Just back from our second trip this Summer to the south of France and St Tropez in particular. We have been going back for nearly 30 years and always return with new enthusiasm for the Mediterranean way of life, the food and design inspiration.
St Tropez has a reputation for being flash and bling but in fact it has hardly changed since the 50s and there are a lot of secret unspoilt parts to be explored and enjoyed.
The last couple of trips we have stayed at the Hotel Sezz - a hotel built in 2010 and interior designed by Christophe Pillet (who spent part of his early career with Philippe Stark) in a paired back minimalist style but also amazingly comfortable and relaxing - this is a very chilled hotel with amazing service, a great restaurant and one of the best designed swimmimg pools you'll find http://saint-tropez.hotelsezz.com
To see St Tropez village at its best, get up really early, stroll along the un-manicured beaches of Les Canoubiers and Les Graniers and end up in Place Des Lices for a coffee at Le Clemenceau - this is a true locals Cafe and half the price of Senequier on the Port.
(an added attraction is the market in Place des Lices on Tuesday and Saturday mornings where you can find the best fruit and vegetables as well as cheese and charcuterie) and don't miss the fish market behind Senequier.
After coffee get your pastries for breakfast from La Tarte Tropezienne and don't miss the famous Tarte Tropezienne - a buttery brioche made with orange blossom water and filled with amazingly light creamy custard - the only place in London we can find this is at Alain Ducasse's Rivea restaurant but you can find the recipe in Nina Parker's book - Nina St Tropez. Like most things in St Tropez it was originally invented for Brigitte Bardot in 1955. http://www.latartetropezienne.fr
Next stop has to be Atelier Rondini to get your Sandales Tropeziennes. They make these in the workroom at the back of the shop as they have for nearly 90 years and will make sure that they fit perfectly before you leave the shop.They are about £100 which for the quality of the leather and workmanship is a bit of a bargain. http://www.rondini.fr
Lunch has to be at the iconic Club 55 on Pampelonne Beach - yes it's a cliche but it still has the best atmosphere of all of the beach restaurants. Many of the ingredients are grown on their own farm and the Club 55 Rose is from their own vineyard - you have to go there at least once - the pale wood, white linen cushion covers and Souleiado light blue tablecloths give a timeless feel and it has not really changed in the last 60 years to our knowledge. Patrice the owner is still there every day and never looks any older - not sure if it's the Mediterranean diet.... http://www.club55.fr
After lunch a brisk walk along the 6 mile Pampelonne beach should burn off the calories ready for a lamb and apricot tagine at the Moroccan restaurant Salama in a tiny alleyway in the village centre. http://www.restaurant-salama.com
Round off the evening with a Hendricks cucumber gin and Mediterannean Fever Tree tonic in the Sube Hotel Bar overlooking the Port.... the perfect St Tropez day.
Get the look...... introducing our new Mediterranean Summer Collection