Skip to main content

Brigitte Bardot

The name Brigitte Bardot has become synonymous with Saint Tropez

featured in Famous residents Updated

God may have created woman, but Brigitte Bardot created Saint Tropez. When she starred in the hit film And God Created Women, the French actress was instantly catapulted to international stardom as blonde bombshell, fashion icon and sex symbol.

At the same time, Saint Tropez, where the film was set, was almost instantly transformed from sleepy Provencal fishing village popular with artists painting the mystic Mediterranean light, to the Saint Tropez we know today: intensely glamorous, full of celebrities, debauchery and spraying magnums of champagne.

It can all be traced back to the moment where a young BB, as Bardot would come to be known, cavorted in a bikini on Pampellone Beach in Saint Tropez. The controversial film was about a young woman of dubious morals in a small town, as she tried to seduce ‘respectable’ men. Bardot’s international influence following this film was immense, not only as an actress but as a fashion icon: popularising the bikini, the off the shoulder ‘Bardot neckline’, the choucroute beehive hairstyle, and the gingham dress.

During her illustrious career she starred in 47 movies and recorded over 60 songs, as well as performing in musical theatre. She would sit for Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan dedicated a song to her, and the Beatles idolized her.

Having visited Saint Tropez on summer holidays since childhood, she bought a property in Saint Tropez in 1958 called La Madrague, which she still lives in today with her fourth husband, surrounded by animals she’s rescued. Her third husband, playboy Gunter Sachs, would shower that house in roses dropped from an aeroplane in a (clearly successful) attempt to woo her.

Her personal life was tumultuous, with four marriages, numerous affairs, deep depressions and numerous suicide attempts. She was considered risqué and scandalous, with many nude appearances, including a shoot for Playboy magazine. One feminist writer called her ‘the locomotive of women’s history’. She has admitted to having had over 100 lovers of both genders, and was the reluctant mother of one child to second husband Jacques Charrier. She gave custody of the boy, Nicholas, to his father soon after the birth, saying ‘I’m not made to be a mother-I’m not adult enough to take care of a child– I know it’s horrible to have to admit that'… ‘I need someone to take care of me. I’m sad to have had that baby.’

She struggled intensely with the press and hated being followed, and she shunned the caviar and diamonds lifestyle, electing instead to be frugal with her millions and dress in casual clothes like jeans, dungarees and ballet flats.

Bardot retired from the limelight in 1973 and became somewhat of a recluse- it’s said she hasn’t been spotted along the Saint Tropez port area for many years. However, although hidden, the former actress is anything but silent. A vociferous animal rights campaigner and anti-Muslim immigration activist, she has a Sea Shepherd boat named after her and has been fined 5 times for inciting racial hatred against Muslims in France. Her current husband, Bernard d’Ormale, was the campaign advisor for Le Penn of the National Front far right party, and Bardot now spends her time campaigning against the rise of Islam in France and against halal animal slaughter. Her charity, the Foundation Brigitte Bardot, has raised and donated millions towards various animal causes around the world.

Today, Brigitte Bardot is still without question Saint Tropez’ most famous resident, this femme fatale in the bikini that made the little seaside town the international byword for glamour and celebrity.