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My Saint-Tropez: Alain Rondini

The Rondini family, creators of the famous Sandales Tropéziennes, have been running their eponymous business in Saint-Tropez since 1927. Alain Rondini, the third generation of the family to take the helm, is as committed to making great quality sandals as he is to keeping tradition alive – over eight decades after the company’s launch, each shoe each shoe is still hand-made in the workshop behind the store. He shares his love of his home town with Hannah Lewis

City Guide
Hannah Lewis,

I was born in Saint-Tropez and still live there today. I like its local festivals and its atmosphere. I love to travel, but even if money were no object, I would chose to live nowhere else than in my village.

You can find everything you need in Saint-Tropez. I like Neway, a multi-retailer specialising in both womenswear and menswear, for their great staff, brands and products. I like also to shop in Othello and in Ermenegildo Zegna.

You are most likely to find me in my own Rondini shop on rue Georges Clemenceau. It is both a workshop and store and has been in business since 1927. People come because we offer a local, unique product that is not available in any other shop.

We want to protect our craftsmanship and the legacy of a family whose sandals have been worn by such varied and impressive women as Marlene Dietrich, Colette, Anne Hathaway and Kate Moss. Personally, I can’t live without them!

One of my favourite restaurants in Saint-Tropez is La Figuière. The chef, André Fumat, does everything himself, and the venue offers top service just on the edge of the swimming pool which looks out onto vineyards.

The Tahiti Plage restaurant offers great service and lovely dishes and is owned by one of the last beach owners in Saint-Tropez who is native to the area. I have dinner twice in a year in La Pinède restaurant, where the chef Arnaud Donckele has three Michelin stars and where you have an incredible view of the village and the sea.

To celebrate, I recommend La Verdoyante, a family restaurant located 10km from Saint-Tropez in the vineyards, for delicious food at affordable prices and a fantastic view out to sea. A charming place for having dinner on the terrace.

I go regularly to the Villa Belrose where I can enjoy the view from above Saint-Tropez and the golf. If friends visit, I take them for a picnic on Chapelle Sainte-Anne hill, where you have a 360° view across the Saint-Tropez peninsula, from Pampelonne to Port Grimaud.

I really love walking from the old district, la Ponche, which is an old fishing port. I follow the coastal path, passing the marine cemetery and joining Les Canoubiers beach.

I recently discovered the small, unique Maison des Papillons butterfly museum. Its owner, Dany Lartigues, is a brilliant, passionate and charismatic artist. Saint-Tropez is filled with things to be discovered. The Annonciade museum is filled with different and interesting painting exhibitions.

Every visitor should have a drink and a nougat on the terrace at Sénéquier at the port. There are other secrets to be found, but I won’t tell you… you’ll have to look for them.

For more information: http://www.rondini.fr



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