At lunchtime I turned off the Coastline Bicycle Trail (Piste Cyclable du Littoral) and took a short detour down into the town of Le Pradet, where I discovered (first three photos) that I was not the only cyclist at the town square.
Le Pradet is one of the eleven towns that have recently joined with Toulon to form the cooperative regional entity called Toulon Provence Méditerranée (TPM) which is now responsible for culture, sports, tourism and other development projects in Toulon and vicinity. The TPM now performs some but not all functions of local government, coordinating regional activities but leaving the individual towns a measure of autonomy.
Fourth photo: Since it was a windy day, I chose to eat lunch at one of the indoor tables at Le Marigny – not indoors, exactly, but on their terrace that was sheltered from the wind. I forget what I had to eat there, but it was fine and the atmosphere was friendly.
Fifth photo: A fresco on one of the walls in Le Pradet, showing the beach and the slogan: “Since 1894: Le Pradet”. I didn’t go down to the beach, since I wanted to continue along the bicycle trail after lunch, but it turns out that the first and only VirtualTourist page on Le Pradet is about a family beach holiday in August 2004, by VT-member Joeplaboem from Belgium.
Next: Views from the Coastline Bicycle Trail
This is a short but car-free bicycle trail that goes along the northern edge of the Arsenal. It starts near the Palace of Justice, in the center of Toulon, and leads west for a few kilometers until it gets to the far end of the Arsenal, where it abruptly stops at an extremely dangerous road junction.
I rode this trail one morning and enjoyed looking at the historic walls of Vauban’s Arsenal, but since the trail doesn’t lead anywhere I had trouble figuring out what it is supposed to be good for. It would seem logical to extend the trail a short distance to the nearby town of La Seyne-sur-Mer, but I don’t know if there are any plans to do this.
Second photo: Here is a sign with before-and-after photos, showing the improvements that were made to this strip of land in 2005-2006.
Third photo: Here is one of the most pleasant parts of the trail, where you can really get an impression of the historic walls on the north side of the Arsenal.
Next: Coastline Bicycle Trail
The Coastline Bicycle Trail (Piste Cyclable du Littoral) is a trail which leads east from Toulon, running roughly parallel to the coastline but not always within sight of it.
The first few kilometers are on the route of an old narrow-gauge railway and are completely car-free.
I rode the trail one morning to the town of Le Pradet, where I stopped for lunch, and then on for several more kilometers until the trail abruptly ends – a situation which the regional authorities say is only temporary.
Apparently the trail gets very crowded on weekends, but there was not much bicycle traffic when I rode it on a Thursday morning.
Next: Le Pradet
After Le Pradet the Coastline Bicycle Trail (Piste Cyclable du Littoral) starts getting somewhat less pleasant, since it adjoins a regional highway with considerable car traffic. But the views are still nice (first and second photos).
Then at some point after Carqueiranne the bike path ends abruptly, and one has the choice of riding in the same lane with the cars, or turning back. I turned back, both because I didn’t like the looks of the road and because I wanted to get back to Toulon as I had other plans for the evening.
Third, fourth and fifth photos: These are photos I took on the way back to Toulon, on some of the more pleasant sections of the bike path.
Next: Restaurants by the harbor
Ile de Porquerolles -
this small island is somewhere close to the cote d'Azur just off Toulon, it's a funny little spot, touristic, yes, but nice to walk around, ideal for a stop when sailing by ...
Porquerolles : is the biggest of the three islands of Or in the Hyères gulf. Seven km long and 3km wide.
Warning:Cars are strictly limited on Porquerolles. The quickest way to travel is to rent a bike. Walking is also an option :-)
Location A 20-minute ferry ride across the bay
Hyères is the most southern city of Provence. The presque-isle (peninsula) reaches out to the islands of Porquerolles. The beach is nothing special. It is a great place for diving. You can go out with a boat to the most interseting diving locations, including shipwrecks.
Location 7 miles east of Toulon