Museums, old military structures and one of Europe’s biggest harbors commemorate Toulon’s age-old role as the home to France’s Mediterranean naval fleet. Enjoy the perks of Toulon’s Mediterranean location, including long beaches and a constant supply of wine from France’s oldest wine-growing region.
Due to its calm waters and strategic hills, Toulon has served as a military town for both the French and the Romans before them. Visit the Toulon Harbor to see the wide array of civilian boats and battleships. Notice the 18th-century clock tower of the Toulon Arsenal, which stands nearby.
Ride the cable car to the top of Mont Faron north of town. At 1,916 feet (584 meters) above sea level, the hill’s summit affords broad views of Toulon Bay and the inland region of Var to the north. For a fee, enter Beaumont Tower, an old military fort, to find the Memorial Museum of the Landing in Provence. This details the American landing at Toulon during World War II, which caused the occupying Germans to abandon southern France.
Further naval history can be found at the Museé National de la Marine. This museum covers every period of French naval history, from the old sailboat fleet to the contemporary fleet of aircraft carriers and gunboats. In addition to its long naval history, Toulon has an excellent cultural tradition on display at the Hotel des Arts, a contemporary art museum.
During your stay, make sure to sample the local and regional culinary specialties, including the cade toulonnaise, a savory tart, and the chichi frégi, fried dough dusted with powdered sugar. Also, buy a few bottles of wine grown in the surrounding region of Provence, the oldest wine-growing region in the country.
Reach Toulon through its train station or its regional airport. Buses run from the airport to the city four times a day. Bus and boat lines will take you throughout the city. Toulon is always temperate, but arrive during the summer for the best time to enjoy its Mediterranean beaches.