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Toulon is a city on the French Riviera with a beautiful medieval centre, which is also known as the 'basse ville' (downtown), because it is the lowest part of the city. Toulon is home to the French naval fleet in the Mediterranean. The city is located behind a hill (Mont Faron), which to some extent protects Toulon from the mistral, a cold wind from the Alps.
Napoleon's star rose after the battle of Toulon in 1793. He beat the Anglo-Spanish troops that were ensconced in fort Balaguier to the west of the city. In the fort is a museum dedicated to this battle.
The city itself has about 170,000 inhabitants, but including the suburbs, over half a million people live in Toulon.
The economy of Toulon is closely connected with its port. First of all, Toulon houses the headquarters of the French Mediterranean fleet. The navy provides jobs - directly and indirectly - to thousands of people. Trade via the 'normal' port also contributes considerably to the economy. In addition, tourism is also important. The beaches on the Cote d'Azur attract many sun worshippers, but the old city centre also draws large numbers of foreign visitors.
At 23 kilometres to the east of the city lies an airport: Aeroport Toulon - Hyeres. There are connections to, for example, Brussels, Paris, Rotterdam and London. This airport can be reached by car in 20 minutes via the A570 motorway (Hyères, Saint-Tropez). A beautiful route is the road immediately along the coast.
Other airports in the area are Marseille-Provence Airport (90 km to the west of Toulon) and Nice-Côte d'Azur Airport (150 km to the east of Toulon).
Most regional and city buses depart from the train station (Gare Routière). This public transport is provided by Réseau Mistral. There are fast bus services to larger towns and cities in the area, like Cannes, Nice, Marseille and Gap.
By train, the city is connected to all of France. The TGV also stops in Toulon.
From Toulon's harbour various ferries depart, for example to Bastia on Corsica. These ferries are operated by two companies: Corsica Ferries and SNCM.
The main road through the centre of Toulon is the Boulevard de Strasbourg. To the south of the Place de Victor Hugo, narrow streets descend into the old city. It is better not visit the old city by car: the streets are narrow and curvy. The fish, vegetable and flower markets are, of course, only accessible on foot.
About 1.5 kilometres from the entry to the harbour in the centre of Toulon, there is a guarded car park. At the harbour itself there is an open air parking area. Make sure not to leave anything of value in your car, not even in the guarded car park!
Paid parking is allowed in the streets in places that are indicated by a white dotted line on the road surface.
Toulon is an important tourist destination on the popular Cote d'Azur, which means there is no lack of hotels, although most of them tend to fall in the more expensive categories. There are few budget hotels. At any rate we recommend booking your hotel room in advance.
For more information about Toulon, we recommend Google, and the following sources: