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August 28, 2018

Safety in St-Tropez – a guide to security on the French Riviera

Hollywood has portrayed the Côte d’Azur as having something of a theft problem over the years. Hitchcock’s 1955 thriller To Catch a Thief stars Cary Grant as a retired cat burglar who has to prove his reform by catching an imposter preying on the wealthy tourists of the French Riviera. In US 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Michael Caine plays a sophisticated British con artist seducing and stealing the money of wealthy South of France women. And in hit film-series the Pink Panther, behind all the hijinks of the inept detective work, the same message rings true: wealthy people relaxing on holiday, even those staying in highly secure St Tropez villas, attract unwanted attention. But how true is this in reality, and just how safe is modern St Tropez for tourists?

Crime in Saint-Tropez

In 2002 there was legitimate fear about the safety of St Tropez after the town experienced a 21% increase in all crimes from the previous year, with violent incidents like ram-raiding and car-jacking particularly worrying for holidaymakers. However, this seemed to subside with the introduction of a round-the-clock police presence in the centre of town, turning it back into a glamorous and secure place to live and vacation.

Whilst today Saint-Tropez and the wider French Riviera still experience petty crime and thefts, these tend to be non-violent. However, this is not to say the burglaries are not traumatic for the victims. Many of you may remember how in the summer of 2015, F1 racing driver Jenson Button was burgled while he and his wife Jessica slept at their luxury villa in St Tropez. Around £300,000 worth of jewellery was stolen including his wife’s engagement ring, but what made this raid even more concerning was that the thieves used gas to sedate the Buttons before breaking in. Local police admitted that this was not an isolated incident, with reports indicating a surge of sedative gas robberies on the Côte d’Azur.

How to avoid being a victim?

Luckily, there are steps you can take to avoid being a victim of theft. Firstly, when deciding where to stay in St Tropez, you should always look for a villa to rent with security. Finding a high security villa to rent might well be the difference between having your break ruined by losing all your treasured possessions, and returning with everything you came with plus a million blissful memories. Be sure to book with an agent that takes your security seriously.

Then, make sure you are following the general precautions. Pay attention to crime reports in the area, always be aware of where your valuables are, lock what’s necessary in a safe and never leave anything on show in your vehicle windows. Keep to the busy areas when out and about, and invest in a good insurance package, so that any losses can at least be replaced by cash value. After all, whilst it’s highly unlikely that you will be a victim of crime during your stay in St Tropez, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Other than that, simply sit back, relax, grab a glass of chilled champagne and enjoy your French Riviera vacation in style. Bon voyage…


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