More than just a rugby team, the Rugby Club Toulonnaise (RCT) is a symbol of the city. Watching the team play in the legendary Mayol stadium (right in the centre of Toulon!) is a moment of absolute exhilaration and excitement. Flags attached to the windows, klaxons and chanting (you know the famous Pilou-Pilou). Mingle with the Toulonnaise people, dive into the Mayol and sing your heart out with them: ‘Nous les terribles guerriers du Pilou-Pilou qui descendons de la montagne vers la mer… Parce que Toulon ROUGE, parce que Toulon NOIR, parce que Toulon ROUGE ET NOIR’ (‘We the terrible Pilou-Pilou warriors coming down the mountains to the sea… Because Toulon RED, because Toulon BLACK, because Toulon RED AND BLACK’).
If Nice is proud to own ‘Socca’ and Marseille ‘Panisse’, Toulon prides itself on making ‘Cade’ – a chickpea flour pancake that has now become one of Toulon’s specialities.
It arrived in Toulon with the Genoise carpenters brought over by the Napoleonic armies to work on the shipyards. Its name comes from the Italian ‘caldo’, meaning ‘hot’. Baked in a wood-fired oven, women would sell ‘cades’ in the streets of the Besagne workers’ district. A tray of ‘cades’ balanced on their hips, they would stir up the crowd by shouting ‘Caldo!’
‘Cade’ can be eaten hot, salty and peppery, but others prefer to add sugar. Almost every morning, the ‘cade’ wagons are central to the markets in Toulon and Sanary, where an enormous golden pancake will be cut with a knife by the seller. For just a few euros, they will put the pieces in a basket wrapped newspaper, and as you walk, you can ceremoniously open the newspaper and take a bite. Tasty and warm, the batter melts in the mouth…mmm!
The Port of Sanary contains a small fleet of fishing boats used to practice the ‘petit métier’. They sell their catches every day on the quay when they return to port – a moment not to be missed!
Of course, we recommend that you come early to enjoy the wide range of fish on offer: scorpion fish, wolfish, sea bream, sardines… even sea-urchins from November to April! There are stalls in front of each boat, both of which have the same name. In the winter sun, try sea urchins washed down with a ‘cheeky’ Bandol, the preferred rosé – a joy like no other!
If you visit Thoronet Abbey, we recommend that you choose a guided tour, and that you ask your guide to sing a Gregorian chant in the church. You will be astounded by the reverberations – the sound travels along the walls! It feels as though the walls are singing with the singer! This moment of pure emotion is an unforgettable experience!
Mont Lachens – the Roof of the Var – is 1715m high, and from its summit, you can get a 360° panorama of the whole Var region, from Sainte Baume to the Mediterranean, and from Mercantour to the Italian Alps. On a clear day, you might be lucky enough to see Corsica!
The summit can be reached by car (beware, as the road is snowy in winter), but you can also conquer the Roof of the Var on foot from the little village of de La Bastide. On your way, you will see pine forests, the flora of Haute-Provence and perhaps, near the top, flocks of grazing sheep. Sometimes, you can even see gliders or delta wings soaring above your head: this place is heaven for bird-men. On the crest, there is a viewpoint indicator that allows you to identify the main summits in Provence.
They will either lull you to sleep, or get on your nerves – there are no half measures! However, it would be unthinkable to imagine a summer in the Var without their song!
From June onwards, the people of the Var wait impatiently for the arrival of the cicadas. For us, their first calls mark the start of summer – a time of glorious sunshine, azure blue, pastis, BBQs, lazy afternoons and siestas in a hammock. Ah, a siesta in a hammock, in the shade of a tree, lulled to sleep by the song of the cicadas is simply divine! Their call is so consistent that it will soothe you: clic-clac, clic-clac, clic-clac…! Try and see! In fact, did you know? It’s the males that sing to attract a mate – it’s a love song…
Combine sport with discovering varied countryside with a canoe trip!
Along the Argens, set off in little groups, and choose a canoe to go at your own pace and properly appreciate the rolling countryside. Listen to the silence and the birdsong, find little insects here and there, share these moments of discovery with your friends and family. Plan your breaks for a little snack as you enjoy the sun streaming through the trees.
You can choose between several routes, depending on your physical fitness and amount of time available.
They are all pleasant, relaxing and revitalising, and will allow you to have a great time together!
In the Var, we like to go canoeing in June or September, bringing our children and teenagers to get them away from their electronic gadgets!
Wow! Enjoy a magical moment of pure exhilaration and bliss in an azure-blue sky, with just the right amount of adrenaline! From up above, the Var and its villages are glorious: Thoronet and its Abbey, Entrecasteaux and its castle, Cotignac and its tuff stone cliffs, the Sainte-Baume Massif… and the Mediterranean in the distance! Our favourite is a guided flight with an experienced pilot and lover of the area. As well as flying like a bird, you will understand why the Var is one of the most beautiful departments in France! This is an unmissable experience!
There’s nothing better at the end of the day than going to the beach with your family or friends to enjoy the balmy summer evenings. Once the hottest part of the day is over and the crowds have left, the beach is yours to admire the sunset. It’s a completely different atmosphere! You can enjoy it in two different ways: either a picnic on the sand or eat in one of the many restaurants along the beach.
Sand-lovers can spread towels out next to each other to make a huge rug, and put the aperitif drinks in the middle with the picnic, to chill out together. You can run on the beach whilst the children play: breathe, relax, enjoy!
Our pick of beaches: Les Lecques in Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, La Plage Dorée in Sanary-sur-Mer, Bonnegrâce in Six-Fours-les-Plages, l’Almanarre in Hyères, Cavalière in Lavandou, gigaro in La Croi-Valmer, Saint-Aygulf in Fréjus, La Pascade in Saint-Raphaël…
Aptly nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Haut-Var’, Bargemon is an utterly charming village, offering pleasant walks all year round, either along the narrow alleyways interspersed with fountains, or in the surrounding hills. We love Bergemon for its easy living, little museums (such as the Museum of Data Processing), the galleries and workshops. Below the ramparts, visitors can enjoy stunning views over the hilltop village of Claviers and the surrounding hills.
Exploring the low gorges of the Verdon from the heights of the saddle is one of those moments where you feel privileged, away from the world and where time stands still. Less well-known than the Grand Canyon, these low gorges offer the advantage of being less busy. The lower cliffs quickly welcomed our ancestors in prehistoric times. You can climb the gorges from the Lake of Artignosc up to the Lake of Montpezat, to make the most of the beauty of these wild landscapes and the water of the Verdon. A gentle exploration, a moment of feeling at one with the horse, to share with family or friends.