While St Tropez attracts holidaymakers from all over the world during the summer months, it tends to be much quieter during the winter. For people looking to take advantage of that quietness, or simply keen to experience the area when it?s not quite so overrun by tourists, then a winter break at one of our St Tropez villas can be an excellent way of doing just that.
In fact, the idea of winter being the off-season in St Tropez is somewhat ironic, as the resort originally came to prominence as a destination for the colder months, before the rich and famous began to discover its summer charms during the mid-20th century.
Of course, if you?re looking to sunbathe, St Tropez in January or February may not fit the bill, but it certainly can be pleasant, with temperatures often hitting the low teens centigrade during the day, and normally staying well away from freezing during the night. So definitely pack your coat, but don?t expect to experience Arctic temperatures.
If you do decide to visit during the winter, take advantage of the quiet beaches to enjoy some excellent walks with beautiful views. The visitor numbers tend to pick up somewhat around Christmas, but otherwise there will be wide expanses of open sand to stroll along.
The more tourist-orientated bars and restaurants may not be open during the winter, but this means that you have an excellent opportunity to eat with the locals, which may well be a cheaper and tastier option in many cases.
However, bear in mind that for the locals, off-season is the ideal time to get their renovations done ahead of the summer rush of tourists, so expect to see plenty of scaffolding and workers in hard hats in the otherwise quiet streets.
On the other hand, the market in the Place de Lices on Saturdays is still fairly busy as the locals go about their business, and is a great place to stock up on local produce and crafts without feeling rushed or crushed. This is the place to sample the Tarte Tropezienne, which is a light brioche filled with cream – possibly not one for those on a diet, but delicious nonetheless.
A relative rarity elsewhere, the market is also where you will find Aleppo pine soap, which is made on the St Tropez Peninsula, and makes a great gift for those who object to artificially-scented bath product: the pine resin creates a natural, fresh-smelling end result.
With the jet set absent, you can also take the chance to find out about the impressive number of artists and other creatives inspired by St Tropez. The Musee de l?Annonciade is a detailed guide through the painters who have been drawn to the area by the quality of its light and the beautiful views, and is a very interesting place to visit.
If history if more your thing, then head up to the old Citadel, which dates back to the 17th century, and reflects St Tropez?s history as a strategic defensive stronghold. Here, you can learn about the history of the town, as well as taking in the spectacular views from the Citadel?s walls.
While you?re up there, you can also visit the Maritime Museum, which is all about St Tropez?s age-old connections to the sea, which link it back to its original form as a small fishing village, and is easier to enjoy when the summer heat and crowds are removed from the occasion.
In short, St Tropez in winter is a very different thing to its summer incarnation, and some people find the off-season rather drab and subdued. However, if you?re looking for beautiful surroundings, a more subtle kind of beauty and a little peace and quiet, then this could be just the time to see why so many people have fallen in love with St Tropez down the ages.
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