Bandol, A Provençale Village between Sky and Sea

Despite its high number of tourists, this little corner of paradise in the Var region has managed to maintain its authenticity. Nestled between the hills and the Mediterranean, Bandol combines unites coastal beauty and rich inland regions.
By Angélique Jurquet
It’s amongst the pine trees and the cicadas, high in the hills of Bandol, that the view is the most exceptional. A panorama that seduces the 8,000 or so inhabitants who make up the village, located about 15 kilometers west of Toulon. In the city center, among the little alleyways, each more characteristic than the last, how can you not fall under the charm of the church square and its fountains? Another Bandol gem, the port, where fishing boats - including perhaps even a few “ pointus,” the traditional fishing vessels - and pleasure boats, bob alongside each other.

But if the village of Bandol enjoys national recognition, it’s first and foremost for its wine, one of the first to have received in 1941an AOC classification. Famous Bandolais vineyards produce predominantly rosé but also equally sun-soaked red and white wines. To discover them, the best spot is The Enoteca, Place Lucien Artaud, open Monday to Saturday. Tel: +33 (0)

And Bandol also boasts breathtaking landscapes. Each year its coast attracts thousands of tourists. In addition to the many sandy beaches, the bay of Bandol is replete with charming little inlets, of which the best known is nicknamed the “Trou de Madame,” or “Madame’s Hole” (according to legend, the wife of the master of the city took her bath there), located by the Bonaparte coastal road. Stranger still, Bandol’s “Dog Beach” allows our four-legged friends to enjoy a little dip too.

Like every Provençal village, Bandol also places great importance on fine food. Basil, tomatoes, olives, fresh fish… The best immersion in the local “terroir” remains the market, which takes place every Tuesday, right on the Port. What’s more, every day, flowers and vegetables are the stars of another of Bandol’s Provençal markets located on Place de la Liberté. Also make sure not to miss the crafts market, which takes over the town’s port in summer evenings (from June 15 to September 15, from 7pm).

Another great summer event for 2013, the city of Bandol welcomes many artists, such as Natasha St Pier, Jacques Higelin and Lio, for a series of free outdoor concerts:

Among the places not to miss in the Bandol region, the Paul Ricard islands (Bendor and Embiez Islands), ten minutes away by boat (with many trips in the summer period). Very busy in summer, you’ll find hotels, restaurants and stores, but also an Oceanographic Museum featuring hundreds of different marine species.

However, to taste the wilder charms of the Bandol surroundings, don’t hesitate to take the high road. To do that, head for the hilltop villages of La Cadière d'Azur and Castellet, popular for their medieval style. A little further, the Font-Blanche forest will delight hiking fans. Get ready for a packed program!

Institut océanographique Paul Ricard
Ile des Embiez
83140 Six-Fours-les-Plages

T 33 (0)4 94 34 02 49
“Après le soleil, Bandol, 
concerts et spectacles gratuits”
For more information, contact the tourist office on 
T +33 (0)4 94 29 41 35

Photography José Nicolas
Photography José Nicolas