotel De Paris. It is another hugely expensive venue, and in our opinion it lacked the charm of the bars/restaurants in the old town, but nevertheless it is a fantastic location to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail overlooking the sunset.
What to do/see
The famous Ramatuelle beach is a must. This is where all the beach day clubs are located, including the renowned Club 55, which is where we went for lunch. The food is nothing special but the ambiance and location makes up for it. What is amazing though is the grilled bread with chilli infused olive oil.
This is another ideal location to rent a beach chair, soak up the sunshine and sip on cocktails all afternoon! Tahiti and Moorea are other well known beach clubs/restaurants that would be worth visiting if you’re staying in the area for a longer period of time.
Note: there is a bus that goes to Ramatuelle beach from the port of St Tropez. Otherwise the flat rate for a transfer is 30 euros (one way!)
Lhe markets are held on Tuesdays and Saturdays and have a great range of stalls from fresh fruits and vegetables to clothing and jewellery. We recommend getting there not too late to avoid the crowds, although in some ways the bustling atmosphere adds to the enjoyment of it (and I’m not sure it can really be avoided if you are travelling in peak season).
After our 3 days in St Tropez, we continued our travels to Provence which included a delightful stay in the old town of Hyères. The bus takes you directly from St Tropez to Hyères airport (not far from the town), takes about 1 1/2 hours and costs 3 euros per person. It is also a very enjoyable journey, passing through the beautiful French countryside and seaside resorts.
We stayed in a charming guest house called Castel Pierre Lisse which was well located (5 minutes walk to the old town) and had a very homely feel. We highly recommend staying here!
For dinner we went to the number 1 rated (michelin) restaurant in Hyères called Carte Blanche. The rating meant we went in with high expectations and can confidently say that both the food and the service lived up to its reputation. The menu is small with only 3 entrées and 3 mains (the menu changes regularly) but you can guarantee whatever you order will be good. We were craving something fresh and light so had steamed fish with vegetables, finished by a not so light yet ultra delicious chocolate fondant… As we always say, we are all about balance!
We hope these tips will be useful for anyone planning a trip to the South of France. Feel free to leave any additional suggestions in the comments!