St Tropez, France
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St.-Tropez may be home to fewer than 6,000 residents, but this town on the French Riviera has a fame that exceeds its small size. The Riviera’s history as a Mediterranean playground dates back more than a century. With its villas set amid pines, it became a favorite summer destination that appears in the pages of novels by Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others. It was the actress Brigitte Bardot, however, who helped shine the spotlight on St.-Tropez in the 1960s. When she was photographed walking along the town’s promenade in a bikini, Bardot made St.-Tropez synonymous with sun-kissed jet-set decadence. That world still exists today, and few medieval towns boast as many designer boutiques per square meter; its Vieux Port, or old port, is lined with yachts as well as fishing boats. Even if St.-Tropez’s charms are now world-famous, it doesn’t make them less captivating, whether you’re sipping rosé at a harborfront restaurant or shopping for lavender soaps, olive oils or a Chanel outfit at the brand’s annual summer pop-up. The town is also an excellent base to explore the Riviera’s less-famous destinations, from quiet beaches to hill towns in the interior, once you have had enough of glitter and stardust.