Of all the legendary yachting destinations on the Cote d’Azur, the one port that almost everyone wants to visit is St Tropez. What was once a small fishing port has become a showroom for superyachts and the place that the international jet-set want to see and be seen every summer. Berths in St Tropez are like gold dust in the high season!
A typical summers day on a yacht in St Tropez ……. Imagine a day spent anchored off the beach at Pampelonne, a long lunch at Club 55 followed by an afternoon of swimming, tanning and fun on the jet skis. Late in the afternoon, your Captain brings up the anchor and heads for the port of St Tropez. Standing on deck in your still wet Vilebrequins as the yacht manoeuvres into one of the prime berths in front of the quayside cafes, who could possibly not feel like the king of the world as the throngs of sunburnt tourists on the quayside watch your every move!
Once into your berth, which you had to reserve months in advance, you’d be forgiven for wanting to stay on the yacht, but here are five places on the old port of St Tropez that offer the quintessential “St Trop” experience and people-watching opportunities galore! They all need to be visited!
This cafe is to St Tropez what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, St Paul’s is to London. Hardly a photograph is taken of St Tropez that doesn’t feature the quirky red triangular tables of this quayside institution, even Karl Lagerfeld hosts fashion shows here for Chanel! Grab your table here at about 6.30pm each evening for an hour or so of unparalleled people watching. The tourists stare at the customers trying to spot a famous face, customers give the other customers the once over to see who they know or who they think they should know. In reality, no one is really that important, just a bunch of “bon viveurs” enjoying a drink as the sun sets on this very special place! Order yourself a glass of champagne, an Aperol or a Mojito and just sit there and take it all in. If you’re really lucky, you will be staring straight at the aft-deck of the yacht you just got off!
SENEQUIER was founded in 1887 as a bakery selling bread, pastries and the famous nougat that they still sell today. Today they are open from 8am to 2-3am for breakfast, lunch, dinner and of course drinks at any time of day and night. And yes you can still buy a baguette here!
SENEQUIER – Quai Jean Jaurés, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France – www.senequier.com
A very stylish restaurant right on the port in St Tropez. Nothing too flashy or pretentious, just a good “chilled out” Cote d’Azur vibe with simple beige cushions, white linens and real sand on the floor! The view of the boats in the port is of course fabulous. Staff are friendly and welcoming, the service is excellent, attentive but in no way intrusive. L’ESCALE is very much focused on fish but there is great food on offer to suit all tastes, meats, pastas, risottos etc. I’d recommend starting with some lobster, followed by a grilled sea-bass and you absolutely must end with the Grand Marnier soufflé, it is to die for! Relatively expensive for what it is but well worth it for the location.
L’ESCALE – Quai Jean Jaurés, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France
What looks like a normal, albeit very elegant cafe totally transforms itself at around 9pm every night when LE QUAI becomes part Las Vegas show, part chic Asian-fusion restaurant and part nightclub. Grab a table, order some sushi and a bottle of Cristal and get ready for a very interesting evening! The show is always great, one never quite knows what to expect but it never disappoints. Think police uniforms, dancers from the Moulin Rouge, an S&M Batman and you’ll be halfway there! LE QUAI is perhaps the one place in St Tropez that really does live up to the tabloid reputation of this town. Russian oligarchs drinking €20,000 bottles of champagne, check. Fifty something white haired lotharios with their shirts unbuttoned to their brown rather domed stomachs, check. A steady supply of attractive young girls from various corners of Eastern Europe looking for their “Daddies”, check. And for that, LE QUAI is great, unreserved, hedonistic and fun, exactly what St Tropez should be!
LE QUAI – Quai Jean Jaurés, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France – www.lequaisaint-tropez.com
BAR DU PORT
An excellent place on the waterfront in the port of St Tropez. Very funky interiors with loads of white leather and mirrors. Outside you’ll find a very tasteful terrace overlooking the yachts. Come here for breakfast, coffee or a drink at any time of day. During the day, the BAR DU PORT is a typical Cote d’Azur cafe with people enjoying glasses of rosé in the sunshine. There is also excellent food on offer. At night this place really comes alive with more of a club feel. The bottles of rose from earlier in the day are replaced by Grey Goose and champagne as the DJ starts playing. Great music and a real Ibiza vibe!
BAR DU PORT – Quai Suffren, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France – www.facebook.com/bar.du.port
The fantastic HOTEL SUBE is a lovely small hotel on the old port of St Tropez. A great place to stay if you’re not lucky enough to have your own yacht but the real reason to come here is to try and grab one of the four or so tables on the first-floor balcony. If you’re lucky enough to get one, you’ll be treated to a unique view over the old port and out into the Gulf of St Tropez. A truly fantastic place to sit and absorb all that this town has to offer. The rooms are small but nicely furnished and offer exceedingly good value for the location on offer.
HOTEL SUBE – Quai Suffren, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France
This article was written by Alexander Coles, Senior Charter Broker at Bespoke Yacht Charter who have a combined 20 years of experience arranging luxury yacht charters in St Tropez, the Cote d’Azur and throughout the Mediterranean.
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