Idyllic comes to mind when I think of Porquerolles. I visited this tiny island by way of a ten minute water taxi from Hyères. It’s possibly one of my favourite places I’ve visited in the south of France – much more low-key and relaxed than other places in the south.
Porquerolles island was bought by François Joseph Fournier in 1912 as a present for his wife. Fournier planted several vineyards there, which still produce beautiful wines to this day. The whole island has been designated a National Park and its ecosystem is protected by a number of conservation societies.
You’re spoilt for choice with selecting from the countless beaches Porquerolles has to offer, with beautiful bays and coves lapped by azure coloured waters. The Plage de la Courtade is in the middle of nature and surrounded by trees, with many areas that are so secluded you feel as if you’re on your own private beach.
The wild landscapes, iridescent sea, and stunning scenery combine to make this island a real gem.
While you’re there you should visit the restaurant L’Escale for lunch. It’s right in the centre of the port with a view of the marina. L’Escale offers inviting shade under which to eat from its tapas style menu, with lovely terrace seating below a large shaded tree. The assorted rustic wooden tables and chairs, dotted around under a pergola, a porch – even under a pagoda – all add to the welcoming atmosphere.
To get around the island I would suggest you hire a bike (the meandering paths present quite a challenging trek for walkers). In fact cycles are the main form of transport here, as private cars are actually banned on the island, reinforcing the sense that this place is a true sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
I also visited the Foundation Carmignac, where I explored the Imaginary Sea exhibition, one of the best I have ever been to. As well as the exhibition space the foundation has extensive gardens with permanent installations immersed in the stunning natural backdrop.
Two other destinations I would recommend are the vineyard ‘Le Domaine de La Courtade’ which is open to the public, and a Provençal style windmill, the ‘Moulin de Bonheur’, set on the hill above the village. The best time to visit the windmill is in the late afternoon just before the sun sets.
Thanks for reading!