NIGHTSPOTS – The all-day parties are impressive, but the glass-clinking revelry truly gets going at night-people flock here just to catch their favourite DJs spinning and hit the dance floor. The top spot is consistently Les Caves du Roy at the Hotel Byblos, where an upper-crust crowd lets loose amid contem§porary-baroque decor. It’s been a Saint-Tropez staple for nearly 40 years, with eccentric sets that fuse electro, soul and disco. The intimate leather banquets flanking the dance area will put you front and centre, but the real heavy hitters reserve private booths.
We recommend booking ahead. After a few evenings at Les Caves, you might be in the mood for a change of scene, and the VIP Room serves with nocturnal distinction: Karl Lagerfeld once called it the best club in the world. Or there’s K’Ori, the new and improved rendition of Saint-Tropez’s legendary disco, Papagayo, which transforms from a restaurant and cocktail bar into a club after dark. For those nights that call for a more relaxed atmosphere, settle in on the 200-year-old terrace of the Hotel Sube, where locals, out-of-town visitors and pretty people in the know go to mingle.
DINE – In Saint-Tropez, nearly every meal comes with a side of Instagram-perfect scenery. Some of the region’s best views can be found at La Vague d’Or at the Residence de la Pinede, run by Chef Arnaud Donck-ele. He counts three Michelin stars to his name, not to mention French Chef of the Year, and lie’s not yet 40 years old. Set in a château overlooking the beach, the restaurant trades in the kind of Provencal fare that is nothing short of remarkable. Less formal but only slightly, La Reserve Ramat-uelle can help you detox from a late night of exertion with spa-style dishes, but the pristine views may get your heart rate up again.
Regulars won’t recognize Bar du Port. What was once a hangout for salty dogs in the Old Port has been newly redone with harlequin floors, filament bulbs, and brass and leather fixtures. Not exactly a bar anymore, but the upgrade has been quite a success. Check out the lunch menu, which might include braised octopus or red mullets in shellfish foam. If you like your restaurants aged to maturity, you’ve got plenty of options.
Senequier, which is more than 125 years old, offers one of the best places to toast your fellow yachties docked just across the way. About 40 or so years younger, the Auberge des Maures does simple Provencal favourites like beef stew and comes with a rich history: Charlie Chaplin and Pablo Picasso were among the restaurant’s famed patrons. Country cooking is also the focus at the 22-year-old Aux Caprice des Deux, where the food is so artfully plated, you almost don’t want to eat it. But do. Order the eggs en cocotte with truflles.
And for that “only in Saint-Tropez” moment, there’s Dior des Lices, a summer pop-up partnership between Christian Dior and Michelin three-star chef Yannick Alleno. From May to October, take tea beside the vines twisting up the palm trees in the stunning garden of the House of Dior’s 18th-century compound, done up in classic Tropezian style: sandstone, white shutters, terra-cotta floors and oversize hearths. If you prefer your king crab with a side of cabaret, you’ll find it at L’Opera, a resto-lounge that promises patrons waterfront views by day, and dinner theatre-style performances by night.
Fire-breathers, electro-violinists and burlesque dancers take over the space after dark as docked superyachts flicker in the distance. L’Opera mixes an opulent aesthetic (hefty gold candelabras, white leather banquettes and metallic wall coverings) with boundary-pushing pieces from French photographer Philippe Shangti. His artwork, scattered throughout the space, sets a playful yet provocative tone: One features a bikini-clad model with NO PROSTITUTION HERE scrawled across her chest in permanent marker; another, mounted just above a table for four, reads ENJOY YOUR *$%#@ DINNER. At L’Opera, it would be impossible not to.
Every major brand has an outpost here, but for a truly Tropezian experience that you can bring home with you, rise early on Tuesday or Saturday and head to the Place des Lices. Like Paris’ puces but on a much smaller scale, the outdoor market offers everything from fine linen shorts to local cheeses and hand-woven hats. On Sundays, hop into your rented Lamborghini and head west to the tiny hamlet of Grimaud, where a sort of high-end swap meet called Les Jas des Roberts has become a hive for socialites sifting through skinny jeans and old records. Arrive at 5. Of course, you can’t go home without a gift, and the perfect female-friendly souvenir is found at Atelier Rondini. The peninsula’s signature strappy gladiator flats have been made and sold here, and only here, since 1927.