Pampelonne Bay Beaches
Plage de Tahiti, Pampelonne Bay, St Tropez peninsula, in September.
Tahiti is Saint Tropez’ famous nude beach, reputedly the first official nudist beach in the world and apparently favoured by the rich and famous, though not in September when it was favoured by overweight and aged north Europeans. Plage de Tahiti and neighbouring St Tropez beaches are lined with trendy clubs, cafés, and restaurants.
About 6 kilometres (4 miles) out of town, Baie de Pampelonne long stretch of soft sand was well layered with seaweed (and fat bottoms) when we were there in mid September. We would hope the cleaners will be on the job in the summer season.
Brigitte Bardot (who still lives nearby, along with a wailing platoon of cats) put Tahiti Beach on the map in the 50’s when she was filmed there for ‘And God Created Woman’.
On both sides of Tahiti are other beaches, identical in terms of sand, seaweed and bare breasts, differing only in dining, sports facilities and the type of people who hang out there. For example, Moorea Beach to the south is supposed to be where the glitterati hang; north is La Voile Rouge with a long-established and extravagant restaurant of the same name and clientele to match; L’Aqau Club is the last beach on this 5km (3 mile) bay. It’s a lively and popular restaurant and beach for gays, open year-around and enjoyed by many local clients.
Getting to Pampelonne beaches
This is a problem without an easy public transport solution. Minibuses run to Pampelonne from the town’s main square, Place des Lices, or full size buses from the Bus Station (Gare Routiere) to Pampelonne and L’Escalet (photo below), but service is erratic, unreliable and you have to trust them to bring you back too!
Alternatively tourists without hire cars have two options: take a pretty but 11km long coastal hike or hire a cycle/scooter from Rolling Bikes in Ave General Leclerc for a not-ridiculous fee.
La Voile Rouge closes:
The birth place of wild and wealthy beach clubs, La Voile Rouge will close after an 11 year legal battle over noise, both from incessant music and helicopters delivering guests. This stretch of sand on Pampelonne beach has been beach party central for actors, celebrities and the uber-rich for 45 years. In 2010 Paris Hilton spent €300, 000 in one afternoon of spray-champagne fights at €2, 000 a bottle.
Deprived ‘slebs will have to stagger down the beach to Moorea now.
Plage de l’Escalet
On the south side of Cap Camarat is L’Escalet Beach, a mid-size, free-access beach with large adjacent car park, though on the opposite side of the peninsula from Saint Tropez town. It lacks size and variety of facilities but makes up for that with cleanliness, character and ambience.