Toulon : between military tradition and touristic modernity
It is the first city to the west of the French Riviera. While its coastline and its clement temperatures are part of its appeal, Toulon is known above all for its important military port. An ancestral Mediterranean maritime tradition that it cannot escape …
From Telo to Toulon
In 150 BC, the Romans entered the harbour, mixed with the Ligurian people, and founded Telo Martius. The little wine exporting port prospered in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Over the centuries, this coastal village became a major maritime centre. It hosted the royal fleet of Louis XIV and thus became a strategic military port.
At 584 m, the most famous of the hills of Toulon offers an exceptional panorama of the city. It is a limestone, wooded hill, rich in typically Provençal fauna and flora. You can get there via a one-way road or an unusual cable car.
The most beautiful harbour of Europe… From the sea you can contemplate the arsenal, the cemetery by the sea, the fortifications and the Corniche de Tamaris – the seaside resort where G. Sand and F. Chopin came often – before tasting some Mediterranean specialties in the bistro of the port.
It is the largest opera outside of Paris and has exceptional acoustics. It was built in 1862 according to the plans of Léon Feuchères and has 1,750 places. Its red and gold interior, ornamented with paintings, stucco and bronzes, is in the pure Napoleon III style. It is classified as a historical monument.
The navy base
The arsenal of Toulon is the largest French military port. The first crews for the King's ships were trained in 1490. Since then, the arsenal has grown. It covers 268 ha and 10 km of docks. It has 30 km of roads and employs 12,000 people. It is the home port of the aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle and receives many naval vessels.