One of the most gorgeous towns of the French Riviera, Saint-Tropez shines like a jewel in the bright sun of southern France. Its peach-walled buildings, sparkling yachts, white sand beaches, and expensive shops make it one of the most picturesque of French villages. And, as a result, one of the most popular among the world’s celebrities.
But Saint-Tropez is also at heart a fishing village, as The International Kitchen’s Adrian discovered on a trip there this past September. Here the local fishermen still come to sell their catch each morning under the porticoes of the fish market, called the “Passage de la Poissonnerie,” in the old town center. The old-town of Saint-Tropez, locally known as “La Ponche,” lies next to the old harbor, or Vieux Port, and is one of the most picturesque places you can stroll in all of France.
The fishermen use nets and set lines to catch such Mediterranean classics as sea bream, octopus, red mullet, sardines, bonito, bar fish, tuna, and as well as spiny lobster, and they have been doing so for centuries. Local chefs come to the market to buy the best and freshest fish and seafood, which is then offered up in the area’s restaurants.
What to Do in Saint-Tropez
Today you can stroll along the narrow cobblestoned streets of La Ponche toward the fish market, and then head to eat at one of the many restaurants that specialize in the fish purchased there. You will also find independent art galleries and artisan shops, all guarded over by the baroque bell tower of the largest church in the neighborhood, the Église de Notre-Dame de-l’Assomption.
If you want to eat some amazing seafood while you are in the area, one of the most tried and true restaurants is the restaurant of the famed Hotël de la Ponche. The hotel and its restaurant has welcomed many celebrities, not least of whom Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve. There you will find classic (if pricey) Provençal cuisine in an elegant atmosphere.
If you want something less traditional, try Chez Clovis (21 rue du Cepoun San Martin), which pairs classic French and African cuisine. Or, for less expensive and casual seafood experience, Le Petit Pointu (12 rue des Ramparts).
Although we do not currently have a cooking vacation located in Saint-Tropez, we can always create a custom tour for you if you are interested in exploring this part of the French Riviera. Just contact us to get started!
Pêcheries Tropéziennes (Fish Market) Details:
Hours: open daily, 8am – 1pm
Address: Porte de la Poissonnerie, Place aux Herbes
Tip: after the fish market, stroll along the Place aux Herbes, where there is an open air produce market as well as wine and cheese shops.
By Peg Kern
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