Often named “St-Tropez’s jewel beach”, Pampelonne Beach is actually located just outside city limits in nearby Ramatuelle. The beach is a 4.5-kilometer stretch of sand very popular amongst tourists, as just one of the few sandy beaches on the French Riviera (as opposed to the pebbly beaches in Nice, for example). Pampelonne was one of the main targets of Operation Dragoon, the large-scaled Allied invasion of southern France in August 1944 that ultimately caused the German army to abandon southern France altogether. After World War II, the Parisian elite, including big names like Brigitte Bardot, Coco Chanel, and Juliette Greco, gave St-Tropez its glitz and glam reputation by spending their summers at the beach, a tradition that most Northern French vacationers still uphold today – hence why the French Riviera is often qualified as overcrowded in August when the majority of the country is on holiday.
Logistics-wise, a supervised bathing zone is roped off from June 15 through September 15th, making it ideal for families wishing to spend a carefree day at the beach. Topless sunbathing is accepted everywhere in southern France, and two areas of Pampelonne are "clothing-optional" (between the Tamaris and Patch entrances, as well as at the chemin des Barraques entrance). It is a very natural beach: there are no souvenir stalls, no promandes, just beautiful white sand.
There are public washrooms and showers near the access points of Tamaris, Patch and Barraques, where parking is also available. Many restaurants and beach clubs also call the beach their home, amongst the better known ones are Club 55, great for celebrity spotting, and Nikki Beach, which has its own pool.
Pampelonne Beach is located 5km south-west of Saint-Tropez and is bordered by Cap Camarat and Cap Bonne Terrasse to the South, cap Pinet to the North, and vines, prairies, camping sites and luxury villas to the West. The boulevard Patch access point can be reached by shuttle bus from central St-Tropez, although visitors should know the service is infrequent. Otherwise, the beach is just a 10-minute drive away via road D98A and then via aptly-named Route des Plages. There is plenty of parking available at the different entrances to the beach, and it costs around €5 per day.