area surrounding Frejus is full of interest for people of every taste. If visiting
the haunts of the rich and famous appeals, there are the towns of Monaco, Monte
Carlo, Nice, Cannes and St Tropez within easy reach. If you prefer the relative
quiet (or cool) of the hills, there are numerous hill towns and villages, each
with their own special interest. There is also spectacular geology ranging from
the stiking red Massif d'Esterel, which creates awe inspiring coastal scenery
between Agay and Cannes, to France's own 'Grand Canyon', the Gorge du Verdon with
its steep sides leading down to a turquiose river.
Adjoining Port Frejus on the east, St Raphael is a small but
fashoinable resort town. Points of note are the TGV train station, the casino
and archeological museum. St Raphael marks the eastern end of the long stretch
of sandy beach that extends from St Aygulf
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small resort around 2 miles west of Port Frejus, St Aygulf is notable mainly for
its beaches. Man-made breakwaters placed parallel to the coast have formed a number
of tiny bays that are ideal for safe family bathing. Several car parks have been
provided by the road, but are full by 11:00 am in the summer.
The coast from St Tropez to Cannes
An old fishing village on the southern side of the Golfe du St
Tropez, the village of St Tropez was discovered in the 19th century and, although
crowded in the summer, has lost little of its original charm. Apart from a few
fishing boats, the main craft moored to the quay are multi-million pound power
and sailing vessels. There are many harbour-side bars in which to relax and watch
the other visitors and an ice cream bar of note to the south side of the quay.
As the coast road around here is always choc-a-bloc in the summer, the best way
to travel to St Tropez is by boat. Trips run from Port Frejus, but a more frequent
boat 'bus' service runs from Ste Maxime harbour. Boats also run between St Tropez
and Port Grimaud on the northern shore of the Golfe. A good tour is to incorporate
this trip with the trip to St Tropez. Tickets for both legs can be bought in Ste
on the north side of the Golfe, Ste Maxime is a small town enjoying some fine
beaches, with numerous small bays to the east. A regular boat service from here
serves St Tropez.
Dubbed the 'Venice of France', this village was
designed in 1966 as a marina resort and many of the
houses and apartments have their own water frontage.
Parking is in a large car park adjacent to, but outside,
the village itself. Although the whole atmosphere feels
a little contrived, Port Grimaud has its appeal. Above
Port Grimaud are the hill villages of Grimaud and, further
afield, La Garde Freinet.
Issambres lies east from Ste Maxime, approximately half way to St Aygulf. It has
an attractive coastline, with many small beaches, but little in the way of shops
etc. There is an interesting drive from Les Issambres over the Col de Brugnon
Although there are coastal neighbourhoods on the way,
the next place of note to the east is Agay. Set in an
attractive bay this is a small resort with little in the
way of commerce. Travelling east, Agay marks the start
of the spectacular coast road beneath the Esterel Massif.
It is easily accessible from Frejus St Raphael as the
local train stops at Agay station.
Cap du Dramont
Cap du Dramont forms a spectacular headland that
marks the western side of Agay bay. From the car park
on its eastern (Agay) side there is an easily walked
footpath leads to its seaward end and up to the main
observation points by a radio tower that offers breathtaking
views of the Mediterranean and Esterel coastline. A
path also leads to the lighthouse but that vatage point
is closed to the public.
the west side of the Cap Du Dramont is a small harbour
and, lying off a few hundred metres,a small island,
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Agay and Cannes|
The first half of this journey offers stunning coastal
scenery where the red Esterel meets the Mediterranean blue sea as the road winds
to follow a multitude of inlets and beaches.
Made famous by its annual film festival, the Palais
de Congres in Cannes plays host to many international
events, mainly out of the holiday season. Cannes was allegedly
discovered by Lord Brougham in 1834 and was followed by
wintering British and Russian royals. Along the shoreline
runs La Croisette, flanked on the shore side by expensive
hotels and one can occasionally see paperazzi waiting
with huge telephoto lenses to capture pictures of celebrities
on luxury yachts moored in the bay.
and nearby villages
Roqubrune is a relatively small village approximately
12 miles inland, not far from the Autoroute. It is dominated
by the hill of the same name as the town, which is composed
of reddish granite. The flow of the lava that formed
it can be clearly seen from the road passing around
its northern edge. From the road over it to the south
there is a 30 minute walk to vantage points offering
spectacular views, and, with guidance and care, the
summit can be reached.
villages close by are Puget and Le Muy, which closes
its streets each Sunday for the bustling town market.
On the dual carriageway that by-passes Puget there is
an extensive commercial area stretching to the outskirts
of Frejus that has a large Carrefour hypermarket, car
dealers, DIY and other similar stores.
Paul-de-Vence and Antibes
Famed for its good light for artists, St Paul-de-Vence
ws a walled town and it ramparts can still be seen intact. Antibes is an interesting
small town, which is also a fashionabale place to live for those who work in this
area (and can afford to do so!).
Capital of the Cote, Nice is France's fifth largest city, with the region's airport.
A resort from the 18th century, the British built the Promenade des Anglais, which
stretches approximately 2 miles along the main sea frontage. There is a variety
of architectural styles, museums (one of which commemorates the work od Matisse)
and some Roman ruins.
and Monte Carlo
The genuine home of bling! Characterised by obvious wealth,
Monaco and Monte Carlo are on opposite sides of a steep bay surrounding the harbour
at Monaco. Walking around in the summer it is easy to trace much of the course
of the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. Sights worth seeing in Monaco are the Palace
(changing of the guard at 12 noon), the Hydrographic Museum and the hughe private
yachts in the harbour. In Monte Carlo, experience the Casino, Hotel de Paris and
Cafe de Paris.
a week, for around 4 weeks in the summer, Monaco host a spectacular international
firework competition in over the harbour. One of the best vantage points is from
the path leading from the harbour to the Palace, but it is necessary to claim
a place early for a good view. The cost of a meal is reasonable as this is controlled
by the Principality and there are many good small restaurants to be found in the
small streets between the Palace and the Hydrographic Museum.
general, the area behind the coast is hilly, even mountainous in places. There
are several areas of upland known as Massifs which are relatively unspoilt and
far less populated in the summer than the coastal strip and a number of famous
people (including Matisse and Picasso) chose to live in the hills away from the
coast. THe weather can be significantly different here, as the hill attract more
cloud and rain, frequently resulting in short thunderstorms.
The Maures is the range of hills extending westward and
inland from the Golfe de St Tropez towards Toulon. The many hill villages, which
are a pleasure to visit, are reached by winding roads over passes, with frequent
opportunities to enjoy the views into the valleys. Tortoises can be found occasionally
in the wild, and there is a turtle sanctuary to be found by one of the through
roads.Towns worthy of note here are La Guard-Freinet and Grimaud.
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There are so many beautiful villages in the area that extends
to the north-west sector of Frejus as far as Aix en Provence. Worth including
in a visit are Fayence, Draguinan, Les Arcs, Barjol.