Hyeres, France Tourist Attractions
Hyères, an important agricultural center (flowers, early vegetables) and the oldest winter health resort of the French Riviera, lies only 20km/12mi east of Toulon at the foot of the 2,204m/670ft high Castéou, 4km/2.5mi from the sea.Near Hyères lay the Greek foundation of Olbia.
The heart of Hyères Old Town is the Place Massillon, where the lively daily market is held and where the 12th century Tour St-Blaise can be seen, the remains of a residence of the Knights Templar.In the Rue Rabaton can be found the birthplace of the great preacher Massillon, court minister to Louis XIV and Bishop of Clermont. Continue along Rue Ste-Cathérine to the Place St-Paul (orientation table; extensive view), with the church of the same name, originally built in the 12th century and restored in the 16th when the side chapels were added. On the right of the steps leading to the main door stands a charming little Renaissance house with little corner turrets, beneath this extends the Rue St-Paul.A few yards to the west stands the Porte des Princes, part of a former monastery. To the north of the square in the Rue Paradis are some pretty 13th century houses (No. 24 on the left; No. 6).Southeast of the Place Massillon, on the edge of the old town center, stands the 13th century Porte de la Rade, the former main gate of the town which gives access to the Place Clemenceau. To the north lies the Place de la République with a monument to Massillon, and the 13th century Church of St Louis, (Romanesque/Early Gothic) which formerly stood outside the town walls. East of the apse of the church, on the Cours Strasbourg, is the theater and behind it the attractive Jardin A. Denis.The busy Avenue du Général-de-Gaul leads west from the Place Clemenceau and forms the boundary of the New Town to the south.
New Town and Musée Municipal
The impressive Avenue Gambetta in Hyères leads south from the Place du Portalet into the New Town. To the east lies the Place Lefèbvre and here can be found the interesting Musée Municipal with archeological, local and natural history collections.
To the south of Hyères inner town can be found the Jardins Olbius-Riquier, a fine garden layout of 6.5ha/16acres with a great many exotic plants and birds.
The suburb of Costebelle lies 3km/2mi south of the town center of Hyères on a 98m/322ft high hill. On the top of the hill there was a place of pilgrimage as early as the 11th C. There is a fine view from the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Consolation, the tower of which is surmounted by a statue of the Madonna. A pilgrimage to this spot takes place on August 15 and 16.
St Pierre d'Almanarre
South of Notre-Dame-de-Consolation are in Hyères are the ruins of the Monastery of St-Pierre d'Almanarre (Arabic al-manar = lighthouse).
By the sea south of Toulon-Hyères Airport lies the resort of Hyères-Plage with a racecourse and the harbor of Port St-Pierre-de-la- Mer (marina).
L'Ayguade-Plage Le Ceintruon-Plage
Presqu'Ile de Giens
Near Toulon-Hyères Airport the Presqu'Ile de Giens juts out into the Mediterranean. To the east of this narrow tongue of land stretches the wide bay of Rade d'Hyères and to the west extends the Etang des Pesqueirs, closed off on the west by a dike along which runs the Route du Sel (Salt Road); here are the Salins Neufs (new salt-pans; 500ha/1,236 acres). These two spits of land link the coast to the Giens Peninsula, 6.5km/4mi long and up to 1.5km/1mi wide, which became joined to the mainland only in Roman times.On the eastern spit, which is covered with pines, are long sandy beaches, with opportunities for surfing and the settlement of La Capte. The central point of the peninsula is Giens with its castle ruins (52m/171ft above sea level; good view). In the west near the village of La Madrague rises the highest point of the peninsula (118m/387ft; signal station).Some 2km/1mi) east of Giens the road from Hyères ends at the ruins of the former Fort de la Tour-Fondue, built in the time of Richelieu. Immediately adjoining is the mooring-place of the motorboats for Porquerolles. To the south of the Giens Peninsula lies the Ile du Grand-Ribaud, a rocky island with a lighthouse.
The Iles d'Or are popular destinations for sunbathers and swimmers due to the coves and fine beaches.
Site archéologique d'Olbia
Near Hyères lay the Greek foundation of Olbia. The Romans fortified the settlement and the fortifications were subsequently extended, first by the Lords of Fos and afterwards by Charles of Anjou. During the Wars of Religion (16th C.) the town suffered considerably; after a siege lasting a year the Duc de Guise had the walls pulled down. At the beginning of the 17th C. the keep was destroyed (the remains have been preserved). Hyères was "discovered" in the 19th C. as a health resort.