Fréjus and Saint-Raphaël, seaside resorts in the South of France

Fréjus and Saint-Raphaël are located in Provence in the Var region, on the coast of southern France. This coastal strip is also called Côte d'Azur. It is the region where many celebrate their holidays. Fréjus is one of the larger seaside resorts by the Mediterranean with over 50,000 inhabitants. The seaside resort next to Fréjus is Saint-Raphaël. Both towns are located on the beach and are fairly fused together which is why people often refer to them as on the same beach. Fréjus and St. Raphaël are popular among tourists because there is a lot to do. The towns are located in a bay which give them a lovely climate. There is an old city center with many sights, old buildings, characteristic houses, picturesque shopping streets with boutiques and terraces, music events and markets. The coast and the beautiful beaches, the extensive boulevards and the ports of Fréjus and Saint-Raphaël are within walking distance from this old city center. You can walk on the past the shops and terraces overlooking the boats.

History of Fréjus and Saint Raphaël

Fréjus was founded during the Roman Empire. It was located on the trade route between Italy and Spain and was named Forum Julii, which means "market of Julius". Fréjus was named after the Roman emperor Julius Caesar. A trading port was also built which grew into one of the largest in the Roman Empire. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city was ransacked several times. After the 10th century there was little left of the city and the port. During the 19th century, Fréjus became important again due to the increasing popularity among tourists. The tourists come to visit remains dating back to the Roman Empire such as the Arena, the Aqueduct, the amphitheatre and the archaeological museum.

Amphitheatre of Fréjus

The amphitheatre is one of the most famous sights in Fréjus even though it is less spectacular than other amphitheatres of the time. It is located just outside the old city center. You can still see the original walls on the outside and the stands on the inside. Concerts are held during the summer.

Historical center of Fréjus

If you are on holiday in the South of France near Fréjus and St. Raphaël, be sure to visit the old historical centers of both places. Walk through the narrow streets with colored houses and atmospheric squares. Be sure to also visit the following when in Fréjus:

  • Rue des Artistes, an artistic street with pretty galleries
  • Saint-Léonce cathedral with 2 churches, Notre Dame and St. Etienne.
  • Monastery of Fréjus which is located next to the cathedral on rue de Fleury. It has beautiful ceiling paintings.
  • Baptistery "Baptistière" next to the cathedral, one of the oldest in France.
  • The episcopal palace near the cathedral, which is now used as a town hall.
  • The archaeological museum next to the monastery.

Historic centre of Saint-Raphaël

The great basilica Notre-Dame de la Victoire has a prominent position in St. Raphael as it rises above many of the neighboring buildings. In the narrow streets a typical Provencal flower and vegetable market is held every day. Regularly, festivals are organized such as the Mimosa week and the Jazz festival.

Eat, drink and visit wineries

In Fréjus and Saint-Raphaël there are plenty of terraces in the old city center, the harbor or on the beach where you can enjoy a bite to eat and a drink. After a walk, go out for lunch and enjoy regional dishes! A lovely place to have lunch is Place Février, the square near the church in Fréjus. In and around Fréjus and St.  Raphaël there are also several wineries where you can wander around and taste delicious wines. Some of the wineries in the area are Les Celliers du Sud which belongs to Ramatuelle, Château de Paquette, La Cave des Cariatides, Clos de Roses and Domaine des Planes.

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Holiday activities on the coast

The coast of Fréjus and St. Raphaël is over 40 km long and has sandy beaches, coves with rocks, harbors and the boulevards of both seaside resorts. Parts of the beaches are public such as Plage de Veillat, Beaurivage, Péguière, Le Dramont, Agay and Le Lido. You can go to these beaches whenever you want. The other beaches in the area are commercial beaches. On these beaches there are beach beds and umbrellas for which you have to pay. You can go hiking, sunbathing and play beach volleyball and other games. Cool off in the sea afterwards! You can do all kinds of water sports such as: sailing, motorboat rental, diving, parasailing, water skiing, wakeboarding, sea kayaking, kite surfing or paddleboarding.

Shopping and visiting markets

In Fréjus and St. Raphaël there are larger shopping centers on the outskirts of these towns and more artisanal shops, souvenir shops and other shops that are popular among tourists, in the historic city center. Stalls are often set up on the boulevards where all sorts is sold. During your holiday, be sure to visit a typical French market. Markets are held on Wednesday and Saturday morning in the old town of Fréjus and on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday morning on the Boulevard. In Saint-Raphaël there is a market every morning. During the the summer months there is a daily night market on the Boulevard and in the harbour at Fréjus Plage.

Fun things to do during the holidays

  • Take a trip on the tourist train "Le Petit Train Touristique". This train runs during the summer months between the port and the old center of Fréjus. There is also a train in St. Raphaël which drives past several sights.
  • Go by boat to St. Tropez. You can go on a regular boat or by a speedboat. This can even be a cheaper alternative then going by car, because parking in St. Tropez is expensive if there even are parking places.
  • Visit Aquapark Aqualand or the zoo.
  • Explore the area by electric scooter, segway, quad bike or horse.
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