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Why you need to visit Toulon this year

Why you need to visit Toulon this year

Visit Toulon, France, and discover the sunny naval port city that’s a hidden gem of Provence

Toulon reflects hidden Provence at its best, abundant in history and tradition but without the glitz and business of fashionable hotspots such as Cannes and Nice. Toulon is where I take family and friends looking for authentic historic Provence. 

There's no ideal time to visit France's second-largest naval port city. It's rated as one of the sunniest cities in the Mediterranean—magical every time, every season.  

Beaches around Toulon, France

Beaches around Toulon

Toulon is situated midway between Marseille and St. Tropez; it's laidback, serene and surrounded by mountains and sea. Cruise vessels now dock in Toulon's exotic port, making it more accessible to sea travellers. 



Top tips 

Toulon Tourisme offers a Toulon Pass. The Toulon pass is a practical, helpful guide with some discounts and free visits, such as the D-Day Museum, thrown in. It's available at the Tourist Office for only 34 Euros for adults and a reduced rate for children. Valid for 24 hours, it’s perfect for weekenders. 

Take Le Petit Train 

Included in the tourist pass is Le Petit Train, a little tourist train that goes around the main tourist sights. The 45-minute ride gives a feel of what makes Toulon different, and also allows you to decide what areas to explore. 

Toulon's historic sites  

Stroll along Toulon Harbour  

Make the harbour your first stop to get a feel for the city. Lined with terrace cafes and fishing vessels, the seafront is a natural, vast sheltered haven.

"Make the harbour your first stop to get a feel for the city"

You can understand why Roman sailors settled here some 2,000 years ago—they felt safe from enemies and adverse weather conditions. Today, the harbour is the French Navy's principal base, the largest in Europe. 

Visit the Marine Museum (Musée National de la Marine) 

The brass cannons inside this prestigious museum's entrance set the scene of Toulon's respected Musée National de la Marine. It illustrates Toulon’s marine life and how the port of Toulon has changed over the years. There's much to see on the two levels: exceptional collections that include a large-scale model of ships used for training purposes, model vessels and galleries.  

The display of historical paintings and the discovery of how maritime techniques have evolved over the centuries are also attractive. 

Take the cable car to Mount Faron

A must-visit is the modern interactive museum dedicated to the history and memory of important historical events in Provence. 

View from Mount Faron, Toulon, France

The view from Mount Faron

You can get to the summit of Mount Faron by foot, by car, or the Téléphérique du Faron.  

The red cable car will whizz you past steep limestone cliffs and panoramic views up to the top of Mount Faron—584 metres above the city in just six minutes. At the top, the sweeping views of the city, the coastline and the harbour are unique.

Visit the Museum of the D-Day landings and the Liberation  

The allied landings in the south of France in 1944 often get overlooked. The Memorial du Débarquement et la Liberation en Provence tells the story of the liberation of Provence, through an extensive collection of audio-visual projections, videos, and objects.  

Toulon's cultural sites  

Wander in the market place  

What better place for a market than in the centre of the town? The Cours Lafayette market is authentic and full of colour, fragrance and the best place to find fresh local produce: flowers, fish, food and more.  

"This is multicultural Provence at its best"

Held from Tuesday to Sunday, the local producers, with their distinctive southern accents, sell their products from 8am to midday. For me, this is multicultural Provence at its best: one of my favorite markets, fresh and seasonal as the months change but with good value at all times.   

Remember as you wander that this is one of Toulon's oldest quarters. 

Explore the fountains in Toulon  

One noticeable thing while wandering around Toulon is the number of fountains dotted around the city—some simple and some elaborate. Imagine, Toulon is home to around 50 fountains.  

Fontaine de la Revolution, Toulon, France

Fontaine de la Révolution

The Romans built these fountains to provide drinking water. Today, fountains decorate. Find these restored fountains in the narrow streets and marketplaces.  

Discover beaches and coastal paths around Toulon 

With more than seven hectares of beaches in and around Toulon, the beaches here are uncrowded—another plus point for exploring Toulon. What's great too are the little coves and fishing harbours slightly away from the town.  

"With more than seven hectares of beaches in and around Toulon, the beaches here are uncrowded"

Le sentier du littoral (coastal path), also called the Customs Officers, was used to survey the coast and to deter smugglers. Granted some of these hikes are challenging, but there’s quite a choice of coastal hiking paths in the Toulon area. For nature lovers, this is the perfect way to study nature at its best and discover exotic Mediterranean plants nestled between wild rock and sea. 

For that special weekend, fly to Toulon Hyères and explore the rich history of this fine city. Sit, eat and drink among the locals in the marketplace. It’s the best way to feel the magic of Toulon. 

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