I have been lucky enough to visit St. Tropez twice. The second time (my favorite time) was with my mother and sister, we were there in early May which is the off season. The weather was just beginning to warm up and town was quiet since the summer tourists had not shown up yet. It is easy to spot the tourists because they don't have the standard tan that the locals have. The St. Tropez tan is basically some kind of an optical allusion because it also makes everyone look happy, young, vibrant, and of course - tan. There should be a St. Tropez Instagram filter. Our first encounter with a perfectly tanned local was a tan man that would hang out in the passageway leading from our hotel to the shops and the harbor. He was older, very friendly and usually done up in a shirt with many unbuttoned buttons accented by gold chains sitting where his shirt was not. Although he made my sister and I giggle endlessly, his charms stopped short at my mom who frowned at his unbuttoned buttons. Technically we could have avoided the tan man by using an alternate passage but saying hello to him daily was our way of pretending that we were locals too. Much to my mom's dismay he would randomly pop out and chat us up on our way down to max out our credit cards at Galeries Tropiziennes, Chanel, Eres, Villbrequin, and the gelato shop.
For our first day in St. Tropez we went to the beach and after lots of blog searching, guidebook consulting, etc. we decided to go to beach club Le Club 55. The valet was equipped with the standard tan plus an added bonus of sparkling humor and a super dangerous Frenchman smile! It was divine. My sister and I giggled all the way into Le Club 55. There is a very welcoming restaurant at the front of Le Club 55 decked out in sun washed blues and beach stained woods. Past the restaurant was the beach complete with chairs and palapas for lounging about. I would recommend going to any of the beach clubs, make yourself comfortable on the beach, order a bottle of rose and then visit the little shops at the beach clubs. Le Club 55's beach shop offers beach bags, towels (reasonably priced), bikinis, pillows, wraps, kids toys and jewelry. As usual we overspent but everything I bought I still use and find to be unique and perpetually in style. We didn't stay at the beach long since the clouds rolled in and someone in our group started to get sunburnt . . .
After a nice nap we went out to dinner at a cute little restaurant with all white furnishings right next to our friend, the tan man's usual spot. It was an adorable little Italian restaurant with amazing food, staff and wine. Since it was so close to our hotel my mom decided to go back to the room and let my sister and I go out and have a little fun. We checked out the discotheque down by the harbor with all its flashy lights and loud music. The best part of the night was the walk back to the hotel. It was a confused route back with may wrong turns but it was so pretty we didn't care, then we saw it - between beautifully painted/aged shutters and window boxes we encountered . . . a cat door. With a cat in it. The cat poked its head out at us when we passed by as if to say, "ladies, can you please keep it down meow?" This was by far the biggest treat of the entire trip and the next day, with my mom in tow, we searched for the cat door all day long without finding it. At this point my mother was starting to think we were starting to be nutty.
So, when you are nutty - you go shopping! We went to the Chanel store which was perfect for us because it is nuts (in a very good way) - make sure to get out to the backyard where you will find the pool house where all the shoes live. Yes, there is a pool at the Chanel store, the store is actually a giant house. Then we went to Galeries Tropiziennes, the home of St. Tropez espadrilles and other super fun miscellaneous items - like a beautiful, never seen in the wild, reversible Goyard beach bag. Now, please read this and learn from my mistakes. I did not buy that bag and now I am obsessed with it and cannot find it anywhere. Buy everything you love in Europe and regret it later, like when you get home. The ERES store is also amazing as well as the Villbrequin shop. I bought some super cute swim trunks with crabs all over them for my husband, yes I am married and yes the poor man is not amused by me or my craziness - who knows how long he will stick around. I am trying to figure out how to tailor the shorts so that I can wear them . . .
After shopping we got gelato and window shopped the Hermes shop only because it was closed - otherwise we would have gone in and made many, many good mistakes. The next day we left for Monte Carlo, Monaco which would be our final night in France before heading home with all of our shopping bags.
Recommendations from our trip:
Hotel: B Lodge Hotel, very affordable and in town so that you can walk anywhere. Staff was also incredibly helpful.
Restaurant: Casa Di Stefano (Italian), great food and service
Shopping: Galeries Tropiziennes, Chanel, Eres, Villbrequin, anywhere selling linen shirts, Club 55 shop
Beach Club: Le Club 55