Five Reasons to Visit St Tropez Off-Season

The French Riviera’s celebrity honeypot sizzles with glitz and glam in the summer months, but venture off-season and you’ll discover its charming, sleepier side.

Squeezing in more than 80,000 visiting jet-setters, sun-seekers and celebrity-spotters per day between the months of July and September, St Tropez shrinks in population by over 90 per cent almost as soon as the first October winds blow in. But, looking at its blue skies, empty beaches and flea market - one of the best France has to offer - we're convinced the summer-loving crowds are missing a trick. Visit this storied seaside town off-season and you'll discover its slower, less flashy side - think locals playing pétanque on quaint cobbled streets, hotel price tags that won't cause your jaw to sink to the floor and, best of all, a reliable dose of decent sunshine.

Sales, sand and sun: why you should visit St Tropez out of season

Coastal hikes

Weaving alongside rocky coves and empty, white-sand beaches, the wild and windy Sentier du Littoral coastal walk is a pleasure in summer - and downright magical in winter. Pick up the trail on the outskirts of town, then march (or meander) along the water's edge for the next four or five hours. Once at Hyères, catch the ferry across to the dazzling island of Porquerolles to enjoy a stroll through its pine-scented groves.

Flea market price-cuts

Every Tuesday and Saturday morning, dozens of market stalls descend upon buzzy central square Place des Lices, with vendors selling an array of local produce, clothes, soaps and handmade goodies. Usually packed in the summer, it's a breezy dream off-season, making it the place to chase down a real bargain. And the croissants in the surrounding cafés? They're delicious year-round.

Vineyard drives

There's something mesmerising about driving along St Tropez's coastal road outside of peak season. Staggeringly traffic-free (it can often take an hour to travel half a kilometre here during the summer), the route takes in some of the region's most storied vineyards. If you fancy a tipple, bookmark Maison Angelvin. We'd also suggest taking a drive along the Route du Mimosa, which offers a scenic view of inland Provençal life, winding between quaint stone villages that open out onto carpets of butter-yellow mimosa flowers during the spring.

Empty beaches

Visit St Tropez in summer and you'll be jostling with the masses for a beachside daybed, but arrive outside of the high season and you may well be the only one on the beach. Take a solo stroll along iconic Pampelonne Beach and drink in the satisfying solitude as fizzing waves lick the empty shoreline, then make a beeline for Le Club 55. As one of Pampelonne's most famous beach clubs, it's often snubbed for being a little showy - come here in the off-season, though, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by its laid-back vibe, delicious sea views and equally appetising lunch menu.

Cheaper hotels

Although you'll be met with less choice, the hotels in St Tropez drop their prices dramatically during the town's quieter months. Pick between superstar favourite La Bastide de Saint-Tropez and eclectic boutiques Airelles and Villa Cosy, or head slightly further afield to Shangtasia Luxury Art Room - a kooky, California-style villa owned by renowned contemporary artist Philippe Shangti, whose four individually designed bedrooms are filled with edgy artistic flourishes.

Cassis, France
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