Last Updated on January 2, 2024 by April Verge
Planning a trip to Toulon and looking for the top things to do in Toulon France? This travel guide has you covered!
The port city of Toulon is located on the Mediterranean coast of France and is a major hub for the French Navy.
As the capital of the Var region, Toulon is a famous port and has long been a summer retreat for Parisians and cruise ship passengers.
You’ll quickly realize that Toulon beaches are sandy, shingle coves, and other wonderful things to do if you’re visiting! It is truly one of the best places to visit in the south of France.
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From riding the cable car up Mont Faron to shopping at fantastic shopping streets, this guide details what to do in the French city.
If you are in a hurry, here’s a summary of things to do in Toulon:
What to Do in Toulon
The following list showcases what to do in Toulon, one of the best weekend getaways in France. I’ve listed just a few things here, but this will keep you occupied whether you’re spending one day or a week in this great city!
Head to the Top of Mont Faron
In the past, Toulon’s harbor was greatly appealing due to the massive 584-meter mountain behind it.
The cable car is one of the most popular activities to take up to the summit of Mont Faron, that offers a panoramic view of the city.
In only six minutes, you’ll reach the summit, where you can take in the breathtaking scenery, stroll along the edge of the cliff, and bring the kids to a wild cat refuge. You can also walk or visit the Musée du Débarquement once you reach the top.
Visit Musée Mémorial du Débarquement
The memorial and museum honor the August 15, 1944, Allied invasion of the Provence coast. The presentations of the various actions and battlegrounds surrounding Toulon, which are enhanced with maps, models, and photographs, will captivate anybody interested in military history.
In addition to a ton of modern gear, including field gear, weaponry, and uniforms, there is hardware outside, including an American tank and German anti-tank and aircraft cannons that were left over after the battle.
You can buy a combined ticket with the cable-car for this military museum on a terrace on Mont Faron.
Rade de Toulon
Select a port ferry or charter to start your exploration of the military harbor, which has been utilized by the French navy since the fifteenth century and serves as the primary base for the French fleet together with Brest.
If you’re interested in history or the military, you might want to take a guided tour of the old naval cemetery and Baie du Lazare piers to get the inside scoop.
The enormous ships and the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier are going to delight children.
Walk Along the Harbor
For many years, the Navy has been based in Toulon, so the harbor has become the city’s most iconic place. Toulon is a maritime-themed city, so shopping in the souvenir shops along the harbor is a must.
The harbor is also a great spot to have dinner, as there are many restaurants to choose from.
Admire the Panorama from the Tour Royale
In the 16th century, the Tour Royale was built at the entrance to the Port of Toulon in order to protect the city.
The tower offers a magnificent view over the sea as well as the city, and is also the starting point of the popular Sentier des Douaniers. Today, the tower is part of the city’s cultural heritage and can be visited for only 2 Euros.
Relax at the Beach in Mourillon
The Plage du Mourillon, or Mourillon Beach, is the largest and most popular beach in Toulon. The city is home to several beautiful beaches, but the Plage du Mourillon, or Mourillon Beach, is the most popular.
It is located within walking distance of the city center and has a variety of restaurants, bars, and a children’s playground, so you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon with friends and family.
Since you are here, you probably want to read this post too: The Best Things To Do in Marseille
Visit the Notre Dame de la Seds Cathedral
Toulon’s Cathedral, also called Notre Dame de la Seds, is a national monument located in the city center.
This cathedral was built in the 11th century and completed in the 18th century. It has a very interesting history and houses some interesting pieces of art, notably a baroque retable by Pierre Puget.
Watch a RC Toulon Rugby Match
Toulon’s rugby team has undoubtedly been the greatest club side in the world for the past few seasons.
RC Toulon, also referred to as Les Rouge et Noir, consistently ranks at or near the top of France’s Top 14 and is the 2013–2015 Heineken Cup winners. You can be certain that you’re watching some of the best players the game has to offer if you attend a game at the Stade Mayol, which is located directly by the harbor, because this league pays some of the best salary anywhere.
You will hear their well-known Pilou-Pilou anthem, and if you’re lucky, you’ll feel the wrath of these supporters when fierce rivals Toulouse arrive!
Learn about Naval History at the Musée de la Marine
This museum is home to some of the best memorabilia about the French Navy, so whether you’re a history buff or simply a curious traveler, you’ll enjoy Musée de la Marine.
Maps, model ships, and paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries can be found here. The museum entrance ticket costs only 7 Euros, and it is definitely worth it if you are interested in learning about the history of the city and its navy.
Take the Tourist Train in Toulon
It’s one of the most popular things to do especially for visitors on cruise ships, to ride the tourist train around the city and all the way to Mourillon Beach.
A ride on the little train will give you an opportunity to see all the main sights as well as learn about the city’s history with bilingual commentary (French and English).
Stop by Place Victor Hugo and the Opera House
Seeing a performance at the Opera House is definitely one of the best things to do in Toulon if you’re staying more than one day.
The Opera House is the second largest opera house in France after the Paris Opera Garnier, and it has an incredible interior.
Go to Place de la Liberté
Place de la Liberté is one of the most iconic squares in the city. It’s a great place for photos, and it has its own Statue of Liberty fountain.
The Grand Hotel, one of Toulon’s oldest buildings, is located near the fountain.
Shop at Cours Lafayette Market
If you’re looking for local products and delicacies, street markets are the best option in Provence.
Located down the harbor, Cours Lafayette’s Market is open every morning except Monday. Don’t miss this colorful market!
The market offers hundreds of fruits and vegetables, cheeses, flowers, and more. Don’t miss la Cade à Dédé, a small stand that sells cades, a local delicacy.
Try the Local Cuisine
If you decide to visit the Cours Lafayette market, the aroma of a few freshly made local foods may draw you in: Made with chickpea flour and seasoned with salt and pepper, cadé toulonnaise is a flatbread that resembles socca from Nice.
Another is chichi frégi, a hybrid of a churro and a donut flavored with orange blossom extract and olive oil.
Additionally, daube, a braised beef stew prepared with provençal herbs, and bouillabaisse, a fish stew, are specialties served for lunch.
L’Aromate Provencal and Restaurant Les Artistes are two of the most popular restaurants in the city.
Walk Along Sentier des Douaniers
With the exception of the harbor, Toulon is part of a network of walking routes along the coast that runs from Six-Fours in the west to Hyères in the east.
This is called the Sentier des Douaniers, and it was established under the First Empire in the early 19th century to facilitate the identification of smugglers by customs officials.
Extreme walkers should put their strength to the test on the difficult route that connects Cap Sicié and Pointe de Cap Vieux.
Visit Musée des Arts Asiatiques
The Asian Arts Museum houses collections of Asian arts presented by geographical origin. Most of the museum pieces come from bequests to the city of Toulon.
The museum, which is housed in the Jules Verne Villa once owned by the author’s son and grandson, displays treasures that French collectors, frequently Toulonnais sailors, amassed in China, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia, and India and left to the City of Toulon. On the ground floor, there are also temporary exhibitions on display.
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Where to Stay in Toulon
The best place to stay in Toulon is near the harbor and Toulon old town. Most of the attractions listed in this guide can be found in that vicinity.
Here are my top picks of hotels in Toulon for any budget:
Luxury Hotels: Located near the famous beach at Mourillon, the Best Western Plus La Corniche offers sea-facing rooms and is one of the few luxury hotels in Toulon.
Or, stay at OKKO Hotels Toulon Center, a modern hotel located 1.4 miles from Lido Beach.
Mid-range Hotels: A number of Toulon hotels are included in this category, including The Originals Boutique, located across from the train and bus stations in the heart of the city. Another favorite is Hotel Amiraute, a gorgeous hotel near Place de la Liberte and the harbor.
Budget Hotels: In Toulon, there are many hotels that are good for those on a budget, including the Ibis Budget Toulon Centre, which is located near many of the main sights in Toulon and won’t break the bank!
Things to Know Before Visiting Toulon France
The best time to visit Toulon, how to get there, and some of the best day trips from Toulon can be found in these FAQs.
Map of Toulon Attractions
To add this map to your Google Maps account, click the ‘Star’ icon next to the map name. You can then view it on your cell phone or computer by heading to your Google Maps account, click the menu and add it to ‘Your Places’.
Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Toulon
There are plenty of things to do in Toulon to keep you busy, and you will love the vibrant and colorful atmosphere of this Southern France city. To answer my original question is Toulon worth a visit, I’d say a resounding yes! This vibrant and colorful city in Southern France is definitely worth visiting, even for just a day.
You’ll certainly enjoy your trip to Toulon on the French Riviera, whether you visit all the fascinating museums, go to the beach, or simply stroll around the city center. Check out the best hikes in France here! If you love museums and the beach, or just want to stroll around the city center, you’ll definitely enjoy your visit to Toulon on the French Riviera.