Hidden Gem in Saint-Tropez : Citadel of Saint-Tropez Maritime History Museum

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Getting to Saint-Tropez is a challenge. Although charting your course to the town can be a headache, I have a feeling this keeps tourism from ruining its picturesque charm so I almost have an appreciation for it. 

The route my fiancĂ© and I took included a plane to Nice, a train to Saint-Raphael (a charming little stop, might I add) and then a ferry to the port of Saint-Tropez. It wasn't as hectic as it sounds, but it would have helped if we weren't toting around all of our belongings for our six-month stay in Amsterdam. Life has a way of making you laugh at yourself. The most hilarious leg of our journey? When we had to hike uphill to our hotel because we couldn't call a taxi and the wheel broke on my fiancĂ©'s luggage that weighed 89 kilos. 

However, we pressed on and once we arrived at our hotel, Hotel Le Mandala, it was a sight for sore eyes. It was our little oasis. As you can imagine, traveling took up enough of our day that once we were settled, we preferred to explore the city rather than venture to the beaches of Pampelonne. 

Close to our hotel was an adorable park on a hill, so in pursuit of getting to know this charming little town, we began to climb. I would like to add I did all of this in my Gucci loafers and I was more than comfortable. My secret? Insoles from a pair of Nike Freerun sneakers. Try it out and thank me later.

Once we got halfway up the hill we paid admission to climb to the top- something like a few Euro, we didn't feel like it was out of bounds. As we continued walking we started to take in the amazing views of Saint-Tropez's town center as well as the port and gulf. It was absolutely stunning. 

We turned to explore what I expected to be an all but forgotten 17th-century fortress behind us- but we were met with the most pleasant surprise. 
Inside the fortress lies the most amazing little maritime museum that takes you through several stories up to the rooftop terrace- all the while detailing Saint-Tropez history as you go. You'll start at who Saint-Tropez was and why he was canonized and end with superyachts and celebrities. Each of these museum rooms is carefully thought out and creatively interactive. No two rooms are alike and you won't be able to help but stop and admire the intricacies and charm of each installation. 

This museum is free with entrance to the fortress and park, and it was an absolute delight to stumble upon. If you go to Saint-Tropez, this little museum is not to be missed. I have a lot of things to recommend in this amazing little French town, but Citadel of Saint-Tropez Maritime History Museum is the first thing on that list.

You can see it in my Saint-Tropez Travel Vlog here:

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