10 Top Tourist Attractions in Saint-Tropez & Easy Day Trips
The name Saint-Tropez evokes images of sunbathing celebrities, designer boutiques, and luxury yachts. It's hard to believe this stylish and upscale beach holiday destination was once just a humble fishing village.
Nestled along the sheltered Golfe de Saint-Tropez bay, the town was discovered in the late 19th century by the Impressionist painter Paul Signac, who later lured artists such as Matisse and Marquet here. Then in 1955, the film Et Dieu Créa la Femme (And God Created Woman), starring Brigitte Bardot, transformed this small port town into a legendary seaside resort, sparkling amid the glitz of the Côte d'Azur.
Saint-Tropez is one of the best places to visit in France to experience the glamour and beauty of the French Riviera. This sun-drenched resort town offers gorgeous sandy beaches and exclusive beach clubs along with a delightful historic village.
The village of Saint-Tropez brims with old-world ambience, seen in its picturesque pastel-colored houses, narrow cobblestone streets, and shady squares. The seaside scenery adds to the allure, with its mesmerizing deep-blue waters and Mediterranean countryside featuring pine trees, olive groves, and cypresses.
Discover the natural beauty and charm of this famous seaside resort, with our list of the top attractions and things to do in Saint-Tropez.
See also: Where to Stay in St. Tropez
1. Vieux Port (Old Port)
The atmospheric Vieux Port is the heart of Saint-Tropez, where the old fishing village first sprung to life. Visitors are delighted by the idyllic scene of small fishing boats and fashionable yachts docked in the harbor, which is lined by pastel-colored Mediterranean houses and lively cafés with outdoor terraces. On the wide sidewalk at the water's edge, artists sell colorful paintings depicting scenes of Saint-Tropez.
One famous establishment along the harbor is the Café Sénéquier (29 Quai Jean Jaurès), distinguished by its bright red facade and awnings. Spending time at this café for a refreshment and to soak up the sunshine is one of the most enjoyable things to do at the Vieux Port. The harbor is also among the best places to visit in Saint-Tropez for people-watching.
Other places to dine at the harbor include the Café de Paris (25 Quai Suffren), a traditional French brasserie that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and Chez Clovis (21 Rue du Cepoun San Martin), a chic restaurant that offers Provençal cuisine, as well as dishes with authentic African flavors.
Another attraction near the harbor is the Place aux Herbes, a typical Provençal market square filled with colorful fruit, vegetable, and flower stalls. The market opens in the early morning and is frequented by locals who like to shop for fresh seasonal ingredients.
Not to be missed while visiting the Place aux Herbes is the Halle aux Poissons, a recently renovated hall used for the town's fish market. With its charming fish-themed mosaic decor, the hall presents an impressive array of seafood. This daily fish market (which opens in the early morning) sells some of the freshest locally caught fish in Provence to locals and chefs of the town's fine restaurants.
Enclosing the harbor on the North, the Môle Jean-Réveille promenade offers an exceptional view of the Vieux Port. This picturesque seafront setting inspired the Impressionist painters. Luxury yachts in the harbor provide a splendid spectacle, especially when the regatta "Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez" takes place from late September to early October.
2. La Ponche: The Old Town
The Old Town of Saint-Tropez, known as "La Ponche" borders the Vieux Port harbor basin and is below the citadel. La Ponche is the historic center of the fishing village and is the most picturesque area of Saint Tropez. Part of it has been laid out as a pedestrian zone, which features narrow alleyways and quaint cobblestone lanes abounding with small shops, upscale boutiques, cafés, and restaurants.
Tourists can begin exploring this lively quarter at the Rue de la Citadelle that leads into the center of the Old Town. Turn left on the Rue du Portail-Neuf and continue until reaching the 18th-century Eglise de Notre-Dame de l'Assomption (Rue Commandant Guichard). With its beautiful Italian Baroque bell tower, this church punctuates the Saint-Tropez skyline. Inside visitors can admire the bust of Saint Tropez, the town's patron saint.
By continuing northwest of the Eglise de Notre-Dame de l'Assomption near the harbor and passing by the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), visitors will come across the Statue of Pierre-André de Suffren who was the Bailiff of the Order of Malta and one of the most important admirals of the French navy fleet in the 1700s.
3. Plage de Pampelonne
Sunbathing at luxurious private clubs, gourmet seaside dining, and a stylish see-and-be-seen ambience define the glamorous beach scene of Saint-Tropez. Fitting this description, the Plage de Pampelonne is the most emblematic Saint-Tropez beach.
The five-kilometer-long sandy shoreline features upscale private beach clubs that attract a glamorous jet-setting clientele. The clubs rent out lounge chairs and parasols and provide beachside service for a pampering experience. Some of the clubs have fancy restaurants with beachfront terraces.
A few of the most legendary Saint-Tropez spots include the famous Club 55 and Nikki Beach club. Celebrities flock to these glitzy private beach clubs, along with locals and international tourists.
Club 55 was immortalized by Bridget Bardot in the film And God Created Woman and has been a hangout for the rich and famous ever since. The casual restaurant at Club 55 draws crowds for its ambience, not the food. While the menu is quite simple, the tree-shaded outdoor terrace offers a pleasant seaside dining experience. The club also has a boutique that sells fashionable beachwear.
Another hip spot that draws beautiful people and celebrities, Nikki Beach is a sophisticated beach club with lively vibes. The cool crowd of Saint-Tropez comes here to sunbathe by the pool on plush sun beds and loungers, where waiters deliver beachside refreshments; dine at the gourmet restaurant; or enjoy the entertainment. DJs spin music all day long.
4. Musée de l'Annonciade
One of the top tourist attractions in Saint-Tropez is its art museum, which occupies the former Chapelle Notre-Dame de l'Annonciade (Chapel of the Annunciation), a few steps away from the Saint-Tropez harbor. This chapel, dating from 1510, was once the Church of the White Penitents for the Confrérie des Pénitents Blancs, a Catholic brotherhood founded during the Middle Ages.
With its remarkable assortment of Impressionist, Neo-Impressionist, and avant-garde paintings, the museum is a reminder of the village's artistic heritage. Many of the pieces on display were created by artists who came to live and work in Saint-Tropez in the late 1890s and at the beginning of the 20th century, from Paul Signac's Pointillist works to Henri Matisse's vibrant Fauvist paintings and Bonnard's evocative Nabis-style pieces.
Other artists featured in the collection include Georges Braque, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Raoul Dufy, Paul Klee, Georges Seurat, Paul Gauguin, and Maurice de Vlaminck.
The Musée de l'Annonciade is open year-round Tuesday through Sunday (except holidays). In July, August, and September, the museum is open every day. From mid-July through September, the museum is open late on Mondays (until 10pm).
Address: 2 Rue de l'Annonciade, Place Georges Grammont, Saint Tropez
5. La Citadelle: Musée d'Histoire Maritime
Built in the early 1600s, La Citadelle stands high above the village of Saint-Tropez overlooking the sea. This foreboding hexagonal fortress now houses the Musée d'Histoire Maritime (Museum of Maritime History) in the space that was formerly the citadel's dungeons.
In the gateway of the citadel is an impressive relief by Paul Landowski, featuring a ship's cannon that is ready for action.
The museum allows visitors to discover the maritime past of Saint-Tropez through stories of the men and women who shaped the history of the village. Visitors can learn about the town's fishermen who traveled the seas of the world, from short fishing expeditions along Provence's coast to longer voyages aboard merchant sailing boats.
Exhibits reveal the exotic destinations reached by local fisherman and describe heroes such as Bailli de Suffren, the famous seaman of Saint-Tropez.
The museum also has a wonderful viewpoint on the bastions, with stunning panoramas of the Golfe de Saint-Tropez and the Massif des Maures mountain range.
Address: 1 Montée de la Citadelle, Saint-Tropez
6. Public Beaches
Saint-Tropez is famous for its exclusive private beach clubs along Pampelonne Beach. However, there are many public beaches with excellent facilities.
La Bouillabaisse Plage is a large sandy beach right outside the village's port. This beach has free public showers and toilet facilities, as well as a seaside restaurant that serves French and Italian cuisine. Sun beds and parasols are available for rent. During summertime, a bathing zone is roped off where swimming is permitted, and lifeguards survey the area.
A locals' favorite, the Plage des Canoubiers is a wide fine-sand beach with free public showers and toilet facilities. This beach also has a sailing school and services for yachting. During summertime, lifeguards are on duty.
Shaded by pine trees, the Plage des Salins is a quiet, remote beach with a pebble shoreline and crystal-clear waters. This family-friendly beach has a pizzeria, free public showers, and toilet facilities. Sun beds and parasols are available for rent. Lifeguards survey the beach from June through September.
The Plage de la Ponche and Plage de la Fontanette are in the old quarter of La Ponche, on the shores where fishermen once docked their boats. These small pebble beaches are popular with sunbathers in search of a less crowded, more low-key atmosphere. Although these adjoining beaches do not have restaurants or snack bars, there are many restaurants nearby. The Sentier Littoral coastal hiking trail begins at the Plage de la Ponche.
Besides its public beaches with well-equipped facilities, Saint-Tropez also has beaches that are prized for their wild natural setting. The Plage des Graniers is near the center of the village, within easy walking distance of the citadel. This small beach boasts lovely seaside scenery and an excellent seafood restaurant. Sun beds and umbrellas are available for rent.
The Plage de la Moutte is a small sandy beach hidden in a protected cove that is accessible from a rugged hiking trail (Chemin des Treilles de la Moutte). The hike into the beach takes about 45 minutes. Bring your picnic provisions. The splendid scenery of Moutte Beach makes it the ideal spot for a leisurely picnic lunch.
7. Place des Lices
This pleasant, shady town square (also known as Place Carnot) is in the heart of Saint-Tropez, within a short walk of the Old Port and the Annonciade Museum. At this lovely square beneath the plane trees, the older men of Saint-Tropez still gather to play the ancient game of pétanque (the Provençal version of bocce ball).
On Tuesday and Saturday mornings, the Marché de Saint-Tropez (a traditional Provençal market) takes advantage of this spacious square. Tourists will enjoy the vibrant scene of colorful stalls filled with fresh local fruit, vegetables, and flowers.
Another attraction on the Place des Lices is the Café des Arts, a well-known establishment where the pétanque players and other locals hang out. This café gives a feel for the ordinary, everyday village atmosphere that has not changed even though Saint-Tropez has become a world-class resort town.
8. La Maison des Papillons (Butterfly Museum)
A visit to La Maison des Papillons (Butterfly Museum) offers a change of pace from the sunbathing, sightseeing, and shopping of Saint-Tropez. With more than 35,000 items on display, the museum allows visitors to admire a wide range of butterflies.
The collection includes exotic, extinct, and rare species such as the black Apollo. The specimens are organized by category and sometimes presented in a setting of their natural environment to give a sense of color and camouflage.
Entomologists consider this museum's collection to have exceptional value. The average visitor will also enjoy the variety and beauty of the butterflies on display.
Address: 17 Rue Etienne Berny, Saint-Tropez
9. Sentier du Littoral: Scenic Seaside Path
This breathtaking coastal path begins just outside the old quarter of La Ponche and runs along the peninsula of Saint-Tropez. The Sentier du Littoral offers a pleasant way to explore the natural beauty of the shoreline and the lush Mediterranean landscape. The route incorporates rugged seaside footpaths, steps through the hills, and more gentle beachside trails.
For outdoorsy types, the Sentier du Littoral path can be approached as a half-day hiking trail. It is also possible to walk along portions of the path on the way to the beach. For instance, the trail leads to the Plage des Salins with its wide shoreline of fine sand and shady pine trees.
Along the way to the Salins Beach is the Crique des Salins (creek) and the tomb of Emile Olivier, former owner of the Château de la Moutte and the last head of government under Napoléon III.
While hiking along this trail, visitors are asked to respect the environment by avoiding litter and refraining from smoking. It is also advised to wear hiking boots and to exercise caution when walking through sections of the trail at the cliff's edge.
10. Musée de la Gendarmerie et du Cinema
This unique museum covers two different topics: the history of the gendarmes (police force) of Saint-Tropez and the town's cinematic heritage. The museum occupies the former gendarmerie (police department) building, which dates back to the 18th century.
Exhibits about the history of cinema in Saint-Tropez begins with And God Created Woman featuring Bridget Bardot and continues by presenting French cult films of the 1960s and other films created in the region.
The museum is open year-round daily, except on holidays.
Address: 2 Place Blanqui, Saint-Tropez
Where to Stay in St. Tropez for Sightseeing
The best place to stay in St. Tropez is in La Ponche, where you'll find cobblestone streets, unique shops, and many restaurants with patios. Accommodations are expensive in St. Tropez, but less expensive options can be found a little farther out. The most affordable hotels are near the yacht basin, a 10-minute drive from the Old Town, where there are nice beaches and restaurants. Below are some highly rated hotels in great locations:
- The five-star Hôtel Sezz Saint-Tropez features sleek modern interiors designed by Christophe Pillet. This hotel delights guests with its lush garden, outdoor swimming pool, contemporary-style spa, concierge services, and Michelin-starred restaurant.
- A short walk from the Place des Lices is the Hôtel & Spa Villa Cosy. This five-star boutique hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and sundeck, a spa, concierge services, and guest rooms with terraces. The hotel offers a gourmet breakfast that includes coffee, fresh-baked croissants, and seasonal fruit.
- The five-star Château de la Messardière is a magnificent resort hotel perched on a hillside overlooking the Old Town and the Bay of Saint-Tropez. Amenities include a spa, swimming pool, fitness center, and five restaurants. Most of the restaurants have outdoor dining terraces that feature breathtaking views of the landscape and coastline.
- At the heart of the Old Town, the five-star Hôtel de Paris Saint-Tropez has several trendy restaurants, a rooftop pool and sundeck, a spa, and fitness center.
- Steps away from the Place des Lices, the Hôtel des Lices offers bright, airy rooms and a pool. This three-star hotel also features free parking, which can be critical during the summertime.
- The three-star La Bastide du Port is very close to the beach and has large rooms that feature sea views; parking is included.
- A charming hotel in the village of Saint-Tropez, the three-star Hôtel Playa provides cozy rooms at an attractive price in a good location near the yacht basin.
- In the neighboring village of Ramatuelle, the Hôtel L'Ecurie du Castellas offers stylish rooms with distant sea views.
- Also in Ramatuelle, the three-star Hôtel La Romarine features lush gardens, tennis courts, and an outdoor swimming pool set in lovely gardens.
Day Trips from Saint-Tropez
At the other end of the French Riviera (about a 90-minute drive away), the legendary resort town of Cannes lives up to its reputation of elegance and glamour with its palm-fringed grand boulevards, yacht-filled marinas, upscale boutiques, and gourmet restaurants. Almost any time of year is pleasant in Cannes, thanks to the balmy Mediterranean climate with mild winters.
Sunbathing or dining alfresco by the beach is enjoyable from May through October. Travelers who visit in May will catch the Festival de Cannes film festival, a stunning red-carpet affair attended by filmmakers and celebrities from around the world.
On the drive to Cannes, tourists may also want to stop at Fréjus (located halfway between Saint-Tropez and Cannes). This attractive port town is appreciated for its beautiful marina, sandy beaches, and interesting Romanesque cathedral.
Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Cannes
Continuing past Cannes (about 30 minutes farther by car), Nice exemplifies the charm and culture of the French Riviera. This gorgeous seaside city enjoys mild, sunny weather and a spectacular location on the Baie des Anges.
The most emblematic sight in Nice is the Promenade des Angles, where locals and tourists alike can bask in the sunshine, admire the sea views, and take in the lively ambience (it's a great place for people-watching).
Other things to do in Nice include exploring the atmospheric Vieille Ville (Old Town); the Colline du Château park; and four superb art museums: the Musée Matisse, Musée Chagall, Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, and the Musée des Beaux Arts.
3. Ramatuelle and Port-Grimaud
Just 10 kilometers south of Saint-Tropez (about a 15-minute drive), Ramatuelle is a typical Provençal town perched on a hilltop overlooking the Bay of Pampelonne. The medieval village is a cluster of ancient buildings that spiral around in the pattern of a snail shell, with winding cobblestone streets that lead to lovely squares.
The village's characteristic Mediterranean architecture features cream-colored facades with brightly painted shutters. Fragrant jasmine, honeysuckle blossoms, and vibrant bougainvillea flourish throughout the village.
At the center of the town, the 16th-century parish church, the Eglise Notre-Dame, has a 14th-century bell tower and a marvelously decorative interior featuring gold-leafed statuettes. For visitors interested in experiencing the local culture, it's worth checking out the traditional Provençal market held at the Place de l'Ormeau on Thursday and Sunday mornings.
Another charming Provençal town nearby is Port-Grimaud (about eight kilometers from Saint-Tropez). This traffic-free waterfront resort town is reminiscent of Venice, with walking paths and footbridges (parking lots are outside of the resort area). Most of the colorful houses along the canals have their own mooring places outside their front doors. Visitors may make use of motorboats available for self-drive hire to explore the canals.
Tourists can easily visit both Ramatuelle and Port-Grimaud as well as other Provençal villages on a day trip. The best way to have a leisurely sightseeing experience is by taking the Saint-Tropez Shore Excursion: Day Trip to Provençal Villages guided tour.
4. Massif des Maures
A popular tourist destination near Saint-Tropez, the Massif des Maures mountain range extends for 60 kilometers along the coastline between Hyères and Fréjus, about 20 kilometers from Saint Tropez. Within the Massif des Maures are 26 ancient villages.
One of the prettiest villages, Bormes-les-Mimosas delights visitors with its vibrant floral decorations and red-roofed, pastel-shuttered houses. The most noteworthy attractions in Bormes-les-Mimosas are the exquisite 16th-century chapel and a terrace with exceptional views. Another quaint medieval village, Collobrières has pleasant squares adorned by fountains and shaded by plane trees.
One of the natural highlights of the Massif des Maures is the Corniche des Maures, an area found in between the sandy beaches of Le Lavandou and Saint-Tropez. The Corniche des Maures boasts exceptional scenery, with many secluded bays and dramatic cliffs.
Within the densely wooded forest of the Corniche des Maures is the Monastère de la Verne, which houses the monastic family of Bethlehem of the Assumption of the Virgin and Saint-Brunois. Visits to the monastery must be arranged in advance with the Collobrières Office of Tourism.
More Seaside Resorts and Beautiful Towns near Saint-Tropez
Other Seaside Resorts to Visit Nearby: While Saint-Tropez may be one of the most well-known resorts on the French Riviera, visitors will also be delighted by other less-discovered seaside towns along the nearby Mediterranean coastline, such as Fréjus, Saint-Raphaël, and Sainte-Maxime.
Highlights of Provence: Tourists more interested in authentic local culture than glamour should visit the port town of Toulon, a 90-minute drive away. After visiting the area's seaside destinations, the countryside outside of Saint-Tropez awaits. The charming pastoral region of Provence is within a two- to three-hour drive. Especially noteworthy are the medieval hilltop villages of the Haut-Vaucluse and the UNESCO-listed Luberon natural regional park.