Quick Trip: Toulon, a city so beautiful you can even enjoy it in the rain

Toulon, the land of rain and wind … just joking. It’s usually super sunny, but the weather decided to be absolutely grim from the day I arrived until the day I left – but hey, it’s life!

I still had a great weekend despite the rain. If that doesn’t say how great Toulon is, I don’t know what will. Just dreading going back to work on Monday after pestering my colleagues all week about how tanned I was going to look on Monday.


Back to Toulon! Whilst it may not be as famous as its glitzy neighbors in the South of France like Cannes, its charm lies in the lesser-known corners waiting to be discovered. Toulon has a lot of lively markets bursting with the freshest fruits and vegetables, and man oh man did I devour the most scrumptious vegetable salads during this long weekend.

The season of melons, asparagus, cherries and apricots is finally here! I was staying at my friend’s place in a neighbourhood called Le Mourillon, a bohemian neighborhood boasting colorful facades, charming shops, and cafes where locals engage in spirited debates over their espressos. 

This neighbourhood boasts some of the nicests beaches in Toulon, which are rimmed with the coolest beach cafés, amongst which Le Petit Sud, where Pierre Niney recorded his song L’Entrevue Séduction, with Bon Entendeur.

It’s the best place to grab a cocktail and watch the sun set on the sea; I swear you will feel like you are in the reels of your fave insta influencer.

Eat at the AOC 41

If we’re on the topic of great restaurants, I would be doomed if I didn’t mention AOC 41. It is known for its unwavering commitment to sourcing the finest local ingredients, ensuring that each dish is a celebration of the region’s rich culinary heritage.

the restaurant name is quite fitting, as AOC stands for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, a French certification system that ensures that products are produced in specific regions using traditional methods. From succulent seafood caught fresh from the nearby Mediterranean waters to tender cuts of meat sourced from local farms, every plate tells a story of authenticity and passion. The waiting staff is lovely and competent, and prices vary between 18-25 euros for a main course.

The menu changes regularly, so that you are guaranteed fresh and local products. Here’s to hoping the crème brûlée will still be on the menu when you go because it was honestly the best crème brûlée I have ever eaten in my entire life, and I have eaten a lot of them.

I’d recommend sitting on the terrasse rather than inside – it’s nicer.

Hike up to Mont Faron

If you bit off more than you could chew, you’re probably keen to walk it off, and I know just the place.

Mont Faron, standing tall as the picturesque backdrop of Toulon, is a mountain that deserves a closer look. It’s not just a scenic beauty but also a playground for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

The view from the top is stunning, and make the hike up there worth it. (Plus it’s the perfect excuse for ordering another crème brûlée).

We even saw a navy submarine enter the port from the top of Mont Faron.

You can either hike up, drive up, or if you’re up for a unique experience, hop aboard the Téléphérique du Mont Faron, a cable car that will take you to the summit in style. Either way, don’t forget to pick up some rosemary, there are plenty of bushes along the way, and they make oven-baked potatoes or home-made bread reach a whole other level.

Just thinking about it makes me drool.

Head to Porquerolles

Finally, if you’re lucky enough for the weather to be idyllic, which it is like 99 percent of the time unless I’m in town, head to Porquerolles for the day. It’s only a 30-minute ferry ride from the port of Toulon, and this place has been crowned the Jewel of the Mediterranean.

The ferry costs 34 euros return, and runs eight times per day. The village of Porquerolles is adorable, and full of cozy cafes and shops. During your day there, take a relaxing walk or rent a bike to explore the island’s beautiful paths that wind through fragrant pine forests, leading you to secret beaches and hidden caves. Soak up the sunshine, dip your feet in the crystal clear waters, or simply relax on the soft sandy shores.

If you ask me, 34 euros is a cheap price to pay to feel like you’re in the Maldives for a day … just sayin’.

All in all, Toulon is a low-key destination that has all the ingredients for a relaxing, rejuvenating and affordable weekend. Whether it be picture-perfect beaches, fragrant trails, the refreshing Mediterranean waters, culinary delights, breathtaking vistas, and island escapades, Toulon has it all.

À bientôt!


Read more about France here in Dispatches’ archives.

Read more from Charlotte here.

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Charlotte Laborie grew up in England, Belgium and Switzerland. Charlotte then moved to Paris and graduated from Sciences Po Paris. She is still based in Paris, where she works in marketing.

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