After the downfall of the roman empire, Provence was regularly invaded by various populations, sweeping away the local inhabitants. At the end of the 1st millenium, all of them had fled the area.
In 972 Guillaume of Provence drove the last invaders away and built what is now known as " La Tour Suffren".During the 15th century, King René of Provence, "Good King René", dedicated himself to reviving and repopulating Provence, devasted by invasions and plague.
In 1441, he created for his Chamberlain Jean de Cossa the Barony of Grimaud, the latter quickly realised that the Saint-Tropez Bay was the weak spot of the area, and therefore had to be protected.
He entrusted an Italian nobleman Raphaël di Garrezzio, with the task of rebuilding, fortifying and repopulating the town; together with 21 Genoese families, they rebuilt the town and its batlements, part of which can still be seen nowadays. As a compensation for defending and populating the town, the inhabitants were free of all taxes and levies.
In 1558, the king granted them the privilege of raising an army under the authority of a town Captain elected by major citizens. In 1637, the tropezian army drove away 21 spanish gallions. All those privileges were abrogated by King Louis the XIVth in 1672, when a royal garrison was posted at the Citadelle ( it is now a Naval Museum). During the XIVth Century, besides traditional activities such as ; fishing, shipbuilding, commerce and agriculture, many tropezians were sailors and navigators to protect and defend tropezians and later french shores.The most famous of them was " Pierre André Bailli de Suffren"1729-1788, he was appointed commander of the Royal Navy by Louis the XVIth.
Another one was le" Général Allard", 1785-1839, who was born and died in Saint-TRopez, he was a staunch supporter of Napoleon and " aide de camp" to Marshal Brune. After he fell out of favour in 1815, he went to the Indies were he led an adventurous life. His indian Sikh widow, survived him for 40 years in Saint-Tropez.
Also, Queen Marie de Medecis called at Saint-Tropez in 1600 and was presented with a coral branch fished off " La Moutte".In 1615 the Shogun's brother and his retinue sought shelter from a storm in the bay. In 1793, during the french Revolution, Barras persuaded the tropezians to give back the town its ancient name of Heraclea.
During the XIXth Century, all activities linked with the Navy took on a significant importance.In 1860 a three masted 740 tons ship was built in Saint-Tropez it was the jewel of the Navy. During that time, Saint-Tropez expanded and thrived.The statue of "Le bailli de Suffren" was erected on the Harbour in 1866 .Emilie Ollivier minister of Napoleon the 3rd died in 1913 and was buried in the vault he had built overlooking" les Salins" opposite his estate at la Moutte.
Each year some of the most important historical and religious events are commemorated in Saint-Tropez during the Bravades on May the 16th,17th and 18th by the whole population in honour of their ancestors and worship of their Patron Saint.
No question Saint Tropez is a magnet for young and not so young women with a taste for style. I think it follows from the fact women tend to read celebrity magazines and St Tropez is a backcloth to a certain A-list and B-list celebrity scene, making it one of the must go destinations. Its expensive and hard to get to, providing the necessary exlusivity.
Strangely, not many young men with shaved heads and earings, wanting to watch football on bar big screens, pint in hand, surrounded by like.
Perhaps these two things are related.
A playground for the rich and super rich!!
"A small fishing village in the South of France"
St Tropez is actually just a small fishing village. It is a 2 hour ferry ride from Nice. But it loaded with yachts, expensive shops, restaurants and expensive houses along the beaches of course. Remember when you come whether by ferry or yacht wear white, bring sun tan lotion and bring lots of money because the shops and restaurants are great.
"This is by the habor"
While you park your yacht or motorcycle you get off at walk across to many of the cafes that they have lined up along the habor. It was nice.
"One of the yachts docked in the habor"
I wish I was on this!!
The jet-set get-set for St Tropez
""Saint Trop' " - Saint "too much"!"
As you begin your descent along the Riviera coast towards Nice airport, St Tropez is your first landmark. Here you see the tiny town snuggled in the "crotch" (yes, I think "crotch" is the appropriate description) of the sweeping curve of the Gulf of St Tropez, with the Venice-style canal network of Port Grimaud and modern resort of Sainte-Maxime opposite. In the distance, the dreary endless holiday apartment blocks of Frejus and St Raphael.
Getting here is the first real challenge. In Summer the roads are choked, one road in and out. The railway does not go anywhere near St Tropez - St Raphael is the nearest stop. The stars limo or helicopter in, and the most famous will moor a large rented yacht and shuttle in and out by tender. For most mere mortals two wheels or excursion boat is the only practical way in.
St Tropez town is tiny - it takes all of about a half hour to see everything. Around the hinterland are St Tropez's beaches, the famous Pampelonne and Club 55, where the stars drop by.
To the rear, the snow capped mountains - the Alpes Maritime of Provence add drama in the distance, and behind towards Toulon and Marseilles, the red terracotta rocks of the Massif d'Esterel. St Tropez. The ultimate playground of the Riviera awaits you.
I think I hear the bell for start of playtime.
The first thing that strikes you as you unload at the harbour of Saint Tropez is the coexistence of style and the image of style. Blue sky meets paintings with blue sky. Art and the Art of Living well.
I am not sure many people actually buy the paintings, but the bohemian arty association is part of St Tropez charm and character. What better excuse to loaf around this pleasure centre of the Riviera than to be "something of an artist"?
"People-watch from Sennequier"
The harbour front patisserie Sennequier offers you a front-row seat on the moving spectacle that is Saint Tropez. Watching in or watching out, everyone is on parade. Here, the first-wives club meet around lunchtime to sip at low calorie fare and gossip.
Tropeziennes are living the ultimate fantasy life: glamour, pleasure, young style, effortless wealth (money made elsewhere, naturally, lots of it, and preferrably by someone else), a sense of being in the centre of a most desirable place.
The Sixties were born here with Bridgitte Bardot's "And God created woman" (and a pretty good job he made of it, if Tropeziennes are anything to go by!). If you are not a starlet you must at least look like one. Anonymous fat people in baggy sportswear with rucksacks? Why not complete the ensemble with a big sign round your neck that shouts "Day-tripper!" Everyone here is sleek and cool.
Here for the season, all eyes hidden behind dark glasses casually scanning everyone passing by. The chance of a minor celeb here. People are the magnet that draws people here. Do you look like someone famous?