Two thousand years ago, when Toulon was still known as Télo, Roman sailors defended their purple dye production against pirates, who coveted its exceptional location. Since the 15th century, French kings made it the jewel in the crown of their navy, leaving Marseilles as the centre of trade. Victor Hugo took inspiration from the life of Toulon’s galley slaves to come up with Jean Valjean, the famous convict in Les Misérables.
When you discover the city, you'll be immediately impressed by the historic remnants of maritime defence, with the Porte Monumentale de l'Arsenal, the Navy Museum, the Place d'Armes, Fort Balaguier naval museum, the Tour Carrée lookout, the Eguillette fortifications and the huge cimetière marin, where decommissioned ships are moored. The aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle can be seen when it's docked, though it's not open to the public for national security reasons.
When it comes to the seaside, you can bask on Le Mourillon's 7 hectares of beaches, near the exotic jardin d'acclimatation. For those who like to seek out secret spots, a dip in the Crique du Cap Brun or the Anse Méjean is a must, in the shade of fishermen's cabins. Once the evening rolls around, go and try a cade, a traditional chickpea cake, outside one of the restaurants in the port of Toulon, which has retained a very Provençal village feel.
As for the town, Toulon is a major centre of culture: a grand opera house, the Place de la Liberté and the Haute-Ville area and its countless brasseries will make your walk among the fountains and palm trees extra special. Don't forget to take the cable-car to view the scrubland of the countryside from the top of Mont Faron.
Toulon is in the heart of the Mediterranean, situated between Marseilles and Nice, and is easy to get to however you travel, with Toulon-Hyères international airport, a high-speed station in the city centre, a ferry terminal and the Mistral bus network.
Ports, Museums and Beaches
Intricate models of historic ships and the recreation of a prison hospital are some of the intriguing attractions at this museum near Toulon’s marina.
Stroll around this attractive port from where you can catch a ferry to the landscape and cities of the French Mediterranean island of Corsica.
Go running along the pretty promenade, cool down with a swim in the sea and make sand castles with the kids on this attractive beach.
Travel to the top of the mountain that overlooks Toulon to hike across its summit, see big cats in their enclosures and learn about World War II history.
See modern navy ships, learn about the city’s maritime history and explore nearby islands when you visit Toulon’s harbor area.
Wander through the exhibition halls of this free gallery to see innovative artworks from the second half of the 20th century.
Book a private professional photographer for a family trip, destination wedding, secret proposal or just a great day. Prices start at 8.
Soak up the Provencal lifestyle in the charming city of Aix-en-Provence, the peaceful village of Cassis, and the vibrant port of Marseille. Stroll down ancient streets, go for a cruise through coastal calanques and visit quaint fishing villages for a taste of life on the Mediterranean.
The Pick up will be at 8.30am from Marseille at Radisson Blu Hotel Vieux Port by Minibus. Your driver guide will take you to the charming ancient fishing port in Cassis,you will board on a 45-minute cruise through the breathtaking Calanques rocky white inlets one of the most beautiful shorelines.
Meet your guide in central Aix en Provence at 9 am. Drive to Cassis, a former fishermen village called the little Saint-Tropez of Provence. Free time to visit this charming village at your own pace, relax on the beach or enjoy a 45 mn mini-cruise in the 3 main inlets of the national park, listed by Unesco as world park heritage since 2012.
Delve into the history, architecture, and cultural heritage of Provence on this full-day outing to its vibrant cities and quaint towns. Visit the lively market of medieval Aix-en-Provence, relax in the little fishing port of Cassis, and experience landmarks new and old on a guided tour of atmospheric Marseille.
Meet your guide in central Marseille at 2 PM and drive to Cassis , a former fishermen village called the little Saint-Tropez of Provence and listed by Unesco as world park heritage for its white cliff and turquoise water.