Le Club 55

David Yarrow

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“I have huge admiration for Patrice de Colmont – the owner of the legendary Le Club 55 on Pampelonne beach near St Tropez. My fondness for him is not a self-serving emotion derived from being allowed to shoot at this club, nor is it simply because he continues to work as hard as he does to be charming and efficient to a daily clientele that in peak summer can exceed 800 covers. It is more because Le Club 55 has retained a unique vibe for decades. That is some trick for a famous restaurant and one achieved by so few. The credit for that must go to him and his daughter Camille.

Patrice has a cool insouciance that trickles down to his clientele and in so doing pays homage to the club’s roots. In 1955 Roger Vadim and his film crew who were shooting the love scenes for “And God Created Woman” mistook the driftwood furniture that Patrice’s father had laid up on his beach for a public restaurant. And so it was that Le Club 55 was born and the film’s lead – Brigitte Bardot – soon to be the world’s most famous woman – found her base camp.

There is, of course, an indulgence in life at Le Club 55, but it is accompanied by a chilled nonchalance that cannot be bottled. So many destination venues are ultimately ruined by the clientele that want to be seen there: it is the money that eventually wins the day, but here in Pampelonne, that effortless and visceral authenticity remains sacrosanct.

Here in the most idyllic part of the French Riviera, is a club that will always be sovereign and I sense that the behaviour is self-policed. In some ways it reminds me of Augusta, Georgia: the clientele may be very different, but the guiding principle is a deference to the past.

I wanted the picture to tell a story of people protecting their story, their beach and their club.” – David Yarrow

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52 x 77 inches, Edition of 12
71 x 109 inches, Edition of 12

Signed and numbered by the artist

Archival Pigment Print, framed

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