The small town of Toulon is located between Marseille and Nice on one of the most magical European Mediterranean bays. Nestled between snow-white limestone sand cliffs, picturesque fishing ports and forest-lined mountains, the almost 600-meter-high Mont Faron rises above the city. The view of the city of the home port of the aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle speaks volumes. The colorful cityscape is symbolic of the cultural diversity that the village radiates.
Despite numerous holidays in the south of France, Toulon has long been a blank spot on the map for us. Perhaps this was due to the fact that it didn’t really attract us there either, because if you cross Toulon by car, you get through some – just not very prestigious neighborhoods. Nevertheless, we have finally given ourselves a jolt and wanted to know more about it.
History of Toulon
The history of Toulon is associated with countless ups and downs. Due to the large natural harbor basin prevailing on site, the city’s harbor became an important transport hub even in ancient times. This port was expanded in the Middle Ages as a war port. The port was declared as an impregnable terrain, around which numerous fortresses and castles were built. In the interior of the country, several elevations serve as protection. One of the darkest chapters of the past was the time when convicts as galley slaves – tied up and flogged – often drove French warships until their death. In addition, Toulon was the focus of attention during the Second World War as the headquarters of the stationed fleet. Since the city was bombed, there are mostly new buildings on the harbor promenade today.
Toulon’s most beautiful sights
In its venerable position, Mont Faron is reminiscent of a lighthouse that rises above the Bay of Toulon. A cable car leads to the elevation, which promises a stunning view of the region. But the sight of the Sainte-Marie Cathedral is also impressive. This house of worship is one of the best preserved churches in the city, where the bishop of Toulon once resided. Particularly exciting is the stylistic mixture, which combines elements of Baroque, Romanesque and Gothic.
The Naval Museum provides insights into the history of the Navy. Paintings, figureheads and model buildings are exhibited at this attraction. Engravings depict key events in Toulon’s maritime history. If the Port de Toulon is considered one of the most important naval bases in the whole country, the La Place de la Liberté enchants with its old town flair. The Rade de Toulon is a natural scenic feast for the eyes. The Toulon Road is one of the most beautiful bays in Europe, connecting countless forts such as Fort Balaguier.
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