The Town of Hyères
Hyères is a fabulous town, and vastly different from the seaside resort area of the coast. Coming up from the beach, or turning in from the end of the autoroute, you'll drive up through a commercial-residential district on the Avenue Gambetta with its wide sidewalks lined by double rows of palm trees. If you come into town by train, you'll have a 10-15 minute walk from the station to the center. However you arrive, don't plan on leaving soon; if you have only one day you'll miss a lot of Hyères.
From the top of the avenue, much more town extends out to the right (east), including wide pedestrian shopping malls (the outside street variety). Straight north from the end of Ave Gambetta, continue on the Rue Rabaton to the Place Massillon and the start of the old town.
The Place Massillon is a large, open square, with the 12th-century Tower of Saint-Blaise and several good terrace cafè-restaurants. The daily market is held here, and the tiny streets leading to the square are packed with market stalls and shops. The well-restored old "tower" was a Knights Templar commandery.
Above the Place Massillon are a maze of interesting old streets on the hillside, meriting hours of wander and exploring; It's small enough, though, that you'll discover most in just an hour or two (not counting the park). On one level there's an observation table with a good view of the plains below and the coast. Behind the observation table, the medieval Porte Pensicola leads upwards tint even narrower streets, many of them paved with thick round cobble stones and bordered by stone walls, with shrubs and flowers everywhere. A lot of the streets of the upper vieille ville have the stone roots of the underlying rock joining streets and walls.
The old town has, in addition to its narrow streets and medieval arched portes, lovely old houses, many painted in the Provençal pastels with contrasting shutters and doors. Most are finely restored, many with the ancient stone door and window frames integrated into the facades. Even the vieille village school house is interesting with its red brick construction.
Park St Bernard
If you like flowers, or gardens, or quiet restful places, or great views, you'll love this park. In the old town go up the Rue Saint Esprit to where it turns and becomes Rue Barbacane. Facing the Porte Barruc archway, follow the steps to up to the right through a small gate, and into a lush other world. (It's open from 8h00 until evening.)
A myriad of walkways and steps leading to different levels or through small arches into adjacent plots take you through a lush, green and colorful environment. Olives, pines and other trees provide shade in extensive gardens full of Mediterranean plants.
The park is peaceful and quite, with benches or low walls for sitting and resting. There's a great view of the coast from here, and down across the roofs of the town, including the observation table below. High above and behind the park, you can see the lookout point at the Chateau ruins with an even further view.
At the top of the park is the Les Palmiers district, where the ramparts of the Villa de Noailles are being rebuilt. A road from here goes around the hill to the right, circling up to the Chateau ruins to the top, apparently a 45-minute walk.
The Seaside and Presqu'ile de Giens
The seaside and out onto the peninsula Presqu'ile de Giens is typically seaside resort, but perhaps more crowded than most. It's lined with campsites, hotels, tourist shops, traffic, restaurants and attractions, in a setting of salt marshes and umbrella pines. A popular attraction is the large Magic World fun park, on the D42 road just west of Hyères-Plage.
The Presqu'ile has the village of Giens, a little port, and the Tour-Fondue with an old fortress and the ferry to the islands of Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Levant. Just off the point are the little islands of Petit Ribaud and Grand Ribaud: pretty, but without access. The fortress is picturesque, sitting on a promotory jutting into the sea. You can clamber up the rocks (a bit dodgy) and walk around the base of the fort, but there's not much point. La Tour-Fondue itself has a pretty little inlet, with a few fishing boats anchored.
The ferry to the Porquerolles leaves roughly every hour, and many passengers take their bicycles for touring the island.
In the period of 1880-1887, Robert Lewis Stevenson stayed at the Chalet de Solitude in Hyères. At the time, he was sunning himself here and wintering in the French-Swiss Alps.
Tel (CDT): 04 94 65 18 55; Fax: 04 94 35 85 05
• GPS: 43.119869, 6.156577
IGN (1/25,000) #3446 OT "Hyères, Porquerolles"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #25 "Maures Haut-Pays Varois"
East, south and west of town is very built up. Immediately to the north of town, however, are the forested hills of Les Maurettes. From the hilltop above the town, trails go out into these hills to the north; it's an area only about 5 km from east to west.
To the northeast of Hyères, only a few km away, is the start of the Maures: a vast area of beautiful forests and hills, and good hiking. For the Maures you'll need map Didier Richard (1/50,000) #25 "Maures Haut-Pays Varois".
There are plenty of restaurants in Hyères, that we haven't tried. Our one lunch on the Place Massillon included a very good Pates aux Pistou and an interesting Aïoli complet. The Aïoli was served as one deep dish with fresh codfish, green beans, boiled potato, cauliflower, carrots, a whole artichoke, shellfish and a boiled egg, with a dish of Aïoli sauce on the side.
Fun - Amusement - Kids
Golf Mini Hyérois
- Location: 810 chem Roubaud
- Tel: 0494 572 500
Kiddy Parc - Parc d'Attractions pour Enfants
- A 3-hectare amusement theme park for kiddies, 500 meters from the Port de Hyères. Rides, slides, animals, water slides and games, go-karts, and so on.
- Location: Port d'Hyères
- Open: April - September
- Entry: Kids over 2 years: 13.50€ Parc; 15.50€ Parc + Cirque; 17.00€ Parc + Cirque + Jeux d'Eau (Water Games)
- Email: email@example.com
- Web: www.kiddyparc.com
- Location: Forum du casino - 3, av Ambroise Thomas; BP 721, 83400 Hyeres
- Open: 7 July - 26 Sept, 14h-19h; Fridays open only 16h-22h
- Closed: Tue, Holidays
- Tel: 0498 080 198
- Web: www.villanoailles-hyeres.com
Park St Bernard
- A large, terraced garden of lush plants and wildflowers, with a view down across the roofs of the old town to the sea.
- Location: In the old town go up the Rue Saint Esprit to where it turns and becomes Rue Barbacane. Facing the Porte Barruc archway, follow the steps to up to the right through the small gate.
- Open: 08h00 - evening
- Entry: Free
- The Toulon-Hyères airport is located between the Hyères town center and the beach.
Department 83, Var Buses
- See Beyond's Var Department Bus Schedules for downloading the Var bus-lines map [Plan du Reseau] and bus-line schedules [Horaires] (link for PDF files).
- Schedules for the Var bus lines are on the VarLib Horaires-Ligne page (http://www.varlib.fr/horaires_ligne/?rub_code=6") - type the line number in the Numéro ... ligne box to access the bus schedule PDF link. (Type a couple of digits in the box to get a list of route numbers.)
Hyères Airport - St-Tropez Bus 7803
- Var bus line 7803 connects the Toulon-Hyères Airport with all the towns along the coast to Saint Tropez.
- For Hyères or Toulon, transfer (at any of the stops) to line 7801.
- For Grimaud, St Maximin, Fréjus, transfer at St Tropez to line 7601.
The complete route for bus line 7803 is: Hyères Les Palmiers airport, La Londe-les-Maures, Bormes-les-Mimosas, Le Lavandou, Le Rayol-Canadel, Cavalaire-sur-Mer, La Croix-Valmer, Gassin, La Foux, St Tropez.
Schedules for the Var bus lines are on the VarLib Horaires-Ligne page (http://www.varlib.fr/horaires_ligne/?rub_code=6") - type the line number (7803) in the Numéro ... ligne box to access the bus schedule PDF link. (Type a couple of digits in the box to get a list of route numbers.)
Toulon - Le Lavandou - St-Tropez Bus 7801
- Var bus line 7801 connects the Toulon with all the towns along the coast to Saint Tropez (but not the airport).
- For the Toulon-Hyères Airport, transfer at La Londe-les-Maures to line 7803.
- For Grimaud, St Maximin, Fréjus, transfer at St Tropez to line 7601.
The complete route for bus line 7801 is: Toulon, La Valette, La Garde, La Crau, Hyères (center), La Londe-les-Maures, Bormes-les-Mimosas, Le Lavandou, Le Rayol-Canadel, Cavalaire-sur-Mer, La Croix-Valmer, Gassin, La Foux, St Tropez.
Schedules for the Var bus lines are on the VarLib Horaires-Ligne page (http://www.varlib.fr/horaires_ligne/?rub_code=6") - type the line number (7801) in the Numéro ... ligne box to access the bus schedule PDF link. (Type a couple of digits in the box to get a list of route numbers.)
- The autoroute A570 starts at the edge of Hyères town center. Nine km to the west it connects to the A5 that goes through Toulon to Marseille and points north and west, and to the A57 that goes northeast to joint the A8 autoroute between Aix-en-Provence and Nice.