The natural harbour and anchorage of Toulon has long been a busy commercial port and naval base. Toulon is the main Naval Base of Mediterranean France, with very little remaining unfortunately of the former Greek and Roman presence. There is a major approach from the sea and Grande Rade is an excellent place to sail.
Toulon became important in 1589 when the Governor of the province ordered the building of Darse Vielle. The construction was funded by a 25% tax on Olive Oil. The Harbour was completed 21 years later in 1610. Initially protected by a great chain slung across the entrance to prevent an enemy attack.
The King of France did not have a Naval Fleet at this period and hired Privateers and Mercenaries from seafaring Lords and Captains when required. In 1944, a large portion of Toulon was destroyed by the Second World War. Toulon still has a Naval atmosphere that conceals a devotion to the sea and Maritime Traditions.
The City boasts a Naval Museum, a Museum of Art and Archaeology and a Cathedral along with chic cafés and fashionable boutiques. Toulon is a great place to wander, window shop and watch the world go by at waterfront cafés as the Yachts sail in and out of Darse Vielle. Darse Vielle is inexpensive and in the heart of the city but can be noisy on weekends.