We've taken a few seasons off from Saint-Tropez,
the once jetset epicenter of the Cote d' Azur made famous by Bardot and
the social elite but has for many been tainted by a more common,
Kardashian crowd since the early 2010s. In the last few years much has
changed in the glitter port like the revamp of the former Joseph
restaurant empire and decadal Le Papagayo, while much has also stayed
the same at Les Caves du Roy
that celebrates its 50th Anniversary with DJ JackE still spinning away
to French tabloid stars and Pakistani oligarchs paying upwards of $50k a
night for vintage champagne showers.
To do Saint-Tropez, follow in the footsteps of Lagerfeld and the like in nearby Ramatuelle that’s a short drive, but miles away, from the high-season chaos of the harbor and port. A pastoral reserve of rolling estates, vineyards that yield Whispering Angel and two-lane roads where convertible Phantoms pass regularly, Ramatuelle is summer perfected. La Reserve Ramatuelle offers a preening seaside hideaway halfway between the port and the beach clubs that shaves a full hour round-trip to Le 55 in summer. Its cool style includes a series of suites and larger villas ideal for larger parties, with the occasional starlet in residence this time of year. Others are opting for even more removed locations like new Les Roches Rouge in Saint-Raphael that's long been a seaside family community along the coastal roadway leading to Cannes. The owners of Les Roches Rouge operate a series of luxury ski chalets in 3 Vallees and Val Thorens, debuting their first Cote d' Azur hotel within an iconic 1950s resort that’s been meticulously reinvented with iconic sea pool (pictured), meticulous mid-century décor and trendy eatery worthy of the drive.
By day you still want to book a reservation at Le Club 55 at least a week in advance, and two weeks at chicer Les Palmiers that’s proven the ‘new’ La Voile Rouge of recent. Also look for actress Pamela Anderson's 50-day vegan pop-up at chef Christope LeRoy's Moulins de Ramatuelle. Back in the port, the Joseph monopoly of the early 2000's is forgotten with the upcoming revamp of Le Grand and Eurasian L' Escale by the owners of L'Opera that debuted this year with a trendier edge, walking distance from the harbor. Also new, Napoleon takes a familiar dining space that was once a medieval ruin and brings the traditional French eatery back to the heart of the village. Come evening, L’Opera still defines the brasher sunset lounge scene while L'Quai is our more favored drinking spot anytime between dinner and dancing. And for nightlife, look for new Gaio to bring competition to waning VIP Room this year while Les Caves du Roy celebrates its 50th year with many wondering what the future holds for the once iconic Byblos.