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Trip List by paturnia

Mediterranean Provence (Var) Cote D'Azur - Hidden Gems

Apr 18, 2009  Recent trip with my husband, a former cruise ship captain
4.5 of 5 stars based on 2 votes

This is a list of lovely towns on the Mediterranean in Provence (Var) Cote D'azur region of France.

  • 1. Cavalaire-Sur-Mer
    Cavalaire-Sur-Mer, Var

    The port area has some nice restaurants and bars. A Provencal market on Wednesday, and a fish market in the marina. Be sure to visit the Royal Gardens and Baume Des Mimosas, although you could do both from some of the other ports in the area. The other notable here is that it was the site for a landing of the 3rd infantry division in WW2, there is a celebration each August 15th. There is also a small casino in the port.

  • 2. Le Lavandou
    Le Lavandou, French Riviera - Cote d'Azur

    Le Lavandou is the closest port to Bormes Les Mimosas. Le Lavandou is a very picturesque port – Tourist office is right near port in a really interesting building. Great shops and galleries, small streets and a nice church, all within walking distance. Very Provencal, Petanque players lined up along the main street – a nice site to watch with an ice cream. Also nice bread and pastery shops (like everywhere here). After Sanary Sur Mer, Le Lavandou is the most picturesque port visited in the area.

  • 3. Bormes-Les-Mimosas
    Bormes-Les-Mimosas, French Riviera - Cote d'Azur

    A perfect example of an ancient medieval village and definitely worth a visit – Wednesday is market day, so lots of traffic. Flowers everywhere and lots of walking – the town even smells good from all the flowers. It would be hard for a handicapped person to navigate some of the streets. Mimosas bloom in the winter. Don’t miss this spot.

  • 4. Toulon
    Toulon, Var

    Kind of a mini Marseille with a working port. The town is known to be a military town with a colorful nightlife, Interesting note - Toulon is a place where the French navy scuttled their fleet (some say this stopped the germans from winning the war as Germany could not get access to the French navy to control the sea, but was a cause for great embarrasement for the French) Has an opera house in town and take the cable car to the top of the hill where there is a zoo and military museum. Local market in walking distance of port every day. Gallerie Lafayette and other big name shops.

  • 5. Sanary-sur-Mer
    Sanary-sur-Mer, Var

    This is by far the most picturesque port in the area… very similar to Cassis but a bit larger and more to see. A quaint and fashionable port. Great view of the port from the top of the tower in the town. During WW2, many writers came here to escape Germany and were given refuge. This port is a must see if you are in the area. Small fishing boats in all bright colors, the houses all painted pastels… very colorful. Gives the real impression of the Provencial Medierannean.

  • 6. Porquerolles Island
    Porquerolles Island, Iles d'Hyeres, French Riviera - Cote d'Azur

    Took a helicopter tour to Porquerelles from Hyeres Airport. We stopped at « Domaine de la Courtade » vineyard for a wine-tasting. this is an organic vineyard with some interesting wines . Produces wines with almost no sulphites. He has 800 olive trees some over 100 years old. He makes a decent red with 97% mouvedre grape. Other things to do in Porquerolles are bike riding (no cars on the island) or beach. Island and surrounding waters are very pretty, a national park with no paved roads.

  • 7. Bandol
    Bandol, French Riviera - Cote d'Azur

    Bandol is a town founded on a love for wine. vineyards have existed here for over 2000 years since the days of the Romans. The port actually grew out of a need to ship the wine by sea. The most well known is the red, made from a Mourvedre grape, a vine that originated in Spain over 2,500 years ago. . In addition to being a great place to do wine exploration, Bandol is a fashionable town,,, with a nice passageway along the marina, and boats available for tours to the Calanques towards Cassis (modern and clean). Nice shops for good quality beachwear. If you are in this area around Bastille, if would be nice to do a night boat tour so you can see the fireworks along the coastline. Also a casino near the port.

  • 8. Les Maisons Des Vins

    There is a professional tasting institute walking distance from port of Bandol which represents all the local vineyards with prices same as at the chateaus. Funny, the proprieter is named Perrier - a very friendly guy and has a very interesting business representing the over 50 chateaus in the area. Bandol is famous for the Mouvedre grape a very old vine. The reds are nice.

  • 9. La Cadiere d'Azur
    La Cadiere d'Azur, Var

    Hilltop village - near La Castellet, great views of countryside.

  • 10. Hostellerie Berard
    Hostellerie Berard, La Cadiere d'Azur, Var

    The Berard family runs a restored country inn and offers a cooking school for Provence cuisine. Their restaurant is Michelin rated - fabulous experience. The hotel also has a Decleor spa. Beautiful views - very peaceful, quiet at night. Spa is lovely. Cuisine is divine!

  • 11. Le Castellet
    Castellet, Luberon

    Le Castellet is near Bandol. A medieval hilltop village (lovely, full of shops and galleries, great for a stroll). Another must see in the area, very quaint. Near la Cadiere D Azur