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History

Var abounds in many relics, bearing witness to its history. From megaliths to Roman cities, to the memorial to the Second World War, Var reveals its rich past through remarkable natural sites and museums.

Tour of the village of Saint-Tropez, its citadel and Musée de l’Annonciade

Tour of the village of Saint-Tropez, its citadel and Musée de l’Annonciade

Come and explore the secrets of Saint Tropez's village. Follow the guide through the squares and narrow streets of Saint-Tropez and learn many anecdotes about the history of this place. At the end of the visit, take a tour round the Musée de l’Annonciade, which houses an exceptional collection of pointillist paintings, including works by Signac, Matisse, Braque and Vuillard.

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The ice cellars of Sainte-Baume

The ice cellars of Sainte-Baume

What did people do before the invention of the refrigerator? Come and explore the natural ice cellars of La Sainte Baume! The tour includes the Ice Museum in Mazaugues and the Glacières de Pivaut [Pivaut Ice Cellars], which date from the 19th century. At the end of your visit you will know how ice was made, stored and transported in this era. An ideal visit for hot summer days. Shivers guaranteed!

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Le Pradet and its mineral wealth

Le Pradet and its mineral wealth

Visit the old copper mine at Le Pradet and discover one of the five most beautiful mineralogical sites in the world. And don’t miss the olive-press that makes AOC label Provence Olive Oil, where you can taste several olive oils produced on the estate.

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Taste tour (honey, wine and chocolate)

Taste tour (honey, wine and chocolate)

After a guided tour of the mediaeval village of Roquebrune sur Argens and the Musée du Chocolat [Chocolate Museum], you will have the opportunity to taste some local produce, including honey, wine and chocolate. Enough to please any food lover! The rest of the day is free to spend as you wish, strolling through the narrow streets of this mediaeval village, falling under the spell of its charm and its authenticity.

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Bus tour of the Châteaux des Comtes de Provence [Castles of the Counts of Provence]

Bus tour of the Châteaux des Comtes de Provence [Castles of the Counts of Provence]

In the morning you will explore the countryside from a coach, with commentary from a professional guide. Along the way you will stop to discover several exciting sites. In the afternoon there will be visits to the Châteaux des Comtes de Provence [Castles of the Counts of Provence], first Entrecasteaux and Carcès, then Cotignac (cave dwellings) and Montfort, followed by the villages of the Haut Var and panoramic views over the Argens plain, whose charm and authenticity will surely work its magic on you.

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The sounds of the campaniles

The sounds of the campaniles

Campaniles are wrought iron cages surrounding the bells of religious buildings.

This tour of several campaniles in the heart of the Var (Camps-la-Source, Garéoult, La Roquebrussanne, La Celle) will teach you to recognise the various shapes and specificities of these magnificent iron sculptures. You will also experience the quiet life and charm of these Provencal villages, where time has stood still.

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Tourist train excursion across the Haut Var

Tourist train excursion across the Haut Var

Hop on board a tourist train and travel across a number of districts of the Haut-Var, including Besse sur Issole, Sainte-Anastasie, Forcalqueiret, Camps la Source and La Celle. Upon your arrival in Brignoles, you will tour the town’s historic centre, its museum dedicated to Provence (paintings, traditional objects, historic objects, etc.), as well as the former Palace of the Counts of Provence.

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In the footsteps of Saint Mary Magdalene

In the footsteps of Saint Mary Magdalene

The little town of Saint-Maximin is built around a magnificent basilica that is considered to be the most beautiful gothic building in Provence. Its squat profile grabs your eye as soon as you view the town from afar. You will take the famous Chemin des Rois [Way of the Kings], the traditional pilgrim route to the cave of Saint Mary Magdalene, where, according to legend, she lived and was buried.

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Gothic or Romanesque?

Gothic or Romanesque?

This visit will teach you about the two architectural styles in which the monuments of the Var are built. You will learn how to tell them apart, to find similarities between them and to understand what the builders of the Middle Ages were trying to achieve through such monumental projects as L’Abbaye Royale de La Celle [La Celle Royal Abbey], the Couvent Royal [Royal Convent] and the Basilique Sainte Marie-Madeleine [Basilica of Mary Magdalene] in Saint-Maximin.

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The charming and picturesque villages of the Var

The charming and picturesque villages of the Var

The charming villages of the Var nestle on sun-drenched plains or hang from the sides of grassy and sweet-scented hills, built near the dry-stone walls (restanques) used to create terraces for growing the vines and olive trees that proudly cling to the hillsides. Here in the heart of secret, authentic Provence, you will discover these unique and privileged places where the history and identity of the Var has been forged, and where time appears to have stood still.

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Les Médiévales de Brignoles [Brignoles Mediaeval Festival] (August)

Les Médiévales de Brignoles [Brignoles Mediaeval Festival] (August)

“Médiévales de Brignoles” [Brignoles Mediaeval Festival] has become a key annual event, with a rich and eclectic programme of street artists, actors, storytellers, jugglers, minstrels, musicians, fencers, dancers, animal tamers, clowns, stilt-walkers, magicians, lords and craftsmen. A cocktail of surprises and a real artistic and popular journey to the heart of the Middle Ages! An absolute “must”!!!

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The Grand Canyon of France: the Verdon gorge

The Grand Canyon of France: the Verdon gorge

The “Grand Canyon of France” is a magical place – a dream come true for anyone who loves nature and adventure. You’ll explore the Verdon gorge in kayaks with our expert kayak guide who also just happens to be a specialist on the region. He’ll show you breath-taking views and eagles’ nests perched atop the cliffs along the entire gorge. Provencal aperitif and dinner on an outdoor terrace or in another exceptional setting.

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Lorgues, city of the Knights Templar

Lorgues, city of the Knights Templar

During this tour of the historic village of Lorgues, a city fortified by the Knights Templar, you’ll stroll down small streets surrounded by reminders of the Provence's medevial world such as a covered fountain and fortifications. The Saint Martin's collegiate church (18th century), with its rich furnishings, holds a 19th century organ made by the organ builder Zeiger. There is also a lovely Provencal market in the courtyard on Tuesday mornings, and you can enjoy a gastronomic lunch at Chez Bruno, the truffle king!

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Villages atop the cliffs around Draguignan

Villages atop the cliffs around Draguignan

Discover the most beautiful villages perched atop cliff walls in the area around Draguignan in the Var-Provence region. Choose from: Ampus – the history of water’s patient victory over the limestone plateaus of Verdon; Chateaudouble – the eagle’s nest of the area; Tourtour – considered one of the most beautiful villages in France for its 360° views and multiple art galleries; Bargemon – the pearl of the upper Var with artist craftsmen, museums and more. You may arrange a picnic in special picnic areas, and you’ll find restaurants featuring Provencal cuisine in the villages.

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The Cistercian abbey of Thoronet

The Cistercian abbey of Thoronet

Nestled in the wooded valleys deep in the Var region, Thoronet is one of the most remarkable abbeys built by the Cistercians. The absolute purity of the architecture is breathtaking, stone and light combine to create perfect harmony. The Thoronet abbey is, along with Silvacane and Sénanque, one of the three Cistercian abbeys in Provence.

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Tradition and the Middle Ages in Le Val

Tradition and the Middle Ages in Le Val

Head out to discover the sausage festival – Bacchic revelry, a high mass for the feast of Saint Antoine and a procession of roast pigs. It’s been a tradition since 1628, and today you too will celebrate the triumphs of Bacchus, the Provencal troops and brotherhoods in full dress. You can also watch the historical re-enactments of Louis XIII and his court, Cardinal Richelieu and the consuls of Val.

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Hyères, medieval town

Hyères, medieval town

As you stroll through the town, you’ll be taking a trip both to the heart of this medieval walled city and back through history. Discover the major monuments and buildings that serve as a record of its development through the 19th century, a period that marked Hyères’ history when it became a major seaside holiday spot visited by such illustrious guests as Queen Victoria.

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The citadel of Saint Tropez

The citadel of Saint Tropez

This military construction from the 17th century is one of very few monuments of this size on the coast in the Var region. It is a testament to St. Tropez’s rich history and a site you won’t want to miss, either for the role it played, which you’ll learn all about, and for its well-preserved architecture (particularly the keep). The view it provides of the town and the golf course is just beautiful.

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From the Middle Ages to the vineyards…

From the Middle Ages to the vineyards…

This tour will take you through the small streets of the medieval village of Parage, whose history lives in its rich architecture, the chapel, the tower and more. In the heart of the medieval city, chef Max Callegari welcomes you to his restaurant, the Logis du guetteur, for an unforgettable gastronomical meal rich with all the flavours of Provence. You may choose to combine this tour with an introduction and wine tasting at the Maison des vins de Provence, where an oenologist will reveal all the secrets of the wines in the Côtes de Provence appellation.

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The Secrets of Saint Roseline

The Secrets of Saint Roseline

The history of Saint Roseline is wreathed in stories and legends, and here you can see her body miraculously preserved since the 14th century, now kept in a crystal shrine. The chapel, restored at the request of Marguerite Maeght, is a classified historical monument and houses works of contemporary art by Giacometti, Ubac, Chagall and Bazaine. You can make a stop during this tour for a wine tasting in the Château Sainte Roseline domain, home of a grand cru wine or a gastronomical visit to the Relais des moines.

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The Rhone American Cemetery and memorial in Draguignan

The Rhone American Cemetery and memorial in Draguignan

This 5-hectare site, the only one of its kind in the south-east of France, honours the Allied landing in Provence on 15 August 1944 known as Operation Dragoon. You’ll find an impressive bronze relief model depicting the military operation in the middle of the cemetery surrounded by the 861 graves marked with white marble crosses or stars according to the soldiers’ religions. By the wall where the names of the missing are written, an enormous statue of the angel of peace watches over the chapel decorated inside with beautiful mosaics.

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Rayol Mediterranean Gardens

Rayol Mediterranean Gardens

A world of landscapes awaits all lovers of botany in this garden, which has been entirely redesigned by Gilles Clément. Explore landscapes and flora from across the globe, with Mediterranean climates (California, Chile, South Africa & Australia), other temperate or arid climates (Canaries, Asia, Argentina, New Zealand, Mexico). You may also browse the "Librairie du Jardinier" [Gardener’s Bookshop], specialising in botanical subjects, before stopping for a coffee and a pastry in the "Café des Jardiniers".

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Discover Toulon: Its naval museum and tourist train

Discover Toulon: Its naval museum and tourist train

A real memorial to the Arsenal de Toulon [Toulon Naval Dockyard], of which it preserves the majestic monumental gateway dating from 1738. The museum illustrates the Mediterranean naval tradition through an outstanding collection of model vessels and galleys. A guide will regale you with the anecdotes behind Toulon's Port history, France’s largest naval base. A tour of the city aboard the tourist train will round off your visit to Toulon.

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Frejus, 2000 years of history

Frejus, 2000 years of history

An important port during the Roman empire, a bishop's see from time immemorial, Frejus allows visitors to travel through 2000 years of history, discovering its main monuments: the amphitheatres (arenas), the gates of Gaul, Saint-François de Paule Chapel, Saint-Leonce Cathedral and the Historic Centre

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Frejus, a roman town

Frejus, a roman town

Founded in the 1st century BC, the town of Fréjus has managed to preserve its ancient heritage, making it one of France's leading towns in this field. There are numerous sites to discover during this excursion: the amphitheatre (arenas), the theatre, the aqueduct, and the gates of Gaul and of Rome.

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Frejus, a medieval and modern town

Frejus, a medieval and modern town

The leading military port for the whole of the Roman Mediterranean, today Fréjus is a town of art and culture. Its Roman and Medieval heritage constitutes a prestigious setting: arena, aqueduct, theatre, archaeological museum (with the twin-headed Hermes). You will see the Romanesque cathedral, the Gothic chapel and the facades of private town houses from the 17th and 18th centuries.

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The Belle Epoque villas

The Belle Epoque villas

The development of the town at the end of the 19th century encouraged the development of building styles with a variety of origins. This resulted in three main styles: Palladian, Anglo-Norman and the Moorish style. By coach or minibus, tour Saint-Raphaël's different districts discovering its Belle Epoque villas. There are a lot of them...

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From the old town to the seaside resort

From the old town to the seaside resort

In line with cultural and culinary traditions, Saint-Raphaël, like Provence, has over the years managed to perpetuate the authentic colours and flavours of Mediterranean cuisine. Tour the town's markets and try the Provence specialities that await you: tapenade, olive oil, piperade, etc.

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Exploring Saint-Raphaël and its districts

Exploring Saint-Raphaël and its districts

The town and its districts offer visitors landscapes varying between land and sea. On the programme: the Corniche d'Or, the famous seaside resort of Agay, a walk across the Estérel Massif and in the Valescure district, "Les Asphodèles" Belle Epoque villa and a walk through the historic centre.

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A belle epoque district: Saint-Aygulf

A belle epoque district: Saint-Aygulf

Created at the end of the 19th century, the resort of Saint-Aygulf has retained its "Belle époque" charm. From pictures by Carolus Duran to the coastal path via Areca Park and the beautiful villas, rediscover the authentic charm of the "Côte d’Azur".

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