Toulon Travel Guide

  • Herbs of Cote d'Azur
    Herbs of Cote d'Azur
    by MikeAtSea
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Toulon Things to Do

  • Tell them that the Truth is beautiful

    In the autumn of 2012 the Théâtre Liberté presented an exhibition and a series of plays and lectures on the topic of “1962/2012: the War of Algeria, fifty years later”. One of the plays on this topic was by a visiting theater troupe called La Compagnie des Camerluches. (The word camerluches meant comrades in nineteenth century argot.) The play was...

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  • The opera house

    Unlike the Marseille Opera, which faces north and thus is nearly always in the shade, the Toulon Opera aka Théâtre Municipal faces south and looks glorious when the sun is shining on its nicely renovated façade.The Toulon Opera was built in nineteen months and was inaugurated on October 12, 1862 – thirteen years before the inauguration of the...

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  • The ceiling of the opera house

    If you don’t mind getting a stiff neck, have a good look at the ceiling of the Toulon opera house. The painting up there is fifteen meters in diameter and portrays 123 “personages”, which I presume includes angels, demons, busts and statues in addition to people. The artist, Louis Duveau (1818-1867), painted all this on a large canvas which was...

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  • Porte d'Italie

    This “Gate of Italy” was not on our walking tour, but I went and saw it the next morning on my bicycle.The gate and the adjoining walls were designed by (three guesses) Vauban, and constructed starting in 1678 as part of a system of fortifications to protect the city and the harbor.Fourth photo: Inside the tunnel of the gate you can find this...

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  • Carmen by Georges Bizet

    According to operabase.com, Bizet’s Carmen is the third most often produced opera worldwide, after Verdi’s La traviata and Puccini’s La Bohème. (Operabase tabulated the number of productions, not the number of performances, over a five-year period.)The opera houses in Marseille and Toulon both opened their 2012/2013 seasons with Carmen, so I was...

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  • Place de la Liberté

    This square in Toulon is a good place to ruminate on the ambiguities of the concept of Liberté, especially since Toulon in former times was best known not as a place of liberty but as the site of a brutal prison colony, the Bagne.The second act of Bizet’s opera Carmen ends with a rousing celebration of “la chose enivrante: la liberté! la liberté!”...

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  • Grand Hôtel

    The dominant building on north side of the Place de la Liberté, behind the Fountain of the Federation, is the Grand Hôtel, built in 1868-1869.In the long run, the Grand Hôtel was too grand to be just a hotel. During the Second World War it was requisitioned by the occupying Germans, who used it as their military headquarters. It has also been used...

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  • Théâtre Liberté

    In 2001, after the city elections that removed the right-wing Front National from power in Toulon, the new mayor began working with the mayors of eleven nearby towns to form a cooperative regional entity called Toulon Provence Méditerranée (TPM) which is now responsible for culture, sports, tourism and other development projects in Toulon and...

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  • Harbor tour

    Several companies offer boat tours of the harbor and the military port. The one I chose (for no particular reason) was called Bateliers de la Côte d’Azur. The tour was excellent, and I can highly recommend it to anyone who understands French. (I didn’t notice any harbor tours being offered in other languages.)The price in 2012 was ten Euros for a...

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  • Ro-Ro

    On the civilian side of the harbor I learned from our guide’s commentary what a Ro-Ro ship is. Ro-Ro means “roll on, roll off”, sort of like a car ferry, but bigger. Trucks or anything with wheels can be driven on (so the freight does not have to be loaded by a crane) and driven off at its destination.This particular ship is called the “UND...

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  • The military port

    For about half of our harbor tour we went past the military port, which is the Mediterranean headquarters of the French Navy. The actual military port is off limits to civilian ships, so we stayed just outside the boundary markers. Our guide knew everything about the ships down to the last detail and reeled off facts about them without the...

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  • Vauban was here

    The great military engineer Sébastien Le Prestre, marquis de Vauban (1633-1707), visited Toulon four times between 1679 and 1700 to fortify the city and develop an arsenal to support the ambitious naval policy of King Louis XIV.On our harbor tour we had a look at some of the old fortifications, which are now obsolete but were important in earlier...

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  • Tour Royale

    This Royal Tower was built from 1514 to 1524. It was the first fort to be built to protect the harbor at Toulon.Vauban did not arrive on the scene until 155 years later. When he inspected the Tour Royale he praised it highly (in contrast to his scathing criticism of the Château d’If near Marseille), but suggested further improvements.For many...

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  • Musée National de la Marine

    This large aerial photograph in the Naval Museum gives an overview of Toulon harbor today.The museum documents the military port of Toulon from the earliest times to the present, including the role of the French Navy in the Second World War. There is an exhibit showing how nearly all the warships of the French Navy were blown up in Toulon harbor in...

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  • The Arsenal of Vauban

    In addition to the fortifications, Vauban also designed the arsenal at Toulon, including a rope-making factory that was housed in a very long building (shown as a model in the museum), to produce the vast quantities of ropes that were needed for the large sailing ships of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.The building still exists today, but...

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Toulon Hotels

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Toulon Restaurants

  • By the harbor

    The quays by the harbor consist mainly of wall-to-wall restaurants. They all look more or less interchangeable. I chose this one, for no particular reason. Second photo: View of the harbor from the restaurant.Third photo: Moules frites aka mussels and fries. I thought the mussels were fine and the fries were rather tiresome – but I hasten to add...

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  • Moules galore

    On the port with views of the boats and masts. Recommended by at the local bar, we sat outside and enjoyed the specialty of the house, Moules in the house sauce. They were very delicious, served in a iron pot. I felt stuffed, as there was mussels a plenty.

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  • Best "all-purpose" restaurant in town

    This place has been my diner, breakfast place, brasserie, pool club, table-football shack for 2 months, all in one. General in France, around your area, there's always a place to drink a coffee, or to watch soccer with friends, to have lunch in luchtown at. That's Mediterranée in Toulon. Daily special with some Pastis

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Toulon Nightlife

  • An Irish Bar in Every Port

    I always find some relief that in any city or large town there is at least one Irish Pub. Unfortunately, I was only in Toulon for the day, but it looks like these chaps got a good start. Apparently the work with allomatch so you can find out which sports events they are showing.

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  • Unfortunately, Toulon's is...

    Unfortunately, Toulon's is not interesting... there are some places but difficult to find and is dangerous to walk down the street alone in certain zones of the city. But if tou are looking for a pub or a disco you will find it after asking the people.Live Music: Each season, 'Tandem' organizes music concerts of different styles: rock, ska, jazz,...

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  • Toulon Hotels

    24 Hotels in Toulon

Toulon Transportation

  • The multimodal interchange hub, aka...

    Unlike Victor Hugo, who traveled from Marseille to Toulon by stagecoach in 1839, I came by train. His excuse was that the railroad didn’t even reach Toulon until twenty years after his visit. Actually stagecoaches had become quite comfortable by 1839, because they were equipped with metal springs (a Scottish invention) to cushion the jolts and...

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  • Bicycle rentals at tOObike

    I rented a bicycle from tOObike for three days at € 11.00 per day, which at the time was their rate for three days or more. (This has since gone down a Euro to € 10.00 per day.) For only one or two days they charge € 12.00 per day, and they also have weekly or monthly rates. They want a deposit of € 200.00, either in cash or by pre-authorization of...

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  • The Rusty Nail and the Red Ticket

    Each year the French Federation of Bicycle Users gives two awards to cities or regions in France. These are the Golden Handlebars (Le Guidon d’or) for the best local bicycle policies and the Rusty Nail (le clou rouillé) for the worst.In 2009 the city of Toulon was awarded the Rusty Nail for having “fewer than 40 km of bicycle lanes, no continuity...

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Toulon Shopping

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  • Hole-in-the-wall phone shops

    If by any chance you are traveling without your own WLAN or WiFi device (as I used to do until recently, since I am usually the next-to-last person to acquire technical equipment that everyone else has had for years), your best bet for making an internet connection in Toulon is to try one of the hole-in-the-wall phone shops, such as this one on the...

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  • Locally made!!!

    On a Sunday morning I joined my wife and her family when their cruise ship docked in Toulon. After taking the water taxi from cruise ship dock to the port of Toulon we headed to the open air, farmers market. At the edge of the market is a small shop that features goods made locally. Lots of cool stuff, and my wife ended up with a new dress, and my...

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Toulon Warnings and Dangers

  • Bicycle Thieves!

    I just had my bicycle stolen during daylight hours on the campus of the University of Toulon. They cut through the lock. Unfortunately it was very good bicycle that I rented from a local bike shop and they gave me a so-so lock. After speaking with faculty and students from the campus, I learned that this happens frequently and they have also had...

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  • In places like the destal you...

    In places like the destal you get easily lost so make sure you go with someone who knows the area! Don't think about climbing if you don't have the good equipement, the place can be dangerous

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Toulon Off The Beaten Path

  • Le Pradet

    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...

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  • Arsenal 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...

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  • 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...

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Toulon Favorites

  • Wall Art

    There are many interesting pieces of wall art placed on buildings. Some reflect on the daily living experience in Southern France, like this piece of a couple of workers at at table.

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  • Toulon Tourist Office

    By Port d'Italie, facing the farmers market is the Toulon Tourist Office. All the essentials, maps, guidebooks, pamphlets.... 12 Place Louis Blanc, 33 4 94 18 53 00 http://www.toulontourisme.com/international_welcome.htm

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  • From the High Road - 1964

    We stayed in Marseille where my husband's ship was moored. The ship was supposed to come to Toulon after they went to Valencia but instead they went to Marseille, so we really didn't get to Toulon. We rented a car (a Citroen 2CV - a really LITTLE car) to make day trips out from Marseille along the Mediteranean. There were three options for driving...

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Explore Deeper into Toulon
The Prison Colony
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Guided walking tour of Toulon
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Le génie de la navigation
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The Atlantes by Pierre Puget
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Clock Tower
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Porte Monumentale de l’Arsenal
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Église Saint-Louis
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The ship sculpture at Place Vatel
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Fresco on Rue Chevalier Paul
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Urban renewal
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Place Puget
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The Opera House from 'Chicago' -- Rue de Pomet
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Félix Escartefigue and César Olivier
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Cours Lafayette
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Real and phony bike lanes
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Cycling in the pedestrian zone
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Boat-bus service in Toulon harbor
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Views from the Coastline Bicycle Trail
Off The Beaten Path
Cathedral Saint Marie-de-la-Seds
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Train Stations
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Musée National de la Marine
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Tour Carree
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Cathedral Saint Marie de la seds
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Musee d'Art - Toulon
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Fountain de la Halles aux Grains
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Church St. Francois de Paul
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Water Taxi
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Sunday Morning Farmers Market
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Hotel des Arts
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Clock Tower
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Market
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Hyères - the oldest resort on the Côte d’Azur
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Ile de Porquerolles
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From my point of view is a...
Favorites
There is only a national...
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walk in the 'destal': the best...
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the boat we had rented from...
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Ile de Porquerolles -

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Off The Beaten Path
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Map of Toulon

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