Despite its rich history and ideal location, Toulon is usually not considered one of the sexy spots on the Mediterranean coast, unless, that is, you’re sensitive to the Gallic charms of the French officers stationed in its immense naval base. But the general consensus will quickly prove unfair to the new visitors when they discover that besides being a major military port, this unsung gem half-way between Marseille and Saint-Tropez has also plenty going for it, all to be enjoyed in the city’s stunning setting between the magnificent natural harbor and the dominant Mont Faron in the background.
Just tempting faith on the treacherous road that’ll take you to the top can be the adventure of a lifetime! However, if you’re not that much of a thrill-seeker, the cable car will do just as well.
Originally colonized by the Greeks, the Ligurians and the Romans, Toulon quickly established itself as an urban center that counted. Nowadays, the rambunctious Old Town still displays a stunning cathedral and numerous historical fountains in its narrow streets and small squares. The daily Provençal market on the Cours Lafayette still offers myriads of local products to locals and travelers alike.
The classy Upper Town is Baron Haussmann’s domain, which he designed in the mid 19th century as a field test before moving on to even bigger and better improvements in Paris. Grandeur and modernity are everywhere, whether in the Toulon opera house, the Place de la Liberté, the Grand Hotel, the train station, the Gardens of Alexander I, and more. You cannot go wrong by leisurely perusing these marvels of architecture and urban planning.
Toulon is a city of culture as well, and its wide range of museums is there to prove it. Predictably enough you’ll find the Museum of the French Navy and the Museum of Old Toulon and its Region, but the Museum of Art is also worth a detour with its impressive collections of contemporary art while the self-described Museum of Asian Arts will give you the opportunity to visit the former house and garden of famed French author Jules Verne in nearby Le Mourillon. If Asian art is not your cup of tea, Le Mourillon has enough beaches and water sports facilities to keep you busy and in shape. If you are interested in visiting Toulon, we have many vacation rentals in the French Riviera.2-bedroom rental – Toulon-Le Mourillon (PR 634) near the beach. You’ll be able to enjoy the quietness of a residential neighborhood and the proximity of big city amenities.
If you prefer a smaller town, we have an apartment 3-bedroom furnished rental – Bandol (PR-865) in Bandol, right on the coast between Toulon and Marseille and a short drive from Cassis. Make sure to taste the local wines while you’re there!
Even more picturesque is the harbor town of Sanary-sur-mer, between Bandol and Toulon, where you can enjoy your vacation from our apartment with a view 1-bedroom furnished rental – Sanary (PR 857) in an old country house up in the hills.
So the choice is yours! Pack your bags, become one of the illuminati and let us know what you think about Toulon and its well-kept treasures in our comments section.