Along with the super-yacht scene and star-spotting for which it is famed, the jet-set favourite of St Tropez on the dazzling Côte d'Azur has a peaceful, free-spirited side just waiting to be discovered.
Sitting pretty on a pine-studded Ramatuelle hillside, Villa Marie is ever so elegant. Here, the softly lit rooms are layered with ornate furniture and fine fabrics in taupe and ivory hues - most have their own terrace on which an early morning latte is just sublime. Bordered by russet-toned loungers, the landscaped swimming pool is one of the loveliest you’ll come across, and the terrace restaurant offers up moules that would be worth a trip alone. After a day spent baking in the Mediterranean heat, pad over to the Pure Altitude Spa for a blackcurrant and cranberry wrap from which you’ll emerge with glowing, silky-smooth limbs.
Seasonal plates crafted with flavoursome local produce are on the agenda at Rivea (above), an absurdly sophisticated spot at Hôtel Byblos overseen by Alain Ducasse. Come lunchtime, surrender to the allure of Club 55 - something of an institution, it’s as well known for star-spotting as it is for it’s laid-back, beachy menu. After lunch, snag a spot on the private stretch of sand and work on your tan. If it's good enough for Brigitte Bardot...
St. Tropez’s cobbled streets are lined with fetching, chateau-style outposts of Dior, Hermès and Louis Vuitton but to pick up chic woven baskets, bunches of lavender and pastel coloured Provençal soaps, stroll along to the open-air Place des Lices Market on a Saturday morning.
If you can bear to tear yourself away from the beaches - the best of which is Pampelonne where the likes of Uma Thurman and Nicole Richie have frolicked - the ancient citadel atop the old village is well worth a look. If walking’s your thing, le Sentier du Littoral is a great seven-mile track that meanders along the coast and through rugged headlands. When you’ve taken in all that St. Tropez has to offer, make like an A-lister and zip back to Blighty aboard one of JetSmarter’s petite planes.
What to wear:
Byblos Vanity Bag by Sisley, €2,000; available at Hôtel Byblos
Poet ruffled-cuff silk blouse, £570, Figue from matchesfashion.com
Cotton-poplin culottes, £415; Tibi from net-a-porter.com
Rooms at Villa Marie begin at 322 euros. JetSmarter operates private charters and JetShuttles from Luton to Nice. Membership from $5,000 (about £3,850); visit jetsmarter.com.