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Tahiti Beach in St Tropez

Things To Do and Activities in St. Tropez

A Day at the Beach

A villa vacation in St. Tropez is a languid affair. For the most part, your days are spent by a pool or on the beach, your nights filled with wonderful French dining and perhaps some dancing.

There is endless shopping as well. And for those of you ambitious enough to leave sarongs and chaises-longues behind, there are daytrips up the coast or inland for a change of scenery.

If you seek a break from poolside and want to join the beautiful people on the sandy shores of the Med, La Plage de Pampelonne offers four miles of white sand accessed by several winding lanes, each of which brings you to a small parking lot and beachfront restaurant/bar. La Plage de Tahiti is the most glamorous stretch of beach and home to Le Club 55—probably the "best" of the beach clubs. People with boats drop anchor and take their dinghies into shore, while those who have driven overland leave their cars with a valet parker and head for the sand. The "beach umbrellas" are actually thatched coverings, and the theme carries over to the adjacent club shop. If you forgot your bathing suit—or just want to buy a stylish new one—Club 55 sells sarongs, jewelry, and clothes. But keep in mind that less is more in this part of the world—many people forgo their cover-ups, and some choose to avoid tan lines altogether by wearing nothing at all.

On a scale perhaps less posh (but just as lovely for sunning in the sand) are Plage des Salins, Plage des Graniers, La Moutte, and, slightly farther away on the other side of Cap Camarat, Plage de l'Escalet and Plage de la Briande.

For those of you up for something other than lying around beneath the Mediterranean sun day after day, there are activities in the area that allow you to soak up the outdoors in a manner more sportif. You can rent bicycles or scooters and cast off on your own. If you want to get out on the water, you can rent small sailboats for the day and chase the wind. You can hook into assorted local tennis courts, or drive to Ste. Maxime to hit the links—there are two golf courses there. If you came to see resplendent creatures and the beaches just don't do it for you, consider an afternoon of scuba diving with a professional guide.

Shopping Galore

One sight you shouldn't miss while here is the fabulous open-air Provençal market, held in the Place des Lices on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Buy fragrant flowers such as roses and lavender to brighten your villa. Or select from a wealth of cheeses and other foodstuffs, such as olives, breads, and sausages. The selection of fresh fruits and vegetables can range from juicy oranges to flavorful artichokes.

Perhaps the most unique French market experience revolves around the herb and spice tables. Brightly-colored, pungently-scented baskets lined with white-linen cloths come alive in shades of rich greens, purples, reds, and gold—a sight to behold.

The St. Tropez market has other interesting items for sale, items such as jewelry, antiques, and inexpensive clothes and accessories. There's even a merry-go-round in the center of the square to keep your children amused as you do your shopping. Just remember, however: It's a morning affair, and the hustle and bustle are just a memory by one p.m.

If you're interested in more fashionable shopping and aren't afraid of a little sticker shock, consider visiting the boutiques of St. Tropez. Aix has chunky jewelry in coral and amethyst, while Julian Joailliers has both jewelry and watches. Nana Bis Lingerie has some stunningly delicate French pieces. Men can find new wardrobes at Peter Polo, Daniel Cremieux, or Haubane. Both men and women can find some casual summer clothes at Linen Laundry, or pick up something for the kids at Tropezino. And, of course, such high-end brands as Escada, Robert Cavelli, Tod's, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier are situated throughout this exclusive town.

St. Tropez is actually part of Provence, so in addition to shopping in some high-end boutiques or purchasing French fashions, you also can find lovely Provençal fabrics and pottery, as well as other products of the region. Poterie Augier is a lovely spot to shop, or even just to visit. This small marketplace encompasses a courtyard filled with tropical plants, where colorful ceramics for sale hang from the quaint blue shutters and freestanding arbors. Inside there are dishware, urns, and other goods in the Provençal palette of green, blue, gold and orange. Olive oils can be purchased at O & Co., a popular chain store throughout the region.

Of course the most well-known shop in town is Atelier Rondini St. Tropez. People have been buying the famous handmade sandals Tropeziennes here since 1927. These days, they'll set you back a cool $85.

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