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More insider guides for planning a trip to St Tropez
St Tropez has some of the most celebrated nightspots in Europe. You wouldn’t expect otherwise – but unless you are very famous or outstandingly beautiful, they can be difficult to get into and the queues can stretch endlessly. And, once in, they can be terrifyingly expensive. Turn up smartly dressed and sober for your best chance of ending up supping on champagne inside, or head for a more chilled rooftop bar to toast the sunset with cocktails. That aside, it really is worth the extra effort to experience the glamorous nightlife scene of St Tropez.
Les Toits Lounge
St Tropez’s only real rooftop bar (toits means roofs in English) sits on the summit of the Hotel de Paris, an establishment so vastly cool and contemporary that it seems to be anticipating tomorrow as well as serving today. There’s a swimming pool up there, too, plus what may be the finest sea views available in St Tropez. Picture cocktails, champagne, light bites such as salads and ceviche and lounge music to usher late afternoon into early evening. You can expect to be among some pretty dazzling people up here. You’ll doubtless fit right in.
Contact: 00 33 483 09 60 00; hoteldeparis-sainttropez.com
Opening times: Daily, 8am-6.30pm (12pm from May)
The third of St Tropez’s leading night-club triumvirate, Papagayo, is no more, replaced – after 55 years of hot-shot, A-list service – by Gaio, a restaurant-club majoring on Japanese-Peruvian fusion food known as ‘nikkei’. The place indeed looks as if a South-American sensibility has entered a ménage-à-trois with the hippified Asian and London clubland. This being St Tropez, the place practises distinctly non-Latin American prices. The four-course menu is €60 (£51), kobe beef €180 (£154) and a gaio roll of lobster, avocado and much else besides, €49 (£42). Di Caprio, Stallone, John Legend and Tyga have apparently all passed through – staying on, after dinner, for dancing and night-club shenanigans through to 6am.
Bar du Port
Out has gone the hip, hi-tech stripped-back look at this venerable place (venerable for St Tropez, that is – it’s been going, and in the same family, since 1963), and in has come a sort of chic brasserie approach, with wood, leather and metal all over the place. Dishes are of the eco-friendly vibe – locally sourced, as organic as possible with fair trade this-and-that when the stuff isn’t from down the road. The bar is open for breakfast from early morning and it changes ambience as the day wears on, serving a hellishly good value (again, for St Tropez); lunch is €22 (£19) for a main course, drink and coffee. Mains at dinner start from €18 (£15) – and then things warm up as the night grows funky, to 3am.
Contact: 00 33 494 97 00 54; barduport.com
Opening times: Daily, 7am-3am
L‘Opera is a hip spot with one of St Tropez’s most desirable terraces – overlooking the port – and a glam-decadent vibe of white and gold, deep leather sofas and table-top shows (dancers, acrobats) of some flair through to midnight. Then the DJ takes over, with glitter, glam and energy levels turned up to ‘turbo’. Food is pretty good, too, with all sorts of sharing platters, and dinner mains from €32 (£27). Go for the second of the two dinner sittings, if you can manage it; there’ll be less pressure on you to move – and the meal may segue directly into clubbing moves.
Les Caves du Roy
The most prestigious nightclub in France for the past 40 years has lost none of its panache. In truth, recent wholesale renewal, the first since the 1970s, has given it more, brightening the Asia-meets-Med glitz while refining the wildly OTT kitschy excesses. On the other hand, superstar resident DJ Jack-E still looks as hip as a gas boiler. He mixes the music for the grooving of Clooney, Beyoncé and any other A-lister in town. If you get past the doormen, entry is free – though drinks start at €28 (£24). Think around €300 (£257) for a bottle of the cheapest champers.
Contact: 00 33 494 56 68 00; lescavesduroy.com
Opening times: Daily, 12am-6am in July and August (only weekends April-October)
Getting in: Be smart, sober and prepared to queue
Here’s an almost unbelievably chic bar within the boutique hotel of the same name on the central Place des Lices. The name tells no lies. Pretty much everything is white – walls, furniture, parasols and sofas and tables on the frankly seductive and jasmine-scented bar terrace. Greenery is all around. As you’d imagine, the place majors on champagne and cocktails – the mojito with strawberry and amaretto has its aficionados – so, if you’re contemplating a cheap night out, you need to be somewhere else. Live and DJ music accompanies the sipping, as do tapas-style nibbles. Should you wish to experience Riviera elegance, in short, you could do a lot worse.
The second of St Tropez’s three legendary addresses, the VIP Room starts the night as Le GIOIA restaurant with Italo-Med cuisine and mood music. Then it gives way to club life with bopping amid walls of light. The surroundings are whiter, a little less delirious than in Les Caves du Roy – but the atmosphere is just as electric, the prices as high and the style as decadently sophisticated. Non-regulars have a dickens of a job getting into what the late Karl Lagerfeld apparently called “the best club in the world”.
Contact: 00 33 638 838383; viproom.fr
Opening times: Nightly, 8pm-6am (in summer)
Getting in: Be smart, sober and prepared to queue
This old-town restaurant-cum-bar-cum-disco is the spot where decent Mediterranean dining gives way to boisterous, festive, lascivious later evenings. It re-opened in late March 2019 with a new team, renewed energy and determined to remain on the crazier fringe of St Tropez nightlife. It’s also LGBT+ friendly.
Contact: 00 33 494 97 16 12; facebook.com/Chezmagggysainttropez
Opening times: Nightly, 9pm-3am (April-October) weekends all year round
A sparkly port-side spot for the real jeunesse dorée of St Tropez. Its core audience is perhaps early-to-mid-20s, but people of any age will also appreciate the jollity in what is a fairly small but vibrant place. It’s party time pretty much all the time, with DJ-driven music and drinks prices which – in St Tropez and only in St Tropez – rate as reasonable. Truly cool people gather here before going onto the clubs, which is why Tsars is known as a ‘before’. The name, incidentally, was hit upon by owner Vincent Martin to evoke the Russianness of vodka, the ultra-smart drink a decade ago when the bar opened. I imagine Mr Martin is also responsible for the anarchic apostrophe.
Contact: 00 33 611 95 76 43; facebook.com/tsar.sttropez
Opening times: Daily in season, 5pm-3am