Top Historic Sights in Saint-Tropez, France

Explore the historic highlights of Saint-Tropez

Our Lady of the Assumption Church

The Italian Baroque-style Our Lady of the Assumption Church topped by a bell tower was built in 1784. It is one of the most recognisable sights in Saint-Tropez, with its bright ochre and earthy sienna coloured bell tower. This building replaced an older 16th-century church which became unstable when the current chapel was erected. There had been an earlier 11th-century religious construction on this same site, destroyed ...
Founded: 1784 | Location: Saint-Tropez, France

Saint-Tropez Towers

As a result of being a coastal town and needing to protect itself from attack, St Tropez became well-fortified early on in its history. You can now visit three towers scattered across the city"s coastline. Originally, four towers were built to protect the coast and the port: Tour du Portalet, Tour la Vieille, Tour de Suffren, now lost, and the Tour Jarlier.  The Tour du Portalet and the Tour la Vieille, or Old Tower ...
Founded: 1565 | Location: Saint-Tropez, France

Musée de l’Annonciade

Musée de l’Annonciade is one of the oldest modern art galleries in France. This 16th-century former chapel in Place Grammont contains some dross but also cracking stuff from artists connected with Provence in general and St Tropez in particular. Look out for Matisse, Utrillo, Seurat and Dufy. You should also have a look at the pointillist works of Signac, the first artist into St Tropez in the late 19th century.
Founded: 1922 | Location: Saint-Tropez, France

Saint-Tropez Citadel

In 1589, Maréchal de Villars supervised the construction of a small fort on the hill known as "colline des Moulins" overlooking Saint-Tropez. This fort was destroyed in 1595, but the military engineer Raymond de Bonnefons chose the same site to build further defensive structures from the start of the 17th century. The hexagonal tower, which formed an essential part of the village"s defence system, was ere ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Saint-Tropez, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.