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Villa Salmanazar: A Dreamy Retreat in Saint-Tropez

An effortless host, the luxurious Villa Salmanazar invites relaxed year-round living in its peaceful pocket of the Côte D’Azur countryside

Saint-Tropez may well be the epicenter of French joie de vivre. “They certainly built the properties around here with a view to entertaining a lot,” says Eric Raphaël of Michaël Zingraf Real Estate, the exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate in the region. “And this property is no exception.”

Villa Salmanazar, with its nine bedrooms and separate one-bedroom apartment, can not only host a dozen or more guests, it can offer them space and privacy, too. Set on a 1.23-acre plot, it’s nestled in the hills of Ramatuelle, surrounded by greenery and with spectacular sea views over the bay of Pampelonne.

They certainly built the properties around here with a view to entertaining a lot

The best of both worlds
The villa, which has no immediate neighbors, is accessible direct from Nice Côte D’Azur Airport in 20 minutes by helicopter—the property has its own certified helipad—in an hour by car, or in two if taking picturesque rural lanes through vineyards. And over its 25-year story, the villa’s two owners have seen it as a way of enjoying the pleasures of the Côte d’Azur—notably Saint-Tropez’s famed beaches, clubs, bars, and shops—without having to be locked into its upbeat energy.

At the end of the 19th century, the French Impressionists came to Saint-Tropez to paint; in the middle of the 20th century, the French New Wave came here to reinvent cinema; and Brigitte Bardot came here to party—and indeed still lives here. But today it’s the year-round temperate climate and landscape that are the real draws for the owners of Villa Salmanazar.

Set in stone
The property certainly looks the part. Although not an old building, it feels as though it has been in situ for generations, built in a classic Provençal style—in tones of sand and terracotta, punctuated by arches and shaded walkways. Fittings and furnishings in stone, wicker, oak, and other natural materials complement the authentic aesthetic, as do traditional Mediterranean shades of taupe and white.

The design of the property sees architecture and interior blend seamlessly to create a genuine blurring of interior and exterior space. The principal reception rooms, for example, enjoy double-aspect views over the landscape down to the Mediterranean. Likewise, the double-aspect dining room opens out to a courtyard with fountain, and the kitchen morphs into an outdoor barbecue area under a wisteria- and vine-covered pergola.

Outside, a decked seating area, firepit, and oversized two-part swimming pool create a beach club feeling, as well as more sedate spots in which to hide away.

It really has everything you’d want in a vacation home, in a place where you can retreat to for a month or so every year

The living is easy
When it comes to retiring for the night, the villa is no less well considered. There are four bedrooms with en suite baths over the ground floor. The master floor comprises a master bedroom and bath, dressing area, study, and a private terrace. The garden level accommodates a further four en suite bedrooms, alongside a game room, gym, bar, massage room, wine room, and one-bedroom apartment.

“It really has everything you’d want in a vacation home, in a place where you can retreat to for a month or so every year,” says Raphaël, “though we’re finding that more people are now looking for properties in the area in which to live more full-time—technology is allowing them to run their interests from wherever they are, so they want to be somewhere special. We’re seeing demand for properties outstrip supply.”

A rare find
There’s a good reason for this, too. Villa Salmanazar is special not simply for its space or charm, but because, since it was built, French local and national governments have designated the Cap Camarat area in which the property stands to be one of outstanding beauty. And in a bid to keep it that way, they’ve put a halt to all building, meaning it’s a rare thing to be able to acquire property in the region.

“It’s something of a small paradise here,” says Raphaël, “all the more for having few exceptional properties, such as this, available.”