The site of Allied landings in World War II, an existentialist retreat and even the topic of a Pink Floyd song. France’s St. Tropez has a colorful history that dates back to prehistoric times when the area was inhabited by various tribes… who probably didn’t take the time to notice the area’s beauty that today makes it a true tourist’s paradise.

The Greeks settled the area, followed by the Romans, and signs of the city’s classical past are still evident in numerous statues and other artifacts that have been found in nearby shipwrecks off the coast.

Following the end of the Roman Empire the city was ruled by various viscounts, including those of Marseilles, Castellanes and Suffrens. The city was destroyed in 14th century but rebuilt by Genoise families in the 15th century when it became an independent republic. It was home to Corsair pirates and later for shipbuilders and fishermen.

The city survived numerous attacks by the Turks and Spanish over the years, and was the site of landings during Operation Dragoon, which began the Allied efforts to liberate Southern France. The port area was destroyed in 1944 but rebuilt after the war.

The city’s name actually dates back to 1055 when it was named for a Roman soldier who refused to give up his religion. Beheaded, his body was cast adrift and as the story goes ended up at the town where St. Tropez now stands. The city was called Ecclesia Sancti Tropetis in 1055, and then took the current name following the French Revolution.

Since World War II St. Tropez has been an active port for shipping and to a lesser extent fishing. It has continued to attract artists and more recently famous writers, actors and plenty of tourists!