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Ramatuelle, Golfe de Saint Tropez

Stunning medieval hilltop village located right by Pampelonne beach

featured in Towns & villages Updated

A village clinging to a hill side, visible from afar, a cluster of houses that are grouped in a dense fortification. Known as a "village perché", it is a striking feature of the Provence landscape. Close to the Mediterranean sea, on the peninsula of St. Tropez, you find two such villages: Ramatuelle and Gassin.

You visit Ramatuelle, not because it's more charming than its neighbour Gassin, but because it also encompasses France's most famous beach, Pampelonne. That stretch of five kilometres where the jet set, and those who want to be close to them, tan, swim, cavort, lunch, disco and what-not, in a happy ambience of sun and fun.

Ramatuelle is a small village that offers fabulous views overlooking the Gulf of Saint Tropez. This exceedingly pretty town has gorgeous narrow streets lined with coloured shutters and vibrant pink bourganvillea trees- and lots of cafeés, boutiques and artisan galleries to while away the hours.

In the 1950's it began to attract actors and artists, who settled in the narrow houses, or visited in the season. Many celebrities since then have fallen in love with the place and settled there, and quite a few tourists have too. Today, its summer is filled with performances in the amphitheatre: there's a Theatre Festival in July and in August it hosts a famous Festival du Jazz, when artists from around the world perform over four days.

If you are seeking peace, tranquillity and a heavenly beach holiday, the village is ideal. It is around 10 kilometres to the south west of Saint Tropez.

History & Culture in Ramatuelle

Its history stretches back to at least the early Middle Ages and it's believed that its name comes from the Arab word Rahmatu'llah, which means divine providence. This links the village to the 8th and 9th century when the Saracens terrorised the region.

In the 16th century the village was destroyed during France's religious wars and rebuilt in the early 1600's. Today, when you walk through Ramatuelle, you will easily get lost in its maze of narrow streets, steep short-cuts, and gentle dead-ends. It's as if this Provence village, after all its history, wants to confuse the visitor, friendly or not.

Sights & Attractions in Ramatuelle

There are several buildings of note in Ramatuelle, although much of the enjoyment of the town is to be found just walking through its narrow streets.

The Church of Notre Dame is a 16th century church built up against the thick city walls, its bell tower was also used to keep lookout for approaching danger.

Also of interest is a tiny, Arabian-style prison built by Napoleon III, with old gates built into the walls.

You will also enjoy the different little galleries.

Beaches in Ramatuelle

Pampelonne beach offers five kilometres of fine white sand, including long stretches of public beach as well as an abundance of glamorous beach clubs.

There are also two nudist beaches and several places to hire watersports equipment, and there's some excellent diving to be had just off the coast.

This is one of the most famous beaches on earth, great for celebrity spotting, watching the immense superyachts or just lying back with a cocktail.

Events in Ramatuelle

In the summer months the village of Ramatuelle hosts a world-famous jazz festival, where many big names have performed.

Things to do in Ramatuelle

Take a drive to Cap Camarat and visit the second biggest lighthouse in France, you can also join a lovely coastal walking path to l'Escalet. There are also some great hiking trails around Massif de Maures. Afterwards, quench your thirst and sample some wine at a local vineyard. Or you can head down to nearby Pampelonne Beach to mix with the jet set in the beach clubs and restaurants and watch the yachts sail past.

Dining in Ramatuelle

For Michelin star gastronomy, head to the one-starred La Voile restaurant, for modern, refined food. For something more traditional, the Saveurs Sinceres and L'Ecurie du Castellas both serve great Mediterranean cuisine with fresh Provençal produce. Of course, the many beach restaurants at Pampelonne Beach also await you, and nearby Gassin and Saint Tropez both have some truly excellent restaurants.

Nightlife in Ramatuelle

Ramatuelle comes alive in the summer months with music festivals and buskers plying the tourist trade. But if you want the nightclubs and dancing until dawn, then head down to glittering, glamorous lights of Saint Tropez.

Hotels in Ramatuelle

Ramatuelle is renowned for its luxurious hotels and villas offering magnificent views over the Mediterranean. Most of them are located outside the village, offering privacy and wonderful sea views. La Reserve, just to the south of Ramatuelle, is one of the most exclusive.

At a lower price range you could stay in charming guesthouses that offer romantic and rustic stays in beautiful surroundings.

There is a camp site towards the southern end of Pampelonne beach, and some more on the way towards Cavalaire sur Mer.


This very picturesque medieval village is perched on the forested hills above Saint Tropez. Bus lines 7703 (30mins) and 7705 (39mins) both run from Saint Tropez; if driving, take the D93 from Saint Tropez.


Map of the surrounding area