Sur la plage abandonnée,La Madrague, Brigitte Bardot, 1963
Coquillages et crustacés,
Qui l’eût cru déplore la perte de l’été,
Qui depuis s’en est allé.
In 1963, a sad Brigitte Bardot was singing summer coming to an end in Saint-Tropez. No more sun, no more flowers, no more sailboats…
Saint-Tropez (or Saint-Trop’ for the locals) is indeed the symbol of the Mediterranean sun and farniente.
Winter definitely contrasts with the electric, lively and crowded animation of the village in summer. Saint-Trop’ turns into a sleeping beauty, life is slower and more magical. It seems even Brigitte Bardot (or BB as the French call her) has fallen under the charm of Saint-Trop’ in winter, as she has been living full time in the village for many years now.
Winter in Saint-Trop’ means a softer climate, a breathtaking light and also the joy of freely wandering its typically colourful streets and empty beaches.
Many shops and restaurants are closed during winter and only reopen in spring. Make sure you check their opening times prior to your visit to avoid any disappointment. Also, if your goal is to track down celebrities, winter might not be the best time of year for that! But you will get to experience Saint-Trop’ just like a local and this is priceless!
Here are a few of our favourite spots in Saint-Tropez in winter:
La Tarte Tropézienne
“La Tarte Tropézienne” is a compulsory visit when in Saint-Trop’. Right on the Place des Lices, this bakery created in 1955 a cream-filled brioche that would become the superstar of Saint-Tropez. That same year, Brigitte Bardot, who was filming a movie in Saint-Tropez, loved it and suggested it should be named after its birthplace : “la tarte tropézienne” was born!
our coup de cœur… their “Baby Trop’”, a small version of the tarte tropézienne. Baby Trops come in different seasonal flavours (coffee, chocolate, walnuts, passion fruit…), but we have a soft spot for the “Baby Trop’ nature” , the original unflavoured version
Rondini – the traditional Sandales Tropéziennes
The Rondini family has been making the legendary leather sandals for 92 years. As a family business ourselves, we are very impressed by Rondini’ savoir faire and dedication, which might be the key to their longevity.
During our latest visit to the shop, we had the chance to meet Alain Rondini, who represents the third generation of cobblers. He told us how his grandfather moved to Saint-Tropez from its native Tuscany to set up a small sandal production. He showed us the atelier, behind the shop, where the leather sandals are still manufactured. Rondini’s craftsmen and women are experts in leather, and are always keen to adapt the shoes specifically to your feet. Customised sandals, what else!
As the years passed by, the small business grew, family members joined the team, and Rondini has been for many years a successful and flourishing business (Rondini’s sandals were recently seen on Kate Moss’s feet!).
For those who cannot visit their shop but are eager to make those wonderful sandals their own, Rondini recently opened an eShop on its website.
our coup de cœur… the Salomé sandal, a simple and elegant design that holds the foot perfectly while giving it all the air it needs!
La Maison des Jumeaux
This restaurant is tucked in a small alley, away from the hustle and bustle of the harbour and luxury shops.
This is one of the few affordable restaurants open in Saint-Tropez in winter, and we love its simple traditional food. The restaurant has a wonderful shady terrace outside, which might however be too cold for winter months.
It’s also one of the rare places where you can try the famous Barbarac ice creams off season.
our coup de cœur… the soupe de poisson (fish soup), typical from the South of France
This is the most famous café of Saint-Tropez. Located in the harbour, this is where locals and celebrities gather to have an apero (aperitif) while looking at the sea and the yachts. Sénéquier and its famous terrasse is where you go to be seen. The café itself does not go unnoticed with its bright red furniture.
our coup de cœur… the location, right on the harbour. You can sit there and look at the coming and going of the boats all day long
L’Atelier 55 is a vintage furniture shop. With shops in Paris, Megève and Saint-Tropez, this is not a unique shop. However, they do sell very cool vintage pieces from the 50s, 60s and 70s, and their catalogue is exceptional.
our coup de cœur… the vintage French Riviera travel posters
The Saint-Tropez Market
On Tuesday and Saturday mornings, the Place des Lices, in the heart of Saint-Tropez, hosts one of the most famous open-air markets of the Côte d’Azur. This is where locals gather to sell their products, which range from seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh fish and meat…to flowers, furniture, toys…
The market is so crowded during summer you can barely walk. It is much more agreable in winter.
Place des Lices, 83990 Saint-Tropez (see on map)
Musée de l’Annonciade
This chapel, converted into a museum, was created in 1922 and brings forward impressive art work dating from 1890 to 1950, including some of the greatest masterminds such as Matisse, Klee or Gauguin. During this period, Saint-Tropez was the heart of an impressive painting movement led by the painter Paul Signac.
27 place Georges Grammont, 83990 Saint-Tropez (see on map)