7 top attractions in Toulon, France

Top 10 tourist attractions in Toulon and easy days

A titular Mediterranean port city, Toulon has one of the most beautiful harbors in France. This beautiful natural harbor is filled with small fishing boats and fancy yachts. Along the picturesque promenade, palm-topped sidewalks are lined with boutiques and terraces of lively brasseries. The city of Toulon combines the atmosphere of a resort with the feel of a real working city, as it is France’s main naval base as well as a center for fishing and other industries. Toulon also boasts a rich Provençal heritage and traditional markets. Unhurried seaside walks and time spent on the beach help tourists soak up the sunny south of France.

See also: Where to stay in Toulon

1 Vieille Ville (Old Town).

See Toulon

Toulon’s Old Town was badly damaged during World War II, but it has retained much of its former charm. Tourists will enjoy wandering through the narrow cobblestone streets and relaxing in the peaceful squares adorned with lush fountains. On warm days, it’s nice to stop in one of these shady squares and enjoy a refreshing drink in an outdoor café. Tourists should also go to the Hotel de Ville to see the famous “Caryatids” at the entrance of the building. These sculptural figures, which seem to linger on the balcony, were created by Pierre Puget (1620-1694) and have been copied many times throughout Provence (such as at Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence), but here they remain unsurpassed in their expression. Continuing west, visitors can stroll along the lively Rue d’Alger, which leads to Rue Hoche and then to Puget with the Fontaine de Trois Dauphins (Fountain of the Three Dolphins), which is overgrown and covered in lime deposits, like many fountains in Provence.

On the waterfront is an old fishing village, Le Mourillon quarter. This historic neighborhood is characterized by its narrow streets and charming little fishermen’s houses painted in bright colors. Rue Lamalgue has many boutiques and gourmet restaurants. The Murillon neighborhood also has beautiful sandy beaches, perfect for families; the beaches have sporting events and restaurants at the water’s edge. A charming tourist train starts in Le Murillon and runs along the beaches of Murillon and into the 16th century Tour Royale (Royal Tower), an impressive fortified building from the time of Louis XII. The tower offers an exceptional panoramic view of the coastline and the sparkling blue sea.

2 Port of Toulon

In a picturesque Mediterranean setting, Toulon has a lively harbor where many fishing boats and yachts dock. Along the harbor, pleasant waterfront sidewalks are lined with boutiques and restaurants with outdoor terraces. Visitors will enjoy a leisurely stroll along the waterfront to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Toulon is an important military port and the main center of the French navy in the Mediterranean Sea. On the historic Porte de l’Arsenal , which dates back to 1738, are the workshops and piers of the maritime arsenal. Besides military and commercial purposes, the harbour of Toulon is the starting point of the ferry routes , From the port of Toulon, tourists can travel by boat to many attractions of the area including La Seine-sur-Mer as well as Les Sablettes beaches. From May to October, ferries run to the idyllic Isle of Porquerolles, one of the beautiful Îles d’Or (Golden Isles). Ferries also sail from the port of Toulon to the island of Corsica and to Sardinia in Italy.

3 Mont Faron

Mont Faron Yvan 83 500 / photo modified

The most important monument of Toulon, the impressive Mont Faron, can be reached on foot, by car or by Téléphérique du Faron (cable car). From the Plaza de la Liberté, in the center of the city, it is about 40 minutes on foot, walking through the Parc de Lice and including a steep ascent along the footpaths to the summit. The cable car offers the most spectacular transfer to Mont-Faron. The ride offers spectacular panoramic views of the Bay of Toulon and the landscape of the Le Var region. To reach Mont Faron by car, take the Corniche du Mont Faron, a panoramic road halfway to Mont Faron, which offers spectacular views of the sea. Early in the morning and at sunset, the azure Mediterranean waters and green coastline look particularly stunning. Along this road, bordering the St. Anne area, there are many beautiful villas on the hillside. At the top of Mont Faron, 548 meters high, guests admire stunning views overlooking the five mountains of Toulon, the sea, and the coastline. Other attractions and attractions include picnic grounds, two restaurants, walking and hiking trails, and a visit to the Museum of Modern Art (Museum of Union Parish).

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Address: The starting point of the Téléphérique (cable car) is on Boulevard Amiral Vence (stop number 40 for the bus stop).

4 Museum of the Middle Ages (Union Parish Museum)

Museum of the Middle Ages (Allied Parish Museum) Olivier Dukesne / photo modified

The Allied Landings Museum of Art (Allied Landings Museum) is located on top of Mont Faron in Tours Beaumont. To get here, a steep and winding one-way road (Route du Faron) offers decent scenery and follows the Fort du Saint-Antoine route.Housed in the battle building, the Museum du Barqumentet displays a collection of artifacts and documentation, weapons and equipment related to the Allied landings from August 15, 1944. A telescope on the roof of the fort provides a superb panorama of the city, the port, and the mountains growing around it. On the summit plateau of Mont Faron is a charming garden with a wide variety of flowers.

Address: Summit of Mont Faron, Toulon

5 Opéra de Toulon

On the Place Victor Hugo, the Opéra de Toulon was designed by architect Charles Garnier, who also designed the Palais Garnier (Opera House) in Paris. The Opéra de Toulon was built in 1862 with the help of many local artists to create the scenery. The magnificent neoclassical building is one of the largest opera houses in France outside Paris. The south facade is decorated with allegorical statues of Tragedy and Comedy, which were sculpted by Joseph Daumas, while the north facade depicts the Muses by Montagny. The generous red and gold interior illustrates the Napoleon III style and includes many paintings, beautiful chandeliers and bronze seating. With its magnificent design details and exceptional acoustics, the Opera House offers an exquisite venue for musical concerts, theater, ballet and other dance performances. Tourists can admire the interior while attending a performance.

Address: Place Victor Hugo (Place du Théâtre), Toulon

6 Museum of the Marines (Maritime Museum)

Musée de la Marine (Maritime Museum) yves tennevin / photo modified

The Musée de la Marine is located near the promenade north of the Prif. Maritime. In an excellent way to find the maritime history of Toulon, the Maritime Museum has collectible maps, engravings, paintings and drawings, as well as an exhibition on the development of artillery. There are also several antique models of ships. Visitors can use one of the museum’s audio guides to learn more about the exhibits.

Address: Place Monsenergue, Quai de Norfolk, Toulon

7 Traditional Provençal markets

Olive and pepper

The city of Toulon is known for its traditional Provençal markets. The most famous is the market that Cours Lafayette , Every morning from 7:30 to 12:30, except Mondays, Cours Lafayette is filled with colorful stalls of fruits, vegetables, flowers and Provençal textiles. Locals are looking for fresh ingredients to make homemade meals. A visit to the market gives tourists a taste of typical daily life in Toulon. There is also a local farmer’s market held on Rue Paul Lendrin (“Petite Cours”) on Fridays and Saturdays from morning to 1pm. This market features only locally sourced produce. Other markets also sell fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and local cheeses, such as the Mourillon Market (near the old fishing village) at the Monsières Deidir site near the port – every morning except Mondays from 8am to 12:30pm.

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8 Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-de-la-Seds

Built in the 11th century as a simple Romanesque church, this historic monument combines architectural styles. The building was expanded in the 17th century, adding a neoclassical façade with Baroque details. The cathedral’s beautiful Provençal bell tower has a unique bell and chime made of wrought iron. Although the cathedral includes a mix of different styles, the Gothic interior with one vault still feels harmonious. When visiting the cathedral, visitors should be sure to see the Baroque altarpiece, the work of Christophe Weirier, who was Pierre Puig’s nephew and pupil.

Address: 55 Place de la Cathédrale, Toulon

9 Festival of Music (Classical Music Festival)

The Festival de Musique de Toulon is a summer music festival held in various locations in and around Toulon. The festival offers a series of classical music concerts from Beethoven operas to Mozart orchestra concerts. Since its inception in 1951, the festival has attracted renowned performers for choral and chamber music concerts, as well as piano and vocal concerts. Many of the venues are located in historic buildings, such as the Théâtre de Verdun du Faron in Toulon, the Collégiale Saint-Pierre in the seaside village of Six Fours Les Plages, and the Tour Royale in the Murillon quarter.

Address: Ticket Office – Place Louis Blanc, Toulon

10 Jazz in Toulon in July

This lively mid-July summer festival brings Toulon to life with a series of free jazz concerts held in public squares throughout the city. The festival is a stage for well-known jazz performers, including local and international musicians.

Where to stay in Toulon for sightseeing

Most hotels in Toulon are located between the port and the old town, and this is the best place for sightseeing. From here, guests have easy access to attractions such as L’Opéra de Toulon and the Musée de la Marine. For travelers who prefer a seaside location near the beach, the Le Mourillon neighborhood, about three kilometers away, makes a great base. Here are some highly rated hotels in these convenient locations:

    Luxury Hotels: Toulon has only one luxury hotel, the BEST WESTERN PLUS La Corniche, on the waterfront in Le Mourillon, a short walk from the beach and close to many restaurants. Upgraded rooms in this eco-friendly hotel with balconies overlooking the sea.

Day Trips from Toulon

Île de Porquerolles

Île de Porquerolles

An ideal day trip from Toulon, Île de Porquerolles is the largest of the Îles d’Or (Golden Isles) in the calm Mediterranean Sea, about an hour by ferry from the port of Toulon. This idyllic island offers a relaxing change of pace from the glittering Côte d’Azur. The island has unspoiled sheltered coves and tiny beaches in a gorgeous unspoiled setting. It’s the perfect place to relax with pleasant weather and sunshine all year round. The island is an interesting place to try snorkeling and other outdoor activities. The manicured trails, shaded by pine and eucalyptus trees, are great for nature walks, hiking and mountain biking. Despite its sense of remoteness, the island offers upscale restaurants and a lively jazz festival in July.

Le Lavandou

In a beautiful spot at the foot of the Massif de Maures on a wide bay, Le Lavandou enjoys a gorgeous seaside setting. Lavender fields bloom here in season. Le Lavandou is an easy day trip from Toulon, about 40 km to the east. This former fishing village is now popular as a summer resort. Its harbor is filled with yachts, and ferries depart from here for Îles de Hyères , Along the palm tree lined Boulevard de Lattre de Tassigny, wide sandy beaches with stunning views of the sea and the Yères islands. To the south of Le Lavandou, the wooded Cap Benat peninsula extends into the sea with a lighthouse on its summit. The N559 road heading east from Le Lavandou leads to more sandy beaches surrounded by rocky areas.

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Bormes-les-Mimosas

The charming medieval village of Bormes-les-Mimosas is located 38 km from Toulon and only two kilometers from Le Lavandou , In the picturesque countryside the village hugs the hillsides and boasts exceptional views (especially from the terrace at the castle ruins). The village has a beautiful 16th-century church, the Chapel Saint-François de Paulé, on the Place de la Libération. The statue commemorates the beneficent actions of St. Francis Paula during the plague of 1481. Also of interest are the Tour de l’Horloge clock tower and the Church of Saint-Trophim, which both date back to the 18th century. Below the church is the oldest part of the village, with steep streets known as “rompi-cuou” (“nameless”), a common characteristic of Provençal hilltop towns. Bormes-les-Mimosas is also famous for its flowers, especially the fragrant mimosa flowers that flourish throughout the village.

Signes

The quiet village of Signes, surrounded by green countryside known for its fruit crops, is about 30 kilometers north of Toulon. The village is a wonderful place to spend a day wandering its charming old streets. The village has a beautiful historic chapel on the Place Saint-Jean. Inside the chapel there are paintings, votive plaques, and penitential clothing. There is also an 18th century fountain in Saint-Jean Square. The Church of Saint-Pierre, with its 16th-century bell tower and exquisite wooden altar, is another interesting one.

Other must-see attractions near Toulon and on the French Riviera

Located in the south of France, where the Provence and Var areas meet, Toulon is surrounded by vibrant countryside. The gorgeous coastline alternates with rolling hills dotted with charming hilltop towns. If you spend more time in the area, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille are worth a visit. The gorgeous beaches and charming seaside enclaves of the French Riviera are also within easy reach (1.5 hours) by car or train. From Toulon, you can start exploring the Côte d’Azur in Saint-Tropez, about 70 kilometers away, and continue on to the legendary resort of Cannes, about 125 kilometers away.

7 top attractions in Toulon, France

Toulon, Provence, France - Things to see and do, see the sights and get around the city.

Toulon (Toulon) is one of the main French military ports, the headquarters of the Mediterranean Fleet and the capital of the Var department in Provence. Toulon is located on the Mediterranean coast, slightly east of Marseille. The population of Toulon is about 166,000 people, so by French standards, it is quite a big city (15th place in France by population and 3rd place on the coast after Marseille and Nice).

The city is dominated by Mount Faron (584 meters above sea level). The ascent to the summit can be either by funicular from Toulon, or by a narrow winding road that ascends from the west and descends from the east. This road is one of the most difficult sections of the annual Paris-Nice and Tour Méditerranéen bicycle races.

Beginning in 1678, the famous military engineer Vauban built an intricate system of fortifications around Toulon. Some parts, such as the section along what is now the Boulevard Strasbourg, were demolished in the mid-19th century to allow the city to expand. But the rest of the Vauban fortifications (many of which are on the UNESCO list, but not the ones in Toulon) have survived. So you can visit the Porte d’Italie, one of the oldest gates of the city. From them, Napoleon Bonaparte set out on his triumphal march to Italy in 1796.

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Toulon’s best beach, Plage du Mourillon , is located 2 km east of the city center.

Toulon weather:

Toulon has a climate typical of southern France: Hot summers with temperatures over 30 °C. August is the hottest month. In June and the second half of August, storms are possible. Autumn is quite rainy and stormy. In winter the temperature usually does not fall below 0 °C, but because of the occasional strong winds it can seem much colder.

What’s good: The mountain practically protects the center of Toulon from the strong Mistral wind, which is especially strong and icy in winter and spring.

What to see in Toulon:

The pedestrian historic center of the city is located between the port, Boulevard de Strasbourg and Cours Lafayette. It is an area with narrow streets, many fountains, for which Toulon is famous, and a majestic cathedral. Cours Lafayette has a traditional Provençal market with local products in the mornings.

Toulon’s upper town, located between the Boulevard de Strasbourg and the train station, was built in the mid-19th century during the reign of Louis Napoleon. The project was begun by Baron Haussmann, who was prefect of the Var in 1849. He also oversaw the transformation of Paris, creating its famous boulevards. Under Ossmann’s direction, the Opera House, Place de la Liberté, Grand Hôtel, Gardens of Alexandre I, Chalucet Hospital, palais de Justice, and the station building, now occupied by Galeries Lafayette, were built in Toulon.

Toulon, Provence, France - Things to see and do, see the sights and get around the city.

How to get to Toulon:

Because of its importance (a major naval military base), Toulon is perfectly connected to all the major cities of the Côte d’Azur and beyond. There is an airport near the city. Direct trains from Marseille, Nice, Paris stop in Toulon. There are direct buses from Nice and its airport, from Marseille and its airport, etc.

From Paris, TGV trains go to Toulon from the station PARIS GARE DE LYON. From Avignon and Aix-en-Provence, there are direct trains only from the TGV train stations. There are no direct trains to Toulon from the central stations of both cities (except from the bus station and by bus).

What’s the cheapest way to get to Toulon?

In some cases, it’s cheaper to get to Toulon by bus than by train (for example, from Marseille to Toulon: 12,90€ by train or 5 – 9€ by bus, from Avignon: 41€ by train or 12€ by bus), but longer. In many cases the price is about the same, you have to look at the specials.

By car the prices will be comparable (cost of toll roads + gasoline), but if you go together, the car is cheaper. You can rent a car in Provence for about 30-35 € per day, although it depends on the number of days. For one day will of course be more expensive.

From Toulon on the Côte d’Azur, you can travel by public transport: take a train to major cities, and then take a bus if necessary. Although the regional trains there are not so good. At one time they might have been ok, but they are worn out, of course. Toilet / water better not hope – may not work.

More details – timetable, ticket prices, travel time, how to get to Toulon cheaper:

Toulon, Provence, France - Things to see and do, see the sights and get around the city.

Toulon Tourist Map:

Safety in Toulon:

As in Marseille, the local population is heavily diluted with North Africans, especially from French-speaking Algeria, which was once part of France. Interracial relations became more of an issue after the shipyard closed. That’s not to say that tourists are more threatened here than in any other major Mediterranean port (like Barcelona or Genoa). But it is advisable to be more careful at night, especially near the port.

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See Toulon:

You can leave your car (if you come by car) in the underground parking on the place de la Liberté. From here, you can walk along the boulevard des Strasbourg , and then turn right on rue Berthelot . This street takes you to a pedestrian area in the center of Toulon, Vieux Toulon , centered around rue d’Alger . The area is full of various stores, hotels, restaurants, and picturesque cobblestone streets.

Toulon’s tourist office is located on Place Raimu (www.toulontourisme.com).

Toulon, Provence, France - Things to see and do, see the sights and get around the city.

The historic center of Toulon – Vieux Toulon – located between the port and the boulevard de Strasbourg (the main axis of the city) has many monuments of the past.

Le Marché, the open-air fruit and vegetable market, is the place to experience the vulgar and desperate atmosphere of the city. It takes place every morning from 7:30 to about 2:30 pm in the narrow, plane-tree-lined streets around Cours Lafayette.

On rue Emile Zola is the main church of Old Toulon – the Cathédrale Ste-Marie-Majeure – which was built in Romanesque style in the 11th and 12th centuries, and considerably enlarged in the 17th century. Its poorly lit nave is in the Gothic style, and the bell tower and facade date from the 18th century. Toulon Cathedral is open daily from 8:30 to 19:00.

In contrast to the cathedral, tall modern buildings frame the quai Stalingrad , overlooking the Vieille d’Arse . On Place Puget, look out for the Atlanteans, sculptural figures of men used as columns. They support the balcony of the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) and are also included in the facade of the Maritime Museum.

Toulon Museums:

The Maritime Museum (Musée de la Marine, place du Ingénieur-Général-Monsenergue) includes a collection of figurines and models of ships. It is open Wednesday to Monday in July and August from 10 to 18, and September to June from 9:30 to 12:00 / 14:00 to 18:00. Admission is 4.60€.

The Musée de Toulon (Musée de Toulon, 113 bd. du Général-Maréchal-Leclerc) offers a view of works from the 16th century to the present. There are very good collections of Provençal and Italian paintings, as well as religious objects. Open – Wed – Fri 10 – 12 / 14 – 18. Admission 4.60€, under 18 years old free.

The Museum of Old Toulon (Musée du Vieux Toulon, 69 cours Lafayette) is not as interesting. Its collection focuses on the role of trade, shipbuilding and the French army in the development of Toulon. Open Tuesdays through Sundays from 12 to 18, admission is free.

Toulon, Provence, France - Things to see and do, see the sights and get around the city.

Toulon Viewpoints:

You can take a drive 1 or 2 hours before sunset along the corniche du Mont-Faron . This is a picturesque boulevard along the lower slope of Mont Faron, with stunning views of the port, the city, the cliffs, and the Mediterranean Sea in the distance.

The funicular to Mont Faron – The lower station of the funicular to Mount Faron is on boulevard l’Amiral Vence near Hôtel La Tour Blanche. The cable car runs Tuesday through Sunday 9:30 – 11:45 / 14:15 – 18:30. Round trip ticket costs 5.80€. The funicular doesn’t work from November 5 to February 3.

At the top of the mountain you can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area. You can also visit the Memorial of the Landing in Provence (Memorial du Débarquement en Provence, Mont Faron), which reflects the history of the landing of Allied troops in Provence in 1944. It is open in the summer of June. 9:45 – 11:45 / 13:45 – 16:30, Oct – Mar: Tue – Wed 9:15 – 11:45 / 14:00 – 16:45. Entrance: 3,80€.

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