Le Pradet, French Riviera

Le Pradet is a French commune located in the department of Var, in the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Olive oil, vegetables and wine grape (including rare Tibouren variety used for rose wine) are produced in the local farms.

Located 57 km from Marseille, 13 km from Hyères and 8 km east of Toulon, Le Pradet borders La Garde to the west and north, and Carqueiranne to the east. The east facade opens onto the harbor of Toulon, a coast of cliffs open to wide coves and beaches (the Pin de Galle, the Monaco, les Bonnettes, the Garonne, the Oursinières with its port) terminated to the southeast by the Cap de Carqueiranne.

A ridge road connecting Marseille to Nice, via Telo-Martius (Toulon) and Olbia (Hyères), Gallo-Roman villas have settled on what is today Le Pradet. In a place called San Peyre, a villa is known. Built on a hill (presence of retaining walls) It had a vaulted cistern and was to be decorated with mosaics.. However, there is no evidence that the exploitation of the Cap Garonne mine began at that time. The first documents on this date only from the xvii th century.

The operation took place from 1862 to 1917. Murat is said to have escaped to Corsica in 1815 from Pradet. Le Pradet was a hamlet attached to the municipality of La Garde until 1894. The commune of Pradet adhered in 2016 to the Charter of the Port-Cros national park.

Culture heritage

The blue cave of San Peyre
In this underwater cave, listed sinceMarch 2014a UNESCO World Heritage Site, according to a study by Louis Beziat-Menut, the sun hitting the cliff facing due south sends rays of light which, thanks to the depth of the cave, are 96% diffracted. By entering this cavity of a few cubic meters, you can see on the surface of the water almost all the colors that the diamond reveals.

Cape Garonne Mine Museum
Opened in 1994, the mining museum is housed in the old copper galleries, the history of which it recreates in a fun way. Wearing a construction helmet, under a low ceiling stretched with a safety net, the visitor explores the past of this modest copper deposit, exploited industrially from 1862 to 1917. Games of light and sound animations (we hear skipping the dynamited wall and singing sorters) take on relief in the silence and darkness of this vast cave, excavated by miners from Italian Piedmont. A video break in a kind of wooden box will allow you to learn more about the processing of the ore and the multiple uses of copper.

In a forest massif overlooking the Mediterranean, the old copper mines of Cap Garonne are among the five most beautiful mineralogical sites in the world. The museum traces the life of miners and the history of rock.

It is the only French museum of copper and microminerals.

In 1984, the exceptional quality of the environment prompted local authorities to protect and enhance this heritage of national and European interest, which represents the Cap Garonne mine. It will take ten years before inaugurating the mine museum.

The Clos Meunier castle and the Cravéro park
Le Clos du Meunier castle dates from the end of the xvi th century and beginning of the xvii th century. In 1667, the castle belonged to the Lord of La Garde, Joseph de Catelin. It was Jean-Louis Raymond Mallard who bought the château in 1790, kept it until 1862, and then sold it to M. Meunier. The castle then became Clos Meunier, but it was simply called the Pradet castle. Originally, the 30 hectare property was planted with vines and bordered the entire main street of Pradet (the current avenue de la DFL). The municipality acquired it in 1973. Renovated from 1973in 1977, the castle became the town hall of Pradet and the park was named Parc Cravéro (from the name of a former Pradetan mayor).

The park now offers the tranquility of its alleys shaded by the foliage of centenary trees, a palm grove rich in 70 species, many Mediterranean plant species.

Villa l’Artaude
Villa l’Artaude, also called “Villa Mandrot” is a house with rough stone walls built by Le Corbusier in 1930, chemin de l’Artaude. It is listed as a historic monument by order ofDecember 29, 1987and has been awarded the “Heritage XX th century PACA ” by the Ministry of Culture.

The Moonstone
Slightly covered by the sea, between the beaches of Monaco and windshields, legend has it that this stone with blue reflections came from the Moon.

Wreck of “The Moon”
Five nautical miles off Cape Carqueiranne is the wreck of the ship La Lune. It sank in 1664 and the wreckage was discovered in 1993. During the 2016 excavation campaign, carried out using a latest generation humanoid robot, the official declared: “It is one of the five sites of the most important marine archeology in the world ”.

The church of Saint Raymond-Nonnat
The church, built in 1863 and inaugurated on April 18, 1864, was consecrated by Mgr Madec, bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, onMay 31, 2000. The frescoes were executed between 1871 and 1877. Three bells were installed in 1876, and a fourth bell, named Marie-Angèle, was installed inseptember 2001.

The Sainte-Baume de Saint-Zacharie hotel organ was transferred to Pradet in 1952 and then to Sainte-Baume in 1971. An association, “Friends of the Pradet organ”, whose object is the installation of a pipe organ in the Pradet church, was formed onOctober 31, 1996.

The Villa Rocabella
The villa Rocabella is a villa style Belle Epoque, built in the late xix th century by Danish architect Hans-Georg Tersling at Cap Brun for ironmaster. It is embellished with a four-hectare botanical park. Line Renaud shot a film there. This villa has been restored and decorated by interior designer Patrice Nourissat. The villa was a reception center for the SNCF from 1969. It was sold in 2020 for 14 million euros. The new owner, Jean Baptiste Rudellewho made his fortune in an internet start-up, enters the 500 largest French fortunes, wants to make it a seminar center on new technologies.

Other heritage
The Cravero art gallery, the Fort de la Gavaresse, the Colle Noire massif, the Courbebaisse garden and wood, the Jean-François-Jubé discovery trail at Cap Garonne, the fountain at Place Flamenq.
Remarkable coves punctuate the Garonne bay to Cap de Carqueiranne. Some are accessible by road but the ideal is to discover them by the coastal path. Certain parts of this path are prohibited from access because they are dangerous (landslides, path punctually attacked by the sea).
War memorial.

The Cap Garonne Mine
The Cap Garonne mine is one of the 5 most beautiful mineralogical sites in the world. During the visit of the mine, you will be able to learn, the life of the miners, the history of the rock, but also to make the visit of these old copper mines. The visit is a fascinating adventure for the whole family. In addition, at the end of the visit, going back to the surface, at the top of the Cap Garonne massif, you will be able to observe the panoramic view from Lavandou to the harbor of Toulon, passing through the Golden Islands.

In 1857, Mr. Layet and Mr. Martel, who at the time were coal traders in Marseille, obtained authorization from the Mayor of La Garde (Le Pradet was not independent from La Garde until 1894) to operate a cobblestone quarry near Cap Garonne. The minerals extracted from the mine contain copper and lead. The first miners exploiting the mine are Italian, the unskilled workforce is recruited from the local population, who occupies positions of loader, shooters or even rollers. The women sorted the ore extracted from the mine floor, so that the ore would be sent to Swansea, the first European center for the treatment of copper metallurgy, in Wales and processed there.

However, the mine is not profitable because the transportation costs are too high. The mine is bought by an Englishman, Mr Unwin, who will be the only one to make the mine profitable. In 1884, the mine closed for 8 years. After several acquisitions and several production failures, it is abandoned. In 1984, the municipalities of La Garde, Pradet and Carqueiranne came together to protect the heritage of the mine. In 1990, the union commissioned interior security work. The galleries and halls are consolidated, and a decision is made to develop the mine for visits, and on July 9, 1994, the mine museum is inaugurated.

The mineralogical diversity of the Cap Garonne mine is impressive and there are nearly 130 species including 14 species found for the first time in the world in our dear mine. The mine arouses curiosity because it has been the subject of numerous researches and publications. Research in the mine is still current, and it is done with the Association of Friends of the Cap Garonne Mine.

The aim of the Coastal and Lake Spaces Conservatory is to safeguard this space while respecting the sites as well as the ecosystems and the ecological balance of the environment. The spaces are accessible to the public in the best possible conditions of cohabitation, such as between hikers and hunters. So that this cohabitation is the best possible rules have been established. For example, motorized leisure activities are prohibited on the hill. As far as hunting is concerned, it is subject to several constraints since it is only authorized part of the year and in certain well-defined areas. It is of course forbidden to smoke on the hill, because of the risk of fire. In summary, when entering this hill,

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Beach of the Windshields
This beach is located in a cove sheltered from the wind, and there are some very calm coves. A parking lot near the page is available (paid in season). This beach is not accessible by the coastal path, but only by road. It is also very popular with surfers on westerly winds.

Monaco Beach
This beach is one of the wildest in Pradet. The splendid setting offered by the pine trees bordering the beach makes it the ideal beach. Access is still difficult, but it is worth it. Parking (paid in season) is available on the heights of the beach.

Monaco Creek
This beach is located south of Monaco beach. Many regulars frequent this page which is very user-friendly. The view is very pretty, since in the distance you can see the harbor of Toulon. It is possible to access the beach from several car parks, just go down by a path in the middle of the pines, or by the coastal path.

Golden Islands off Hyères
These are three paradisiacal islands, where the water is turquoise and the white sand beaches. In the golden islands we find, the island of Porquerolles, with many beaches and activities, the island of Port-Cros, the national park, and the island of the Levant, where we travel without complex since this is a naturist area. On these three islands you can find, magnificent landscapes and panoramas, a history and retrace it thanks to the many forts and monuments still present, but also sports activities, on land, on the sea, or even under the sea. await you under the warm Mediterranean sun.

A very beautiful legend exists on the appearance of the golden islands. Prince Olbianus had four daughters. Her daughters loved swimming in the clear waters of the Mediterranean. One day, while they were swimming, pirates were sailing near her. Their father begged them to return, however they did not have time and were kidnapped.

The prince prayed so hard, that the pirates would spare his daughters, that the sky heard it and we saw the 4 princesses turn into stone. The three most distant formed the golden islands, and the nearest fourth, reaching out to his father became the peninsula of Gien. Even becoming rock, the princesses retained their beauty, which can today be admired by visiting the Golden Islands.

Porquerolles the beautiful
Porquerolles is the largest and most visited island of the three. It is known for its fine white sand beaches and turquoise waters. There are many beautiful beaches, and some are known, such as the South Beach or that of Silver. On the island, there are also many monuments, which show that this island is full of stories. There are also legends like that of the Alycastre. There are many activities to be found on the island, cycling, hiking, walking, but also nautical activities, lessons or boat rentals, and of course, the best way to discover its protected seabed, the snorkeling or snorkeling.

Port Cros National Park
Port-Cros is the wildest island of the three. Indeed, it is a national park that is full of wonders. In Port-Cros, respect for the environment and wildlife is essential to preserve this incredible national park. You can then discover the flora and fauna during walks. If your walk is too long, you can stop for a break on the beaches, like that of La Palud, where an underwater path to do in fins, mask and snorkel awaits you, or you can stop in the numerous coves of the island. It is an incredible wild island which awaits you, and while strolling, you will be able to discover several forts, which show the strategic position of the island. Indeed, the forts like that of L’Estissac controlled the comings and goings of the boats towards the harbor of Toulon.

Levant Island: Nudist Island
The history of this island is closely linked to that of Port-Cros. It was an island with a strategic position, this is why Bonaparte strengthened the defense of the island by building several forts that we still see today. On the island, a large part belongs to the Navy and is therefore inaccessible, but the rest of the island is open to the public, and it is naturists who reign there. The Héliopolis naturist domain was born in 1931. Naturism is free everywhere, except in public places like the port or the village square. The vegetation of the island is also very beautiful, and the smell given off by the flowers is very pleasant. A nature trail is also to be discovered on the island, and allows you to discover the area as well as the seaside.

Festival and event

Music festival
This festival is organized by two theater associations, La Cie l’Etreinte and Les Ateliers de l’Etreinte. Equinoxe is now 7 years old and, every year, it is getting bigger and bigger. Indeed, many theater, dance or concert courses are organized each year..

Aperitif music Les Oreilles d’Aman
This company and a Klemzer Music Quartet which was born in Marseille. This music mixing Middle East and Central Europe is surprising and very attractive. This audacious and dynamic Quartet has known how to evolve and conquer its public over the year.

Great improvisation evening
This great evening is animated by La Radit, a group of enthusiasts of improvisation. The skill of the actors is such that they manage to get out of all possible situations without any preparation. In addition, the public has an important role during these performances, because it advances the story by participating.

Theater “La Tactique du Diable”
It is the story of a young demon just out of school who is sent to his uncle, who has a lot of experience in capturing human souls. He will then discover that discretion and good intentions always allow us to achieve our goal.

Artists and crafts
The Little Vallauris: Ceramic
We are manufacturers of personalized ceramic articles, such as earthenware frescoes, house plaques, wedding and birth plates, gifts, decoration, lighting, tiles, tableware and tableware. Provençal ceramics. Our company was created in 1975, and you can find the workshop at, ZA La Bayette 92 chemin de la Bayette, Le Pradet.

Mosaic Page
The mosaic creation workshop welcomes you at 25 rue Jean Fournier in Pradet for wall decoration orders for houses and gardens, with all formats and all supports. We also offer introductory or advanced courses in ceramics. You will then be able to learn this art thanks to talented craftsmen.

Local market
The Friday Market
Find the large market every Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the downtown car park at Cravéro Park, as well as at the African car park. You can find fresh and regional products there. Whether you are looking for fruits and vegetables, jam, honey, fabrics, flowers, cheese, fish, it is at the Friday market that you will find your happiness. Come and do your shopping in a friendly market worthy of a city that has kept its soul of a small village.

The Tuesday Farmer Market
The farmers’ market on Tuesday takes place on the forecourt of the Pradet tourist office. It is at this gathering that you will be able to find the producers of the region, but also the Pradetan artisans. Whether fruit and vegetables, regional jams, olive oil, or handmade jewelry, you can find what you are looking for at the small farmer’s market in Pradet on Tuesday mornings between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Small Farmer Market
The small farmer’s market in Pradet is held every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Find fruits, vegetables and other fresh, local products. Come and meet regional producers, and enjoy good Var products. The sale is done next to the agricultural counter. For your convenience, parking is available on site.

French Riviera
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).

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