Cruising to Toulon (Provence), France

Toulon tourist information.

Toulon (Provence), FranceToulon is a port city on southern France’s Mediterranean coast with the Mont Faron (542m) in the background, and opening out onto a magnificient arbour designed by Mother Nature, lined with sandy beaches and shingle coves. Toulon is home to a naval base where you can admire the French Navy’s most famous ships, such as the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, as well as fishing boats and ferries. The grand Musée National de la Marine in the Port of Toulon exhibits maritime artifacts. Rugged limestone mountains form a backdrop to the city, and a cable car shuttles visitors up Mont Faron.

On the port square, you’ll see the statue of the Spirit of navigation pointing at the sea, locally known as “cul vers ville”for its buttocks are turned toward the city. The Old Town is situated between the Stade Mayol and the naval base. There is a daily market for you to visit on your stroll during the day. There are not many restaurants here but quite a few hidden cafes to sit and relax at. The new town, also called Haute ville by contrast with basse ville, because it was built in a higher part of the town. It was located at the north of the historical center, in the XIX-th Century, by the baron Haussmann (who was later called to build Paris). Numerous buildings and places are in late XIX-th Century style. You can also hop on a boat bus to discover the other towns lining the bay (La Seyne-sur-Mer, Les Sablettes and Saint-Mandrier) and their beaches.

Mont Faron

The 584 metre / 1916 foot high Mont Faron is part of a chain of mountains protecting Toulon from the cold Mistral north-west wind which sweeps through Provence. It helps to create the region’s mild microclimate. A highlight of any visit to Toulon is a spectacular ride on the téléphérique (cable car) up Mont Faron, the mighty limestone crag dominating the city. The bus service next to the passenger terminal and Tourist Office can take you to the Mont Faron cable car terminal in around 20 minutes. The only one of its kind on the Mediterranean coast, the cable car whisks you to the top of Toulon’s most famous mountain in just 6 minutes. The summit boasts sumptuous views over the Mediterranean Sea and inland Var areas. You can enjoy lunching at one of the Faron’s restaurants, strolling along the signposted footpaths, and visiting the Provence Allied Landings Museum and wild cat breeding centre (unique in Europe).

Musée National de la Marin

Toulon’s most prestigious museum, the Musée national de la Marine (Maritime Museum) sits right at the entrance to the naval base next to the clock tower. Totally refurbished in 2012, the museum traces Toulon’s long maritime history with a fantastic variety of exhibits. It starts off with a bang, with a fine array of brass cannons just inside the entrance and a line-up of big historical paintings executed at regular intervals which give a clear sense of how the port has changed and grown through the centuries.

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