Saint-Raphaël in Var, French Riviera

St. Raphael is a French commune located in the department of Var, in the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. It is the capital of the canton of Saint-Raphaël, the seat of the Var Estérel Méditerranée agglomeration community, a seaside and climatic resort on the Côte d’Azur.

The Roman villas on the road to Forum Julii fishing village where landed Bonaparte in 1799, the town became from the second half of the xix th century, under the influence of the mayor Felix Martin and the writer Alphonse Karr, a popular seaside resort for artists, sportsmen and politicians. Secondary site of the Landing of Provence in 1944, sporting and congress town, Saint-Raphaël is today, with the associated municipality of Fréjus, the economic and cultural center of the South-East of Var.

St. Raphael is located at the end is the Gulf of Frejus, on the border between the Var and Alpes-Maritimes. The town lies on 24 km of coast (second only to Marseilles and 57 km of coast) cut forming coves and creeks between the natural region of the Esterel and the Mediterranean. It extends over 15 km in length and 10 km in width, occupying 8,959 hectares, almost completely urbanized in the west, remained natural for 60 km2 of national forest maintained by the ONF and protected for 130 km2 in the Esterel massif. The National Institute for Geographic and Forest Information gives the geographic coordinates 43 ° 25’32 “N and 06 ° 46’07” E at the central point of its territory. The town is entirely included in the Nice-Côte-d’Azur urban area, the Fréjus urban area and the Var Esterel territory of the Var general council.

Saint-Raphaël has four large sandy beaches: Le Veillat near the city center, in Boulouris, Le Dramont, Agay and two smaller ones in Anthéor and Le Trayas. Offshore, the islands the Lion of Earth, the Sea Lion, the Golden Island (private) and the island of Old dot the rocky coast. The beaches are part of the RAMOGE erosion protection zone.

Saint-Raphaël is separated from Fréjus by the River Pédégal: fed by the Garonne, the Adrets-of-l’Esterel, Saint-Jean-de-Cannes and Saint-Jean-de-l’Esterel.

The River Agay flows from the mountains down through the village of that name, and is fed by the streams Cabre, Perthus and Grenouillet. The Grenouillet is the most important of these streams, having average flows of between 43 cu m/s in July and 1160 cu m/s in January.

The River Valescure, which is channelled through the Barrage des Crous (dam), discharges into the River Reyran at Fréjus.

From east to west the commune has several mountain summits rising from the massif. Mont Vinaigre in Fréjus stands at 618 metres (2027 ft), Rastel d’Agay at 287 m (942 ft), Pic de l’Ours (carrying a transmitter aerial) at 492 m (1614 ft), Pic du Cap Roux at 453 m (1486 ft), and Pic d’Aurèle at 322 m (1056 ft).

Situated almost entirely on the Esterel Massif, the commune sits on soil of red porphyr, which makes for very picturesque scenes along the coast where the soil and rocks are exposed on cliff faces and rocky shores. Three important and spectacular rocks dominate the seascape: Cap Roux at 360 m (1181 ft), Saint-Pilon at 295 m (968 ft), and the Rock of Saint-Barthélemy.

Adjacent places
Immediately to the west and north-west of Saint-Raphaël lies the ancient town of Fréjus. To the north lie the hamlets of Saint-Jean-de-l’Esterel et Saint-Jean-de-Cannes, both within the Fréjus commune. To the extreme north-east, beyond Le Trayas, is the small resort of Miramar, lying within the commune of Théoule-sur-Mer. The Mediterranean Sea lies to the south of the whole Saint-Raphaël commune.


Middle Ages
The village then became a dependency of the bishopric of Frejus though existing since the v th century. In the xii th century, the succession dispute the county of Provence between the counts of Toulouse and Barcelona enabled the Order of the Temple to take possession of the village which then became a commander as Hyeres or Grasse until the dissolution of the order in 1312 and the transfer of property to the order of St. John of Jerusalem. In 1347, the black plague ravaged Provence and decimated more than a third of its population.

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. The Saint Raphael community supports Duras until 1386 then changes sides to join the Angevin through patient negotiation of Marie de Blois, widow of Louis Iand regent of their son Louis II. The surrender of Aix could also play a role in the community’s about-face。

Modern Times
At the xvi th century, the coast was sacked by the pirates and the troops of Charles V. In response, the Bishopric of Fréjus decided to build a lookout tower in 1562, on the summit of Armont. In the xvii th century, the chapel of Our Lady was built. In 1635, to complete the Tower of Armont, a star fort was built on the point closing the bay of Agay. In 1636, Jean Vincent de Roux, governor of Agay and Théoule, obtained from Barthélemy Camelin, bishop of Fréjus, the subservience of the domain. In 1690, the inhabitants chose the representation of the Archangel Raphael for coat of arms. From the xviii th century, the village economy turned to the exploitation of resources fishery, the district Marine grew around the harbor. The Chapel of Mercy was built in the xviii th century. In 1707 and 1747, the Agay estate and the fort were occupied and ransacked by Austrian troops. In 1750, François Giraud, lord of Agay, built a two-story castle on the fort.

French Revolution and First Empire
In 1793, the revolutionaries razed the towers. During Year II (1794), Saint-Raphaël chose to take the name of Barraston in homage to Paul Barras, viscount of the region and influential politician of the French Revolution.

The October 9, 1799, Bonaparte, back from the Egyptian campaign, landed with his generals (Berthier, Lannes, Murat, Marmont, Bessières) and scientists (Monge, Berthollet) triumphantly at Saint-Raphaël. A pyramid was built on the port to celebrate this event. Wink of History, it was also from Saint-Raphaël that he embarked, deposed, for the island of Elba theApril 28, 1814. The1 st March 1815, he should have landed again in Saint-Raphaël for his reconquest of the Hundred Days but he finally arrived in Vallauris and avoided the town on his way back. In 1810, the Agay castle was taken by the British and the Dramont tower was armed with two cannons and in 1860, it was transformed into a semaphore and leveled above the first floor. In 1813, the schooner the patrol car was attacked by the British deliberately beached Pallières by his commander and refloating to rally Toulon.

World war II
Located in the free zone, the town was not affected by the war during the first years. In 1943, the school opened by Father Roussenq was joined by a girls ‘ school. Demobilized, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry came to live with his sister in Agay onAugust 5, 1940, he partly wrote Citadelle there. TheJuly 31, 1944, after taking off from Bastia-Poretta airport and passing near his sister’s castle, he disappeared at sea. He was on an aerial reconnaissance mission for the next operation. Despite pressure from Admiral Henri Nomy to spare the town, this operation hit the town hard. Called operation Anvil Dragoon, it began with a bombardment in order to destroy the railway viaduct between Anthéor and Le Trayas, but it was the Agay district which was destroyed. In the night ofAugust 14, commandos took up position on the coastal railway. TheAugust 15, 1944at eight in the morning, the 36 th Infantry Division named Camel Force landed on the beach of Dramont (Green Beach), the creek Anthéor (Blue Beach) and Veillat Beach in Saint-Raphael (Red Beach) followed onAugust 16by Army B of General de Lattre de Tassigny.

The town was decorated, the November 11, 1948, from the Croix de guerre 1939-1945.

The end of the xx th century: the tourist boom
The September 23, 1954opened the first high school in Boulouris. Eight years later, it closed its doors and in 1962 opened the Lycée Antoine-de-Saint-Exupéry. In 1961, the establishment opened by Father Roussenq signed an association contract with the State and became the Cours Stanislas; in 1995, he opened a high school and became the Stanislas Institute.

The September 9, 1974The 34F flotilla of Naval Aviation equipped with Alouette III version anti-submarine warfare was created in Saint-Raphaël to arm the frigates Tourville and Duperré. But theJanuary 14, 1975, the flotilla moved to the naval aeronautical base of Lanvéoc-Poulmic.

The town continued its tourist boom with the passage of national road 7, the arrival in 1961 of the A8 motorway, in 2001 of a TGV connection on the classic line, the subdivision of the districts of Valescure and Boulouris, construction from the national necropolis of Boulouris in 1964., in 1990 from the largest holiday village in Europe, Cap Esterel, and the development during the 1990s of the Port Santa-Luciaand the Palais des Congrès.

The 2000s: the renaissance
In 2000, the Cultural Center opened its doors, bringing together the media library, the conservatory and exhibition halls. It opens the way to an important cultural extension which will be played on the territory during the following years.

In 2003, the Bonaparte car park and garden were built and revitalized the seaside with this huge parking space on two floors and a garden that will continue to host cultural events. It is also on this date that the city takes possession of all the covered car parks and creates the Régie des Stationnements, it also founds the Régie des ports raphaëlois which brings together all the ports of the commune, from the Vieux Port to Anthéor.

In 2004, it hosted the ceremonies of the sixtieth anniversary of the landing of Provence. In 2006, the Nautical Stadium was inaugurated, one of the most recent in France in which, in 2007 and 2010, the French Swimming Championships were organized; since then it is the French N2 championships which occupy the stadium each year. At the sporting level, the territory was also marked by the construction of the Jean-François-Krakowski Sports Palace funded by the urban community.

The construction of the Le Lido Multiplex Cinema and the Le Forum intercommunal theater in Fréjus, two emblematic places in eastern Var, show the city’s cultural attachment.

The Old Port was completely renovated and was reopened to the public in August 2014 after more than two years of work, which consisted in enlarging the breakwater at the entrance to the port, creating an underground car park and a gourmet restaurant and shops on the Quai Nomy. It is now the tourist center of the city.

The opening of the Colosseum in 2015 was supposed to revitalize the nights of Raphael, but its early closure clearly prevented it. It was at this time that the Leisure Center and the Badri-Rouhabia room were created. The modernization works of the Victor-Hugo Market begin, awaited for more than a century and finally never realized, they give a new breath to this district which had started with the construction of the Cinema a few years before. The House of Rights is inaugurated opposite the Lycée Saint-Exupéry.

Must do
Trekking, From Agay, if you take the only road that go away from the cost (follow the highe sign) you will find lots of other signs towards “Esterel”. you will find there pretty and easy trek to do (one of the most famous is probably around “the le pic de l’ours”).
Diving, very nice spots from St. Raphael and the “Lyon de mer” (the island in front of the city center to Traya and the red creeks falling deep in the sea. Don’t forget to dive in front of the Dramond colorful wall and a wreck for those who have a bit of experience.
Playing golf, in Valescure, one of St Raphael suburb.

Environmental heritage
The commune of Saint-Raphaël is associated with the RAMOGE erosion control project (Saint-Raphaël – Monaco – Genoa) signed in 1976 by the governments of the French, Italian and Monegasque Republic. 14,000 hectares of the Esterel massif are protected by the National Forest Office and the Conservatoire du littoral and the littoral law prevents new construction on a strip of one hundred meters of coastline. The Esterel and the coastal strip between Agay and Le Trayas are also recognized as sites of the Natura 2000 Network. The harbord’Agay, Cap du Dramont, Rastel d’Agay (309 meters), Landing Beach are listed in the inventory of remarkable sites. The massif is regularly exposed to fire risks, developments are carried out by the municipality and the departmental and national services to preserve the territory. The coast offers twenty scuba diving sites. The coastal path and the long-distance hiking trail GR 49 pass over the territory of the municipality, in addition to many marked trails through the massif. The botanical garden from the park of Villa Magali located by the sea is open to the public.

The town is located in the heart of the Esterel massif, near the Esterel park located in the neighboring town of Théoule-sur-Mer. She was rewarded with three flowers in the competition of cities and villages in bloomthanks to the Bonaparte gardens, Saint-Jacques, de la Bastide, to the squares of Provence, of doctor Régis, Berger, Saint-Exupéry, of Bir Hakeim, of doctor Clément, General Eisenhower, Poussaï and golf courses Esterel, Valescure and Cap Esterel. In 2006, analyzes carried out by DRASS and DDASS revealed good quality of bathing water. However, the town never obtained a Blue Flag for its beaches but for its marina at Santa-Lucia.

Eight associations act for the preservation of the environment, the municipality has a dedicated service, but transmits a large part of the missions to the urban community. It is equipped with electric vehicles for the maintenance of green spaces and the city center, has set up selective sorting and has a treatment plant in Agay.

The Golden Island and Cap Dramont
In the 19th century, the Île d’Or was still nothing more than a rocky islet like so many others on the Var coast. It was not until 1897 that the fabulous destiny of this small island finally revealed itself. It was indeed this year that an architect from Dramont, baptized Sergent, became the owner for only 280 francs (a Peugeot petrol car was worth 20 times that amount!). It changed hands a few years later, at the beginning of the 20th century, and became the property of a certain doctor Auguste Lutaud, who would have acquired it during a card game!

Cap Dramont is part of the Estérel national forest. At the top, the Semaphore was built in 1860 on the ruins of a watchtower dating from 1562. It is still used for surveillance of the sea. The large Dramont beach was one of the main landing sites in Provence. 20,000 GI’s from the 36th Texas Division of the American army landed on August 15, 1944. At the foot of the cape, the very picturesque little fishing port of Poussaï.

Harbor of Agay
Agay, located in one of the most beautiful stretches of the coast between Cap Dramont and the tip of the Baumette, is the natural gateway to Estérel. It offers three sandy beaches and a terraced area with access to the sea by the rocks. Very sheltered, it was appreciated by navigators (Agay means “favorable” in Greek).

The Corniche d’Or
The Corniche d’Or and Les calanques d’Anthéor / Le Trayas opened in 1903 under the leadership of the Touring Club of France, the Corniche d’Or links St-Raphaël to Cannes. It is bordered by the clearest waters of the department.

Coastal path
From Port Santa Lucia to Agay, the coastal path stretches along the old customs route. By walking this path, you will discover the beauty of our coast, between steep coves and sandy beaches.

The town of Saint-Raphaël is incredibly large. Its 36 km of jagged coastline offers more than 28 varied beaches: fine sand or pebbles, shaded strikes, creeks and creeks

Related Post

The city of Saint-Raphaël is embarking on a certification process for bathing water.

The Blue Flag labeled beaches are as follows: Veillat, Péguière, Arène Grosse, Boulouris, Dramont, Camp Long, Pourousset, Agay, Baumette, Anthéor


Boulouris Port
This small port with a family atmosphere, in a setting that is not lacking in charm, is located on the Chemin des Douaniers between the old town of Saint Raphaël and Cap Dramont.

Santa Lucia Port
A stone’s throw away, and accessible on foot from the city center, Santa Lucia is the third largest marina on the Côte d’Azur. It is an ideal starting point for the Mediterranean coasts, Corsica, Italy. It is there, next to the shipyard, that the coastal path starts for walkers. As for strollers, they will enjoy browsing the two kilometers of quays with many shops.

Poussaï Port
The small port of Poussaï in Dramont, located at the foot of the semaphore, is a true setting for boaters and walkers. Well hidden from the sea behind its riprap, invisible from the earth. We cultivate here a sense of the sea, friendliness, authenticity.

Agay Port
Located in the heart of the bay of Agay, the Port of Agay benefits from an exceptional setting. Its pointed quay, a garden always in bloom and the red rocks that line the harbor, delight artists, summer visitors as well as toddlers.

Saint-Raphaël Old Port
The Old Port, located in the heart of the city, now has all the technical and aesthetic characteristics necessary for yachting, while maintaining its authenticity, its charm, with its traditional sharp points.

Architectural heritage
The heritage of Saint-Raphaël is rich in the different periods of habitation and enrichment of the town.

In a place called La Cabre there are vestiges of a Neolithic encampment. The town has several megalithic sites:
the dolmens of Montrouge, Valbonette, and Valescure (also called dolmen of Suveret), now ruined, it is included in the perimeter of the golf course.
the Menhir of Aire-Peyronne and the Menhirs of Veyssières classified as historic monuments.

The Greeks stopped at Agathon on the road to Massalia, then the Romans founded Portus Agathonis connected to Via Aurelia of which remain:
a milestone,
an altar,
a necropolis,
a career at a place called La Caus,
a fragment of the aqueduct of Forum Julii,
the foundations of a large villa rustica to Veyssière and numerous wrecks of galleys loaded with amphorae.

From the Middle Ages remain:
the church of St. Raphael (the Templars) of the xii th century built in a style Provençal Romanesque on a construction Carolingian and the xi th century, inscribed with historical monuments,
the remains of walls of the xii th century with a watchtower high thirty meters.
the semaphore of Dramont, built in 1562, originally called Tower Armont which now belongs to the Navy.

The old town, the alleys, the passages with arcades and some houses are listed historic monuments. The Renaissance and the old regime left few traces in Saint-Raphaël who was then a harbor of fishing and a dependence of the diocese of Fréjus. Only the chapel Our Lady of the xvii th century and the Mercy of the xviii th century in style Neoclassical and castle Agay began in 1635 remain. In 1799 a pyramid was built on the port to commemorate the landing of Napoleon Bonaparte back from the Egyptian campaign.

The tourist boom due to Alphonse Karr and the mayor Félix Martin allowed the construction of the casino in 1881, the Protestant temple in 1882, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Victoire basilica in 1887 in a neo-Byzantine style, the Villa Magali de Beaux-Arts registrant historic buildings with decorative elements of the Tuileries Palace reported by Léon Carvalho, the Villa Mauresque built in 1860 by architect Pierre Chapoulard, the Villa Notre Dame (former residence of Princess Clémentine of Belgium), the villa La Péguière (built in 1880 by Edward Siegfried), the hotel Continental, Excelsior opened at the beginning of xx th century and renovated in 1993 and numerous villas of Fine Style Arts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco (often by architect Pierre Aublé). On the Île d’Or there is a Saracen style tower built in 1912. The Agay lighthouse was built in 1884. It is decorated with a stele in memory of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry because it would be the last building that he would have seen before crashing into the sea onJuly 31, 1944.

On the seafront (boulevard Raymond Poincaré) stands the obelisk of the Memorial to the African Army. It was inaugurated on August 15, 1975 by the Minister of the Interior, Michel Poniatowski, on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the landing of Provence. The xx th century also saw the construction of the memorial of the landing in Provence composed of two obelisks and Boulouris National Necropolis in 1964, the largest holiday village, Cap Esterel in 1990, the household CREPS Boulouris in 1998 achieved by the architect Rudy Ricciotti, and many tourist facilities. The residential tower called “Tour Vadon”, fifty-three meters high and with eighteen floors, dominates the waterfront of the town.

Culture Heritage

Notre Dame Basilica
The Notre Dame de la Victoire church was built at the end of the 19th century, when Mayor Félix Martin began to “transform” Saint-Raphaël, not without success.

The growth of the city was such that the old San Rafeu church could hardly welcome new citizens any more. Abbé Bernard, parish priest from 1882 to 1890, then entrusted the construction of a new place of worship to the architect Pierre Aublé, classmate of Félix Martin. Of Lyonnaise origin, and great lover of the Byzantine – Moorish style, Pierre Aublé imagined the basilica of Saint-Raphaël according to this inspiration. We also find a very characteristic dome of this type of building, largely inspired by that of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

San Rafeu Tower
In the 13th century, Saint-Raphaël was under the authority of the Bishop of Fréjus, who lived there occasionally, as did Fayence and Puget, his main residence being Fréjus. It was he who initiated the construction of this tower, erected on the arm of the southern transept of the San Rafeu church, at the end of the 13th century.

This fortified tower whose origin has long been wrongly attributed to the Templars, because of similarities in construction techniques, is more a symbol of authority than a defensive element. 25 meters high, it has 3 floors and its walls are composed in places of ancient re-use. It was not until 1881 that the wrought iron campanile was affixed to the top of the tower, as well as the bell, weighing 100kg and ringing the hammer for hours. At the top of the 129 steps, a superb 360 ° panorama opens up before you, from the summits of the Estérel to the tip of Saint-Tropez via the ponds of Villepey, the rock of Roquebrune, and a breathtaking view of the basilica and its Byzantine domes.

Old City
From the old “village district” where the Raphael peasants lived today, only a few narrow, shaded streets remain, which now constitute what we call the old town.


Museum Of History, Prehistory And Underwater Archeology
The archaeological museum of Saint-Raphaël, built in a building classified as a Historic Monument, is located in the old town. It is with the adjoining Romanesque church, the flagship of an 800 m² space dedicated to heritage. The archaeological museum includes a medieval church, a department of underwater archeology and prehistory. Come and discover the secrets of the medieval church by immersing yourself in its archaeological crypts where 2000 years of history follow one another.

Underwater archeology immerses you in the depths of Roman shipwrecks laden with amphorae. The last two floors are dedicated to prehistory, from the Paleolithic with its bifaces to the Neolithic with its menhirs.

Louis De Funès Museum
With nearly 150 films, no less than 300,000 million cinema tickets sold, Louis de Funès is undoubtedly one of the most popular figures in French cinema. More than 350 documents are presented: personal, filming and film photographs, notably drawings by Louis de Funès, letters like those of Jean Anouilh, but also extracts from films, some of which are unknown. You will thus discover Gérard Oury and Louis de Funès in 1949 in Du Guesclin! and other extracts from iconic films: La Grande Vadrouille, Le Corniaud, La Folie des Grandeurs, Le Grand Restaurant, L’Aile ou la Cuisse… presented on period televisions but also on the big screen, to
find the famous choreographies Adventures of Rabbi Jacob, the Grand Restaurant and L’Homme orchester.

Louis de Funès is also present thanks to telephones scattered everywhere. You can find his voice telling us anecdotes, stories and confessions about his life and his work. The visitor will then be immersed in this temple devoted to the actor, where he will be able to replay some scenes and find the gags of certain films.

Micro-Folie Digital Museum
Micro-madness is a digital museum, with its 500 treasures from the largest national institutions. It is made up of 3 entities: the digital museum, the digital creation space and the fablab. Inspired by the Folies du Parc de La Villette designed by the architect Bernard Tschumi, the innovative Micro-Folie project is led by the Ministry of Culture and coordinated by La Villette, with the Palace of Versailles, the Pompidou Center, the Louvre, the Musée national Picasso, Musée du Quai Branly, Philharmonie de Paris, RMN-Grand Palais, Universcience, Institut du Monde Arabe, Musée d’Orsay, Opéra national de Paris, Festival d’Avignon and d ‘other national operators.

Micro-Folie is a project that intends to feed on the uniqueness of each territory where it is established, through close work with local actors in order to adapt content and activities to the characteristics of the territory.

The life of the town is punctuated by different traditional, cultural, sporting or economic events. In terms of traditional and religious holidays, we find in the second half of February the Day Mimosa with a parade and a parade night, now diverted in the form of “Fancy Carnival” and always in February held the election of Miss Saint-Raphaël. The April 29 takes place the feast of the holy Baume with a pilgrimage and a mass in Provence in the Esterel. The May 20 is celebrated Saint Honorat with a mass and a procession. From 25 to July 28 is held the patronal feast and the feast of Saint Peter of fishermen the first weekend of August. For Christmas is organized the Festival of Light, with street theater performances, a light parade, a Christmas market, the installation of a ferris wheel and the lighting of the city, including the Old Port and Basilica.

Different fairs are held at the Palais des Congrès, including between February and March, the Habitat Fair, in March, the Well-being Fair, between April and May, the Vintners Salon. In November, the Salon du Mariage, the Salon Sud Aventure and the Salon du Palais Gourmand and in December, the Forum du Lycéen.

The crop is put forward the21st of Junewith the Music Festival, the first week of July is held the Festival of Jazz, the third week of July is dedicated to the Musical evenings of Templars. The Laughter Festival is held the last week of September and the first week of October, European Cinema Week.

The sports are not left with many year-round activities such as the Race of Parishes in the Esterel, the ascent of Mount Vinegar, the France Championships Swimming N2 International Tennis Championships and of course the SRVHB, SRVVB, Etoile and CARF meetings.

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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