June and September are our favorite months in Saint-Tropez - tranquil bookends to high season, when who you are comes down to the loudness of your Lamborghini and the size of your summer yacht rental. The city is alit in spring's most fragrant blossoms as midweek the Byblos still has rooms and welcomes guests inside their Les Caves du Roy with a nod. In recent years, Saint-Tropez has struggled to lure back the world's A-List, who, as of late, have preferred the relaxed style of the Balearics or the simplicity of the Eastern Mediterranean. For them, places like La Reserve offers the removed glamour of an Aman that's closer to the beach and with a pool that doesn't smell of champagne in the morning.
This year, St. Tropez lost one of its great chefs as Cristina Saulini left her flagship eatery. After learning of a follow-up eatery that opened along London's Dover Street earlier this year, locals guess that a falling-out between owners and chef led to her departure. Luckily, Café di Stefano doesn't miss a beat in a revamped setting that's still the best Italian in town. For those who love the tabletop dancing of last season's L’Opera, the owners have acquired L'Escale, once operated under the Joseph-empire. Starting in July, the space will reopen with a new look, familiar menu and infused sense of party that looks to compete with nearby L'Quai. Also new this year, Kori occupies the former Le Papagayo space with a hybrid supper club offering Japanese-Peruvian cuisine and 3am dance floor.
In terms of beach clubs, Club 55 lures the flashiest crowds with its chic crudités and ho-hum food that makes us miss La Voile Rouge so very much. Bagatelle Beach managed to survive an early season fire and reopen on time - fortunate for those having had their fill of sunset parties at Nikki Beach. For the first time ever, Saint-Tropez is hosting a summer concert series at La Citadelle with Tom Jones performing on July 20th and French chanteuse Louane on July 30th. As nightlife in nearby Cannes and Monaco has improved with celeb-caliber events in the last years, VIP Room has struggled to lure true VIP talent, which may not change this year. Luckily, more casual Chez Maggy offers a dance bar for everyone and doesn't require the $10,000 champagne minimum of weekend's Les Caves du Roy.