You can’t get much more glamorous. Add 200 or so of the world’s finest and most graceful horses – along with 100 of the globe’s most successful riders – to the mix, and you have one of the most prestigious sporting events of the summer, a particular favourite among the jet-setting elite and St. Tropez regulars. Sponsored by the luxury watch brand Longines, the tone is instantly set for a wonderful week of equine celebration.
As a stalwart location for abundance and opulence on the French Riviera, the gentle sea breeze that rustles through palm trees and the meditative lapping of waves on the shore will once more be usurped by the sound of galloping hooves across the sand on the onomatopoeic Pampelonne Beach, as well as the cheers from the attending crowd.
For the 4th consecutive year champion rider Athina Onassis will host a spectacular of horse jumping, bringing together professionals and amateurs all competing for glory, and the generous cash prizes. For those competing in any of the 4 classes in the professional CSI5 class, positions in the official global Longines ranking can be achieved, as well as a grand prize of EUR 300,000. Jumping for joy takes on a whole new meaning here.
The skill for hospitality has clearly been passed down from her grandfather, the infamous party host Aristotle Onassis; a true highlight of this year’s festivities will be the Athina Onassis VIP area, yet again showing the close relationship between glamour, sport, and the Onassis name. Elegant and exquisite, guests can enjoy an exclusive culinary experience when not witnessing the finesse of the competing riders, dining on inventive dishes making the most of out of the local fare, such as third-generation Ruliano Perex Suctum dry-cured ham. A selection of tables will also enjoy menus designed by Michelin starred chef Vincent Maillard, in conjunction with official partner, the superb 5* Hôtel Byblos. An added touch of luxury is added by having Umbrian artisan Stefano Conticelli (founder of luxury accessory maker Bottega Conticelli) creating limited edition centre-pieces for each table.
Should VIP guests not wish to participate in a sit down meal, there are other areas in which to satisfy the tastebuds; the VIP Green Bar will be offering a choice of over 100 fruits and vegetables, and a Fromagerie Tent will offer the very best in French and Italian cheeses, a surefire hit after quenching one’s thirst in the champagne bar.
The Champagne Bar Henriot will be offering tastings of their champagne with accompanying Italian delights from the famed Parma region, including also the ever popular cocktail hour. Light snacks can also be eaten in the other Cocktail Bar, which has the pleasure of a guest DJ to end each day of competition and start a night of celebration.
This illustrious event offers visitors the chance to make the most of everything that St. Tropez is famed for, all in the space of three charming days of competition (June 1st – 3rd). Although not officially a part of the global Longines Challenge, it allows for those with even a passing interest in the sport the chance to witness world-class riders in an intimate, but highly opulent, environment