Visiting Saint-Tropez' Citadelle
A good way to stretch the legs and walk off that nice port-side lunch is to wander up the citadel of Saint Tropez and the Museum of Maritime History.
The walk up to the citadel from the port is short and sharp and it is worth taking your time on a hot summer day to enjoy the wonderful views back down over the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, the superyachts in the harbour and the colourful rooftops of the town.
I decided to take the slightly longer walk up to the citadel and wandered along the coast towards the cemetery before doubling back and taking the higher road that leads to the left side of the citadel. This brought me to the outside of the defensive walls which are in remarkably good condition. The path that runs alongside the walls is lush with greenery and flowers, the bright red of the poppies standing out against the various shades of green.
The citadel of Saint Tropez is a great place for kids to run around, explore and run off a bit of energy with some shade and respite from the strong sun offered by the pine trees in the grounds and surrounding the fortress and citadel. There are more grounds to explore once you get inside the defensive walls and you can entry through the main front gate and ticket office.
At just €3 entry, it is worth it to enjoy the views back down over the town and further out along the coast to Cap Saint Pierre. Making your way higher still, you reach the front of the fort. Inside the main fort building, the Museum of Maritime History is a veritable warren of cool rooms and corridors detailing the long history of the port of Saint Tropez and the sea that surrounds it. well laid out with information boards in both French and English the museum has an incredible amount of information and preserved artefacts. Entry to the museum is included in your €3 entry.
A trip to the top of the fort, via a rather steep spiral staircase, will see you rewarded with stunning panoramic views over the Gulf. This hexagonal shaped building was once part of the Provencal coastal defence system to deter the Spanish from invading. You can see why they choose this spot, with amazing 360º views. The fort lost its strategic role in 1873 as its ramparts were not strong enough to withstand modern shells.
If you feel like you need a lie down after all of this excitement then you will enjoy a video presentation need the end of the second floor of the exhibition. It features some incredible footage of a ship in a storm. You can recline on the sofas provided and watch the screening on the ceiling...just try not to fall asleep to sounds of the waves and the seagulls.
The citadel of Saint Tropez and the Museum of Maritime History are also accessible by bus, taking some of the pain out of the climb! The area is wheelchair accessible and staff will do their best to accommodate those with reduced mobility, both outside nad inside the museum. A guided visit is possible by prior reservation. the entrance fee is €3 and children under the age of 12 years have free entry.
After expending some energy it is most certainly time to return to the old town of Saint Tropez and the pretty marina to enjoy a cool glass of rosé with a few nibbles. Check out some of our favourite bars.