50 KM FROM ESTEREL-CARAVANING CAMPSITE
What to see and do in Saint-Tropez
• Les voiles de Saint-Tropez, 25th of September until the 3rd of October (regatta)
• The Provencal carnaval in February
• The European Harley Davidson festival
• The “Bravade”
• The Porsche Festival « Paradis Porsche »
Saint-Tropez is a world famous village in the Var province; the holiday hotspot for the rich and famous. Beside from that it is a typical provencal vllage with a small fishing port and a maze of picturesque narrow streets where you are likely to bump into shopping celebrities. Saint-Tropez has many things to offer and does this year round. Their high quality event calendar which is famous throughout the world and contributes to the legend of Saint-Tropez.
There are as well the famous « bravades » on the 16th and 18th of May and on the 15th of July. These event are not to be missed.
But what exactly is a bravade ?
In the year 68 after Jesus Christ, the knight Torpes who was born in Pisa, intendant to the emperor Nero, converted into a Catholic. Nero was furious but Torpes refused to renown his new faith, so Nero had him decapitated. His head was thrown in the river Arno and recuperated by devoted hands; today his head rests at Pisa. His body was put in a small boat with a rooster and a dog on the river. The boat floated to the sea and washed on the shores of Heracléa(Saint-Tropez’ former name, coming from Torpes)ôn the 17th of May.
For many years pirates scoured the Mediterranean coasts. Due to this, it became necessary to have a warlord in the village of Saint-Tropez. In 1558 the community council appointed a “city captain” who would be the head of a local militia, for which he had to recruit the necessary men in order to defend the village. Since 1558 the community council elects a city captain on Easter Monday. For over a century, the city captains and their militia successfully assured the village’s defences against attacks coming both from the sea as well as from inland. The powers invested in them by the city of Saint-Tropez were confirmed by all the kings of France until Louis XIV. Under his reign the local militia was replaced by a royal garrison.
Even though they didn’t need their weapons anymore to defend their city, the people of Saint-Tropez kept them in honour of their patron saint. The city captain continued to lead the Bravade on the 17th May and the inhabitants of Saint-Tropez put on their militia clothes and took up the weapons they used to formerly protect their village with. Every year you can see the people of Saint-Tropez with their soldier and marine uniforms firing their blunderbusses and muskets in honour of their saint, just like in the old days when they were going into combat or escorted the procession to the chapel which was situated outside the city walls.
On the 16th of May the mayor of Saint-Tropez accompanied by the mayor of Pisa will hand the pike to the city captain that was elected on Easter Monday. The marines will fire their guns and the musketeers will fire their blunderbusses. The priest will bless the weapons. The guards of the saint will bring out the statue of Saint-Tropez and take it in the procession. This all with the sound of bells, fifes, bugles and tambourines and in a cloud of gunpowder from the blunderbusses fired by the “bravadeurs”: The next day there is the musketeers mass.
NOT TO BE MISSED !
The tropezian sandals from the Rondini cordwainer workshop : Colette, Juliette Greco, Marlène Dietrich, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Liz Hurley and many others bought a pair here. The Rondini shoeshop was created in 1927 and is run today by the grandson Alain. Particularities of these famous sandals: Natural oily leather from the Alsace region that resists to sweat, resistant and solid soles thanks to the oak bark tanning and a style that never goes out of fashion! Rondini, 16 rue G. Clemenceau, 83990 Saint-Tropez
The tropezean pie, the one and only ! There is a real history to this pie. It was Alexandra Micka, a Polish man that arrived atSaint-Tropez after the liberation, who invented the pie in 1955 after being inspired by a recipe from his homeland. And it was BB, Brigitte Bardot who gave it its name. The recipe has always been kept secret but we know it contains brioche, vanilla and a mixture of three creams of which one is confectioner’s custard (2.70 €/piece)
Having a drink at sunset at the port or at the Place des lices, Saint-Tropez will provide you with a number of reasons not to turn in early. Le bar du port (7 quai Suffren) is the hot spot for the inhabitants of Saint-Tropez. This is an excellent restaurant, although kind of expensive, with a traditional Provencal cuisine and a friendly and relaxed service.