Sun, sea and St Tropez: What’s new in France’s most glamorous beach town?

Every year thousands of jet-setters and sun-seekers flock to St Tropez during peak summer months to enjoy the glamour of this French seaside resort. It’s now easier than ever to reach the French Riviera with a direct business class flight on airline La Compagnie from Newark to Nice.

The original St Tropez was a small fishing village that attracted artists and writers for many years. Now, the town is bustling with life. There are champagne-fueled parties on the beaches of Pampelonne Bay, Tropezienne tarte on the Terrace of Senequier, and big parties behind the walls of luxurious villas.

The Chanel boutique opened only after the season was officially declared open.

St Tropez’s hotels have plenty of events planned for the coming year. New additions to their facilities and new restaurants will be opening in old and new shells. Here are some ideas for what you should keep in mind this season.

A photography exhibition that celebrates the women who put St Tropez on top in 1956’s film AND GOD CREATED WOMAN and THE SWIMMING POOL will be open from August 3 to September 18 at the Salle Despas on Place des Lices. The archive photography of St Tropez will be scanned and curated to show its pre-jet-set days. Its bohemian atmosphere will remind you of a time when St Tropez attracted artists such as Paul Signac, Henri Matisse and others to the shores to paint the sailing vessels gliding along the Mediterranean Sea in the magic light of the midi.

St Tropez was also a popular destination for French literati. Places like La Ponche and were open to Francoise Sagan and Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and others, for wild nights of live music and vermouth cocktails well into the evening. Fabrizio Cassiraghi, interior designer, completely renovated the hotel’s 21 rooms last year. The speakeasy spirit remained intact. It kicked off the season this year with the first edition of the literary prize and yoga retreats in partnership with French institution Le Tigre.

La Reserve Ramatuelle is a luxurious property that’s both glamorous and relaxed. It’s located just 20 minutes from St Tropez. It is located on a tranquil residential hill, overlooking the Mediterranean. The former private club was built into the rockface. It was purchased by Michel Reybier, La Reserve’s headman. Since then it has been a little piece of paradise with great sea views for those who are tired of the St Tropez madness. The renovation by Eric Canino of the Michelin-starred restaurant, Jacques Garcia, took the ambience up a notch. The hotel offers 28 rooms in its main building. However, the 14 private villas are open to guests all year. For a true Riviera experience, La Reserve Beach Club is worth a visit.

The Cheval Blanc is a hotel that rivals La Reserve, but is a bit further away from the main exit of St Tropez on the seafront. It offers a relaxing atmosphere and high-quality amenities. There’s plenty of entertainment for kids at the beach and on the shore, and La Vague d’Or restaurant is a great place to relax with your parents. Chef Arnaud Dockele was awarded three stars in March. Pre-dinner pampering is a must at Cheval Blanc’s Guerlain spa. You can get a micro peel or pilates facial to prepare your skin for the summer sun.

The historic Pan Dei Palais St Tropez, built in 1835, has been retaken by the expanding Airelles group, which also owns the Les Airelles Palace hotel in Courchevel, France. The group has launched a road trip that will take travelers from Paris to the south of France this season. The Chateau De La Messardiere is located just outside of town. It has undergone a complete renovation and now boasts a 500m2 villa. Marco Garfagnini oversees the restaurant and there are two swimming pools.

The Hotel has reduced the number of rooms in town to make room for six newly renovated suites. Restaurants will be focusing more on the delicious produce grown in the nearby kitchen garden.

Like many other southern French destinations, St Tropez spends the year getting ready for summer. There were a staggering number of new restaurants in and around the town last year. It’s the same season again, with many restaurateurs opening new restaurants in Paris, Courchevel, and St Barts locations in town, nearby Ramatuelle, or on Pampelonne Beach. This beach is known for its wooden-deck clubs.

Cyril Lignac is opening a Boulangerie in the town. At the seventies-tinged Le Tigr St Tropez, you can swing your mallet onto its new croquet field. Homer Lobster returns for its second season, serving their succulent lobster rolls with soft and crispy brioche bread. L’Italien is getting a revamp. It’s GINA’son port. Eric Frechon, a three-star chef, is now the consultant chef. He’s creating Italian cuisine featuring seafood from your Nonna’s cookbook.

Ramatuelle is also hot. The music label owners and restaurateurs at Indie Group took over Cafe de L’Ormeau and redesigned the local institution Cafe de L’Ormeau . This kept its original spirit alive, including the mini library, where punters can browse some of their favorite literary works. The cafe will reopen next month and joins their expanding empire that includes Indie Beach, Playamigos and Pablo.

Ramatuelle also offers a unique experience with an offshoot from the Parisian restaurant Gigi. It was opened last year in a beautiful tranquil pine forest setting.

Another new addition to the St Tropez beach scene is the La Petite Plage. Eric Frechon will be back with an elegant beach-style cuisine that’s infused with plenty festive Mediterranean spirit. The exclusive beach club Les Palmiers has also been updated. It now features a relaxing all-white-and wood decor that’s perfect for lounging on the water in the afternoons.

Visitors and regulars will find plenty to do. However, if that’s not enough for you, there are many new offshoots from Parisian institutions opening this season. These include Noto, Manko and Loulou, Kinugawa and Cafe Laperouse. They also offer a cabaret-restaurant, Cafe Laperouse and Le Piaf. This makes it easy to feel at home in the French capital.

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