Holland America to start visiting Toulon

 An overview of Toulon

Architecture and Provençal Heritage

Toulon’s turbulent history and diverse architectural influences have lent the city centre its multiple faces:
The historical quarter, with its little, ochre, yellow and pink houses, narrow, winding streets and famous Provençal food market, spans out around the ancient Cathedral. Heading West from Place d’Armes square to Porte d’Italie gate are two sets of narrow but straighter roads, corresponding to the city limits and said to date back to 1589, to the reign of Henry IV. This area also forms part of the old town, which is often referred to as the “basse ville” or lower town.
In sharp contrast, the light and airy “haute ville” or upper town, designed by the famous architect Haussmann, stretches North towards Mount Faron, and abounds with monuments built by order of Napoleon III, including the Opera House, railway station, Place de la Liberté and many bourgeois buildings.


During this era, the constricting city walls were demolished, a tramway was built to simplify city life, the new railway station made Toulon readily accessible, and the shows at the local casino began to attract large crowds. The people of Toulon still differentiate the “upper” and “lower” towns forming the city centre, and visitors will find both areas well worth a visit.

Brimming with delicious colours and scents, and buzzing with the verve of the South, our local food markets are one of Provence’s most charming attractions. Toulon’s Provençal Market, held every morning except Mondays on Cours Lafayette, is undoubtedly Provence’s largest and most widely acclaimed. A number of smaller but equally typical markets are held outside the centre itself in the Pont-du-Las quarter (place Martin Bidouré) and Mourillon quarter (Place Emile Claude and Place Monseigneur Deydier), respectively to the West and East of the city centre.
The famous Provençal actor Raimu – the hero of Pagnol’s famous “Trilogy” – was born in Toulon and is widely honoured by the city. Three monuments are dedicated to this inimitable artist: a bust on Place des Trois Dauphins square, a fresco and statue on Place du Théâtre square, and a sculpture of Pagnol’s famous Card Game on Place Raimu square, where visitors can pose for a souvenir photo in one of the free chairs opposite cheating Cesar and Panisse!

A Historical Town – Museums & Forts

Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle (Natural History Museum)
The only museum of its kind in the Var region, focusing on regional fauna, mineralogy and palaeontology.

Musée National de la Marine (Naval Museum)
An exceptional collection of original scale models of the Mediterranean fleets up to the late 18th century. A number of works retrace the history of the Port and Bay of Toulon, and the French Navy’s finest hours…

Musée Mémorial du Débarquement (Allied Landings Museum)
Housed in Tour Beaumont tower, the museum includes several rooms dedicated to the armies who took part in the August 1944 Allied Landings in Provence. Mock-ups, photos, films and slide shows allow you to live out this unforgettable moment in France’s history.

Musée du Vieux Toulon (Heritage Museum)
Various works of art, objects and souvenirs portraying the social, economic, religious and artistic history of Toulon and the surrounding region.

Maison de la Photographie (Photography Museum)
A genuine springboard for regional photographers, this museum also exhibits international works representing contemporary photographic trends.

Musée d’Art (Art Museum)
Built in 1887, this beautiful Italian Renaissance style property exhibits works by the Provençal schools from the 17th to the early 20th centuries, plus a contemporary art collection.

Hôtel des Arts (Art Museum)
Forming part of the Mediterranean “arts route” stretching from Marseilles to Menton, with works ranging from the 20th century to current day.

Musée des Arts Asiatiques (Oriental and Asian Arts Museum)
Dedicated to China and Japan, and also featuring collections from South-East Asia, India, Tibet and Mongolia, this museum underlines the influence of Buddhism throughout the Far East.

Mount Faron, Between Sea and Mountain

Visitors can enjoy a magical cable car ride to the summit of our local emblem, the 584-metre Mount Faron, offering fabulous panoramic views over the Bay of Toulon and many mountains bordering the city.
The cable car offers rare views over the city’s vast naval base, the offshore Golden Islands to the East (Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Le Levant) and Embiez islands to the West.
Attractions on the summit itself include a zoo and Allied Landings Memorial Museum.

Mont Faron Zoo Tel. +33(0)4 94 88 07 89: This wild cat breeding centre – the only one of its kind in France and probably in Europe – is dedicated to preserving endangered species.
Mont Faron Cable Car Tel. +33(0)4 94 92 68 25 : Our special Pass offers a variety of discount travel and sightseeing options, including cable car, bus and boatbus travel, plus visits to the zoo and Memorial Museum.
Important: the cable car does not operate in case of strong winds. Please contact the Tourist Office before starting out.
Allied Landings Memorial Museum: Please refer to the Museums section.

Mourillon Quarter and Beaches

Situated to the southeast of the city, the Mourillon is a genuine little village within the city and became Toulon’s chic quarter in the late 19th century. The promenade lined with impressive bourgeois residences, pretty church, daily food market, botanical gardens and attractive boutiques make it a great place for a relaxed stroll.

The Mourillon Beaches are a favourite year-round haunt for locals and holidaymakers, and feature children’s games, luxuriant gardens, and pretty waterside bars and restaurants.

The Mourillon also remains one of the city’s best quarters for eating out: the village streets and sea front are packed with attractive restaurants serving specialities from the five continents – plus of course Provence!

The Mourillon is the venue for many evening events in summer, including the “Nuit des Pêcheurs” celebrating Toulon’s ancient fishing heritage, the traditional firework display at Saint-Louis fort commemorating the siege of Toulon in 1707, and an international Jazz festival held on the beaches.
Also attracting big crowds, the packed daytime schedule includes various boat races, the famous “Voiles Latines” regatta confronting ancient sailboats from throughout the Mediterranean, and the lively “Fête de l’Oursin” sea urchin fair.
A whole program to enjoy with friends or family!

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