Cruise Port Atlas | Toulon, France Day Trips | Attractions

Toulon, France Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Toulon: Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Celebrity, Cunard, Holland America, Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Viking River Cruises

Key Attractions: La Seyne, Mount Faron, Provencal Markets, Cours Lafayette, Aircraft Carrier-Charles de Gaulle, Submarine Fleet, Naval Museum, Bonneaux, Gordes, Verdon Park, Aix-en-Provence, Cours Mirabeau, Avignon, Palace of the Popes, St-Tropez, Bandol, Le Castellet, Marseilles, Verdon Park and Canyon, Cassis, Calanques

Toulon Cathedral in Old Town

Old Town in Toulon

Toulon Port to Old Town - 2 KM, 7 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Old Town in Toulon is a maze of pedestrian streets, markets, squares and fountains. It has recently been rejuvenated and the area is a great place to pick up Provencal products, especially at the market that occurs every day there. The most famous streets are the Boulevard de Strasbourg and the Cours Lafayette. Every day but Monday there is the enormous Provencal Market featuring regional produce and goods.

On the other side of the harbor is the port city of La Seyne with its own Provencal Markets. And outside the city is Mount Faron with beautiful views of the bay and city.

              

   

Photo of Baroque Clocktower by CCIV DBeudin

Naval Port of Toulon

Toulon Port to Military Port - 1 KM, 5 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Toulon's Arsenal is chock full of large naval vessels that can be viewed on frequent boat tours available from the harbor. Among the sights are the impressive Aircraft Carrier, Charles de Gaulle and France's nuclear submarine fleet. The impressive Triumphal Entrance to the Arsenal is now the Naval Museum, featuring many enormous models of ship built in the 18th century.

        

   

Photo of Charles de Gaulle Aircraft Carrier

Bandol and Le Castellet

Toulon to Bandol - 20 KM, 25 minutes
Bandol to Le Castellet - 12 KM, 20 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Bandol is a beach resort town that has long attracted tourist as a result of its beautiful sandy waterfronts. The town gives its name to the Bandol wines which are renowned for their reds. On a cliffside 12 kilometers north of Bandol is the medieval walled village of La Castellet where it is easy to imagine that you have stepped back into another era while walking in the narrow cobbled alleys. The village is near a Formula One racecourse and overlooks the Bandol vineyards.

              

   

Photo by El Comandante

Sanary-sur-Mer

Toulon to Sanary-sur-Mer - 14 KM, 25 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Sanary-sur-Mer has not lost the charm of a traditional fishing village that it remains. It has a special charm that has attracted creative and inventive residents such as Jacques Cousteau and Bertholt Brecht to take up residence here. The port itself is dominated by heritage sailing vessels still in use more than 100 years after their construction. The St. Nazaire Church features an easy mix of architectural styles and frescoes influenced by Orthodox artists. The "Roman" tower was actually built during the medieval period and is a great place to historic artifacts and some of Cousteau's early discoveries. If you are looking for genuine atmosphere and medieval charm, Sanary-sur-Mer is a great choice.

           

   

Photo by Sanary-sur-Mer Marina and St. Nazaire

Marseilles

Toulon to Marseilles - 70 KM, 50 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Marseilles is the largest and most historic city in Provence and the center of the cultural mixing bowl that the region. The iconic symbol of the city is the Byzantine styled Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde basilica which overlooks the city from a hill to the east. The old port is compact and attractive with cafes overlooking the water from all sides. Other sites worth visiting include the Phare (lighthouse) de Sainte Marie, the Abbey of St. Victor, one of the oldest Christian worship sites in Europe, and the gigantic Cathedral of Sainte-Marie-Majeure rebuilt in a Romano-Byzantine style in the late 19th century. The city has significant museums, including the Musee Cantini (modern art), Musee de la Mode (fashion), Musee d'Histoire (Marseilles history), and Musee de Beaux-Artes (Art). The most popular shopping area is Centre Bourse only about 2 blocks from the old port. Marseilles is famous for its cuisine and bouillabaise (fragrant fish soup) is a local favorite.

           

   

Photo of Marseilles' Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde by Benh Lieu Song

Verdon Park and Canyon

Toulon to Lake St. Croix - 115 KM, 1 hour 45 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Sometimes called the Verdon Gorge, this Grand Canyon of Europe was formed by the very green river known as Verdon. The park that surrounds it offers many lovely mountain villages and several well-developed reservoirs with water sports of many kinds offered. But it would be a shame not to see the Canyon itself. The easy way to do this is travel by vehicle along the middle section of the Sublime Corniche from Comps-sur-Arbuty to Lake Sainte-Croix, the largest reservoir in the park. If you are more active you can take the short marked nature hike from Trigance or you can take the 5 hour trek called the Le sentier de l'Imbut (L'Imbut Path). However you decide to discover this natural wonderland, you will be overwhelmed by the natural beauty of the green mountain forests and the green and blue of the river and lakes. Rock climbing, hang gliding, bungee jumping, kayaking and canoeing are also available in the park. Several of the mountain villages have a long tradition of unique ceramics.

           

   

Photo of St. Croix Lake by Thythy

Cassis and Calanques

Toulon to Cassis - 44 KM, 40 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Between Toulon and Marseilles is the famous coastal resort town of Cassis, for which the finest white wines of Provence are named. It is a small ancient port with a lovely waterfront and soft-sand beaches. Between Cassis and Marseilles is the most famous calanques, a limestone coastal formation that is similar to a fjord. The scenery in this area is stunning, with jagged and knife-like rock formations rising out of narrow coves.

           

   

Photo of Calanques near Cassis by Grafikm

Where Cezanne ate

Aix-en-Provence

Toulon to Aix - 86 KM, 65 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The small city of Aix has long been the residence of artists and students and the beautiful Cours Mirabeau is the heart of the city's cafe society, hosting the likes of impressionist painter Cezanne, political novelist Zola and American ex-patriot Hemingway. The Aix Cathedral is located in the medieval part of town and blends elements of Romanesque, Gothic and neo-Gothic. Outside the town is Mont Sainte-Victoire where Cezanne painted landscapes. At the foot of the mountain is the Chateau of Vauvenargues where Pablo Picasso lived for several years.

               Provencal Countryside  

   

Photo by PRA

Palais des Papes

Avignon

Toulon to Avignon - 171 KM, 2 hours
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The medieval walled city of Avignon was the home to Roman Catholic Popes beginning in the 14th Century and to anti-Popes when the church decided to return its seat of power to Rome against the wishes of the King of France. During the period of the Avignon Papacy, the church centralized its power and spent huge sums to glorify the seat of power. The result was the Palace of the Popes, an imposing structure on a hill beside the Rhone River. The winding medieval streets within the city's walls feature cafes, boutiques and museums.

                 

   

Photo by JM Rosier

Other Attractions near Toulon

Link to Full-Page Google Map

In the region of western Provence (west of the more famous locations Monte Carlo, Nice and Cannes) there are wide variety of attractions beyond the Popes Palace at Avignon and the Cours Mirabeau in Aix. Just to the north of Aix are the historic Luberon hill towns of Bonneaux and Gordes.  West of Luberon is the medieval hill-top fortress town of Les Baux (right) and the stunning little city of St-Remy.  The Roman ruins in Arles and Nimes rate those cities the status of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

For information about the location of these click here.

                 

   

Photo of Les-Baux

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible