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Outdoor activities

Where is the Var in France?

In the south-east of the country, in the Provence-Alpes-Côtes d´Azur region, the Var occupies a special place in the tourist area called Côte d´Azur. Facing the Mediterranean Sea, it is surrounded by the Bouches-du-Rhône to the west, the Alpes de Haute-Provence and the Vaucluse to the north and the Alpes-Maritimes department to the east. It is the only French department whose name comes from a river which does not cross it. The main mountain ranges that cover its territory are the Moors, Estérel and Sainte-Baume. Its prefecture and most populous city, Toulon, is known as the sunniest municipality in mainland France.

What to do in the Var?

Between the sea and the mountains, the Var is a vast field of exploration that allows you to practice many nautical and land sports activities.

The beaches are legion and suitable for all tastes, from the family or sports beach to the naturist beach on the Levant Island. We practice scuba diving in Embiez, Cap Sicié, in the bays of Cavalaire and Saint-Raphaël or in the Port-Cros National Park to discover underwater fauna or explore wrecks. The jagged coastline is ideal for the practice of boating or cruising in the Golden Islands, near Six-Fours-les-Plages or Bandol. The water bodies encourage the practice of windsurfing, dinghy sailing, catamaran sailing or kitesurfing at the Hyères or Saint-Aygulf spots. From Saint-Raphaël to Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, you can try sea kayaking or paddle boarding.

On the lakes of Sainte-Croix and Saint-Cassien, in the Gorges du Verdon or the Argens, pedal boats, canoes and fishing are popular. The natural parks of Sainte-Baume or Pelagos call for a stroll.

We practice golf everywhere thanks to 22 greens by the sea or in the countryside. Finally, discovering the forest massifs and typical villages on horseback is an unforgettable experience.

What to visit in the Var?

In the Var, some historic places are essential, starting with the Abbey Du Thoronet, a 12th century Cistercian building in the heart of the forest. The osmosis between its stones and natural light moves. In the Massif des Maures, the grand Chartreuse de la Verne gently takes us in the wake of the monastic community that occupies it and has taken a vow of silence. In Saint-Maximin, the basilica, the most imposing Gothic church in Provence, shelters the relics of Marie-Madeleine and The Abbey of La Celle bears witness to remarkable medieval architecture.

In Fréjus, you must see the cathedral, the episcopal palace and its astonishing 2-story cloister. In this set, erected from the 11th to the 13th century, the painted wooden ceilings display daily scenes from the period, as well as an amazing bestiary of fantastic animals.

A change of atmosphere at Villa Noailles in Hyères where modernity takes precedence. For this explosive winter villa to become an art center known to the world, prestigious contemporary artists such as Guévrékian, Mondrian or Giacometti intervened. It hosts workshops, exhibitions, the international fashion festival and the Design Parade.

Many other places are worth a visit like the Moulin de Régusse, Notre-Dame-du-Mai in La Seyne-sur-Mer or the castle of Entrecasteaux.

Where to go for a walk in the Var?

With 800 km of long-distance hiking trails (GR) and 200 km of coastal path, the Var seems made for walking, whether sporty or purely recreational. The Massif de l'Estérel, the Massif des Maures, the Verdon Regional Natural Park or the slopes of Mont Faron in Toulon are ideal for beautiful walks.

Among the many pedestrian circuits proposed and marked, here are two suggestions, one close to the coast on foot, the other in the Haut-Var by mountain bike.

Tour and ascent of the Gros Cerveau in Ollioules

This is a great hike off the beaten track, starting from Ollioules, a pretty village bordering Toulon to the west, overlooked by the Gros Cerveau. On a course of about 9 km, you will cross the Gorges of Ollioules and the heights of Sanary-sur-Mer by climbing the slopes of the Gros Cerveau. On the menu, exceptional panoramas of Ciotat and Porquerolles on the coast, and from Revest to Cadière-d´Azur on the land side. Appropriate shoes are recommended.

Circuit around Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume

A fun cycling hike over 15 kilometers with a maximum elevation of 1120 meters. Passing through Mont Aurélien, the course is smooth even if some rare portions of stony slabs can slip if it rains. On the program, nature, nothing but nature and wonderful views of the forest.

What event to attend in the Var?

In February

From February, the flowered corso and its floats enchanted many Var towns and villages. Fanfares, folk dances and battle of flowers are on the program in Bormes-les-Mimosas, Carqueiranne, Roquebrune-sur-Argens, Saint-Raphaël and many others.

In April

In April, Hyères hosts the International Fashion and Photography Festival at Villa Noailles. The public, invited to the parades, contributes to the election of the winners of the styling and photography competitions.

In May

May sees the Harley Davidson Eurofestival and more than 10,000 bikers disembark in Saint-Tropez for 4 days and June opens the Paul Ricard du Castellet circuit at the French Formula 1 Grand Prix.

In July

Among the recurring summer events, the Jazz festivals of Brignoles and La Seyne-sur-Mer or the Medieval Festival of Arcs-sur-Argens in July.

In August

In August, the unmissable Ramatuelle Festival opens its doors and the Fishermen's Festival is in full swing in Toulon.

In September

Eclectic, September sees the arrival of the Bol D'Or moto, launches the Var hiking week and hosts the Festival de Quator à Cordes de Fayence.

In October

In October, choose between the Ollioules Olive Tree Festival, Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, the Roc Azur mountain biking event or the Chestnut Festival in Collobrières.

In November / December

The Toulon Book Festival and the Bandol Vintage Festival take place in November and early December when the bright Christmas in Saint-Raphaël closes a busy year.

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