The other side of Saint. Tropez.
When most people think of Saint Tropez, they think jet-setters and ooh la la chic stuff. And it’s true.
But not all year round.
In fact, it depends on the season you choose to visit.
St Tropez has 2 distinct faces.
The jet-setters and the locals.
Winter and Summer.
In the old days, this small community was a fishing village. But today most think of big-name celebrities, huge yachts, and all night parties.
This is Saint Tropez in the summer, where champagne parties go on all night and million dollar Ferrari owners cruise around town.
During the summer it is very difficult to walk the narrow streets because they are so crowded!
But who can blame them, beautiful weather, sandy beaches, colored houses and narrow cobblestone streets are all very inviting.
So try off-season for more elbow room 🙂 Like in winter or late fall...
Crowds are non-existent and although many shops and restaurants may have limited hours or might even be closed, it is still so worth the visit.
You get to discover the real facet of Saint. Tropez as it enjoys a breezy Joie de Vivre and reverts to its natural state of paradise.
Very early spring or late fall is also a wonderful time to visit, you’ll find some crowds but nothing like July or August.
But whichever season you choose, keep in mind the pros and cons of each season and be sure to explore its main attractions.
This is the old town and the heart of the village. It borders the Old Port and sits below the citadel.
It is the most typical and picturesque part of Saint Tropez with its narrow pedestrian streets and alleyways lined with both local and chic shops, cafes and restaurants.
Make your way to the other side of the port, climb the few steps for a windy and beautiful view.
Located not far from the port, this small chapel was transformed into a small museum in 1955. You can satisfy your small museum craving (if you have one) and enjoy modern art from the early XX century.
Sculptures and painting from famous French artists depicting historical places in St. Tropez are displayed on 2 levels.
If you like the impressionist era then take time to check it out.
Entrance fee: 6euros
For other museums in the South of France, you may find info in this post.
Dating from the 16th century, it proudly overlooks the sea and still stands massively protecting the small village below and its residents.
Take a slow walk to the top and check out the dungeon which is today a small museum: Musee Histoire Maritime (3euros)
Worth it especially for the amazing view of Saint Tropez and its charming port.
THE OLD PORT
Le Vieux Port is where the humble fishing village of Saint-Tropez took root way back when…
Today when you wander through the old port you can relax at an outdoor cafe and people watching.
And during the summer season, be assured that there are a lot of people to watch!
If you like outdoor markets (i love them !) then take a walk to the nearby Place des LLices! An array of fruits, vegetables, and flowers to choose from starting early in the morning.
Have a chat with the vendors and try out bite-sized samples of foods that you aren’t familiar with.
If you are staying a few days in Saint Tropez, then you can also go to the daily fish market and choose a fresh lunch to cook in your temporary home.
PLACE DES LICES – Play a game of “boules” in St. Tropez
This square is a short walk from the old port.
Here is where the older locals come to play the traditional game of « boules ». and gather to chat and spend a social afternoon. Most people use social media to connect, but here, they actually meet in person almost every day.
Relax on a nearby bench and try to learn the rules 🙂
On Tuesdays and sometimes Saturday the local market takes place here.
It’s very popular among locals and tourists, it’s a colorful place to buy everything from strawberries to ceramic bowls.
Just stroll, take it all in and enjoy your morning.
During Christmas and the New Year holiday, part of this market is transformed into a skating rink!
Very fun, especially with the churros stand nearby.
LE SENTIER DU LITTORAL
If you like long walks and tricky hikes, and beautiful secluded beaches then this is for you.
The scenery along the coast is amazing. Start off your journey from La Ponche. You should set aside a 1/2 day to a full day as you may want to walk at a leisurely pace and also relax on the beach, but it really depends on how far you’d like to go.
On the way enjoy stunning views of the sea and explore its natural, at times rugged beauty on the way.
Please respect the environment and don’t litter. Take water and be careful in certain spots which may not be smooth and quite tricky over rocks.
At the Office du Tourism they give out useful information to help map out your route and calculate how far you’d like to go.
You can also start your walk from Plage des Canebiers or from Plage des Graniers – Check where they are here: Beaches
Of course, not everyone has the choice of when they can take their vacation. So if the only time you can make it is during summer then come anyways !
You may not get that relaxed feel that St. Tropez offers to the brave souls that come during winter.
And you probably won’t feel the poetry in the air while strolling through the old town and fishing port, but that’s ok.
You’ll still find plenty of other sights and sounds to write home about 🙂