Mont Faron and Natural heritage, Toulon

The City of Toulon is built between land and sea. The mounts bordering the city (Coudon, Faron, Baou de Quatre Aures, Croupatier and Mount Caume) are referred to as the “Mounts of Toulon”. Mount Faron – the most famous of them all – overlooks the city and is served by a cable car, unique on the Mediterranean coast! The Mounts of Toulon are popular outdoor activity venues for all ages and in all seasons.

The Mont Faron is a top limestone, part of Toulon Mountains, which rises to 584 meters above the city of Toulon, in the Var (France). A network of fortifications defensive dating xvii th and xviii th centuries is always visible; it was used to defend sea and land access to the city’s military port. Nine forts watch over the harbor: Fort Saint-Antoine, the Ubac tower, the Beaumont tower, the Sanctuary of Notre-Dame du Faron (former powder magazine), the Leydet entrenchment, the Center barracks, the Fort de la Croix-Faron, the Impluvium and Fort Faron. The Beaumont tower was built in 1845 to defend and monitor the harbor, it is now converted into a Memorial Museum of the Allied Landing ofaugust 1944.

A cable car provides access to the summit from the city of Toulon. The fairly flat summit houses the Landing Memorial in Provence (operation Anvil Dragoon) and the Mont Faron zoo specializing in the breeding of felines.

The summit is also accessible by a one-lane road (the climb is to the west and the descent from the east of the mountain). The ascent and the descent offer very spectacular views of the harbor of Toulon.

Mont Faron is made up of limestone, like all of the Toulon mountains. This massif is the result of geological folds emanating from the rapprochement of the Iberian Peninsula on the European plate 65 million years ago. Pushing towards the northeast, the folds formed at the meeting of the European plate and several older layers found themselves propelled on the surface and covered the more recent geological layers.

The geology and the morphology of the relief are quite different according to the sectors of Mont Farron. The northeast slope is a high cliff of Uronian limestone. On the north and northwest side, the columns and spurs are the result of erosion of Jurassic dolomitic limestone. On the southwest to south slopes, we find Barremian limestone, forming fractured blocks and peaks in lapiaz and more to the east, banks of Portuguese limestone. The slope has rocky points, which consist of muschelkalk (shell limestone).

The limestone massifs
The Toulon mountains, like the Sainte-Baume massif, come from geological folds emanating from the rapprochement of the Iberian peninsula on the European plate 65 million years ago. Pushing towards the northeast, the folds formed at the meeting of the European plate and several older layers found themselves propelled on the surface and covered the more recent geological layers.

The crystalline massifs
The Cap-Sicié massif is an exception in the landscape of the Toulon mountains. Indeed, it does not come from the folding caused by the ascent of the Iberian peninsula but is a vestige of the old massif now disappeared, the Pyrenean-Provençal massif. The opening of the Mediterranean Sea millions of years ago caused Corsica and Sardinia to separate from the mainland, leaving some vestiges on the mainland such as the Hyères islands and the Esterel massif. These massifs are the vestiges of this disappeared massif and by the composition of the rock, shale, Cap-Sicié is also part of it.

In winter and, more rarely in spring and autumn, on very cold and rainy days on the coast, it is possible that the Toulon mountains are slightly or heavily covered with snow, generally at least once a year. However the climate is very variable at the summits.

The Faron was inhabited by men of the Neolithic, perhaps also those of the Paleolithic who already occupied its caves. A lookout responsible for monitoring the sea and signaling the approach of boats was installed at summit.

In the Middle Ages, the mountain was covered with holm oaks parasitized by dermes’ kermes, a small insect whose eggs were used to produce a vermilion red dye for textiles. The advent of cochineal put an end to this production.

Maintenance-free, the mountain then undergoes total desertification around 1500. The main causes are excessive deforestation, the grazing of too many herds of goats, the runoff of rainwater and regular fires.

During the Second World War, the site was liberated from German occupation after the Allied landing in Provence inaugust 1944. A memorial was inaugurated there in 1964.

Mont Faron cable car
The Mont Faron cable car is a cable car providing access to Mont Faron, a summit overlooking the city of Toulon, in the Var (France). Accessible on foot, by car, or by cable car, Mont Faron is Toulon’s mascot. Rising to an altitude of 584 metres, it overlooks the Bay of Toulon on one side and inland Var area on the other.

The Toulon cable car is not considered to be an urban cable car in the sense that it does not serve densely populated areas. Indeed, despite the fact that the lower station is located in the urbanization, the upper station on the Faron plateau serves only tourist places or viewpoints. It serves some jobs (panoramic restaurant, museums, Faron zoo) and has, like many ski lifts, a frequency worthy of a high capacity bus line (one cabin every 10 minutes), but it is finally a real mountain cable car, allowing you to reach the summit of Faron.

The cable car measures 1,437 m and has a drop of 378 m. It has five pylons and its maximum range is 685 m between pylons 4 and 5. The maximum slope is 45%. The flow rate of the device is 150 people / hour and the rise time is six minutes. It is equipped with two cabins which circulate back and forth.

The cable car (unique on the Mediterranean coast) is without a doubt the least sporty but most picturesque way of enjoying the Faron’s panoramic vistas over the Var region. A host of activities await you at the summit, including the Provencal Landings Museum (Mémorial du Débarquement en Provence), wild cat breeding centre, signposted footpaths and picnic areas… Two restaurants go to complete the picture.

In the last TCSP call for projects launched by the government in 2013, Toulon obtained financial assistance for its cable car. The wildest rumors ran on this subject before the transport manager at the agglomeration TPM (Y. Chenevard) specifies that this money will go to the renovation of the current cable car.

However, in his 2008 program, H. Falco had specified that one day the cable car would exceed its current base to enlarge towards the city center, even the very frequented district of Mourillon.

To date, no news concerning this project which seems to have been more an electoral promise than a real project. New cabins have been put into operation from February 11, 2017.

Discover the Var region from the Mounts of Toulon
Set by the coast and overlooking the whole local area, the Mounts of Toulon (Coudon, Faron, Baou de Quatre Aures, Croupatier and Mount Caume) are a genuine playground for walkers and hikers of all levels. From a relaxing walk to a sporty hike, their footpaths offer a wealth of scenic delights such as views over the coast, Golden Islands, Sainte Baume hill chain and inland countryside, remains of Iron Age settlements, fortresses, and ruined castles… Not forgetting their typical Mediterranean vegetation of “maquis” and “garrigue”. Enjoy Provence on your doorstep with the Mounts of Toulon!

The “Comité Départemental de Randonnée Pédestre” walking committee and local Tourist Offices host a week of free guided walks throughout the Var region in Autumn.

Mountain bike
Mont Faron has typical downhill and enduro mountain bike trails for all levels, from beginner to experienced cyclists. The tracks are very diverse, they include technical passages, in “single track” (passage at high speed), scree, “gap” (jump). Some tracks are in the forest but on the majority of the tracks, you ride on limestone (on the tracks near the cable car in particular) in scree or fairly brittle tracks. The level of difficulty is variable.

Mont Faron is a protected natural site, you should only take the paths already marked. ATVs are only tolerated: there is no official trail, nor is there any signposting for ATV trails. A map for information is available at the ticket offices of the Mont Faron cable car.

Mont Faron is a climbing site, described in several topos. It has rind areas (long route) as well as long routes up to 150 m high, equipped for sport climbing or suitable for climbing in adventure terrain.

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Going down from the summit by the Faron road, near a hairpin bend, a grid protects the entrance to Trou de diable (85 m deep cavity which was long surrounded by mysteries and legends until its exploration in 1927).

Memorial of the landing in Provence
The Provence Landing and Liberation Memorial is located on the northern heights of Toulon, on Mont Faron in the Var (France).

Property of the State, the Mont Faron memorial is dedicated to the Allied landings of August 15, 1944 and the liberation of Provence. Renovated, it reopens its doors to the public inapril 2017. It is one of the ten ” High places of national memory ” of the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the maintenance and promotion of which are placed under the responsibility of the Directorate of Heritage, Memory and Archives (DMPA), and implemented by the national office for war veterans and victims of war (ONAC-VG).

In accordance with the wish of the President of the Republic, the diversity of the origins of the fighters who came to liberate France – the soldiers from Africa, the resistance fighters and the allies – alongside the free French and, consequently, the plurality of memories of the landing of Provence, are highlighted in the new museography.

The need to facilitate the understanding of the meaning of events by visitors, to pay a fair tribute to all the actors of the event and to take into account advances in historical research and museographic technologies made the renovation of the memorial essential..

Beyond an approach to bring the infrastructure up to standard and enhance this High place of national memory, the renovation of the memorial also aims to strengthen the educational vocation of the place, civic spirit, cohesion national and the armies-Nation link.

The museography must make it possible to facilitate the comprehension by the public of the events of summer 1944, the landing of the August 15thand the liberation of Provence. Thus, thanks to the latest lessons from historiography, it is developing a renewed scientific discourse more suited to the expectations of visitors.

To this end, on nearly 600 m² of space, a modern museography is deployed, using audiovisual media to place witnesses at the heart of this memorial. These different mediation tools, such as interactive terminals or dynamic maps, illustrate all the memories based on numerous testimonies from Allied soldiers, Army B combatants, resistance fighters and civilians.

Based on the principles set out by the President of the Republic during his address on August 15, 2014Mont Faron, to mark the 70 th anniversary of the Liberation, the museum Mont Faron should be able to better translate and facilitate the understanding of this historic event unknown to the general public.

The new museography will revolve around 4 themes:

Theme 1: Preparations for the landing of the August 15, 1944
Presented in the Beaumont Tower (171 m²), this theme unfolds across 7 rooms and endeavors to describe the forces in the presence of both enemy and ally. From objects and multiple testimonies will be described the diversity of the liberation forces and the Resistance in the preparations for Operation Anvil-Dragoon. The historic speech will focus on respecting memories in order to realize that this effort was mainly carried out by the Allies, Americans in particular and underline the essential role played by the French forces – Army B of General de Lattre de Tassigny and Resistants of the interior.

Theme 2: The landing of the August 15, 1944
Deployed over 214m², this sequence dedicated to the Landing of August 15 is the central element of the museum project. Articulated in four points, the historical discourse will retrace, through dynamic elements, the preparations, the landing, the liberation of Toulon and Marseille. At the heart of the old guard room, a synchronized multi-screen device will offer to explain, in a sensitive and emotional way, the main phases of the landing of Provence. Finally, at the heart of the rocky part of Mont-Faron, a space calling for contemplation, some major facts from this military episode will be described, emphasizing the sacrifice and selflessness of the combatants. These scenographic devices thus invite the public to live a specific visit experience.

Theme 3: On the way to victory,…
In the Provence room, the historic speech will focus on further developing the jubilation of the liberated Provençal populations, the reconstruction but also the continuation of the fighting. It seems essential to remember that Army B continues its movement along the Rhône corridor, is illustrated in Colmar then crosses the Rhine and the Danube, making its leader, General de Lattre de Tassigny, one of the signatories of the capitulation act of Nazi Germany.

Theme 4: Mont-Faron, a Mecca of national memory
As part of its territory, the Mont-Faron memorial has been recognized since 2014 as one of the nine high places of national memory. This last sequence will evoke more the memory of the past events, the memory but also the transmission of civic values… The vocation of the memorial is therefore to be a place of reflection and teaching. This is why, this renovated project will also rely on a dedicated space allowing to host educational workshops to bring out the diversity of the actors of this event, and first of all the diversity of the Army B and of the Resistance in its action and composition.

Mont Faron Zoo
The Mont Faron Zoo, commonly called the Faron Zoo, is a French zoological park located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, in the commune of Toulon, on Mont Faron. It was founded in 1968 by Roger George De Souza and Etiennette Ribeiro De Souza. Today it is owned by Jim Jacquet-De Souza, son of the founders, and current director.

It is located 585 meters above sea level at the top of Mont Faron, which overlooks the city and the port of Toulon. It is not a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA).

Created in 1968 by Roger George dit De Souza and Etiennette Ribeiro De Souza, and inaugurated in May 1969, the Zoo du Faron is the result of the transfer of a first establishment called “Réserve de la Nature” installed in Carcès in the Var, itself even created in 1964.

The park has an area of 1.5 hectares offers visitors a wide variety of felines: tigers, snow leopard, European lynx and Canada, servals, pumas, jaguars, lions, ocelots and caracal within ‘ a typically Mediterranean flora.

It also presents guanacos, wolves, brown hyenas, hamadryas and ring-tailed lemurs,

Toulon is a commune in the south-east of France, the capital of the Var department and the seat of its prefecture. Third city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region behind Marseille and Nice, it also houses the headquarters of the maritime prefecture of the Mediterranean. The town is established on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, along the harbor of Toulon. Its inhabitantsare called the Toulon.

The city of Toulon is located in the South of France in the southwest of the Var department on the Mediterranean coast, halfway between Marseille, to the west, and Saint-Tropez, to the east. It is sometimes considered as the first city west of the Côte d’Azur since in the book La Côte d’Azur by Stéphen Liégeard, Toulon is included like Marseille in the first chapter devoted to “Hyères and the Land of the Moors”.

Located between the sea and the mountains, the economic capital of the Var, Toulon benefits from many natural assets. The naval base (largest French military port), commerce, administrations (public or private), tourism and research (PACA sea pole, French Research Institute for the exploitation of the sea (IFREMER),… are the he essential of the economic activity of the city, which shares with Hyères an airport through which pass approximately 500,000 passengers per year.

The commercial port of Toulon is the first French port to serve Corsica. The city has a university (faculty of sciences and techniques, faculty of letters and human sciences, faculty of economic sciences and management, faculty of sciences of information and the communication (Ingémédia), faculty of law, Staps, IUT, IAE), from higher education centers: preparatory classes for the grandes écoles of Dumont-d’Urville and Rouvière high schools, Higher Institute of Electronics and Digital Technology (ISEN Toulon), SeaTech engineering school, Kedge Business business school School, etc.

Toulon also has an opera house, a national regional conservatory, several museums, concert halls (Palais Neptune and Zénith-Omega) and a theater labeled “national scene”: the Liberté theater.

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