The coastal town of Hyères on the French Riviera exudes Côte d’Azur charm. A medieval town with warm colourful buildings, it’s full of character, and with palm trees everywhere, has a delightful Spanish feel to it. It’s lovely to visit during a weekend. I went there quite recently so it wasn’t super busy as it would be in peak summer season.
Just offshore from Hyères are the enchanting Golden Isles (Port Cros, Porquerolles and Le Levant). These islands are around fifteen minutes away by boat. I would highly recommend visiting Porquerolles, it’s one of the loveliest places I have ever visited.
Two other places to include on your weekend itinerary are Villa Noailles and Castel Sainte-Claire. Villa Noailles was originally the winter residence of Vicomte Charles de Noailles, an aristocrat and patron of the arts. It now features photography and art exhibitions. The villa, which is known for its art deco, cubism and modern style, was designed by the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens. The gardens there are also lovely to visit, with panoramic views and an abundance of flowers to admire.
Castel Sainte-Claire is a villa at the top of Hyères. Previously the residence of Olivier Voutier (who discovered the Venus de Milo), it has an amazing view of the whole city. The town is great for walking. However quite a lot of it is uphill, so make sure you stop for refreshments once in a while!
The Saturday morning Farmers Market is nice to do (and then have a coffee afterwards to admire all your purchases). It’s packed with an eclectic mix of fresh food, antiques, baskets, books, clothing and jewellery. The market is mainly on Avenue Gambetta but also spills over into the side streets.
The square Place Massillon is perfect for sitting outside and having lunch or an aperitif whilst people watching and admiring the architecture of Hyères. The Bagus Kafé, with its focus on healthy food, has Boho style interiors with a lovely courtyard terrace. Trees and plants are dotted round the whole cafe. Everything is homemade and fresh, with smoothies, salads, healthy bowls, freshly made pastries and cakes on the menu. The smoothies are delicious – I would recommend coming here for breakfast (or even just to get a take-away smoothie).
Just out of town is the Plage de l’Almanarre – a beach on the peninsula of Giens, with plenty of space sit in peace. I would recommend going there early in the morning for a nice walk and to breathe in some fresh sea air. A little further away, in the more rural area, there is a spectacular poppy field. You can easily get lost for a few hours in this sea of vibrant red flowers. Surrounded by beautiful mountains, it inspires a wonderful sense of serenity. (I would suggest you go here in a hire car as it’s extremely difficult to get a taxi or an Uber from town).
Thanks for reading!