Toulon is a port town along the Mediterranean coast in the southeastern region of France. The capital of Var department, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur région, it has been a principal French naval base since the 15th century. Prior to that, it had been a trading depot by Ancient Greeks and later, a shelter for trading ships when it was occupied by Romans.
Most of the history of the town is tied to the seas and its role as a military port. Many of the activities you can do have a maritime theme. There are also those that provide a unique mix of urban and old town charm that only Toulon could offer. If you can’t decide what activities to include in your itinerary, here are our suggestions for five enjoyable things you can do in Toulon.
Go to the top of Mont Faron
Toulon is beautifully backdropped by Mont Faron which can be reached via Téléphérique du Faron, a red cable car that ascends the 584-meter mountain. At the top, you will have a magnificent view of Toulon and its harbor. Another not to miss site on its terrace is the World War II fortress of Musée Mémorial du Débarquement. The museum houses an extensive collection of period objects such as uniforms, weapons, and field equipment.
Visit Hôtel des Arts
If you are less of a history or military enthusiast or you prefer art museums, then Toulon has that to offer as well. One of its notable art museums is Hôtel des Arts which exhibits works from contemporary artists. It is the Mediterranean Center of Art located in one of the elegant heritage buildings of Toulon. Different works of arts such as paintings, sculptures, photography, video, and art installations are available for free public viewing.
Shop at the Old Town
Toulon’s old town is a historic center located between the Boulevard de Strasbourg, Cours Lafayette, and the port. Every morning, except for Mondays and other exceptional days, Cours Lafayette is transformed into an outdoor market. This celebrated Provencal market features local products and produce which takes place from early morning until lunchtime.
Sample Toulonian Dishes
As you stroll along Cours Lafayette on an early morning, the aroma of freshly cooked meals and snack will wake up your appetite. Grab a breakfast of cade toulonnaise, a flatbread made of chickpea flour and seasoned with salt and pepper. Lunch is a difficult decision between dining along the harbor or in the old town where you can savor a hearty bouillabaisse. Enjoy an afternoon coffee with chichi frégi in one of the cafe terraces along the Place de la Liberté after visiting the museums nearby. Afterward, return to the Old Town and pick one of the restaurants for your evening meal.
Swim at Le Mourillon
On the east of Toulon is the seaside neighborhood of Le Mourillon. It was once a fishing port and was turned into a neighborhood for the French naval officers and their families. There are beachside restaurants you can savor a meal while viewing the glimmering waters and undulating hills from afar. The whole family could amuse themselves by playing in the sand or taking part in various activities hosted on the beach. Art fanatics could drop by the Musée des Arts Asiatiques near Fort St. Louis.
Toulon is the best choice if you want to skip the hustle and bustle of tourist-crowded cities. A town rich in history and gorgeous sites, there are plenty of leisurely activities to choose from in Toulon. From educational visits in museums to relaxing walk along the beach, you would fill your itinerary with plenty of enjoyable activities to do.