Hyeres is a French commune located in the department of Var in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Capital of two cantons, the city is located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea 16 km east of Toulon, at the mouth of the Gapeau. This seaside resort is called “Hyères les Palmiers” by the municipality and the tourist office because of the 7,000 palm trees planted in the town and cultivated in nurseries. In 2016, the population of Hyères had reached up to 56,799 inhabitants.
Under the impulse of its mayor Alphonse Denis, Hyères becomes, from the year 1830, a tourist destination and a winter climatic station, famous for its thermal cures and frequented in particular by the English community which leaves an architectural imprint always perceptible in the current urban landscape. The city is also the cradle of the first attempts to acclimatize exotic plants on the Côte d’Azur from 1850, thanks to horticulturalists who export palm and cacti produced in their nurseries and provide the owners.
Today, in addition to palm cultivation, Hyères occupies a predominant position in terms of floriculture and viticulture. The health establishments, often former sanatoriums, such as the Renée Sabran Hospital founded by doctor Vidal, converted into functional rehabilitation centers, are among the most important in the department. The summer resort in Hyères is booming thanks to its marina, beaches and proximity to tourist places such as the Golden Islands, partially protected by a national park, the Salins or the archaeological site of Olbia.
The territory of Hyères has been occupied since prehistoric times. In ancient times, the Greeks of Marseille founded the fortified trading post of Olbia in the middle of the 4th century BC. Documents from 963 mention for the first time the name of ” Eyras “, which became Hyères over time.. Eyras derives from the Latin word Areae which designates the salt marshes, sources of wealth of the city in the Middle Ages.
Under the reign of Gontran I, Frankish king at the head of Burgundy, Olbia is definitively abandoned due to flooding of the port and the increased insecurity beachfront under the Merovingian dynasty. From the beginning of the Middle Ages, the city was called Castrum Aracarum (or Aracarum Castrum, which is the motto of the castle and which is engraved at its entrance) which means that the castle of Hyères already existed.
Hyères is cited for the first time in 963 on two documents: a bull of Pope Leo VIII and a charter of Conrad, king of Burgundy and Provence, who concede Hyères and its surroundings by confirming the attribution to the Benedictine Abbey of Montmajour. Mention is made of saltworks and fisheries. It’s Guillaume I , Count of Provence, which the Lord intended Hyères Fos after 972, so that it builds a strong and defend the coast against pirates Saracens who have established a base in La Garde-Freinet. From the family of the Viscounts of Marseille, Pons de Fosis generally regarded as the first lord of Hyères by building a castle in Hyères, in the first half of the xi th century, when the Saracens expelled.
A charter mentions in 1056, the foundation by Guy and Astrude de Fos of the Saint-Nicolas church located east of Gapeau, at the northwest corner of the Salins d’Hyères, and endows it, among others, with “The tithe on the island rabbit hunt”. The act also mentions the donation “a house adjoining the church of St. Paul, and located on the market square” square where fairs are held. The Saint-Nicolas church, with all the goods and rights related to it, is placed under the tutelage of the chapter of Saint-Etienne cathedral and Saint-Trophime d’Arles. The place called St. Nicolas still shows location of this now defunct chapel yet on a plan of the late xviii th century.
In 1062 and 1075, Bishop Rostaing and his brothers donated the churches of Saint-Michel and Saint-Georges to the Abbey of Saint-Victor in Marseille. The lands of the first were located near a source called Alma Narra, which places it on the hill of Costebelle. The second was located east of the salt flats, between the Bormettes and Léoube. In this charter, Hyères is cited as a castrum Heras: it is the first mention of fortifications. And donation of salt from the Fabrégat pond to Saint-Victor abbey. This charter signed in the Saint-Benoît des Salins chapel evokes the castle of Hyères dit Castellum Eiras. Raymond Geoffroy-Fos in 1216, deprived of resources, sells for 18,000 royal land to the Marseille community possessions in Hyères (1/ 12 th) and earth Brégançon and the salt of the Golden Islands, which came to him from his mother.
September 14, 1257, the Fos must sell all that remains to them of “Hyères, its castle, its city, its territory, its islands” to the count of Provence, Charles of Anjou. A seal, discovered in 2011 at the foot of the castle attests to this agreement. The latter installed a viguier there, his representative, and undertook to redevelop the city and the castle. The oldest vestiges date from this period. Hyeres, early xiv th century, is the eighth Provencal town with about 5,000 inhabitants, but the Black Death, arrived in Marseille in 1347, ravaging Provence and wins over a third of the population. It only has 1,900 inhabitants a hundred years later.
The death of Queen Joanna I opened a crisis of succession to head the county of Provence, the cities of Aix Union (1382-1387) supporting Charles of Durazzo against Louis I of Anjou. Hyères is part of the Union of Aix, before making a promise of surrender on September 11, 1387 to Marie de Blois, regent of Louis II of Anjou.
In 1481, Hyères, like all of Provence, was integrated into the French royal domain. It was a period of great work for the city and in particular the construction of the Jean-Natte canal. Here are some key steps in its material construction and legal status: It was the engineer Jean Natte and Rodulfe de Limans who were behind the construction of the Béal canal. In accordance with the convention signed in 1458 between the trustees and advisers of the community of Hyères and Jean Natte “of the river of Genes” for the construction of a canal or béal derived from Gapeau, this canal is intended to supply mills and watering the gardens. Work begins on September 27, 1453. The still visible stone and mortar canal was completely completed in 1632, during the reign of King Louis XIII. During the following century, it was reinforced with buttress structures, secondary canals and stone locks instead of wood. The Gapeau installations, including two dams built in large cut rocks, connected by iron crampons, can still be admired, as well as the water intakes, closed by sliding shovels.
The canal becomes a strategic work and it is regulated by legal acts. On April 10, 1477, a transaction between the trustees of Hyères and Palamède de Forbin, lord of Solliès, ratified the agreement between Sieur Beauval and the trustee of the mills on March 31, 1459, authorizing the diversion and use of the waters by means of 100 guilders. On March 16, 1463, a letter from King René exempts all taxes and royalties in favor of Jean Natte and the brothers Paulet and Limans. On May 30, 1648, following numerous conflicts, the first watering regulations were drawn up. On March 21, 1657, the Parliament of Aix approves a deliberation of the consuls of the community relating to the espensiers illegal and imposed fines (December 23, 1669 seneschal sentence, Hyères). In January 1684, a first “esteem report” gave an estimate of the real estate relating to the Jean Natte canal, also called the “Moulins canal”. Today, its waters are still used by sprinklers gathered in a union association, thus contributing to the replenishment of existing groundwater.
In 1564, Charles IX of France and Catherine de Médicis stayed in Hyères where the king wanted to build a palace. Finally the project is canceled. The presence of palm trees is already mentioned. In 1580, an epidemic of plague killed many people.
During the Wars of Religion, the castle played a primordial role but it changed hands several times. At the beginning of the xvii th century, the castle was largely dismantled and the city is in bad condition. It was during this period that the city became less dominant than Toulon.
Shortly before the French Revolution, unrest rose. In addition to the fiscal problems present for several years, the harvest of 1788 had been poor and the winter of 1788-89 very cold. The election of 1789 General States had been prepared by those of the States of Provence 1788 and January 1789, which had contributed to emphasize class political opposition and cause a stir. It was at the time of writing the notebooks of grievances, at the end of March, that a wave of insurrection rocked Provence. A riot occurs in Hyères on March 25. Peasants from commune and surrounding areas, as well as women protest against high grain prices and taxes. The stake is suspended, then restored, but at a lower rate. Initially, the reaction consists in gathering the strength of the constabulary on the spot. As the unrest continues, an army detachment is dispatched to the scene. Then legal proceedings are instituted, but the sentences are not carried out, the taking of the Bastille as the disturbances of the Great fear causing, by measure of appeasement, an amnesty in early August.
With the law of March 1793, a great freedom of choice is given to parents to name their children. Several inhabitants of Hyères choose, from year II to 1801, to call their children Olbius or Olbia, from the ancient name of the city.
Lamartine stayed in Hyères in 1840. After the announcement of the coup of December 2, 1851 perpetrated by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, the city of Hyères rose briefly on December 5. The 1 st September 1862 the Hyères station was put into service by the Compagnie des chemin de fer from Paris to Lyon and the Mediterranean (PLM), when it opened the first section of its concession from Toulon to Nice. But the station is far from the city and a branch line is being studied December 6, 1875for the commissioning of a new Hyères station when the La Pauline-Hyères section of Hyères opens the new branch line.
In 1887, the Dijonnais Stéphen Liégeard (1830-1925) published the work La Côte d’azur, which gives its name to the coast. In this 430-page book, he describes the coastal towns, from Marseille to Genoa. He devotes seven pages to Hyères, about which he writes: ” Along this beach bathed in rays which deserves our baptism on the Côte d’Azur, Hyères, the first, had the idea of putting its blessed gifts at the service of illness or hopelessness. With a stricken soul and a weak body, what could it offer? Its countryside sheltered from the mistral ” The first of these sentences, badly interpreted, wrongly led to believe that Stéphen Liégeard had the idea of the expression Côte d’Azur à Hyères, which is not mentioned anywhere in his book, nor his second edition, of 1894, nor any biography of this writer.
As part of Operation Dragoon on 15 August 1944, the First Special Service Force came ashore off the coast of Hyères to take the islands of Port-Cros and Levant. The small German garrisons offered little resistance and the whole eastern part of Port-Cros was secured by 06:30. All fighting was over on Levant by the evening, but, on Port-Cros, the Germans withdrew into old thick-walled forts. It was only when naval guns were brought to bear that they realised that further resistance was useless.
An intense naval barrage on 18 August 1944 heralded the next phase of the operation—the assault on the largest of the Hyères islands, Porquerolles. French forces—naval units and colonial formations, including Senegalese infantry—became involved on 22 August and subsequently occupied the island. A US-Canadian Special Forces landing at the eastern end of Porquerolles took large numbers of prisoners, the Germans preferring not to surrender to the Senegalese.
The town was decorated, on November 11, 1948, with the Croix de guerre 1939-1945.
The old town
The old town, perched on the hill and dominated by the ruins of the medieval castle of the Lords of Fos, is worth a detour. Come stroll through the alleys with the scent of Italy, come and meet the artists of the arts. The “old” Hyères offers you its secrets.
The narrow alleys inherited from the Middle Ages. Provencal life vibrates, among fruit and vegetable stalls, the cheese maker rubs shoulders with the bookseller, the olive merchant awaits you at the door of his shop. The people here chat in the shade of the old walls. Stop by, have a coffee or a pastis and comment with them on Var-Matin news. The colored linen dries at the windows among the bougainvilleas. The smell of fresh bread or homemade cookies tickles your nostrils.
The surprise is to find, in this effervescence of village life, creators, painters, fashion stylists, decoration shops. And then, it will be necessary to come back because you have not seen everything, yet, of the old town, only glimpsed the Templar Tower, the rue des Porches, the arched passage under the old ramparts, the collegiate church of Saint-Paul, the alleys narrow, paved with history, climbing towards the castle.
Between the Saint Louis Church, the Templar Tower and the Saint Paul Collegiate Church, medieval Hyères now provides each inhabitant and each visitor with a moment of curiosity or entertainment. A marked circuit connects all the remarkable places and buildings of the historic center. Throughout this route, the visitor learns about the architectural, plant and urban heritage of this center steeped in history and culture. This journey offers the opportunity to discover artistic skills and talents. Nearly forty locals are to be discovered when you come to Hyères.
The Ministry of Culture has recognized Hyères as a “City of Art and History”. The city is now part of a network of 188 cities and territories committed to the promotion and animation of their architecture and their heritage.
Hyères is classified City of art and history
Villa Noailles. Villa built in 1923 by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, on an order from Charles de Noailles and Marie-Laure de Noailles, owner until 1973, when it was sold to the municipality.
Castelas Abbey. The Abbey Castelas sometimes mistakenly called Porquerolles, is an ancient abbey Cistercian founded in the xii th century by Cistercian of Thoronet Abbey. It endured a particularly poorly known and eventful history (pirate attacks, frequent changes of order), due to its isolated and insular position: it was indeed located on the tip of Castelas, in the northern part of the Island of Levant, off Hyères, in the Mediterranean.
Saint-Blaise chapel known as the Templar tower. Commanderie built by the Order of the Temple in the xii th century. It has been classified as a historic monument since March 30, 1987.
Collegiate Church of Saint Paul. Historical monument classified in 1992. Permanent exhibition of votive offerings which recount events which took place during the wars of religion. Legend has it that the Templar treasure is hidden there.
Church of St. Louis. Historic monument classified in 1840. It is the only vestige of the convent of the Friars Minor.
Archaeological site of Olbia.Reopened to the public in 1999, the archaeological site of Olbia, the former trading post of the city of Marseille, juxtaposes prehistoric, Greek, Roman and medieval elements. Located along the golf Giens, in Hyères, on the way to counters between Nice and Marseilles, Olbia (“Blessed” in Greek) is mentioned by Strabo (i st century BC.) In his Geography. The site was excavated from the xix th century by various archaeologists, including Prince Frederick, the future king of Denmark, Alphonse Denis, Mayor of Hyères, the Poitevin Lieutenant Colonel Jacques Maureillan or Coupry. The Greco-Roman city of Olbia-Pomponiana was classified a historic monument in 1947. A few kilometers from the site, on the peninsula of Giens, after the village of La Capte, is the sanctuary of Aristée. This sanctuary made up of a simple large rock was a place of devotion to the worship of the minor Greek pastoral gods Aristée. Excavations have identified 40,000 fragments of pottery.
Saint-Pierre de l’Almanarre Abbey. Former Benedictine abbey located on the Olbia site, founded in 989, which became Cistercian abbey in 1220.
The Costebelle oppidum.Historic monument in 1958. The cemetery of the iv th century. delivered during an excavation an ancient fetus, known as Costebelle’s fetus and which constitutes an exceptional case of fetal paleopathology.
Château Saint-Bernard.The castle and the fragments of the first urban enclosure dominate the site whose escarpment was chosen for its defense possibilities. At the top, the castle retains only the remains of the xiii th to the xv th century that escaped its dismantling in 1620. The walls of the oldest part of the city surrounds the castle and defines an area already largely abandoned by the population xiv th century for the benefit of the lower city. It is from this period that the general reconstruction of the work dates from which the fragments are still visible, both for the upper town and for the lower town.
Le Plantier de Costebelle.Located 714, avenue de la Font-des-Horts, this Palladian-inspired villa (tower, central cistern, pediment) was built by the architect Victor Trotobas (1807-1884) in 1857 for the Baroness of Prailly who received the father Henri Lacordaire and Félix Dupanloup, bishop of Orleans. It is decorated with an exotic arboretum, a chapel which dates from the same period. It was the property of the writer Paul Bourget who received many personalities there between 1896 and 1935, then of Marius Daille. She is registered withAdditional Inventory of Historical Monuments since 1976.
Pradeau battery, called “Fondue Tower”.The Fondue Tower, property of the Port-Cros National Park which restored it in 1991, was included in the additional inventory of historic monuments in 1989. These are remains of an ancient defensive tower of the xvii th century, probably built around 1634 under Richelieu.
Domaine de San Salvadour.Historic monument registered in 1987. Built by Ernest Paugoy (1845-1906). Formerly owned by the mayor of Hyères Edmond Magnier (1841-1906) and then by nuns (Sister Candide), the estate now belongs to the Public Assistance of the City of Paris. The facade is a paragon of eclecticism: several styles coexist there, Gothic, English Tudor, French Renaissance, Baroque. Ceilings of Delfosse and Defais (1882), Parisian decorators.
Tunisian Villa.Historic monument registered in 1999. Villa built in 1884 by the architect Pierre Chapoulard (1849-1903) for himself.
Villa Tholozan or Alberti.Historic monument registered in 1975. Villa built in 1858 for the Duke of Luynes (1802-1867). It is then transmitted by inheritance to the Marquise de Tholozan who gives her her name. The architect is Frédéric Debacq (1800-1892). With Villa Léautard and Le Plantier de Costebelle, it represents the aristocratic resort of the xix th century in Hyères. These three properties are the only witnesses, still in private hands to this day, to have been able to preserve, intact, the vast botanical parks surrounding them as well as their original architecture.
The other monuments
Castel Sainte-Claire. The Castel Sainte-Claire is the first of the buildings, from the middle of the xix th century reinvested vacant spaces of the old town. It is a villa built in a fancy novel style by Olivier Voutier, the discoverer of the Venus de Milo. Subsequently, the American writer Edith Wharton lived there from 1927 to 1937 while Robert Mallet-Stevens and many other artists worked, at Clos Saint-Bernard, for Charles de Noailles and his wife, Marie-Laure Bischoffsheim. This monument also houses a garden.
Moorish Villa.Located at 2, avenue Jean-Natte, this villa was built in 1881 by the architect Pierre Chapoulart for the industrialist Alexis Godillot (1816-1893). It was intended both for receptions given by the manufacturer but also for rental to winter visitors.
Villa Léautaud. Located 714, avenue de la Font-des-Horts, the villa was bought in 1873 by the count of Léautaud Donine and altered by the architect Louis Peyron in 1877. He adds three towers to ennoble it. On the dome of the main tower, a fleur-de-lis reminds the owners of the family with the Orléans family. It was then called “Villa Costebelle”. It is surrounded by a vast park planted with exotic species (palm trees, cacti). It adjoins the Plantier de Costebelle with which it originally formed a single land entity. In 1880, the count pierced the terrace of the villa to let the head of a palm tree pass which is said to have been planted by Lamartine.
Other remarkable constructions
Villa Henri-Joseph, built in 1870 (Chateaubriand district), Villa Sylvabelle built for Duke Decazes in 1892 by Pierre Chapoulard (Gulf of Almanarre), Chateaubriand hotel (Chateaubriand district), Maison Saint -Hubert d’Alexis Godillot (avenue des Iles-d’Or), the Beauregard villa (Godillot district) or the Ker-André and La Favorite villas (Chateaubriand district). The domain of Sainte-Eulalie, its 17th century chapel century and its four thousand-year-old olive trees bear witness to the medieval agricultural past of the commune of Hyères, the Château de la Font des Horts or “Rescence Arène”, thanks to its mill and its resurgence, recalls the olive-growing past of the Louis Arène estate (1818), while the castle of Mauvanne announces an innovative architecture . The Villa Marguerite, director of property of the Lyon Park Tête d’Or, Gustave Bonnet, is home to the xix th century the finest Jubaea chilensis of the town, in the district of Costebelle.
Landmarks labeled “Heritage xx th century”.The municipality of Hyères has three property complexes benefiting from the Label “Heritage of the XXth century”, granted by the Ministry of Culture and which aims to publicize the remarkable productions of this century in terms of architecture and town planning. This is the Villa Noailles, the area of San Salvadour (for its buildings from the xx th century only) and Simone Berriau Beach Residence designed by the architect Peter Pascalet and is an assumed reference to the movement modern architectural.
Hyères has two important environmental sites, the Giens peninsula and the Salins-d’Hyères.
The islands of Hyères
The Golden Islands – also called Hyères Islands – which include the islands of Porquerolles, Port-Cros, Levant and Bagaud, are located on the territory of the municipality. It also includes various islands as the Island of Gabinière, the Island Restores, the Island Grand Ribaud, the Island Small Ribaud and Rock Rascas.
The municipality of Hyères, also included in the Pelagos Sanctuary area and the Port-Cros National Park, is the manager of the French part of this maritime area intended to protect marine mammals.
The island of Porquerolles
The island of Porquerolles is a magical place a few minutes by boat from the Giens peninsula in Hyères. Find in this page all the information you need to prepare your arrival on the island.
The island of Port-Cros
Port-Cros is the wildest, the most preserved of the Golden Islands. It is the heart of one of the first national parks in France, created in 1963, and which has managed to preserve a maritime and terrestrial environment of exceptional richness and quality.
The island of Le Levant
Sewn like its sisters of rocky coves and bushy scrubland, the Ile du Levant cultivates its reputation for rebellious beauty. If the Levant is not part of the Port-Cros National Park, another feature protects it from the crowds: it is the cradle of naturism. His village of Heliopolis is an ode to the sun, to nature and to contemplation.
In Hyères, the sea everywhere offers everyone the pleasures of a great vacation: swimming, sunbathing, family picnics, beach games and board sports. Large expanses of white sand or wild coves drowned in vegetation, sandy beaches or wild creeks, everyone finds their corner of the sea.
A privilege in Hyères: choosing your beach according to the time of day and the source of the wind. The huge Almanarre beach, 5 km long, is recommended for sheltering from the east wind or admiring the sunset. For families, the peninsula, on the Madrague side, offers shallow waters. This is also the case for the beaches of La Capte, La Bergerie or La Badine … recommended on mistral days. Should we still mention the beaches of Porquerolles – Notre Dame, the Courtade, the Silver beach – paradisiacal! or those of Port Cros, which can be reached by pretty walks: Palud beachand South Beach.
There are five public parks in Hyères: Olbius Riquier Park, the main public park in Hyères offering a collection of palm trees and labeled Remarkable Garden, Saint-Bernard Park (garden of the Villa Noailles) where a wide variety of Mediterranean flowers grows.. This public park is completed by a cubist garden and it is labeled Remarkable Garden. The St. Clair park, public park labeled Remarkable Garden, the garden of the King, located near the Park Hotel and the square Stalingrad, the oldest park in the city, built in 1882. The latter, which is 1,165 m 2, was previously called the palm garden.
It is also found in the private park Plantier de Costebelle (home of Paul Bourget), which has a large variety of palm trees, an architectural rock (bench, wells, caves, tree) dating from the xix th century, a collection of arbutus of Cyprus and Jubaea chilensis, labeled Remarkable Garden 109. There is also a relict population of Hermann tortoises.
The four millennial olive trees of Saint-Eulalie were planted, according to their traditions, forming a square of 20 cubits on each side, like the holy of holies, and oriented towards the east. Their protection is provided by the David-Beauregard family, the Rameau d’Argent association and the agricultural school.
Environmental awards and distinctions
Hyères has been awarded the “Ville fleurie” label: 4 flowers, gold medal for 2003 in the European competition for flowering cities, and has remained 4 flowers ever since. In 2019, the city obtains the label “Territoire engaged pour la nature” 2019-2021, with two “dragonflies” as part of the “French Capital of Biodiversity” competition organized by the French Agency for Biodiversity.
The town is considered the most important horticultural center of the Southeast, since the 1980s. With its large flower market of ” SICA “, located west of the city, hundreds of producers and buyers come together on this market. This market represents 70% of the national production of the cut flower.
The operators, most of them equipped with greenhouses, cultivate a rich diversity of cut flowers such as roses, irises, carnations, Strélizias, gladioli, gerberas, anemones, chrysanthemums, tulips and arums. The production is sold throughout Europe. The Var represents 50% of regional production and more than 25% of national production.
Research on plant propagation in vitro, on solar energy in greenhouses, on plant genetics, is being carried out to develop the different species.
The town belongs to one of the five large natural areas of Côtes-de-Provence, that is to say the crystalline maritime border of the Moors. This area extends from Saint-Tropez to Hyères where the wine soils of this sector come from the alteration of rocks belonging to the Massif des Maures. The vineyards near the sea occupy the coastal slopes, flat areas and high terraces of the Maures.
The wines of Hyères benefit either from the Maures label (IGP), or from the appellation of controlled origin (AOC) of Côtes de Provence created in 1977. But the terroir of the Côtes de Provence appellation is of complex geology. The mosaic of wine terroirs therefore involves several types of Côtes de Provence. The Hyères vineyard is classified in one of the three existing terroirs, that of La Londe which covers a total area of 1,800 ha This terroir has been officially recognized since 2008.
On these vines cultivated in terraces or terraces, rosé wines represent on average 75% of production, 20% for red and 5% for white. The grape varieties, made from cinsault, grenache, cabernet, sauvignon, tibouren, syrah give a unique flavor and aromatic diversity to this wine from Provence. The town has sixteen wine farms, eight of which are located in the Borrels Valley. Each year many areas are rewarded at the general agricultural competition in Paris. In addition, two exploitations of the commune obtained the title of “Classified Growth” on the eighteen holders of this distinction for the whole of the appellation “Côtes de provence”. This wine industry is gaining notoriety each year with a notable growth in its exports to Europe but also to the United States, Japan and Australia. In addition to the AOC Côtes de Provence wine, the commune of Hyères has the authorization to produce PGIs: Var.
Land of artists and writers
Illustrious authors have run their pen and their imagination from their room at the Grand Hotel, or simply sitting on a bench in Giens, facing the Iles d’Or.
This is the case of Joseph Conrad (1921) who evokes the peninsula in his latest work, Le Frère de la Côte; or Francis Scott Fitzgerald, who corrects the manuscript of Gatsby the Magnificent at Hyères. Robert-Louis Stevenson, meanwhile, wrote several of his novels including Le Prince Otto, at the Grand Hôtel des Îles d’Or in 1884. The city also hosted Alexandre Dumas, Alphonse de Lamartine, Léon Tolstoï and many others…
Art and Surrealism
Rich art lovers, Marie-Laure and Charles de Noailles receive at Villa Noailles all the cultural and artistic avant-garde. They support and finance numerous artistic projects, as much in painting and sculpture as in music or cinema. The director Luis Buñuel as well as the composer Francis Poulenc, Man Ray, Salvador Dali and Picasso thus reside in the City of Palms… and of Art.
The Writers of Port-Cros
At the end of the 19th century, Charles-Albert Costa de Beauregard was a historian, a member of the French Academy. He regularly invites to Port-Cros for hunting parties his writer friends: Eugène-Melchior de Vogüé, Henry Bordeaux, Paul Bourget. The charm of the island acts. All of them are also famous academicians with a large readership. They wrote on Port-Cros, in the style of their time, thus sealing the island’s link with literature.
In 1925, Jean Paulhan, recently appointed editor-in-chief of the Nouvelle Revue Française, came to spend a few days of vacation on the island. A tear in his pants gives him the opportunity to converse with Marceline Henry. She reveals to him that she is subscribed to the NRF. Jean Paulhan also falls in love with the island.
Marcel Henry allows him to rent, for a symbolic franc per year, the Fort de la Vigie, isolated on the summits of the island. Jean Paulhan takes the lease on behalf of the NRF and undertakes to bring together writers and artists. He organized and animated a “phalanstery of letters” with, however, a few painters, musicians and children. The stays last a few months. Their work will remain forever.
From this literary past, the Association of Friends of Port-Cros has created a booklet entitled ” Inspired walks on the trails of Port-Cros”. It offers you, in 16 pages, to accompany you on the paths of the island to meet History, in the footsteps of writers captivated by its beauty.
Hyères is home to the Hyères International Fashion and Photography Festival, a huge fashion and art photography event that has taken place annually at the end of April since 1985. This festival was among the first to recognize the talents of Viktor & Rolf.
The city also plays host to the annual MIDI French Riviera Festival in July, a music festival now into its sixth episode. 2010’s MIDI saw around 15 acts play at the Villa Noailles complex and brought the new ‘MIDI Night’ event to Almanarre Beach in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Hyères organizes ten events each year:
The International Fashion and Photography Festival, the Hyères Jazz festival, the Anche Festival, the Festival de la chanson française, the European Heritage Days, which each year, the third weekend of September, allow the general public to have access to the main historical monuments often closed during the year, such as the Anglican Church, the archaeological site of Olbia and the military forts of the Golden Islands, with guided tours.
The Pic des Fées astronomical observatory, which makes technical sky observation facilities available to the public, the Salins-d’Hyères (League for the Protection of Birds) which organizes ornithological visits, Meetings at gardens, which each year, the first weekend in June, provide access to public or private parks participating in this event organized by the regional directorate of Cultural Affairs.
From 1965 to 1983, the city also organized the International Festival of Young Cinema which, founded by Maurice Périsset, was intended to promote works by new filmmakers (like Philippe Garrel, Grand Prix in 1968) and devoid of commercial ambitions was animated by an avant-garde cinephile discovery spirit. He was a pioneer in this field with the festivals of Pesaro (Italy) and Mannheim (Germany). Its aim was to offer films on the sidelines of the major market festivals that had become the festivals of Cannes, Berlin or Venice. During the 1970s, this festival became a place where theexperimental cinema could hope for international recognition.
The French Riviera is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France. There is no official boundary, but it is usually considered to extend from Cassis, Toulon or Saint-Tropez on the west to Menton at the France–Italy border in the east, where the Italian Riviera joins. The coast is entirely within the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France. The Principality of Monaco is a semi-enclave within the region, surrounded on three sides by France and fronting the Mediterranean. Riviera is an Italian word that corresponds to the ancient Ligurian territory, wedged between the Var and Magra rivers.
The climate of the Côte d’Azur is temperate Mediterranean with mountain influences on the northern parts of the departments of Var and Alpes-Maritimes. It is characterized by dry summers and mild winters which help reduce the likelihood of freezing. The Côte d’Azur enjoys significant sunshine in mainland France for 300 days a year.
This coastline was one of the first modern resort areas. It began as a winter health resort for the British upper class at the end of the 18th century. With the arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century, it became the playground and vacation spot of British, Russian, and other aristocrats, such as Queen Victoria, Tsar Alexander II and King Edward VII, when he was Prince of Wales. In the summer, it also played home to many members of the Rothschild family. In the first half of the 20th century, it was frequented by artists and writers, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Francis Bacon,h Wharton, Somerset Maugham and Aldous Huxley, as well as wealthy Americans and Europeans. After World War II, it became a popular tourist destination and convention site. Many celebrities, such as Elton John and Brigitte Bardot, have homes in the region.
The eastern part (maralpine) of the Côte d’Azur has been largely transformed by the concreting of the coast linked to the tourist development of foreigners from North Europe and the French,. The Var part is better preserved from urbanization with the exception of the agglomeration of Fréjus-Saint-Raphaël affected by the demographic growth of the maralpin coast and the agglomeration of Toulon which has been marked by urban sprawl on its part West and by a spread of industrial and commercial areas (Grand Var).