In the 1950s, Brigitte Bardot arrived in St Tropez, with her then-husband, 28-year-old Roger Vadim. The town was relatively unknown and so was Bardot. It was the film they made, And God Created Woman, that threw her and St Tropez into the spotlight.
The film is about the complicated love triangle between two brothers and Bardot – she is in love with the one who doesn’t want her. The film took lots of shots of Bardot on the beach at Pampelonne (a bay just south of the town itself). Legend has it that the film crew arrived, erected a shack on the beach as a restaurant etc. which they called Club 55. The film didn’t open to critical acclaim but it launched Bardot’s career and her love affair with St Tropez – she bought a house here and has never really left. The world went crazy for her and for St Tropez and people began to flock to Pampelonne and Club 55.
Unusually, it still has the same reputation today. The A-Listers hang out at Club 55 every summer, tourists flock to Pampelonne Beach to soak up the glamour and St Tropez is still one of the coolest places on the planet.
The Troops of St Tropez (“Les Gendarmes de St Tropez“) was the highest grossing film in France in 1964. It’s a comedy featuring Louis de Funès, who plays a “gendarme” (policeman) called Ludovic Cruchot, who is reassigned to St Tropez from a small village.
He has two problems – his runaway teenage daughter and a group of persistent nudists who are threatening to disturb the seaside town. The film features many locations in town, but most pertinently, the old police station. This beautiful building now houses the quirky Musée de la Gendarmerie et du Cinéma, which celebrates the town’s relationship with films and the Police. The film was huge and spawned a number of different movies, including The Policeman & Creatures From Outer Space.