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PORQUROLLES MY FAVORITE GATEWAY ON THE FRENCH RIVERA

Named New York Times Top Place To Visit In 2017

The beauty of travelling on your own is that you meet total strangers who become friends for a lifetime, you taste food you didn't know existed or you get lost and arrive at places that you didn’t plan to pay a visit.

In June 2014, when travelling with my husband between Saint Tropez and Marseille, I asked our hotel manager for a recommendation on something to do in the area, different from what we had already seen and done. He told us about Porquerolles, the island with fine sand beaches and turquoise waters that everyone falls in love with.

At the beginning I was a bit skeptical, because of the amount of beaches I had already seen on the French Rivera. I thought that nothing could surprise me anymore.

But I was sooo mistaken...

Porquerolles is a little corner of paradise, where the island's tranquility is only disturbed by the noise of the gentle waves clashing against the seashore. It’s only a short ferry-ride away from the vivid towns and cities along Cote d'Azur.

What makes it so unique

  1. Even though the island is well-known to French people, most often foreign tourists are still not aware of its existence. Therefore the island is not crowded during the months such as May, June or September.
  2. It is a perfect day trip during your next visit to the area. You can leave your car at the mainland's harbor and take the island's ferry which operates every half hour!
  3. The island's environment is protected by strict environmental laws, which means that motor vehicles are strictly prohibited. The main form of transportation is a bike and your own feet (how cool is that?!).
  4. There are no ugly hotels, cheap discos and cheesy beach-side shops, as new construction on the island is tightly regulated, and generally forbidden.
  5. The island is only about 7km (4.3 miles) long and 3km (1.3 miles) wide. However its landscape makes it perfect for many activities; hiking the south coast which is lined with cliffs, snorkelling in the crystal clear waters (this can be seen in very few other places in the Mediterranean), and biking along the north coast to one of the island’s pearl white sand beaches, Notre Dame, La Courtade or Plage d’Argent.

How to get there

The most convenient way to get to Porquerolles Island is by ferry from the port of Giens. The ferry leaves every half hour during the main summer season (July - August) from 7:30 to 19:00. A return ticket costs 19,50€.

For more information go to the TLV ferry service website: http://www.tlv-tvm.com/en/.

Parking

There is a large open car parking lot at the Tour Fondue, just a few steps away from the harbor for 11,50€ a day. More information on that specific parking lot and alternative ones in the surrounding area can be found under the following website (unfortunately only in French).

You can also take the ferry from the port of Le Lavandou. The trip takes about 40 minutes. Additional information on the departure schedule and fares can be found under following website (unfortunately only in French).

Accommodation

There are some beautiful, boutique hotels on the island itself, which needed to be booked well in advance, especially during the busy summer season:

  1. Villa Sainte-Anne - a small hotel with 25 rooms in the heart of the Porquerolle's village, open from April through November.
  2. Les Mèdes - three-star hotel with a waterfall, and pools in its garden. It offers a wide range of rooms with fully equipped kitchens, air conditioning, TV and Wi-Fi. Self-catering studios and apartments are also available.

Where to eat

There are some restaurants and bars on the island, that serve dishes inspired by Provencal cuisine:

  1. Le Pelagos - modern restaurant in the village centre, offering a primarily tapas-based menu, with outside dining terrace (Place d’Armes)
  2. La Plage d'Argent - open air restaurant located right on the beach, with limited options but a good menu (Chemin de la Plage d'Argent)

 

Bon voyage!

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