The ultimate Chanel shopping experience, the Villa combines the fashion house’s latest collections with the interior sensibility of the French Riviera.
All the fine French cuisine of the New York City location in the Meat packing District located conveniently on the beach
The jewel in the crown of the French Riviera, the once modest fishing village has become a summertime oasis for the international jet-setter. Meandering through its narrow cobblestone lanes surrounded by towering vine-covered, colour-washed buildings, visitors are transported to another time. Michelin-starred restaurants and night clubs, super-yacht moorings and luxury shopping are the proverbial sprinkles on top of this glittering vacation hotspot. Priya Kumar discovers Saint-Tropez
It has been on my bucket list for some time now. Having gone to school on the other side of the Côte d’Azur—Monaco to be exact—the trek out to Saint-Tropez had always been much too daunting. The coastal town is perhaps one of the most inaccessible, and thus highly coveted, vacation towns on the planet. With only one road leading in and out of the port, driving during the bustling summer months is rarely the best option. Boat and helicopter are much more viable especially for a quick weekend trip.
Saint-Tropez has a long and storied history. The town has fallen in and out of the possession of just about every fiefdom and tribe passing through French coast over the last millennia. It was named for the martyred Saint Torpes, who was sent adrift in the Mediterranean Sea. The boat ultimately came ashore at present-day Saint-Tropez and the town was named for him. It developed its particular brand of mystique when silver screen siren Brigitte Bardot arrived and pouted the French coastal town into the vernacular of world-class cities. After all, it had everything the affluent could want—azure beaches, pleasant Riviera weather and one of the most breathtaking ports known to continental Europe. Then there are the yachts. The choice mode of transportation and accommodation for visiting celebrities, Russian oligarchs and minor Arabic royalty, the super-yacht parking lot that is Saint-Tropez’s Vieux Port (old port) is a spectacle in and of itself.
Where must one go in this illustrious town? It boasts the very best in entertainment, gastronomy and shopping. Given the favourable concentration of the world’s ultra high-net worth individuals during the summer months, luxury brands and restaurateurs have stayed one step ahead with new concepts exclusive to Saint-Tropez.
HOTEL DE LA PONCHE
Although in the heart of the village-centre, La Ponche is surrounded by Saint-Tropez’s quieter lanes dotted with art galleries, a mere 10 meters from the beach. Dating back to the middle of the 20th century, La Ponche has hosted a smorgasbord of luminaries including Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre and Jack Nicholson. With 18 rooms to choose from, many of which include picturesque terraces, this boutique hotel offers an idyllic getaway and value for money for its location.
Tip: Book Hotel de la Ponche in advance to avoid disappointment (+33 4 94 97 02 53).
BAGATELLE SAINT TROPEZ
Known the world over, Bagatelle has outposts in the most glamorous cities across the globe from Saint Barths to New York City to Saint Tropez. What makes their Saint Tropez location unique is its location on Pampelonne beach. The culinary experience not only includes some of the finest French food by Executive Chef Nicolas Cantrel, but as the afternoon winds down the DJ turns it up and the venue transforms into a sophisticated be ach party. Do try the White Truffle Pizza. Made with crème fraiche, this up-scale nibble is Saint-Tropez’s answer gratuitous comfort food.
What to wear: Missoni Beachwear, www.missoni.com
Karl Lagerfeld once called it “the best club in the world.” The most renowned night-time hotspot in Saint-Tropez, VIP Room hosts only EDM’s A-list; when we were there Axwell was spinning and the guest list included the likes of Chris Brown and Paris Hilton. The atmosphere is contagiously electric featuring a crowd that lives up to its name. Get there no earlier than midnight and stay until well after the break of dawn to take in the best the club has to offer.
Tip: The club has a notoriously ironclad velvet rope; make a reservation.
CHANEL VILLA SAINT-TROPEZ
Speaking of Karl Lagerfeld, this pop-up store is a mind-blowing concept. In its fifth consecutive year, Chanel’s summer home is in the centre of Saint-Tropez. It is a beautiful, decades old French villa that Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel visited herself on a regular basis. More recently, Lagerfeld hosted Chanel’s 2010 Cruise Collection show at the Provencal home. The pool is also accessorized with Chanel motifs including white umbrellas and mahogany deck furniture. The shop offers Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection as well as the Métiers d’Art 2014 collection Paris – Dallas.
The port-side restaurant is the place to be day or night. It transitions flawlessly from a chic brunch eatery to an
impossibly cool supper club. Known as a resto-lounge, the set-up boasts the most beautiful views of the mooring yachts and colour-washed houses along the old port. White-on-white décor paired with crystal accents and trendy art set the mood for lunch that can last for hours. The art-deco theme evokes memories of times past on Miami Beach thrust into the Summer of 2014 by the latest cool house being spun by the resident DJ. As the late afternoon rolls into dusk, the soft orchidcoloured floodlights turn on and the centrepiece table—that doubles as a stage—fills with fire-eaters, contortionists and electro-violinists.
Tip: Go for brunch one morning and dinner another day. The venue offers two entirely different experiences.
K JACQUES SAINT-TROPEZ
It’s a known fact that wearing the latest towering Saint Laurents is frowned upon at yacht parties. It’s not only unsafe, but sharp heels destroy your gracious host’s lacquer wood floors. Enter K Jacques Saint Tropez. These bespoke leather sandals are made to measure and are the manifestation of Riviera style. The shoe label dates back to the 1930s and is to this day family-owned and operated. With pony hair and genuine Italian leather designs, they have remained the go-to for yacht-friendly footwear. Every so often, Net-A-Porter partners with the brand and puts out a design exclusive to the luxury brand portal.
Tip: Buy half a size up as they run small.