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Living the Jet-Set life

Iconic or, as some would say, legendary St-Tropez exemplifies the French Riviera for many. Still in fashion today, this small port and fishing village frequented by the likes of Jean Cocteau and Colette in the 1930's really came to prominence during the 1950's and 60's when it was popularised by celebrities and film stars like Bridget Bardot, collectively known as the 'Jet-Set'.

The town is named after the Roman Centurion Torpetius who was beheaded by the Emperor Nero for his Christian beliefs and cast adrift in a boat which miraculously fetched up on the beach here. Initially a small fishing port it was destroyed by war during the 14th Century before being rebuilt by the Genoese as a city state.

Later absorbed into the French State, one of its most famous citizens was Judge Suffren who became a captain in the French Navy and defeated the British in several naval battles during the 18th Century - you'll see his statue on the Quai Suffren.

Admiral Suffren

The area round the Harbour is idyllic and you can obtain a good view of the Port and the Bay of St Tropez from the Citadelle. (From Quai Suffren walk along rue Victor Laugier and up rue de la Citadalle)

There are several great beaches, the most famously the Pamplelonne just south of town.

Getting into St-Tropez by road can be frustrating as the roads, especially the D98A along the Bay of St Tropez can be get very congested. There is a shuttle ferry from Sainte Maxime across the Bay where you can leave your car but if you need to take your vbehicle with you, go very early in the morning!

Don't miss: the medieval hill villages of Ramatuelle and Gassin above St-Tropez. From the Terrasse des Barri there is a magnificent panorama of St-Tropez Bay.


French Riviera/Côte d'Azur

Text © Paul Shawcross

Images by © Paul Shawcross, Paul Shawcross