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In the footsteps of Brigitte Bardot and Yves Montand

Shopping street in St. Tropez

Brigitte Bardot put it on the map; Yves Montand came here every year and played boule with the locals; gentry from all over the world docked at the port, descending from their yachts into the numerous restaurants and bars on offer. The clientele on the sun beaches was like a Who is Who of show business. Movies were made here and Louis de Funès became a household name in many European countries as the town’s gendarme battling both local nudists and visiting aliens.

Welcome to St. Tropez, a former fishing village turned playground for the rich and famous and the many wannabes. At first sight, it is not as luxurious as, for example, Monte Carlo, and does not have the required 10-star hotels. What it does have is a lot of charm, small cobblestone streets snaking through hills and cool restaurants. The port is packed with yachts of all shapes and sizes and the tourists overwhelm the streets during the peak summer months.

Cafe de Paris – where celebrities can find you

If you are into celebrity watching, then start your day by having a coffee at Café de Paris in the port, you may run into somebody famous (or they might run into you). Numerous sandy beaches are nearby (Nikki Beach is the famous) and you can choose between the free public ones or pay for entry and get a sun-bed with a sun-umbrella (generous, isn’t it?). Lunch is best taken at one of the beach restaurants so as not to break up the tanning routine.

The evening is made for jiving in town, have dinner at one of the restaurants piled up next to each other. We opted for Rendez-Vous and had some excellent sushi. Then off to a disco, night club or bar, depends on your preference (and age). As our readers might suspect, Hanna opted for the bar. Alex tagged along.

St. Tropez is a fun place to spend a vacation; the only drawback is that the nearest airport in Nice is almost a two-hour drive. Unless, of course, you have a yacht, then just find a place to dock and join the party!

“I don’t get it, the boat was standing right here”

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Hotel Benkirai – a charming place in glamorous St. Tropez

Hotel Benkirai in St. Tropez is advertised on several travel websites as a five star establishment, which it is not. It is in fact a nice four star hotel to spend a few days enjoying life on the French Riviera. It’s located only a five minute drive from St. Tropez with all its beaches and jet-set life this former fishing village, turned glamour capital, has to offer. The hotel has an excellent taxi service free-of-charge until midnight, so you can easily go to town or enjoy the beach whenever you feel like it.

The hotel itself is very pleasant with a lovely restaurant/bar area, a nice pool and plenty of comfortable sun beds (in the morning you are not stressed looking for a place to put down your old bones to get some tan). The rooms are small, that is a fact, but rather well designed in light blue and white colors. You have either a nice terrace or a balcony. You may feel a bit claustrophobic, but then again, who comes to St. Tropez to hang around in the hotel room?

The restaurant serves traditional Mediterranean food in a tranquil setting and is an excellent choice if you don’t have the energy to take the taxi downtown. Being rather picky travelers, we were not able to fault the service even one small bit, everything was top notch. And most importantly, Sam (our dog) was very much welcomed. So if you are planning a visit to St. Tropez and don’t want to stay in the town itself, don’t hesitate to book Hotel Benkirai, it’s an absolutely beautiful place with plenty of charm.

Rating: 4/5

Pool area

Visiting St. Tropez – the playground for the rich and famous

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