The Fort Saint-Jean site has been occupied since Antiquity but it wasn’t until the 13th century that the Knights of Saint-John (later the Knights of Malta) established themselves here and named the area after them. Some relics remain. The huge square tower was built on the foundations of Maubert tower to defend the port entrance after the Aragonese Sack (1423) by Roy René. The beacon tower was built in 1644 and the Chevalier de Clerville built the fort following Louis XIV’s orders in his major plans for Marseille.
He had a hole liable to flooding excavated to isolate the fort from the city. It was used as a garrison than a prison during the French Revolution. During the Second World War, it was used to store the German army’s munitions which exploded in 1944 causing major damage to the fort and Transporter Bridge. The fort was listed as a Monument Historique in 1964 and included in MuCEM in 2013.
A fish market opened here in 1909 until 1975 when it was moved to the north of the city to the industrial port of Saumaty. The building’s interior was completely redesigned but its exterior was kept intact. The Théâtre National de Marseille was opened in 1981 by the Mayor of Marseille Gaston Defferre. La Criée was managed by Marcel Maréchal for over a decade and hosts an exciting schedule every season.
Opposite the ferry boat pier lies the Bar de La Marine made famous by Marcel Pagnol. It is the main location in the “Marius, Fanny, César” film trilogy filmed at the Old Port in Marseille in the 30s.
Built in around 1720, Château d'Alphéran was for many years the country home of the Alphéran de Bussan family.
It stands in grounds of 30 hectares with a swimming pool, and a cedar 300 years old in the centre. This 18th-century chateau, 10 minutes from Aix-en-Provence, has been restored in traditional style.
The estate also enjoys a commanding view of Sainte Victoire mountain.
The Church of Lourmarin (eleventh century), part of the diocese of Avignon, was first linked to the history of the famous priory of Saint-André-de Villeneuve les Avignon. It was then without a chapel choir made up of two bays only.
Facing the village of Lourmarin, listed amongst the most beautiful of France, this castle is the first Renaissance Château in Provence. The original, medieval wing, called the Château-vieux or old castle, boasts Italian-style loggias.
The village of Cucuron dates from before the 11th century. You can admire its medieval ramparts with their gates and towers, including a belfry from the 12th to 16th centuries, the Notre-Dame-de-Beaulieu Church (13th century).
Cave dwelling-like halls, cisterns, underground stairways, olive oil mills, etc, built up and fitted out over the centuries in a big house called the "Palais Saint Firmin".
Listed as a Historic Monument.
Avignon has a magnficent urban landscape. The Rocher des Doms overlooks the city and the Rhône. Here there is an exceptional architectural group which includes the Pont d'Avignon (also known as Pont Saint Bénezet, the Ramparts, the Petit Palais, the Doms Cathedral and the massive walls of the Palace of the Popes, with four impressive towers in each corner. This unique architectural ensemble has been ranked as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The biggest Gothic palace in the world: tour 24 rooms! Museum space, priceless frescoes. Audioguide in 11 languages
Built between 1634 and 1640, it sports a plane corresponding to the general provisions of Richelieu's strong. The book tour in the summer, especially the tower, which offers a splendid panorama and houses the exhibition Marine Bio Diversity (presentation of the National Park and the Ile de Port-Cros). A 15-minute walk from the village.
The Saint Bénezet bridge, a major witness of the history of Avignon, is known throughout the world thanks to the famous song. Built from the 12th century, it was washed away several times by the floods of the Rhone, and finally abandoned in the seventeenth century. Classified World Heritage by UNESCO.
First maritime park in Europe, Port-Cros National Park covers 690 acres on land and almost the double on sea. Its missions are multifold, from devising protective measures to leading campaigns to raise awareness about the park’s natural habitat.
The Annonciade Museum recalls that the village of Saint-Tropez was one of the most active homes of the pictorial avant-garde in the early twentieth century, thanks to Paul Signac who discovered in 1892, the small port of fishermen aboard his yacht the Olympia.
The architects Elisabeth and Christian de Porzamparc won the 2012 international competition for the design of a building worthy of its exceptional position. Facing the Roman amphitheatre, the Museum of Romanity will set up a perfect dialogue with the Roman town.
The Roman amphitheatre (or arena) in Nîmes is the best-conserved of the Roman world. It was used for hunting wild animals and for gladiator combats from the end of the first century AD onwards. Many events are held there today.
The Maison Carrée – the only fully preserved temple from Antiquity – has recently been restored. Inside you can watch the film the “Nemausus, the birth of Nîmes”, that presents the Imperial cult and the heroic past of Nîmes and its surroundings.
Dating from the 17th century, bought by the municipality in 1993, this listed monument is one of the most visited historical and cultural sites in the Var.
This monument is composed of a hexagonal dungeon, an entrance with adjoining curtain and bastions.
The Fabre museum itself is an astounding work of art, an innovative combination of classic and contemporary architecture. Today, the museum offers over 800 works, 900 engravings and 3,500 drawings in its 9,200 m² exhibit area.
The Castre Museum is located on the Suquet hill, dominating the city of Cannes. From the top of the medieval tower the views across the bay and the Lerins islands are fantastic and not to be missed!
Inside the castle and the nearby chapel is a brilliant collection of paintings, art and archaeological artefacts. The Castre Museum is home to a wide collection of antiquities, particularly from the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
The 11th-century Saint Anne Chapel houses a remarkable collection of musical instruments from Asia, Africa, America and Oceania. A few rooms dedicated to 19th-century Provencal paintings of Riviera landscapes open out onto the courtyard and a square tower displaying spectacular views.
It is surrounded by a beautiful Mediterranean garden with pine trees.
The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès has been created to accommodate the largest festival of cinema in the world. The destiny of Cannes is then drawn naturally. The flagship destination of business tourism, Cannes, lives throughout the year at the rhythm of many international and professional events. The level of excellence is confirmed year after year.
No need to attach to it the words "film" or "cinema", the Festival of Cannes for 60 years is the Festival of the 7th Art, the world's largest event of this art which became an industry. The history took life in 1946 after the painful interlude of the Second World War which had suspended the projects of the French State to have an international competition of films. Cannes takes the priority to Vichy, Biarritz or even Lucerne. Cannes sunshine and also the facilities that it offers made it win the project. And especially since Cannes promised the construction of a palace specially dedicated to the festival.
With its 88 000 sq.m building, its 35,000 sq.m of exhibition space, and its 15 auditoriums, the Cannes Palais des Festivals et des Congrès rank Cannes as the second destination for business tourism in France only behind Paris. The Palais hosts each year approximately 300,000 congress delegates and around 40 to 50 international professional events.
The Cannes Film Festival is today the cultural event with the most media coverage in the world. Only two sports events, the Football World Cup and the Summer Olympic Games run ahead with the media.
Situated on La Croisette, La Malmaison now hosts three major exhibitions annually. It regularly pays tribute to renowned painters such as Matisse, Ozenfant and Picasso, for whom the French Riviera was an infinite source of inspiration, in addition to internationally renowned 20th- and 21st-century artists such as Miró and César.
This chapel is part of the estate of Villa Fiorentina, a famous Italian-style villa dating from the end of the 19th century and one of the residences that "made Cannes' reputation". The Baroque chapel was built at the request of Count Vitali, whose coat of arms adorns one of its walls.
Situated on the island of Saint Honorat off the coast of Cannes, the Notre Dame de Lérins Abbey is a Cistercian monastery.
The abbey was founded around 410AD when Saint Honorat came here with the intention of living as a hermit but was soon joined by his disciples. Together they formed a community that became “an immense monastery” around the year 427. According to legend, Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, studied here in the 5th century.
Today, open or guided tours are offered. The visitor can discover the fortified monastery with the main church dedicated to Saint Honorat in its centre and the Sainte-Marie church to the north. Also the 11th/12th century cloisters that border the common rooms such as the chapter room and refectory. The chapels, numbering seven, are distributed over the island. Finally, the hot shot furnaces remind us that the island and even the monastery had the role of defending the French coast.
Just 20 minutes from Cannes (External link) by boat, the Lérins islands feel a whole world away from the buzz of the mainland. Visitors are seduced by their idyllic natural beauty with quiet sandy paths, rocky coves to explore and swim in, and a fascinating history combining the mystery of the Man in the Iron Mask and the spirituality of Cistercian monks. The archipelago separates the Gulf of Napoule to the west from Golfe Juan to the east, and is composed of two main islands: Sainte-Marguerite and Saint Honorat, just a kilometre from each other. They are not accessible to cars, bicycles or scooters and make wonderful, peaceful getaways for walks, swimming, games of pétanque and long lazy lunches. Oaks and creaking pines cover both islands, as well as a fragrant scrubland of myrtle, cistus, honeysuckle and wild clematis – and there’s plenty of wildlife here too.
The Park Exflora is the most recent Antibes garden. The 12 acres of land are composed of an olive grove and different types of Mediterranean plants. Fountains, jets and ponds form a “water path” 500 metres long. Along the alley leading to the sea, many rose bushes are planted, as a reminder of the famous rose productions of Antibes.
At the tip of Cap d'Antibes, on a superb plot of 11 hectares, you will find the villa Eilenroc. This exceptional residence symbolizes the luxury and voluptuousness of the Belle Epoque. It was built in 1867 following plans by Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris and Monte Carlo opera houses.
“If you want to see the Picassos of Antibes, you must come to Antibes to see them.”
It is a new museum that the public will discover after two years of works, more accessible, easier to visit and providing better preservation conditions for the works displayed.