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Itinerary by train

The Provençal Coast


Climb aboard for a train ride along the Provencal coast to discover towns that will have you dreaming: Aubagne, the birthplace of Marcel Pagnol, Bandol and its famous vineyards, Sanary-sur-Mer and its bustling market, Toulon and its historic bay. And, last but not least, Hyères and its Villa Noailles, a dive into the avant-garde art movement of the 20th century.

ItineraryDuration1 day or more

Visited Places
Ollioules / Sanary-sur-Mer

Stop 1Aubagne

Anyone who knows the works of Marcel Pagnol has probably already been to Aubagne. This trip along the Mediterranean coast starts in the land of the famous Provencal author. First, you visit the house where he was born, just 5 minutes on foot from the station – an immersion into the world of his childhood. Aubagne is also the capital of the santon (Christmas crib figurine). Next, head for the village des Santons en Provence, where over 3000 clay figurines are staged. The clay is also used to perpetuate the town’s pottery tradition and many workshops open their doors to the public.

Stop 2Bandol

After getting off the train, you’ll have to walk 1 km to reach Bandol harbour, one of the oldest seaside resorts in Provence. The waterfront is filled with terraces, ice cream parlours and little shops and local producers sell their products filled with the scents of Provence in the daily market, on Place de la Mairie. Of course, you must make the most of this stop to try the wines of Bandol, which are well-known worldwide. A swim at the very central Plage de Renécros before launching out on the Sentier du Littoral (6 ½ km), lined with tall umbrella pines and where you walk from one creek to another. A magical hike.

Stop 3Ollioules / Sanary-sur-Mer

Ollioules-Sanary-sur-Mer station is 25 minutes on foot from Sanary-sur-Mer harbour, but the stop is well worth it, even if it’s just to wander around the market held every Wednesday morning all year round under the plane trees of Allée d’Estienne d’Orves, on Quai Charles de Gaulle and Quai Esménard. Some people even say that Sanary market is the most beautiful market in France! Sun-packed fruit and vegetables, flowers, Provencal specialities, fish, clothes and accessories… You can find anything, but it’ll be only the best!

Stop 4Toulon

Clamber back on the train and you’re off to Toulon, just 10 minutes away. First and foremost Toulon is the most beautiful bay in Europe! So head for Quai de la Sinse to embark on a guided tour with the  Bateliers de la Rade. The military port and its ships, the town’s fortifications, the marine cemetery… From the boat gliding along on the water of the bay, it’s quite literally an immersion into the history of the town. After a tour at sea, another one in the air: it’s all aboard the cable car to get to the top of Mont-Faron, at 584 metres! From Place de la Liberté in the town centre, it’s a 40-minute walk via the Parc des Lices to get to the cable car ticket office. And last of all, starting from La Tour Royale, a nature walk along the Sentier du Littoral, following in the footsteps of the smugglers.

Stop 5Hyères

Hyères: this is the end of the line, everybody gets off here! When you come out of the station, head North to get to Villa Noailles. Designed by the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens and built in the 1920s,  Villa Noailles, a listed historical monument, was the last dwelling place of Charles et Marie-Laure de Noailles who were patrons of the arts. The works housed here bear witness to the effervescence that surrounded the avant-garde movement of the 20th century. Adjoining the villa, the Parc Saint-Bernard, labelled a “historic garden”, is home to exotic plants and offers a superb view over the Mediterranean and in particular the Hyères peninsula.

Train Stations