Draguignan is a town in the South of France located in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. This Medieval , walled town is bustling with artisan shops and ancient buildings, and it’s a delight to wander through its historic streets.
By car, the best way to get to Draguignan is on the A8 motorway, getting off at the Le Muy exit. To get to Draguignan by train, the nearest station is Arcs/Draguignan, which is 12km away but there are good connections between the town and the station. The TGV goes to this station daily. For more information, the telephone number for the station is: 04 94 68 15 34. If you are arriving by plane then the Toulon-Hyeres airport is 80km away, the Nice Cote d’Azur airport is also 80km away, and the Marseille-Marignane airport is 120km away.
This ancient military town was once a Roman fort set on top of a hill, which is now marked by an imposing 17th century clocktower. Legend has it that the name Draguignan comes from the story of a dragon that used to frighten pilgrims on their way to Lerins monastery, and was subsequently slain by the hermit Hermentaire, whose statue can be found in the church of St.Michel. The Dolmen Pierre de la Fee attests the towns Stone Age origins, and then under the Roman Empire Draguignan was a commune of villas and estates. Today Draguignan retains its military character as the home of the French army artillery school barracks.
Culture is one thing that Draguignan is not lacking. Just a selection of the town’s noteworthy museums and sights are the Museum of Artillery (including exhibits on the Napoleonic wars, World War I and II, and Indochina) the Museum of ‘Arts et Traditions Populaires’, which explores the history of the Provencal region, the Museum of Art and History, the Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial, the Eglise St Michel, the Eglise Notre-Dame du Peuple, a 16th century gothic cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary for protecting the town from the Plague, La tour de l’horloge, which is a 17th century monument, and La chapelle de l’Observance where there are often exhibitions. One of the most famous attractions is the Dolmen Pierre de la Fee, a 40 tonne stone Neolithic monument that echoes Stonehenge.
Draguignan is known as a town of culture and festivals, due to its frequent village fetes, theatre performances and art exhibitions. If you move outside the town itself there is the Gorges du Verdon and the Lac de Sainte-Croix, which are top resorts for those interested in hiking. There are numerous other tourist attractions, which deserve a visit, such as the Abbaye du Thoronet (16km away) and the Aqualand Water Park in Frejus (24km away). The town is also not far from the bay of St.Tropez, which can be crossed by organized boat trips and excursions. Inland there are various tours you can take part in, such as the circuit of the wine route, which takes you on a tour of the local villages.
In the Var region you will find the wonderful lavender honey that is so quintessentially Provencal, coming from the beautiful purple lavender fields that are found all over the region. Figs are also typical of the region, along with olive oil, truffles and sweet chestnuts. Wild boar is a popular Provencal dish that is served in all the restaurants in the town.
The Cotes de Provence wines come from the oldest wine growing region in the whole of France, all the way from Flayosc to Saint Raphael to Toulon. It is said that Draguignan itself has been producing wine for more than 2,600 years. There is therefore no better place to come and sample delicious Provencal wines, particularly if you like rose, as this constitutes for 70% of all the wine produced. Due to the wonderful hot climate and 320 days of sunshine per year, the wines of this region are characterized by a strong aroma and a natural ripeness, and sugar is not allowed to be added at the final stages of production.
- ‘Lou Galoubet’ on Boulevard Jean Jaures F (04 94 68 08 50)
- ‘Logis du Guetteur’ Place du Château, Les Arcs sur Argens (04 94 99 51 10)
Consult Sextant properties and they will be able to put you in touch with a local bi-lingual agent who can tell you what is available as well as course as accompanying you on any viewing visits around Draguignan. They will be able to answer all your questions and take you one step nearer that dream property.