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Destination Guide: Toulon

An earthy port where glitzy yachts mingle with battleships
A world away from the tourist honeypots of Provence and the jet-set haunts of the Côte d'Azur, Toulon shows a different side to southern France with its authentic food market, busy docks and atmospheric old town.

Food and Drink

Local market produce and seafood dining. Do as the locals do and snack on Toulonnais chickpea galettes, known as cade, at the market along Cours Lafayette. For a sweet treat try sugary chichi frégi doughnuts from Monsieur Toine's kiosk. Smart restaurants on the port serve up local seafood from the bay and locally-caught fish in steaming platters of bouillabaisse.

Sightseeing and relaxation

Marine history and modern art. Wander the shabby-chic old town before unwinding in a café by the marina or on Place Pierre-Puget. Submerge yourself in naval history at the Musée de la Marine, then take a boat to the pine-shaded islands of Porquerolles and Port-Cros. Cable cars ascending Mont Faron take in sweeping views over the docks and bay.

Shopping

Provençal produce and chic boutiques. Every morning except Monday the market along Cours Lafayette brims with glistening olives, fragrant dried lavender and aromatic herbes de Provence. Browse clothes shops along Rue d'Alger, or head out to the smart beachside suburb of le Mourillon, where the tiny streets are lined with one-off designer boutiques and antique stores.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Lively portside bars and opulent opera. The navy is always in town in Toulon, guaranteeing a boisterous vibe in the bars of the quarter known as 'Le Petit Chicago'. Music festivals, including jazz and world music arrive in summer. Sit down to some opera in the scarlet and gold auditorium at the palatial Opéra de Toulon.