Exploring the Var in the South of France

Cultural discoveries on the French Riviera

by Edel Cassidy

The Var is a picturesque region in the South of France, with quaint villages, vibrant markets and historical sites just waiting to be discovered. When it comes to Var tourism, the region’s charm lies in its ancient streets and sun-drenched beaches. Visitors will find themselves entranced by the laid-back atmosphere and timeless beauty of the area.


‘I was only happy once: that was at Hyères,’ Robert Louis Stevenson wrote to his cousin, Sidney Colvin, in March 1891. At the time, Hyères was a popular winter health resort, frequented by the aristocracy. It also served as an artistic and literary haven where notable figures such as Victor Hugo, Leo Tolstoy, Rudyard Kipling, D.H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton sought inspiration.

The charming architecture of the Var region, France, with the iconic 12th-century Templars Tower in Hyères
The 12th-century Templars Tower, Hyères

I was thrilled to embark on my tour of the Var in this charming town, the oldest resort on the French Riviera. Its medieval centre, with winding streets and quaint shops, contrasts with the newer district featuring grand villas from the Victorian era. The old town, perched atop a hill, overlooks the scenic Golden Isles archipelago and offers a delightful blend of history and natural beauty.

Among the places I visited were: 

Château d’Hyères. The ruins of an 11th-century castle tower high above the town, giving panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea.

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