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Panoramic view of Saint-Tropez
Panoramic view of Saint-Tropez
Flag of Saint-Tropez
Coat of arms of Saint-Tropez
Coat of arms
Saint-Tropez is located in France
Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Country France
Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Department Var
Arrondissement Draguignan
Canton Saint-Tropez
 • Mayor (2008–) Jean-Pierre Tuveri
Area1 15.18 km2 (5.86 sq mi)
Population (2006)2 5,612
 • Density 370/km2 (960/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 83119 / 83990
Elevation 0–113 m (0–371 ft)
(avg. 15 m or 49 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Saint-Tropez (French pronunciation: ​[sɛ̃tʁɔpe]; Sant-Troupès in Provençal dialect) is a town, 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Nice, in the Var department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southeastern France. It is also the principal town in the canton of Saint-Tropez.

Saint-Tropez is located on the French Riviera. It was a military stronghold and an unassuming fishing village until the beginning of the 20th century. It was the first town on this coast to be liberated during World War II (as part of Operation Dragoon). After the war, it became an internationally known seaside resort, renowned principally because of the influx of artists of the French New Wave in cinema and the Yé-yé movement in music. It later became a resort for the European and American jet set and a goal for tourists in search of a little Provençal authenticity and an occasional celebrity sighting.

The inhabitants of Saint-Tropez are called Tropéziens[1] (French pronunciation: ​[tʁɔpeˈzjɛ̃]), and the town is familiarly called St-Trop (French pronunciation: ​[sɛ̃ˈtʁɔp]).


Aerial view of Saint-Tropez, with Pampelonne beach in background and the citadel and the port in the foreground
Citadel of Saint-Tropez

In 599 BC, the Phocaeans founded Massilia (present-day Marseille) and established coastal mooring sites in the region. In 31 BC, the Romans invaded the region. Their citizens built many opulent villas in the area; one is known as the "Villa des Platanes" (Villa of the Plane trees). The first name given to the village was Heraclea-Caccaliera, and the mouth of the Gulf was named The Issambres.

The town owes its current name from the early, semi-legendary martyr named Saint Torpes. The legend says that he was beheaded at Pisa during the reign of Nero, and that his body was placed in a rotten boat along with a rooster and a dog. The body landed at the present-day location of the town.[2][3][4]

Towards the end of the ninth century with the fall of the Roman Empire, pirates and privateers attacked and sacked the region for the next 100 years, and in the 10th century the village of La Garde-Freinet, 15 km (9 mi) north of St. Tropez, was founded. From 890–972, Saint-Tropez and its surroundings became an Arabic-Muslim colony dominated by the nearby Saracen settlement of Fraxinet.[5][6] In 940, Nasr ibn Ahmad was in control of Saint-Tropez.[6] In 961–963, Audibert, son of Berenger, the pretender to the throne of Lombardy who was pursued by Otto I, hid at Saint-Tropez.[6] In 972, the Muslims of Saint-Tropez held the abbot of Cluny Maïeul until he was released for ransom.[6]

In 976, William I Count of Provence, lord of Grimaud, began attacking the Muslims and in 980 built a tower at the current location of the Suffren tower. In 1079 and 1218, Papal bulls mentioned the existence of a manor in Saint-Tropez.

Saint-Tropez "le vieux port" (the old port)

From 1436, Count René I (called "good King René") tried to repopulate the Provence. He created the Barony of Grimaud and appealed to the Genoan Raphael de Garezzio, a wealthy gentleman who sent a fleet of caravels carrying sixty Genoese families to the area. In return, Count René promised to exempt the citizens from taxation. On 14 February 1470, Jean de Cossa, the Baron of Grimaud and Grand Seneschal of Provence, reached an agreement with Raphael de Garezzio that allowed Garezzio to build city walls and two large towers which are still standing. One tower is at the end of the "Grand Môle" and the other is at the entrance to the "Ponche".

The city became a small Republic with its own fleet and army and was administered by two consuls and twelve elected councilors. In 1558 the office of Captain of City (Honorat Coste) was empowered to protect the city. The captain lead a militia and mercenaries who successfully resisted attacks by the Turks, Spaniards, succored Fréjus and Antibes, and assisted the Archbishop of Bordeaux to regain control of the Lérins Islands.

In 1577, the daughter of the Marquis Lord of Castellane, Genevieve de Castilla, married Jean-Baptiste de Suffren, Marquis de Saint-Cannet, Baron de La Môle, and advisor to the Parliament of Provence. The lordship of Saint-Tropez became the prerogative of the de Suffren family.

In September 1615, Saint-Tropez was visited by an expedition led by the Japanese samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga who were on their way to Rome but obliged by weather to stop in St. Tropez. This is believed to be the earliest instance of contact between the French and the Japanese.

Bust of Saint-Tropez during the Bravades.

The local nobleman were responsible for raising a standing army which drove away a fleet of Spanish galleons the 15 June 1637. Les Bravades des Espagnols is a local religious and military celebration commemorating this victory of the Tropezian militia over the Spanish.[7] Count René's promise in 1436 to not tax Saint Tropez' citizens continued until 1672 when it was repealed by Louis XIV, who reasserted French control over the city. Pierre André de Suffren de Saint Tropez (1729–1788) was a famous vice-admiral who fought in the War of the Austrian Succession, the Seven Years' War and the American Revolutionary War.

During the 1920s Saint-Tropez attracted famous figures from the world of fashion, like Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. During World War II, on 15 August 1944, it was the site of a military landing called Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of southern France. In the 1950s, Saint-Tropez became internationally renowned as the setting for films including And God Created Woman starring French actress Brigitte Bardot.

In May 1965, an Aérospatiale Super Frelon preproduction aircraft crashed in the Gulf, killing its pilot.

On 4 March 1970, the French submarine Eurydice, which was home ported at Saint-Tropez, disappeared in the Mediterranean after an explosion of unknown cause, with 57 crew members on board.

The English rock band Pink Floyd wrote a song called "San Tropez" after the town. Saint-Tropez is also cited in David Gates' 1978 hit, "Took The Last Train" and Aerosmith's "Permanent Vacation". Rappers including Diddy, Jay Z and 50 Cent refer to the city in some of their songs as a favorite vacation destination, usually by yacht. DJ Antoine wrote a song called "Welcome to St. Tropez" which talks about people going there and spending all the money they have.


Ad usque fidelis, Latin for "Faithful to the end". After the "dark age of plundering" the French Riviera, Raphaël de Garesio landed in Saint-Tropez on 14 February 1470 with 22 men (simple peasants or sailors who had left the overcrowded Italian Riviera). They rebuilt and repopulated the area, and in exchange for this service were granted by a representative of the "good king" Jean de Cossa, Baron of Grimaud and Seneschal of Provence, a number of privileges, including some previously reserved exclusively for lords, such as a tax-exempt status and the right to bear arms. Their motto was Ad usque fidelis and they kept their promise indeed. About 10 years later, a great wall with towers stood watch protecting the new houses from sea and interior land attack. Some 60 families formed the new community and on 19 July 1479 the new Home Act was signed, called: "The rebirth charter of Saint-Tropez".[8]


Climate data for Saint-Tropez
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 12.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 9.3
Average low °C (°F) 6.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 82.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 147.8 148.9 203.2 252.1 234.9 280.6 310.3 355.5 319.5 247.0 201.5 145.5 2,748.1
Source: Climatologie mensuelle à la station de Cap Camarat.[9]


The Hôtel Byblos is a Grand Hotel built in the mid-1960s

The main economic resource of Saint-Tropez is tourism. The city is well known for the Hôtel Byblos and for Les Caves du Roy, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, whose inauguration with Brigitte Bardot and Gunter Sachs in 1967 was an international event.


Tropezian Tahiti beach in 2011

Tropezian beaches are located along the coast in the Baie de Pampelonne, which lies south of Saint-Tropez and east of Ramatuelle. Pampelonne offers a collection of beaches along its five-kilometre shore. Each beach is around thirty metres wide with its own beach hut and private or public tanning area.

Many of the beaches offer windsurfing, sailing and canoeing equipment for rent, while others offer motorized water sports, such as power boats, jet bikes and water skiing, and scuba diving. Some of the private beaches are naturist beaches.

Toplessness and nudity

In June, 1962, Austrian-American fashion designer Rudi Gernreich introduced a topless swimsuit called the monokini that generated a great deal of controversy in the United States and internationally. During Gernrich's youth, some Austrians advocated nude exercising, which gave him this fashion idea.[10] The Vatican renounced the swimsuit, and L'Osservatore Romano said the "industrial-erotic adventure" of the topless bathing suit "negates moral sense."[11] In Italy and Spain the church warned against the topless fashion.[12] At Saint-Tropez, the mayor ordered police to ban toplessness and to watch over the beach via helicopter.[13]

During the 1960s, the monokini influenced the sexual revolution by emphasizing a woman's personal freedom of dress, even if her attire was provocative and exposed more skin than had been the norm during the more conservative 1950s.[13] Quickly renamed a "topless swimsuit",[13] the design was never successful in the United States, although the issue of allowing both genders equal exposure above the waist has been raised as a feminist issue from time to time.[14] In Saint Tropez, Tahiti beach, which had been popularised in the film And God Created Woman featuring Brigitte Bardot, emerged as a clothing-optional destination.[15] The "clothing fights" between the gendarmerie and nudists become the main topic of a famous French comedy film series Le gendarme de Saint-Tropez (The Troops of St. Tropez) featuring Louis de Funès, but in the end the nudist side prevailed.[16] Topless sunbathing is now the norm for both men and women from Pampelonne beaches to yachts in the centre of Saint-Tropez port.[17] The Tahiti beach is now clothing optional, but nudists often head to private nudist beaches, like that in Cap d'Agde.[18]


The port was widely used during the 18th century; in 1789 it was visited by 80 ships. Saint-Tropez's shipyards built tartanes and three-masted ships that could carry 1,000 to 12,200 barrels. The town was the site of various associated trades, including fishing, cork, wine, and wood. The town had a school of hydrography. In 1860 the floret of the merchant marine, named "The Queen of the Angels" (a three-masted ship of 740 barrels capacity), visited the port.

Its role as a commercial port declined, and it is now (2013) primarily a tourist spot and a base for many well known sail regattas. There is fast boat transportation with Les Bateaux Verts to Sainte-Maxime on the other side of the bay and to Port Grimaud, Marines de Cogolin, Les Issambres and St-Aygulf.

Port of Saint-Tropez


Les Bravades de Saint-Tropez

Les Bravades de Saint-Tropez are an annual celebration held in the middle of May where people of the town celebrate their patron saint Torpes of Pisa and their military achievements. One of the oldest traditions of Provence, it has been held for more than 450 years, since the citizens of St Tropez were given special permission to form a militia in order to protect the town from the Barbary pirates. During the three-days celebration, the various militias in costumes of the time fire their muskets into the air at traditional stops, march to the sound of bands and parade St Torpes's bust. The townspeople also attend to a mass wearing traditional Provençal costume.

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez

Each year, at the end of September, a regatta is held in the bay of Saint-Tropez (Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez). This is a draw for many yachts, some up to 50 metres in length. Many tourists come to the location for this event, or as a stop on their trip to Cannes, Marseille or Nice.


Chart of population development in Saint-Tropez[19][20][21][22]


Transport to and from Saint-Tropez

By sea

Saint-Tropez marina.

The 800 berths port with two marinas hosts boats, including ferries. In the summer season there is a ferry service between St-Tropez and Nice, Sainte-Maxime, Cannes, Saint Raphael,[23] or by chartering a private yacht.

Some examples of actual ships near/in the Saint-Tropez port can be shown there.

By air

There is no airport located in Saint-Tropez, but there is a charter service to and from clubs, town, and Tropezian beaches by helicopter.[24]

The nearest airport is La Môle – Saint-Tropez Airport (IATA: LTT, ICAO: LFTZ) located in La Môle, 15 km (9 mi) (8 NM) southwest of Saint-Tropez.[25]

Other main airports are:

Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (IATA: NCE, ICAO: LFMN) (~95 km)
Toulon-Hyères Airport (IATA:TLN, ICAO:LFTH) (~52 km)
Marseille Provence Airport (French: Aéroport de Marseille Provence) (IATA: MRS, ICAO: LFML) (~158 km)[26][27]

Some of the nearby air traffic is shown, for example, here

By land

Rail: There is no rail station in Saint-Tropez. The nearest station is 'Saint-Raphaël-Valescure' located in Saint-Raphaël (39 km (24 mi) from Saint-Tropez), which also offers a boat service to Saint-Tropez.[28] There is also direct bus service to Saint-Tropez, and the rail station is connected with bus station.[29][30]

Bus: There is a bus station in Saint-Tropez called the French: Gare routière de Saint-Tropez located in Place Blanqui.[31] It is operated by Var department transport division Varlib, which employs other transport companies to operate routes.

Taxi: There are taxi services – including from Nice airport to Saint-Tropez – but this is not cheap due to long distances, and image of "wealthy Saint-Tropez".[30]

Private car: In the tourist season traffic problems can be expected on roads to Saint-Tropez,[32] so the fastest way to travel is by scooter or bike. There is no direct highway to the village. There are three main roads to Saint-Tropez:

  • Via the A8 (E80) with the sign "Draguignan, Le Muy-Golfe de Saint-Tropez" – RD 25 Sainte-Maxime, 19 km (12 mi) -> on the former RN 98 – 12 km (7 mi).
  • A57 with the sign "The Cannet des Maures" -> DR 558, 24 km (15 mi) Grimaud until then by the RD 61 – 9 km (6 mi) through the famous intersection of La Foux
  • Near the sea, the former RN 98 connects to Toulon-La Valette-du-Var, Saint-Raphaël, Cannes, Nice, Monaco, DR 93, called "Beach Road", with destinations to Pampelonne, Ramatuelle and La Croix – Valmer.

Some services show the actual traffic on the main roads near the Saint-Tropez, for example in English: Via

Town transport

Public transport in Saint-Tropez includes mini buses, which maintain a shuttle service between town and Pampelonne beaches.[26]

Other means of transport include scooters, cars, bicycles and taxis.[33] There are also helicopter services,[34] and boat trips.[35]

Because of traffic and short distances, walking is an obvious choice for trips around town and to the Tropezian beaches.[36]

Culture, education and sport

Paul Signac, Leaving the port of Saint-Tropez, 1901
Paintings Galerie Ivan

The town has health facilities, a cinema, a library, an outdoor center and a recreation center for youth.[37]

Schools include: École maternelle (kindergartenpreschool) – l'Escouleto, écoles primaires (primary schoolsprimary education): Louis Blanc and Les Lauriers, collège d'enseignement secondaire (secondary school, high school – secondary education) – Moulin Blanc.[38][39]

There are more than 1000 students distributed among kindergartens, primary schools and one high school.[40] In 2011 there were 275 students in high school and 51 people employed there, of whom 23 were teachers.[41]


Saint-Tropez plays a major role in the history of modern art. Paul Signac discovers this light-filled place which inspired painters like Matisse, Pierre Bonnard and Albert Marquet to come to Saint-Tropez. The painting styles of pointillism and Fauvism emerged at Saint-Tropez. Saint-Tropez was also attractive for the next generation of painters: Bernard Buffet, David Hockney, Massimo Campigli, and Donald Sultan lived and worked there. Today, Stefan Szczesny continues this tradition.

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Saint-Tropez is twinned with:

Famous persons connected with Saint-Tropez

The most famous include: the semi-legendary martyr who gave his name to the town, Saint Torpes of Pisa; Hasekura Tsunenaga, probably the first Japanese in Europe, who landed in Saint-Tropez in 1615; a hero of the American Revolutionary War, Admiral Pierre André de Suffren de Saint-Tropez; the icon of modern Saint-Tropez, Brigitte Bardot, who started the clothes-optional revolution and still lives in the Saint-Tropez area;[44] Louis de Funès, who played the character of the gendarme (police officer) in the French comedy film series Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez and also helped establish the international image of Saint-Tropez as both a quiet town and a modern jet-set holiday target.[45]


List of media connected with Saint-Tropez

Non-exhaustive filmography

Television series

  • Sous le soleil, broadcast in over 100 countries by the name "Saint-Tropez"



Port of Saint-Tropez
Paul Signac (1899)



  1. gentilé sur le site Consulté le 18 May 2008.
  3. San Torpete (Torpes, Torpè)
  4. History of Saint-Tropez
  5. P. Sénac, "Contribution a l'étude des incursions Musulmanes dans l'Occident Chrétien: la localisation du Ğabal al-Qilāl" Revue de l'Occident Musulman et de la Méditerranée, 31 (1981) 7–14
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 History of Islam and Muslims in France, pages 55–67.
  7. Nicola Williams, Catherine Le Nevez, Provence and the Cote D'Azur (Lonely Planet, 2007), 343.
  8. Saint Tropez - Riviera - Paris - France
  9. Archives climatologiques mensuelles – Cap Camarat (1961-1990)
  10. Bay, Cody (16 June 2010). "The Story Behind the Lines". Retrieved 22 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Smith, Liz (18 January 1965). "The Nudity Cult". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 14 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Thesander, Marianne (1997). The Feminine Ideal (first ed.). London: Reaktion Books. p. 187. ISBN 1861890044.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Smith Allyn, David (2001). Make Love, Not War Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution: An Unfettered History Check |url= value (help). Taylor & Francis. pp. 23–29. ISBN 0-415-92942-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Suzy Menkes, "Runways: Remembrance of Thongs Past", The New York Times, 1993-07-18
  16. "Top 10: Eye Candy Beaches". Retrieved 21 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Williams, Zoe; Moorhead, Joanna (23 July 2009). "Should you go topless – or not?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Velton, Ross. "The Naked Truth About Cap d'Agde". Retrieved 21 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Notices communales avec tous les recensements
  20. Population 2006 sur le site de l'Insee. Consulté le 01/01/2010.
  21. Évolution démographique de 1968 à 2007 sur le site de l'Insee. Consulté le 25/07/2010.
  22. Population municipale 2008 sur le site de l'Insee. Consulté le 02/01/2011.
  26. 26.0 26.1
  30. 30.0 30.1
  42. "Vittoriosa twins with St Tropez". The Times of Malta. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. Jumelage entre Vittoriosa et Saint Tropez (French)

External links