The small dock area is designed for private yachts, not for cruise ships, so cruise visitors will be tendered to either the Vieux (=old) Port or to the Nouveau (=new) Port, but these are only 150 meters apart. From the new port you pass the old port and right into town. There are no cruise terminals in Saint Tropez but there is a tourist information center near each landing stage. On all sides of the ports there are many cafés, restaurants and shops.
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Once an insignificant fishing village, this jet set haven became popular as an artists' colony in the late 19th century. But it was Roger Vadim's movie, And God Created Woman, filmed here with Brigitte Bardot, which brought about the international cult of Tropezian sun, sex and celebrities. Located at the end of its own peninsula, St. Tropez suddenly became the talk of the jet set, who propelled the tiny port into world fame.
A hundred years ago not even a proper road lead to St. Tropez; access was mainly by boat. Novelist Guy de Maupassant sailed his yacht into the port in 1880. The neo-Impressionist painter Paul Signac followed, as did a number of other famous artists and writers. By the time of World War I, St. Tropez was well established as a hangout for Bohemians.
The old part surrounding the harbor is the focal point. Here, narrow streets are packed between Quai Jean Jaurès, Place des Lices and what is left of the 16th-century citadel. The harbor is filled with sleek, gleaming yachts that have replaced the simple fishing boats. Pastel-colored houses ring the waterfront, presenting the classic St. Tropez impression of sidewalk cafés and small boutiques with the latest fashions.
St Tropez is really easy to explore on foot. It's not that big and has a lot of narrow quaint streets and a few really old towers along the Port Ancien Bassin.
Taxis are available but unless you want to go out of town, it is much easier to just walk around here.
It pays to compare your cruise line tours here.
Further afield (25 km) is the historic Roman city of Fréjus, with a Roman arena and a 12th century cathedral. Be aware that during the summer period the coastal roads are be very busy.
St. Tropez is famous for its topless and some bottomless beaches. The better (private) beaches, like Tahiti Plage are past the headland, at least 3 km away on a stretch of sand called Pampelonne. To reach them, either take a taxi or one of the frequent beach shuttle mini buses from the Place des Lices. There are fees to use the beaches and traffic jams can be heavy, specially in midsummer, on the roads out of town.
St-Tropez is dense with stylish shops, but has no specific shopping street. Most shops are tucked in out-of-the-way corners of the old town. Big names include Hermès, Sonia Rykiel, and Dior. Galeries Tropéziennes, 56 rue Gambetta, crowds hundreds of gift items -- some worthwhile, some silly -- into its showrooms near place des Lices. The merchandise is Mediterranean, breezy, and sophisticated.
On Tuesday and Saturday mornings an outdoor market with food, clothes, and brocante (flea-market finds) blooms on place des Lices. This is one of the best Provençal markets in the south of France, with more than 100 vendors selling everything from tableware to homemade bread. The fish, vegetable, and flower market is down a tiled alley (place aux Herbes) behind the tourist office. It operates daily 8am to noon in summer and Tuesday to Sunday 8am to noon in winter.
For Internet check with the local tourist office at Quai Jean Jaurès by the old port.
Local emergency number: 112
Most shops, businesses, information services, museums and banks in France stay open all day. The exceptions are the smaller shops and enterprises, which may close for lunch sometime between 12.30pm and 2pm. Basic hours of business are from 8 or 9am to 6.30 or 7.30pm Monday to Saturday for the big shops and Tuesday to Saturday for smaller shops (some of the smaller shops may open on Monday afternoon). You can always find boulangeries and food shops that do stay open, however, on days when others close – on Sunday normally until noon.
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