Toulon is situated in the department of the Var, to the east of Marseille, in the southeast of France. It is also the prefecture for the department.
Activity in Toulon is almost entirely linked to the sea: it is the main French naval base with also a big commercial port and a much appreciated marina.
Panoramic view of Toulon
The marina of Toulon
The fountain the place de la Liberté in Toulon
The Opera of Toulon
The city was built on the banks of the Mediterranean. Sheltered by limestone cliffs, its position allowed for the building of many ports. It is the warmest and most sunny city in France with a subtropical climate. The only disagreeable factor is the strong wind, which can blow more than 115 days a year on average.
In Antiquity, Toulon was a harbour for Greek ships and a big fishery of sea snails that were used to dye togas. It was always a port of call for trading ships and both pirates and the Saracens sacked and pillaged the city.
But everything changed under the reign of Louis XIV with the arrival of the military architect Vauban who fortified the city. Toulon was then capable of mooring the biggest warships of the 17th and 18th centuries, along with the city of Brest in Brittany. Toulon became the departure point for the greatest French military and colonial expeditions. On May 19, 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte left the port of Toulon to lead his army to Egypt.
Industrial and naval development began in the 19th century with the arrival of Italian and Corsican immigrants. Toulon suffered greatly during the two world wars; the city was bombarded, the port ravaged, housing destroyed. Everything had to be reconstructed.
Inevitably, the 21st century is a century of metamorphosis, with the city improving its image. Colossal works were undertaken: the renovation and enhancement of the historic centre, an amelioration of the communications infrastructures and more economic development.
Today, Toulon shines. In 2009, it received the Marianne d'Or prize for sustainable development; in 2014 the construction of the Toulon tunnel was finally completed after 50 years of holdups.
Toulon has become a tourist city, offering visitors breathtaking views and a rich cultural life and with its architectural heritage, you can visit and admire many edifices, such as
the market on the Cours Lafayette
the 18th century Saint Louis Church (Église Saint Luis du 18e)
the remarkable Three Dolphin fountain built in 1780
the National Marine Museum
the Sainte-Marie Cathedral
the 16th century Royal Tower
In the area around Toulon:
Sanary-sur-Mer: a peaceful and pleasant seaside resort.
The Notre Dame de Pitié Chapel (16th cent), the Saint-Nazaire Church (19th cent), the market on Wednesday mornings
Hyères: A port and an attractive seaside resort with its beaches.
The Saint-Paul Collegiate Church, the Templars Tower, the Tour Fondue (which means the “cleft tower”), the garden at the Saint-Bernard Park, the Noailles villa (1920).
The Iles d'Or: A group of three magnificent islands – A paradise for lovers of an untamed and preserved natural environment.