The town’s name derives from that of an early, semi-legendary martyr named Saint Torpes. His legend states that he was beheaded at Pisa during the reign of Nero, and that his body was placed in a rotten boat with a rooster and a dog. The body landed at the present-day location of the town.
Saint-Tropez and its surroundings were dominated by the nearby Saracen settlement of Fraxinet during the ninth and tenth centuries.
The local nobleman had the privilege of raising a standing army, which drove away a fleet of Spanish galleons in 1637. Les Bravades des Espagnols is a local religious and military celebration commemorating this victory of the Tropezian militia over the Spanish.
The area was not taxed by the French government during this time. However, this tax-free privilege was abrogated by King Louis XIV, who reasserted French control over the city.
The Japanese samurai, Hasekura Tsunenaga, and his retainers, en route to Rome, visited Saint-Tropez in September 1615, in what is believed to be the earliest instance of contact between the French and the Japanese.
The famous admiral, Pierre André de Suffren de Saint Tropez (1729–1788), was the third son of the marquis de Saint-Tropez.
In the 1920s Saint-Tropez attracted famous figures from the world of fashion, like Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli.
During World War II, on 15 August 1944, it was the site of a military landing called Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of southern France.
In the 1950s, partly thanks to Brigitte Bardot, Saint-Tropez became renowned internationally. It was the setting for such films as And God Created Woman.
Pink Floyd wrote a song called "San Tropez" which is named after the town. St. Tropez is also cited in David Gates' 1978 hit, "Took The Last Train" and Aerosmith's "Permanent Vacation". Rappers including Diddy, Jay-Z and 50 Cent refer to the city in some of their songs as a favorite vacation destination, usually