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St Tropez Cruise

Once an insignificant fishing village, this jet set haven became popular as an artists colony in the late 19th century. But it was Roger Vadim's movie, And God Created Woman, filmed here with Brigitte Bardot,that brought about the international cult of Tropezian sun, sex and celebrities. Located at the end of its own peninsula, St. Tropez suddenly became the talk of the jet set, who propelled the tiny port into world fame.

A hundred years ago there was not even a proper road to St. Tropez;access was mainly by boat. Novelist Guy de Maupassant sailed his yacht into the port in 1880. The neo-Impressionist painter Paul Signac followed, as did a number of other famous artists and writers. By thetime of World War I, St. Tropez was well established as a hangout for Bohemians.

The old part surrounding the harbor is the focal point. Here, narrow streets are packed between Quai Jean Jaures,Place des Lices and what is left of the 16th-century citadel.The harbor is filled with sleek, gleaming yachts that have replaced the simple fishing boats. Pastel-colored houses ring the waterfront, presenting the classic St.Tropez impression of sidewalk cafes with martini sippers, small boutiques with the latest fashions, scantily-clad starlets parading up and down and painters with their easels on the quayside.

Visitors can go up to the 16th-century citadel or enjoy viewing the paintings inthe Museum de l'Annonciade. Its impressive collection of works by Signac, Bonnard, Rouault, Matisse and Dufy is unrivaled outside Paris for its 1890-1940 period of French art. If you are sun-hungry,there are beachfront resort hotels just outside of St. Tropez, most of them sporting sun-worshippers in monokinis. Trips into the surrounding countryside let you discover Provincial hilltop villages, which have retained their rustic charm and laid back way of life. St. Tropez has it all and never fails to deliver excitement and entertainment.