Toulon is a medium-sized city (15th town of France) between Marseille and Nice. It is in the west of French Riviera and in the southeast of Provence.


Toulon landmarks


Climate is typical of the South of France. The summers are relatively hot, with temperatures usually higher than 30 °C. June is a hot month but a sudden storm may occur every once in a while . July usually features hot temperatures and blue sky. August may be even hotter, but storms may begin to occur especially after the 15th of the month. Autumns are rainy. Storms *will* occur. Winters are dry. Temperatures don't usually drop sharply under 0 °C, but the wind factor causes a loss in Celsius degrees equal to one less degree per 10 km wind speed, thus with a wind blowing at 50 km/H O°C will feel like minus 5°C.

Unlike many other towns of France, there is no a big river which crosses this city. As a matter of fact, there are no big rivers in the whole department of Var. A few smaller ones in the city are: Rivière neuve, Le Las, L'Égoutyer also known as Rivière des amoureux (lover's river for a no apparent reason). All the other rivers are in tunnels under the town, and not visible.


The economy relies on the presence of a big French naval base that creates thousands of direct and indirect jobs. Tourism is also important. the town has up to 167,400 tourists every year


The history of Toulon dates back three thousand years. The Ligures settled here because of exceptional conditions:

For all these reasons, Toulon early became a town of military vocation. When the Romans invaded the Provence (Latin: provincia romana), they settled a military base and renamed the town Telo Martius, where martius recalls Mars, the Roman god of war.

During the Middle Ages, Provence was under the coup of lords, before being integrated into the French Kingdom in 1482. During the XVIIIth Century, Toulon became an important military port for France, were boats and sails were being built. A famous convict prison was built. During the French Revolution, Toulon gave support to the monarchy, but Bonaparte (later known as Napoleon the Ist) took back the town. During World War II, Toulon was invaded on November the 27th, 1942. The seamen scuttled all the boats so that the Nazis couldn't use them. The town was freed by the Allied Forces on August 25, 1944.

Get in

Modern buildings at the old port

By plane

Other airports are Marseille-Provence (100 km west of Toulon), and Nice-Côte d'Azur (150 km east of Toulon).

There are two roads drive to Toulon from Toulon-Hyères airport. Either you follow the highway (free, fast, but not very interesting) (French: Toulon par autoroute) or you choose the road that follows the coast (French: Toulon par la côte). It may take a longer time, but this is nicer and on rush hour you may avoid traffic jam on the highway.

Cityjet offers a direct flight from London to Toulon.

By train

By bus

By boat

Toulon is a large harbour and offers several ferries to the ports in Corsica: Ajaccio, Bastia and L'Île-Rousse. Among the international routes there is a service to Civitavecchia (close to Rome). An advance booking is advised in all cases.

By car

The main roads are from east to west (and the opposite). There are highways from Nice (A57) and Marseille (A50). You'll have to pay a toll to go outside the suburbs of the town on these highways.

Get around

Metropolitan bus and ferry network is operated by Réseau Mistral.


Vieille Ville

Caryatids at the entrance of the City Hall

Vieille Ville (old town) or Basse Ville (lower town) is a historical centre of the city. It is located NE of the harbour. As it was built in the Middle Ages, it's a really a maze of narrow streets. A couple of bigger ones, Rue d'Alger and Cours Lafayette, are bordered by numerous shops and crowded every Saturday.

The Genius of Navigation

Haute Ville

Haute Ville (upper town) is located on the north of the historical center. The most of the buildings and squares there are in splendor of the late XIXth century style. The major part of Haute Ville was built under the guidance of Georges-Eugène Haussmann (aka "Baron Haussmann", who was later called to build Paris).

Museums and places of interest

Naval Museum


Out of town

Fort de Brégançon — a summer residence of the President of France, which is located near the town of Bormes-les-Mimosas. Now it can be visited by a prior reservation.




The town features several beaches just south of the Mourillon quarter. They were set up in the 1950s to develop tourism. More beautiful beaches may be found elsewhere on the coast. In any location, you should be prepared to crowd on the beach. The beaches of Toulon are associated to a park with entertainment for children of all ages. At the east of the town, the Cap Brun and Anse Magaud beaches are more isolated, far less crowded, but more difficult to reach (need to climb a little).






Stay safe

Public hospitals:

Avoid walking alone at night in the historical center of the town. Or remember to be nice to the people you may meet there. This is the "red" quarter of the town.

Go next

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