Later this month, a host of celebrities will descend on the French town of St Tropez for actor and UN ambassador Leonardo DiCaprio’s annual charity auction. They will get to enjoy its bohemian beachside restaurants for possibly the last time in their current form, thanks to new legislation that is posing a threat to them.
The legislation currently being examined by the French government would see the trendy driftwood structures on the white sand of Pampelonne being replaced with collapsible flat-pack outlets. In addition, the number of mattresses available to beach-goers for lounging on will be reduced from 5000 to 3000.
The new rules are known as the Décret Plage 2006, and they have been percolating for a number of years. They intend to reduce the commercial area of the beach from 30% to 20%. As part of this, the beach cafés are to be reduced from 27 to 23, meaning that four of them will close completely.
Local restaurateurs are concerned about the impact that these new rules will have on both tourist, and also local, trade. They also feel that a large part of the history of St Tropez will be lost. After all, the beach lounges were immortalised by film star Brigitte Bardot in the 1956 film, And God Created Woman.