Just back from a glorious week in Saint-Tropez with my sister and our families. This sparkling gem on the Cote d’Azur is home to international jetsetters, massive yachts, chic beach clubs, and a picture-perfect town with every imaginable luxury boutique, scores of gourmet restaurants and exclusive nightclubs. There’s also a softer side of Saint-Tropez, which we explored, staying in a gorgeous villa amid the vineyards of La Moutte, a ten-minute drive from the center of town. Here are our five favorite low-key spots, particularly good with family in tow.
Every Tuesday and Saturday morning the center square in Saint-Tropez turns into bustling market, selling everything from local lavender and soaps, to leather sandals and purses, all manners of leather trimmed straw beach bags, hats and linen sarongs. There’s also spices, charcuterie, gorgeous cheeses and local produce (perfect if you are renting a house). For my sister, this market was the highlight of our trip. Top tip: Arrive early, it gets hot and crowded by 11 a.m. and starts to close by noon.
While Club 55 is a chic spot that attracts celebrities and glitterati with everyone’s heads poking around like giraffes to see who’s who, we found the staff warm and welcoming to our family. The beachside tables, clad in floaty white and blue linens, are super comfortable and relaxing, truly the perfect place to enjoy delicious seafood and local rosé wines, and yes, you may spot a star or two. Go for lunch; bookings essential.
Head to Chez Camille to taste "real" bouillabaisse, the French fish stew is cooked on an open fire, the rich broth is served separately first with crispy croutons and Rouille, a spicy mayonnaise which is spread on thick, then fish is filleted table side and enjoyed as a second course. The rustic dining room overlooks the sea, a casual place that also happens to be listed in the Michelin guide.
Les Place des Jumeaux
It’s easy to idle away the day at Les Jumeaux, a beach club in the trendy Ramatuelle area (also home to night club Nikki Beach). Rows of comfy beds and umbrellas line the sandy beach, the kids are amused playing in the sand and surf, or on pedal boats and can refuel with crepes and sandwiches at the snack and ice cream bar, while adults enjoy superb seafood, sea views and magnums of rosé at the open-air restaurant. Booking of beach beds and restaurant reservations essential.
Located in the center of town, across from the mega-yacht filled port of Saint-Tropez is the artisanal ice cream parlor Barbarac, with everything made and sourced locally. Choose from refreshing fruit sorbets or luscious pistachio, hazelnut or a variety of chocolate- and caramel-infused flavors. There is nothing dreamier than enjoying one of these cool, creamy treats while peeking into the luxurious boats on the harbor. www.barbarac.fr.
Staying in a villa is a glorious way to enjoy Saint-Tropez, especially for families, we loved La Moutte, a stunning new five-bedroom home with modern Provence-style decor nestled amid a vineyard with a large pool surrounded by shaded areas for lounging and dining. The property also has a well-equipped kitchen for cooking, BBQ, and open plan living space for dining and entertaining. The beach is just a 10 minute walk. Travel advisors are offered commission and should contact Ron Van Veen ([email protected]) or Sylvana Maanurdin ([email protected]); telephone (33) 6 81 92 41 36.
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