Porquerolles - A unique island
The crescent-shaped island of Porquerolles is the largest of the three Illes d’Hyeres islands. You’ll find it off the southern coast of France, just a 10-minute boat ride from Hyers Port. This sun-soaked island is a true slice of paradise! Furthermore, the island offers a tranquil escape from the buzz of nearby Toulon and Saint-Tropez. Upon arriving on Porquerolles, you'll find very little road noise as cars on the island are few and far between. Instead, locals and visitors explore on foot or by bike! Days can be spent on the island exploring soft sand beaches, hiking the coastal trails, and taking to the Mediterranean Sea on a scuba diving excursion.
Île de Porquerolles
The island forms part of the Golden Islands and spreads out over 1,254 hectares of land. From the north coast of Ile de Porquerolles, you can enjoy spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. Holidaymakers can also enjoy views of France's southern coast stretching from Toulon to Ramatuelle. Also, the island’s location makes it an ideal stopover on a boating holiday along the French Riviera. You’ll notice a handful of million-dollar yachts moored in the port having arrived from the likes of Saint Tropez, Cannes, and Nice.
Once on the island, you'll find a charming village home to several restaurants (a mix of fine-dining and casual eateries) and an array of accommodation. One of the most popular ways to explore the island is on two wheels, and you'll find several bike rental shops dotted around the port area.
While the south side of the island is home to steep rocky cliffs and picturesque creeks, the northern side is home to soft sand beaches and turquoise tide pools. Whereas the west coast, known as the Langoustier peninsula, overlooks the nearby island of Petit Langoustier. Here you'll find several isolated beaches perfect for secluded sunbathing. Due to the island's rocky topography, the area has become a popular retreat for passionate hikers and nature enthusiasts.
Porquerolles’s Best Beaches
There are plenty of beaches to choose from on Porquerolles, so we're going to narrow them down to our top two. Notre Dame Beach (Our Lady Beach) is a spectacular stretch of golden sand found on the island's north coast. We'd forgive you if you thought you'd been transported to the Caribbean when you arrive here! The gentle turquoise waters, bobbing fishing boats, and tree-lined bay all combine to create paradise. You'll find Notre Dame Beach a little off the beaten track, which makes touring the island by boat a popular past-time.
Argent beach is another strong contender for the Porquerolles' Best Beach' title! Located just a short walk from the island's port and main village, Argent is home to silver sands and plenty of sunbathing space. This particular beach is one of the few on the island that boasts facilities. You'll find Le Restaurant La Plage D'Argent, which serves fresh seafood on the terrace overlooking the beach.
Alternatively, if you're spending a day in the center of town, Courtade beach is also popular due to its convenient location. You’ll find it just a short walk from the port. It’s the island's most significant sand beach. Because of this, the beach is ideal for picnics, swimming, and beach ball games.
Marine Life and the Cap de Mèdes
Porquerolles island's glorious beaches and incredible coastline make it a sought-after island, but it's also a popular scuba diving destination. The island is home to a wide variety of marine life, including yellow gorgonians, groupers, and pink anthias. On the eastern side of the island lies Cap de Medes. The cape is a haven for scuba divers of all abilities and is home to a variety of marine species, including plankton feeders, cardinalfish, and octopus.
Another popular dive spot is Le Greg shipwreck. The dive sit lies at a depth of 40 meters, and you'll find that the wreck is home to red and yellow gorgonians. This particular dive site is suitable for deep diving specialists.
Hiking the Coast
However, if scuba diving isn't your favorite past-time, consider exploring the coast of Porquerolles on foot. The Paths of Porquerolles wind their way around the island. They undulating up to vantage points and down to secluded beaches. Pick up a map from the Tourist Office in the central village and follow one of the circuit routes. The distances are manageable and rarely extend longer than 10 kilometers.
Porquerolles Heritage Sites
Porquerolles island is excellent for hiking, snorkeling, and sunbathing, but the island is also home to several historic sites. Fort St. Agatha sits atop the hill overlooking the island's port. From the top of the fort, visitors enjoy expansive views over the island. Initially built around 1531 for Francois the 1st, the fort replicated a rectangle trapezium. Fort du Langoustier is another historical landmark attributed to the island. This fort sits on the south coast and is best viewed by boat from the sea.
Last but not least, another must-visit attraction on the island is the local vineyards. Attmitidelly, vineyards are not quite a heritage site, but they’re definitely worth your time. Domaine de la Courtade, Damoaine Perinsky, and Domaine de L'Ile are the island's three vineyards, and guided tours are available at each. Visitors can also explore the grounds at leisure. Cycling from one vineyard to the next, sampling the local product as you go, is a great way to spend a day on the island.
In summary, if you're looking to leave the bright lights of the French Riviera behind and enjoy a tranquil oasis, then without a doubt Porquerolles Island should be your next vacation destination. Getting here is easy thanks to the Iles d'Hyeres ferry crossing. The journey takes just 10-minutes.
If you want to arrive on the island in style, consider a FranceRent transfer. FranceRent can take care of all your luxury transfers needs in advance of your trip. From Toulon Hyeres Airport, why not take a private helicopter to Porquerolles Island? Alternatively, let FranceRent arrange a yacht charter and sail your way to the island in luxury style.
Whatever your travel needs, FranceRent provides a five-star service at a competitive rate.
Shopping on Cote d’Azur
It’s no secret that the South of France is an area well known for its acquired taste in luxury living, and when it comes to shopping this affluent region has a real flair for fashion and a lot to offer for shopaholics. Dare to drag yourself away from the alluring arrondissements of Paris’s fashion district and you’ll be rewarded with a sunsoaked shopping haven on Cote d’Azur and when it comes to shopping, the French Riviera does not disappoint. From upmarket department stores like Galeries Lafayette (whose flagship store you’ll find in Paris) to independent art galleries including the Sheun Gallery in Nice, the array of shopping available on Cote d’Azur covers a variety of tastes and, believe it or not, can be tailored to suit all budgets.
South of France by car
With 71 miles of winding corniche roads, numerous quaint Provincial villages to visit, and endless soft sand beaches to stop at and enjoy some sun-soaking, France’s Cote d’Azur is one of Europe’s dreamiest road trip destinations. Rent a car on the French Riviera and the Mediterranean Sea and the charm of southern France is at your fingertips! On your Riviera road trip, you’ll wind your way around a variety of landscapes, soak up a diverse range of cultures, and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding coastline. After all, there’s no better way to navigate the coast than to do so with the comfort and freedom of your own vehicle.
Nightlife on the French Riviera - Cote d'Azur
The French Riviera is renowned for its glitz and glam appeal, hedonistic summers, and over the top attitude to partying, all of which make it a popular destination with those looking for a lively social scene. Jazz cafes, trendy bars, and glamorous night clubs line the sparkling coast and visitors can choose between splashing the cash at an invite-only beach party or rubbing shoulders with A-listers at one of the best clubs in the world. Whatever your entertainment taste may be, the Cote d’Azur has a little something for everyone.
Best restaurants on Cote d'Azur - France
Famous for its designer fashion brands, rolling vineyards, and historic monuments, France is a country with a lot to offer but it’s the nation’s gourmet cuisine that draws millions of visitors year after year. French dishes, which are usually full of flavor, made using simple ingredients, and boasting great finesse, have been replicated around the globe by passionate chefs aiming to try their hand at traditional dishes and haute cuisine. Below we’ve looked at some of the best restaurants in the south of France. Whether you’re looking for fine dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant (France is home to the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world) or hearty French cuisine at an authentic bistro, we’ve covered all dining options to suit every taste in this restaurant guide.
Boat activities on Cote d'Azur - France
The French Riviera, also known as the Cote d'Azur, is found on France's south-east coast and overlooks the glistening Mediterranean Sea. Known for its dazzling sand beaches, upmarket resort towns, and glamorous casinos, the Cote d'Azur has been a popular holiday destination with some of the world's wealthiest travelers since the 18th century. While boutique shops and Michelin-starred restaurants are certainly points of interest on the coast, one of the biggest draws is the array of water-based activities available. From yacht rentals, private boat tours, parasailing excursions, water sport rentals, and jet ski hire, the list of aqua-excursions is endless! Our simple guide to boat rental on the French Riviera takes a look at the different watersports available along the coast and the range of yacht and boat rentals available. After all, no visit to the Cote d'Azur can pass by without a day at sea.
Events and festivals on French Riviera
The Cote d’Azur is abuzz with glitz and glamour all year round but it’s the summer months that really get the party started on France’s sought-after south coast. Events and festivals are held every month and range from theatre performances and music festivals to cinematography celebrations and yacht races. A-listers, millionaires, and outright party people flock to the shores of the Mediterranean for a summer to remember as seaside towns and secluded beaches become the stomping ground for a summer of fun. Below we take a look at some of the best events and festivals on the Côte d’Azur and provide a handy event guide to help you plan your dream trip.