Visit the countryside of Provence or soak up the Naval History
Cruises to Toulon visit a busy city and the principal base of the French Navy including their aircraft carriers and submarines, and may not necessarily be an obvious candidate for your ‘must see’ list.
The cruise lines will promote it as a ‘gateway to Provence and Cote d’Azur’, excursions will enable you to visit such places as Aix en Provence and Cassis but, if you do not wish to take an excursion, is it still a good port to visit?
Based on our experience the answer is yes!
On our last visit we were lucky enough to arrive on the day of one of the very large city-wide markets.
You can easily spend an hour or so walking around Toulon itself and perhaps visit one of the museums such as the Maritime Museum.
Rugby fans will find the famous ground of Rugby Club Toulonnais and official merchandise shops a short walk away from the port.
There is also an indoor shopping mall, providing pleasant relief on a hot day.
Getting around Toulon
You can catch the ‘Petit Train’ from the ship, which will take you on a 45 minute tour of the city including a stop at the beach for a swim.
This will deposit you back at the harbour where there are plenty of cafes and restaurants.
You can take a guided boat tour of the bay from here.
An alternative circuit of the Petit Train does a tour of the nearby naval base. This does not run as often and due to security reasons there are various restrictions on availability, see Les Petit Trains Toulon website for more details.
Another Toulon day trip is to take a bus to the cable car up Mount Faron. This provides great views over Toulon.
At the top you will find the Allied Landings Museum (although check opening times to avoid disappointment) and a café.
It’s a rather relaxed area, with a small playground for children, great views and the café does a good citron pressé.
If you go into the tourist office at the harbour, you should be able to buy a combined ticket that covers the bus, cable car and a boat trip across the harbour.
See further information on Toulon at the Official Toulon Tourist Office Website.