National Maritime Museum of Toulon

Toulon, the largest French military port, is now home to the flagship of the French Navy on more than 10 kilometers of quays. The National Maritime Museum retraces the past of the Toulon Arsenal, from which the great military vessels that sailed the seas of the world for several centuries came out.

A museum created during the First Empire

Created at the end of the First Empire under the reign of Napoleon, the National Maritime Museum of Toulon moved several times before moving to its current buildings, in Place Monsenergue. It is located next to the Clock Tower of the former arsenal, whose monumental door dating from 1738 it still has, and moved in 1976 to welcome visitors. Closely linked to the Toulon Arsenal, it is part of the National Maritime Museum, along with the museums of Paris, Brest, Rochefort and Port-Louis. Ship models, paintings and educational areas retrace the military past of a strategically important port.

Collections of models

The model collections of the National Maritime Museum of Toulon present the evolution of warships through the centuries. Ships of the line, frigates, three-master ships, galleys, and steamboats stand alongside submarines, cuirassiers and aircraft carriers. Models of all sizes impress all visitors, children and adults alike, with their finesse and attention to detail. The largest models were once used to train officer cadets.

Remarkable works

The collections of paintings offer a complementary look at the history of the navy. Other valuable works are presented to the public, such as the figurehead of the 80-gun ship Le Neptune. An area is dedicated to the military development of Toulon, with the setting up of the fortifications designed by Vauban to protect the fleet from attack by land or sea. The figures at the foot of Abraham Duquesne, Lieutenant-Général of the naval armies, the Count of Tourville, commander of the Levant Fleet, or Jean Bart, experienced corsair, allow visitors to learn more about these historical figures who contributed to the influence of the Royal Navy.

Activities and exhibitions

The AAMM, an association of friends of the National Maritime Museum, organizes monthly conferences on the theme of the Navy: La Marine à l’assaut du commerce maritime allemand pendant la guerre de 1870 (The Navy to the assault of German maritime trade during the war of 1870), Histoire des sous-marins du XIXe siècle (History of 19th century submarines), Pierre-Henri Delauze et l’aventure de la COMEX (Pierre-Henri Delauze and the adventure of the COMEX)… The museum is also involved in the cultural life of Toulon, notably as a partner of the Présences féminines festival.

A store with a bookstore area allows visitors to buy a souvenir, or to buy a book dedicated to the sea and the navy.

Practical information

Prepare your visit to the Maritime Museum of Toulon:

  • Opening days: open every day except Tuesday. Annual closing on December 25, January 1, and May 1.
  • Schedule: from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Address: Place Monsenergue, Quai de Norfolk, 83 000 Toulon
  • Website: http://www.musee-marine.fr/toulon