Figaro, a French newspaper, once said that the French Riveria’s Saint-Tropez has more “famous faces per square mile” than anywhere else on the planet.
Ever since the 50’s when paparazzi began trailing the just-discovered Bridget Bardot, this provincial maritime village has been pulling in the yachts, the Ferraris, the private planes and the flesh and blood versions of the faces we see on the magazine covers.
Beyonce & Jay Z recently pulled into the Cote d’Azur paradise in their 180-foot Italian yacht where they were spotted all over the town: on its narrow, cobblestone streets, on its dazzling beaches and even in its decadent discos.
A breathtaking coastal footpath winds from the original fishing harbor to the hard-partying beaches and their non-stop nightclubs and yet another winds back through pines and eucalyptus to the famous Place des Lices shops selling Armani, Prada, Dior, Pucci and the SuperdryStore where David Beckham and Formula One racing champs hone their hunky images. If it’s a Tuesday or Saturday before noon, the open-air Marche de St-Tropez sells baguettes, Provencal olives and linens, cheeses, herbs and silk brocades.
Hotel Sube, overlooking the famous port, is the town’s oldest and has long been a hangout for artists, writers and other Bohemians. Back in the 20’s, for example, French author Collette fell in love with the sunsets, the Muscat grapes and the rustic wisteria-covered pastel houses.
Or there’s Hotel Byblos, where in 1971 Mick Jagger proposed to Bianca (in room 401, if you must know). They later tied the knot at the Chapel of St.-Anne with scads of paparazzi-snapping away. Jagger and Bardot sightings have tapered off (she still lives here, but mainly in seclusion), but this mythic playground is still good for a glimpse of the entourages of P. Diddy, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Naomi Campbell, Bruce Willis and Ivana Trump.
Just remember, the real stars are the beaches.