«

»

Jun
29

St. Tropez is Uncool

How do you know when a place has lost its cool?

paris hilton

paris hilton

I’ll tell you: When hugely fat Russian Oligarchs are pouring $15,000 magnums of Dom Perignon into the not-so-clear waters below.

Superyachts of St. Trop

Superyachts of St. Trop

Or:

When a bottle of water costs $15

Or:

When a beach mattress costs $75

club55

club55

Or:

When the only car you see on the cobblestones streets is a Bentley, Maserati, Ferrari, Astin-Martin.

Or:

When you see Paris Hilton

paris hilton parties

paris hilton parties

Or:

Lindsey Lohan

lindsey

lindsey

St. Tropez in August is just such a place. From September to May, this place is a jewel, a gem, in fact all of the south of France is. And so easy to get to. Merely book a cheap flight to Nice, of which there are many pre-Cannes, rent an affordable small car and drive. Stop at any number of small fishing towns along the way to St. Tropez, walk down small cobbled streets, buy a baguette, a bottle of rose, put down a towel and picnic on the beach, no one will bother you when it’s NOT August.  Life here revolves around the sea and most French port towns off-season think about the fish and the boats. Most super yachts are gone, taken back across the Atlantic, to Holland for repairs or just tucked away in some of the larger ports like Antibes or Cannes where like their owners will rest and then get a facelift for the next season.

st. tropez winter

st. tropez winter

But when June starts to approach, it all changes. And nowhere does it change more than in St. Tropez.  This place simply explodes into an entirely new animal. Beaches rage, the once-calm bays fill with massive 200-foot yachts, their owners propped on deck with a set of binoculars scanning beach clubs looking for the hottest women. They dance for them. On tables in tiny bikinis, hoping, begging to be noticed and when they are,  tenders with uniformed drivers are sent to pick up them up.

voile rouge

voile rouge

It is the legend of the beach club that sent this place over the moon. But the legend has morphed from small fireside beach party into massive topless ragers, where night after night 500 people, most in their 20′s and all in stages of undress, dance to thumping music, DJ’s and drums, while helicopters hover over head, tenders are driving back and forth to their super yachts while rappers rap into a microphone: ”So Trop, so hot; so Trop, so hot.”

Sound awful?

Just wait, it gets worse.

pamela anderson hits st. trop

pamela anderson hits st. trop

Here in this small port town in August, money rules and how much you can waste is key. Spraying fifteen-thousand dollar magnums of Cristal champagne into crowds, a favorite pastime of super wealthy Arabs on their daddy’s yachts, or P. Diddy. Getting a good spot in the port so that everyone walking past can see how big yours is, is another.

But it wasn’t always like this, once it was cool. Long before P. Diddy, St.-Tropez was a quiet 15th-century fishing town, written about by Colette in the 1930′s and painted by Cezanne before that. It wasn’t until 1955, when Bardot arrived with her husband, the director Roger Vadim, to shoot the film ”And God Created Woman,” that the small fishing village was put on the map.

Brigitte Bardot Saint-Tropez1958

Brigitte Bardot Saint-Tropez 1958

Over the next decade or so, St.-Tropez became synonymous with international celebrities, a favored getaway for Catherine Deneuve, Picasso and Giorgio Armani. In 1971, when Bianca married Mick, she did it in, where else, but St. Tropez? But back then the place still had its allure, its bohemian faraway, back to nature vibe to it that was forever ruined in the nineties when the yachts came.

off season

off season

The economic boom of the late 90′s brought major new money and lots of it. Enormous, gross, ostentatious yachts, some chartered for more than $100,000 a week, crammed the port, backing their polished sterns into slips, while the not-so-rich gawked like peasants, licking ice cream and drinking in cafes just feet away just to get a glimpse of who is on board.

the view in august

the view in august

In the off-season, the village of St.-Tropez with its tiny ornate streets, its peach-colored facades, its hidden plazas and pétanque-playing locals, has about 5,600 residents. In the summer, it attracts more than 100,000 visitors.

st-tropez off season

st-tropez off season

And most of them take up residence at Pampelonne Beach, a white sand beach about five miles from downtown St.-Tropez. Some 30 beach clubs cater to a lunching and sunbathing crowd. The most famous is Club 55, a former fisherman’s hutch whose destiny was permanently altered when Mr. Vadim and Ms. Bardot stopped in for lunch in, you guessed it, 1955.

spraying champ

spraying champ

Club 55, like most of the beach clubs, has a section of sand reserved for its patrons with thatched cabanas, mats and umbrellas for rent. The beach looks out on the bay of Pampelonne, which on this particular afternoon was packed with yachts, mostly gargantuan, including one used by the Duke and Duchess of Kent with a helicopter on board or the blocklong yacht of the Getty family.

And when these young kids finally get bored on their boats, they take it into town to the Byblos Hotel and its very own nightclub, Les Caves du Roy, the most famous nightclub in St.-Tropez and the seriously the most ridiculous, gross place on the planet.

hotel byblos

hotel byblos

Patrons (and here the old and hairy middle-age man abound) of the Caves regularly spray $15,000 bottles of sparkling wine over packs of screaming dancers. People climb on chairs, banquettes and tables to dance. Tops become optional. It’s gross, I’ve been there, trust me.

Parties here go well into morning and often you’ll see old rockers at the end of their careers still hanging out, watching girls make-up until dawn.

If that’s what you want then St. Tropez in August is the place to go. For young, beautiful girls and boys looking for a free lunch, or dinner for the month of August, there’s no better place to loaf, but beware, the competition is pretty stiff. Or as one English regular put it, “there’s always a bigger boat.”

when is big big enough?

when is big big enough?

My advice to you: Avoid St. Tropez in August.

If you have to go on holiday in August (when the rest of the free world travels) I’ll tell you where you can go and its seriously cool. Stay tuned.

While I encountered a few ommissions in my exploration of nave’s spy mobile app depths, they are insignificant when viewed against the staggering scope of this instrument

Flights - Hotels - Vacations - Cars - Cruises - Last Minute - Travel Guides - Airport Guides - City Guides

© 2002-2011 Best Travel Store All Rights Reserved.