Club 55 St Tropez got its start simply enough: a bohemian beach ‘bistro’ hut without electricity where the Colmont family would grill fresh-caught fish for other St Tropez locals in exchange for a small sum.
It wasn’t until one early summer day in 1956 when the film crew behind And God Created Woman (Et Dieu… créa la femme) turned upthat everything changed and the legend of ‘Club 55’ behind to take shape.
The crew noticed the terrace where the locals ate and thought it was a bistro, so asked the owners if they could cook for the film crew of 80 people for two weeks. The owners obliged and the rest they say is history.
After the crew left, the married couple behind the film, French director Roger Vadim and soon-to-be-star Brigitte Bardot, began returning to the beach after being seduced by its bohemian beauty. When they started bringing their friends along the story was complete and Club 55 was born.
The release of the film was a breakthrough for Bardot and put St Tropez well and truly on the map.
Over the years Club 55 has welcomed a who’s who of the rich and famous: Soraya, the empress of Iran; Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union; supermodels and designers such as Kate Moss and Giorgio Armani and a whole host of Hollywood celebrities. Bono, the frontman of Irish rockers U2 who owns a home along the coast in Eze is a regular who has on many occasions spontaneously joined the house band.
Today Le Club 55 is a firm favourite with celebrities. During the summer season a steady stream of the rich and famous descend from their yachts moored off Pampelonne Beach to make the short stroll off Club 55’s private dock on the beach into the restaurant.
Its legend is known the world over and during the Mediterranean summer season it’s definitely the world’s most exclusive beach restaurant.
The club is open throughout the day from from spring to autumn, with the light blue table-clothed tables all placed outdoors. It can accommodate around 400 people.
Here, everyone is welcome and treated in the same manner. Although the right to a table in the coveted restaurant section is a privilege which need to be earned. That unwritten etiquette is down to the waiters who have been here for years serving delicious Mediterranean cuisine and who have seen it all before.
Club 55 has never claimed to be a gourmet restaurant. They serve simple food in simple surroundings, albeit to a stellar cast of guests and onlookers.
While you’re here make a visit the beachside ‘bazaar’, which sells relaxed yet chic styled products and has everything you might need for the beach or elsewhere.
Overall, Club 55 is a unique place that savours simplicity and authenticity, best summed up by its philosophy, “here the client is not the king…because he is a friend.”
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