Hyères is a town and commune in the southeast of France, in the Var département,
located 15 km (10 m) east of Toulon.
According to the town's official website, at the 1999 census it had a population of 53,258 inhabitants.
The old town lies 4 km from the sea clustered around the Castle of Saint Bernard,
which is set on a hill.
Between the old town and the sea lies the pine-covered hill of Costebelle,
which overlooks the peninsula of Giens.
Hyères is the most southerly Mediterranean seaside resort in mainland France.
read full wikipedia reference about Hyeres, France
HYÈRES is the oldest resort on the Côte,
listing Queen Victoria and Tolstoy among its early admirers,
but the lack of a central seafront meant the town lost out when
the foreign rich switched from winter convalescents to quayside
strollers. It is, nevertheless, a very popular resort, but has
the rare distinction, for this part of the world, of not being
totally dependent on the summer influx. The town exports cut
flowers and exotic plants, the most important being the date
palm, which graces every street in the city - and numerous desert
palaces in Arabia. The orchards, nursery gardens and vineyards,
taking up land which elsewhere would have become a rash of holiday
shelving units, are crucial to its economy. Hyères is
consequently rather appealing.
Walled and medieval old
Hyères perches on the slopes of Casteou hill, 5km from
the sea; below it lies the modern town , with avenue Gambetta
the main north-south axis. At the coast, the Presqu'Île
de Giens is leashed to the mainland by an isthmus, known as La
Capte , and a parallel sand bar enclosing the salt marshes and
a lake. Le Ceinturon, Ayguade and Les Salins d'Hyères
are the villages-cum-resorts along the coast northeast from Hyères-Plages;
L'Almanarre is to the west where the sand bar starts.
From place Clemenceau,
a medieval gatehouse, the Porte Massillon , opens onto rue Massillon
and the old town . At place Massillon , you encounter a perfect
Provençal square, with terraced cafés overlooking
the twelfth-century Tour St-Blaise , the remnant of a Knights
Templar fort now elegantly converted into exhibition space for
contemporary art (April-Oct Wed-Sat 10am-noon & 4-7pm; rest
of year Wed-Sun 10am-noon & 4-6pm; free). To the right of
the tower, a street leads uphill to place St-Paul , from which
you have a panoramic view over a section of medieval town wall
to Costabelle hill and the Golfe de Giens.
Wide steps fan out from
the Renaissance door of the former collegiate church of St-Paul
(April-Oct Mon 3-6.30pm, Wed-Sat 10am-noon & 3-6.30pm, Sun
10am-12.30pm; rest of year Mon 3-6.30pm, Wed-Sat 10am-noon &
3-6pm, Sun 10am-12.30pm), whose distinctive belfry is pure Romanesque,
as is the choir, though the simplicity of the design is masked
by the collection of votive offerings hung inside. The decoration
also includes some splendid wrought-iron candelabras, and a Christmas
crib with over-life-size santons (traditional crib figures).
Today, the church is only used for special services - the main
place of worship is the mid-thirteenth-century former monastery
church of St-Louis , on place de la République.
To the right of St-Paul,
a Renaissance house bridges rue St-Paul, its turret supported
by a pillar rising beside the steps. Through this arch you can
head up rue Ste-Claire to the entrance of parc Ste-Claire (daily
8am-dusk; free), the exotic gardens around Castel Ste-Claire
, once home to the American writer and interior designer Edith
Wharton and now the offices of the Parc National de Port-Cros.
Cobbled paths lead up the hill towards the parc St-Bernard (daily
8am-dusk; free), full of almost every Mediterranean flower known.
At the top of the park, above montée des Noailles (which
by car you reach from cours Strasbourg and avenue Long), is the
Villa Noailles , a Cubist mansion enclosed within part of the
old citadel walls, designed by Mallet-Stevens in the 1920s and
a home to all the luminaries of Dada and Surrealism. It has been
recently restored, and you can look round its gardens and the
interior of the house, which is used as an exhibition space for
contemporary art showings (April-Oct Wed-Fri 12.30-6.30pm; free).
To the west of the park and further up the hill you come to the
remains of the castle , whose keep and ivy-clad towers outreach
the oak and lotus trees and give stunning views out to the Îles
d'Hyères and east to the Massif des Maures.
The switch from medieval
to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Hyères at avenue
des Îles-d'Or and its continuation, avenue Général-de-Gaulle
, is as abrupt as it is radical, with wide boulevards and open
spaces, opulent villas and waving palm fronds. If you're keen
on the ancient history of this coast, the Musée d'Art
et d'Archéologie , on the top floor of the city's administrative
building on place Lefèbvre (Mon & Wed-Fri 10am-noon
& 2.30-5.30pm; free), should appeal. It displays Roman and
Greek finds from L'Almanarre as well as local paintings and natural
history exhibits. An alternative pastime is to wander around
the spectacular array of cacti and palms in the Jardins Olbius-Riquier
, just to the southeast of the bottom of avenue Gambetta (daily
OTHER POPULAR DESTINATIONS IN FRANCE