If you’re planning a holiday to Nice, it’s worth thinking about how you can extend your stay and take in a little more of the south of France. This stunning region is home to numerous cities, towns and villages, of which Toulon is just one. I think a few days in this picturesque destination is the perfect addition to a trip to Nice, though.
Arrange to rent a car from Nice airport and you’ll find it’s much easier to explore the area around the city and that you have all the freedom you need to tailor your break to suit your needs. Personally, I’d hire a car if I was staying in Nice, as I’d love to visit some of the perched villages and coastal towns in this part of France.
While discovering Nice is great, there’s a lot to be said for extending your trip by a few days and heading somewhere else. If this is what you’re after, Toulon is a wonderful choice and, as it’s only a 1.5-hour drive between the two, it’s easy to reach.
Natural attractions in Toulon
Toulon has managed to develop as a thriving city without detracting from the charm of its natural beauty. Along the coast, you’ll still find secluded coves and peaceful stretches of sand that are backed by trees, allowing you to feel as though you’re a long way from the hubbub of the city.
One of the best ways to discover the beaches here is to follow the footpath that runs between Tour Royale Tower and Mejean Cove, as this gently winds its way along the seashore past numerous small creeks and old fishermen’s cottages that stand on the cliffs overlooking the water.
Away from the coast, you can stretch your legs further by taking a walk in the Mounts of Toulon, which is what the hills surrounding the city are commonly referred to. Among the most popular hiking paths here is the route that leads to the top of Mount Faron. From the vantage point at the summit you’ll have amazing views across the city and out to sea.
If you’re not feeling energetic enough to attempt the climb up the 584 m hill, hop in the cable car for a lazy and picturesque way to see the area.
Historical attractions in Toulon
While it would be easy to spend all of your time here enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings, don’t miss out on the chance to learn more about the city’s past. The historical centre of Toulon dates back to the Middle Ages and there are many interesting buildings still standing today.
The Saint Marie de la Seds Cathedral is just one example, with construction beginning on this place of worship in the 11th century and, although it was widened in the 18th century, it has retained a Gothic-style interior. There are many historical monuments in the port district, with the Genie de la Navigation statue, the entrance to the naval museum and the clock tower among the places to look out for.
You should also make sure you pay a visit to Place Puget, which is at the heart of the city. This square is particularly charming due to the Three Dolphins Fountain in its centre that was designed by Toscat and Chatel in 1780. At Porte d’Italie, meanwhile, you’ll come across some of the last remnants of the original city walls.