Many know St. Tropez as a lavish resort town in the southeast of France, but you may be surprised by its strong ties to the art community. In fact, St. Tropez has been credited with a significant role in the history of modern art.
I could certainly expound about the splendid food, the (topless!) beaches, and resort life, but I’d rather tell you all about a few of the amazing local art galleries I toured while in town, and why you should consider a trip to the nearby cities of Grimaud and Ramatuelle.
Art Around St. Tropez
Bel Air Fine Art
This gallery is the single largest in St. Tropez, with sister locations across Europe. The art of contemporary, hyper-realistic, neo-surrealist and new realism movements is the major focus of this space, with masters and emerging talents both represented. Besides playing host to different styles and levels of expertise, the gallery provides exposure to some distinct mediums - compositions, sculpture, paintings, and more.
Musée de l’Annonciade
Okay, this one is more “museum” than “gallery.” So no, you can’t buy any of these pieces, but you can certainly enjoy the ability to take in the likes of Matisse, Picasso, and Paul Signac ~ all in one place. Known as one of the most prominent modern art museums in France, it is a 16th-century chapel converted into a museum featuring the artists who have all worked in St. Tropez.
Nearby St. Tropez: Grimaud & Ramatuelle
You could certainly take a journey that solely focuses on all the art, history, and culture in St. Tropez and you would leave completely satisfied. But if you have a couple of extra days, consider a day trip to nearby Grimaud or Ramatuelle (or both!).
The Medieval French Town of Grimaud
The town itself takes its namesake from Gibelin de Grimaldi, an individual who helped drive out the Saracens of Fraxinet, then received the land as a reward. You’ll know you’re in Grimaud when you see the 11th-century castle that practically overtakes the land around it.
Though its roots are tied to things that happened many centuries ago, the quaint French town of Grimaud is also abounding with representation for well-known contemporary artists. While in town, make sure to stop by Galerie Paul Janssen to take in works by the likes of Andy Warhol and Banksy. And currently, through mid-October four sculptors are exhibiting their monumental sculptures. The works of Eric Ferber, Cécile De Kock, Klaus Meister and Jean Van Weyenbergh can be seen throughout the streets of the old village and the surrounding area of the lake city. In addition to these large-scale sculptures, you can also delight in a dozen works of these artists, exhibited at the Museum of the Patrimony of Grimaud.
After taking in the sites of the Medieval town, head down to Port-Grimaud for a boat ride through the canals surrounded by small colorful houses. The lakeside town is abundant with restaurants and tourist shops, like the sweet shop, Bonbon, with huge tubs of sugary candies.
Ramatuelle: A Fortress in the past, and present home to many
Ramatuelle’s history is defined by the fact that it was built on a hill to defend citizens against enemies. In modern times, it’s known as a beachy paradise, with crystal clear waters that are constantly calling their siren song to the people who have made the town their permanent home. Take in their flavor of art and culture in the form of jazz music festivals and an excellent theater lineup.
Explore all the art you care to see while traveling in and around St. Tropez ~ there is no shortage of options! While you’re there, spend some time learning about the history and culture that defines this region of southeastern France, and why so many notable modern & contemporary artists have taken up residence here at some point in their careers.