The FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education) announced the sites awarded the sought-after Blue Flag label last week. This year, the area around Saint-Tropez, Sainte-Maxime and Saint-Raphael has been given a total of 11 Blue Flags, six of which are for beaches and five for marinas.
Well-known for their crystalline turquoise waters, golden sand and wide range of facilities, the beaches in and around Saint-Tropez are among the most famous in the world so it's not surprising that six of them have been awarded the coveted Blue Flag. This season's chosen beaches are Gigaro Beach in La Croix Valmer; La Croisette, Plage Garonnette and the town centre beach in Sainte-Maxime, and La Douane near Saint-Raphael.
Saint-Tropez attracts a host of VIPs and celebrities every summer, no wonder the marinas around town have state of the art facilities to accommodate their luxury yachts. In the area around Saint-Tropez Bay, five ports have been highlighted by the Blue Flag programme: Les Marines de Cogolin, Port San Peïre des Issambres, Port Fréjus, the Old Port in Saint-Raphael and Port de Plaisance Santa Lucia.
Blue Flags are given out by an independent organisation called the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Beaches are evaluated each year and monitored for their facilities and cleanliness. Based on 32 separate criteria, each beach or marina is judged on the quality of the water, safety and services (including lifeguards and first aid), information for beach users, environmental education and protection of the coastal environment.