Best Things To Do in Toulon, South of France
In the south of France, between Marseille and Saint Tropez, is the beautiful city of Toulon.
On the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, this city has a population of more than 170,000 inhabitants who enjoy splendid weather during most of the year.
The locals are very proud to live in Toulon, and it shows when you walk through the streets and see them full of people enjoying the terraces of the area and shopping in its beautiful traditional stores.
If you are looking for a different experience in a Provençal city not as crowded as Marseille or Nice, Toulon is the place to visit to get a taste of what it is like to live in a Provençal town.
Among its attractions are its beautiful beaches, fishing port, and of course, the funicular that climbs Mont Faron, recommended by many travelers as one of the best things to do in the region.
Toulon has a lot to offer, and we want you to discover it with us, so here we tell you what to see and do in Toulon, South France.
Visiting the Old Town
To start your visit to Toulon, we recommend a walk through the center early in the morning when the city wakes up.
The Old Town is a beautiful place with narrow streets and emblematic buildings that attract the traveler’s attention.
Green shuttered facades adorn the town, and its market enlivens the streets every morning with hundreds of people coming to buy local products.
Touring the Port of Toulon
Once we have seen the historical center, we recommend visiting the port area.
This seaport is full of history, and despite being heavily bombed during World War II, today, it is a key point for the city’s economy.
The renovations made to the port have turned it into a pleasant place for sightseeing, where you can see large military and cruise ships.
The port of Toulon is one of the largest in France and therefore has a large military base with aircraft carriers and submarines that you can see from very close.
In addition, the port of Toulon is served by ferries to many ferry connections to other points on the map that you may be interested in visiting, such as Corsica and Sardinia.
Relaxing on the Beaches of Mourillon
Just east of the port, the Plages du Mourillon are four contiguous sandy beaches, all Blue Flag beaches, each similar to the next.
All are bays protected by long breakwaters that leave the seas shallow and smooth.
There are 15 hectares of sand, a dozen bars, and many restaurants where you can sit and enjoy a drink and something to eat.
From the center, it is only a 20-minute walk to the beaches, and if you prefer to go by car, you should know that there are ample free parking areas close to the coast.
On summer evenings, there are fireworks displays from Fort Saint-Louis, and in mid-August, it is the ideal place to see aerobatic shows by the French Air Force Patrouille de France team.
Don’t forget to take travel insurance when planning your trips. Hopefully, you don’t need to use it, but it’s best to be prepared for any eventuality or emergency.
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Take the Cable Car Up Mont Faron
Mont Faron is a 584-meter-high summit, accessible by cable car, which you can take from the city.
At the top, you can find a small zoo specializing in felines and a monument in memory of the Allied landing in Provence. You can also access it from the road.
The cable car price is 7.80 per adult, and the truth is that it is worth paying, considering that you will go up in a few minutes and you can enjoy one of the best viewpoints in Provence.
Tour the Hotel des Arts
In front of the Place de la Liberté, in the city’s heart, is the Hotel des Arts. The Hotel des Arts is a museum building that exhibits works from the second half of the 20th century.
In addition, it supports contemporary artists to showcase their paintings, photographs, and digital artwork, helping them become known and promoting local talent.
You can enjoy its permanent collection based on the Mediterranean Sea with approximately 250 works throughout the year.
However, throughout the year, many temporary exhibitions are related to various themes or particular artists.
However, this 400-square meter museum has more to offer, which is why the most curious tourists can also participate in painting workshops and enjoy some concerts inside the Hotel Des Arts.
If you enjoy art in all its forms, do not hesitate to visit the Hotel Des Arts and especially its website to be aware of all the activities taking place in this important place for the city of Toulon.
Visit the Opera of Toulon
This 19th-century building is classified as a historical monument. The city’s Opera House, located on Place Victor Hugo, is a magnificent building in the old town of which the inhabitants are proud.
More than 150 years old, the Opera House is known for its good acoustics and its capacity to receive up to 1100 people.
The architecture is very striking, but what really catches the eye are its ornate ceilings that feature a painting of more than 15 meters wide by the artist Luis Duveu that gives a distinctive touch to this beautiful opera.
Visit the Market at Cours Lafayette
As we all know, the Provence region is mainly known for its Provencal markets, and the city of Toulon also has its own.
The market is located on Cours Lafayette, a long pedestrian street that stretches all the way to the port.
On this street, several stalls sell mainly food products and handicrafts that you can only find in this market. Every morning except Mondays it is possible to enjoy this market.
Among its star products are local cheeses, wines, artisanal honey, and aromatic plants sold at quite reasonable prices.
Tour the National Museum of the Navy
The Musée de la Marine is located near the seafront to the north of Préfecture Maritime.
An excellent way to discover the maritime history of Toulon, the Naval Museum houses a collection of pictures, engravings, paintings, and drawings, as well as an exhibition on the development of artillery.
Visitors can use one of the museum’s audio guides to obtain more detailed information about the exhibits and thus discover the history of this great port city.
Visit the 16th-century Tour Royale
The Tour Royale is another of Toulon’s most important buildings. The “petit train” tourist train takes you to the city’s most emblematic places, including this sturdy fort.
The Tour Royale (Royal Tower) was built at the mouth of the military port, the Petit Rade, in the early 16th century when the kings of France sought to make the country an unstoppable naval power.
The building is a low, round tower 60 meters in diameter with walls up to 7 meters thick that ensured that any ship entering the port could be attacked by cannons.
It is now very well preserved; you can even take a small tour inside, full of historical information. The entrance fee is 2 euros.
One of the emblems of the city is the Mayol Stadium. This is where all rugby fans gather every season, and this place is the cradle of the sport in the city.
The local rugby team called Club de Rugby de Toulonnais is at the heart of the inhabitants of Toulon and therefore has a large fan base.
If you are in the city on game dates, we recommend going to the Mayol Stadium.
The atmosphere will impress you, and you will enjoy a unique experience, even if you have never seen a rugby match before, because going to rugby in Toulon is a great party.
Landing Memorial Museum
The museum and the landing monument commemorate the Allied invasion of the coast of Provence on August 15, 1944.
If you like military history, you will be fascinated by the presentations of the different operations and battlefields around Toulon, elaborated with maps, models, and photographs.
There are many uniforms on display and weapons and field equipment to inspect.
Outside the museum are artillery such as an American tank, anti-tank guns, and remnants of German aircraft artillery left over after the battle.
Plan Your Trip to Provence
- The most beautiful villages of Provence
- Beautiful Castles to spend an unforgettable night in Provence
- The largest cities in Provence
- What to see and do in Provence
- How to drive in France
- How to plan a road trip in France
- Travel insurance means you do not have to pay French health insurance in advance.