St Tropez has some world-class beaches but being the summer mecca that it is, they can be rammed. The most famous, Pampelonne, is where Brigitte Bardot made her name and where the dessert Tarte Tropézienne was created. The iconic nudist Tahiti beach to the north and family-friendly, Nikki beach to the south are great spots, but all of them are outside the village of St Tropez itself. A boat is a perfect way to avoid the huge traffic queues. Make a reservation at Club 55 on Pampelonne beach, where all the stars hang out, moor your boat a little out and swim ashore. Many people do it, wrapping their clothes, wallets and towels in a zipped waterproof bag and wading ashore before finding somewhere to dry off and change before dinner!
Le Club 55, 43 Boulevard Patch, 83350 Ramatuelle, France, +33 4 94 55 55 55
Whilst a boat might be expensive, you can mitigate the cost by not eating in the very expensive local restaurants. Head to the Tarte Tropézienne bakery for instance, or pick up a cooked chicken and potatoes in the local market and step aboard. To be almost akin to a French local, you’ll also need to take some cool rosé wine from the local vineyards.
National Geographic recently voted this coastline as one of the most fantastic in the world. In summer, when most people are visiting, it can be hard to really see everything there is because of the crowds. Visiting these places by boat or just taking in the scenery while lounging a little out at sea can offer the best advantage. Plus, if someone comes along, you can move much quicker to where there are fewer crowds. Head to the Cap Camarat lighthouse and its nearby beach, Bonne Terrasse. Skirt the shoreline and moor against one of the jetties to step ashore to walk the fantastic “littoral” (coastal path). With a boat, you’ll have much more flexibility to see all the sights St Tropez has to offer.
St Tropez is difficult to do on a budget if you want to use a boat. For the cheapest options, it’s probably best to pick up a boat somewhere other than the village, like Sainte Maxime. You can hire a boat by the day (with a pilot if you don’t have a licence) or join a group for an organised trip.