History of Saint-Tropez through the sea...
Because Saint-Tropez is daughter of the Sea !


The village of Saint-Tropez has always been influenced by the Sea… Above all Saint-Tropez is a port, and all its activities are connected to the Sea.

Legend has it that it is by the sea that the knight Torpès arrived at Saint-Tropez (named Athenopolis at the time). He was a dignitary in the army of Néron who was decapitated because he refused to disavow his Christian religion. His body was placed in a boat between a cock and a dog; while his head remained in Pisa in Italy. The boat with the body of the holy martyr ran a ground on the beach of Saint-Tropez on 17 May, 68. He became the patron saint and gave his name to the port which welcomed him. The village of Saint-Tropez was thus born!

The port, its fortifications O     ts History    

Since antiquity, the Phocéens founded this natural port. It became an important strategic stopover between the golfes de Gênes (Genoa) et Lion, and was very coveted: from the 9th century it was invaded by the Berbers. From the 12° to the century 14°, it was the pirates who invaded the city and made the inhabitants flee. In the 15° century the city was reborn with the arrival of 21 families from Genoa who were instructed to repopulate and defend the city. In exchange, the city was declared honest, free, exempted from taxes and a police force directed by a city captain was formed. This autonomous republic was fortified and had 4 towers in order to cope with invasions. A Citadel was later built for better protection.
In the 16°siècle, the history of Saint-Tropez was built around adventurers and famous navigators. The most famous one was the Bailli de Suffren, officer of the royal Navy, whose statue was erected on the Quay of Honour in 1866. It remains one of the rare historical traces which was not destroyed during the bombardments of 1944.
Its Commercial Port O     Its navigators    
Until the century 19°, Saint-Tropez was marked by intense harbour activity: immense shipyards, famous fishing port, important maritime trade.
The tartan boats with lateen sails charged with goods were sent towards Marseilles, Toulon and Nice to export the sand of our beaches, wood, cork and local wine.
These activities gradually disappeared with the arrival of the railway.
Today the Musée Naval de la Citadelle traces the maritime past of the city.
Splendid collections are shelter there: amphoras, guns, jas…

The example of its flourishing and famous shipyard, pushed engineers to convey the instructions of such a success by building the Hydrography School of Saint-Tropez as from the Revolution. Numerous sea captains of long distance graduated from this famous school. One of the professors of this school who has most influence Saint-Tropez was without doubt Jean Réveille: the dyke which shelters the lighthouse bears his name today (le Môle Jean Réveille).
From Signac to Bardot O     Its Hydrography school    
It is by the sea once again that artists arrived at Saint-Tropez.
Paul Signac arrived in 1892 on board his ship "the Olympia" and fell literally in love with this small port with such spectacular light. He settled in a small bungalow on the beach of Graniers and painted numerous works. He attracted several generations of artists: Matisse, Marquet, Derain… (numerous works inspired by Saint-Tropez are exposed in the Musée de l'Annonciade).
The writer Colette lived in le baie des Cannoubiers, at the "Treille Muscate" where she entertained Dunoyer de Segonzac, Camoin…
Then a succession of celebrities met in St-Tropez.
The mythical district of the Ponche was visited by all Saint-Germain des Prés: Vian, Sagan, Gréco, Picasso, Prévert…
In the 60s', Brigitte Bardot and Vadim arrived on the quays of Saint-Tropez for the filming of "God created woman". Conquered by Saint-Tropez, Brigitte settled there and attracted numerous stars and famous pranks