Overlooking a sparkling bay on the Côte d’Azur, Saint-Raphaël is a leisurely resort town in southeastern France. It’s fringed by rocky red coves and sandy beaches, including one of Provence’s main Allied landing sites from World War II. In the heart of the city an atmospheric old town and the majestic Notre Dame de Victoire Basilica.
Things to do in Saint-Raphaël
Nestled behind Saint-Raphaël’s harbour is a colourful old town, with narrow streets lined with beautiful buildings, such as the Eglise San Rafeu. Its presbytery houses the Prehistory and Maritime Archaeology Museum where tools and artefacts uncovered along the coast are exhibited. Climb its watchtower for elevated views across the city, then visit the Notre Dame de la Victoire Basilica, a 19th-century Byzantine and Moorish architectural landmark built using locally-sourced pink sandstone.
There are beautiful views across the Baie de Saint-Raphaël from the Jardin Bonaparte, a public garden laid out atop a parking garage. It features a large children’s play area, several benches and a wave-inspired pagoda, as well as changing photographic exhibitions.
You can spend your days relaxing on one of the sun-drenched beaches that dot the surrounding coastline, with Plage des Fournas and Plage de Frejus among the most popular. A short drive east will take you to Plage de Maupus, a secluded cove framed by ochre rocks that can be accessed from Le Trayas railway station.
Getting around Saint-Raphaël
Nice Côte d'Azur Airport is a 45-minute drive from Saint-Raphaël and has flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. Trains connect from the Saint-Raphaël-Valescure railway station to Paris while buses travel to Aix-en-Provence and Nice. The centre of Saint-Raphaël is compact enough to explore on foot.