Once an industrial area for the Port of Toulon, La Seyne-sur-Mer is a waterfront dining district dotted with historic landmarks. It was long renowned for its shipbuilding and still serves as a French naval base while it’s also just a stone’s throw from one of the region’s most beautiful beaches.
Things to do in La Seyne-sur-MerOne of La Seyne-sur-Mer’s most dominant landmarks is the Pont Basulant, a former railway bridge that was completed in 1917 to access the town’s shipyards. Now heritage-listed, it’s permanently in an upright position and rises to 44 metres in height, with an observation platform offering panoramic views across the harbour. On the lower level is a small exhibition explaining its century-old mechanisms.
Built in 1673, Fort Balaguier is a military fortification constructed to defend Toulon’s port from attack. Its chapel houses a permanent exhibition about the history of French penal colonies and displays a fascinating array of objects crafted by convicts. Fort Balaguier also encompasses a botanical garden planted with exotic species brought to Toulon in the 17th and 18th centuries.
For a day at the beach, head to the Plage des Sablettes, which stretches for a kilometre along an isthmus that connects to the Saint-Mandrier Peninsula. Facing the Deux Frères rocks, it provides a setting for swimming and sunbathing in the summer months, as well as windsurfing, kayaking and sailing. Further west is the Plage de la Vernette, a pebbly cove shaded by palm trees.