Things to Do in St-Tropez
Though St-Tropez is famous for its glamour and glitz, the city also has a rich and eventful past. The Citadel is a prime example, having been the town’s crown jewels since the 17th century, and one of the few monuments of its magnitude to still stand today on France’s southern coastline. In fact, The Citadel is one of the city’s most visited historical and cultural sites, both for its history and its panoramic views over the Bay. The Citadel was built between 1602 and 1608, based on the drawings of engineer Raymond de Bonnefons. The building, composed of a thick-walled hexagonal tower, a concealed interior courtyard, towers with cannon openings, and a bastioned outer wall, was used to defend the strategic port of St-Tropez, the most important strongholds between Antibes and Toulon for centuries. Its location on a hill with slopes bare of vegetation helped the military spot and bomb all vessels that came too close to the walls of the city.
Often named “St-Tropez’s jewel beach”, Pampelonne Beach is actually located just outside city limits in nearby Ramatuelle. The beach is a 4.5-kilometer stretch of sand very popular amongst tourists, as just one of the few sandy beaches on the French Riviera (as opposed to the pebbly beaches in Nice, for example). Pampelonne was one of the main targets of Operation Dragoon, the large-scaled Allied invasion of southern France in August 1944 that ultimately caused the German army to abandon southern France altogether. After World War II, the Parisian elite, including big names like Brigitte Bardot, Coco Chanel, and Juliette Greco, gave St-Tropez its glitz and glam reputation by spending their summers at the beach, a tradition that most Northern French vacationers still uphold today – hence why the French Riviera is often qualified as overcrowded in August when the majority of the country is on holiday.
Cap Taillat is a promontory into the Mediterranean Sea located right at the doorstep of Saint-Tropez. Although difficult to reach (it is only accessible on foot after a short coastal trek), Cap Taillat is one of the most beautiful sights in the area, with wild and unspoiled beaches as well as preserved flora. The many viewing points offer splendid and unobstructed panoramas of the turquoise sea and the dramatic coastline, punctuated by creeks and endemic palm trees. It is a popular summer attraction for visitors from all over France.
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