Le Lavendou, on a point of land at the seaward end of the Var River, was once a busy Mediterranean fishing port, but nowadays it is pleasure craft that predominate with only a few working boats to be seen. Some would object to the amount of mooring space taken up, while others delight in it and there are still lots of sandy beaches to enjoy.
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I f you don’t arrive by yacht, and not so many of us do, you can come by train to Toulon and then travel on by coach, taxi or hire car. There are airports at Toulon, Nice, St Tropez and Marseilles so there should be plenty of choice.
You can download an up-to-date list of activities from the tourist association at http://lelavandou.eu/2002/ukaccueil.htm. They currently include such things as an exhibition of sculpture, an international design festival, festivals of music, comedy evenings, art exhibitions ( the neo-impressionists were here) and of course lots of things with an emphasis on food, drink and the sea. In March there is a festival of sun and flowers so this is not just summer activity. In June St Peter, (St Pierre) the patron of sea farers has his feast – a time when boat owners paint and decorate their boats and for some reason have a boules tournament. There are folk dancers and tambourines in a parade to celebrate. St Clair is the patron saint of the town as well as of seamstresses and his festival is celebrated in solemn procession in September. This festival, known as Romerage, also includes the acting out of traditional plays. A great number of excursions are possible with Le Lavandou as a base, whether your choice is a short cruise, a trip to a zoo or botanical garden or to follow a trail such as those dedicated to painters or wine in the area. The zoos are of interest to gardeners and botanists with their collections of exotic flora as well as fauna. Go and explore whether by foot, bike ( hired locally), coach or car, and I can guarantee you will find something of interest from chestnut forests to cork oaks, hidden abbeys to castles – they are all here. Despite all the yachts there are still plenty of beaches to choose from and islands to visit, though some are private. There are plenty of other activities from a Scrabble club, boules and golf of course, a fishing championship, cinemas and any number of night clubs.
Food and Drink
As you might expect, though there are restaurants providing fusion and international food, the Mediterranean climate dictates most food choices – sea food, olive oil, fresh fruit and vegetables, rather than the heavier rich cream and butter based dishes of the north.
This is a busy and popular place and in the high season it is always best to book ahead whether seeking just lunch or a hotel room, but you should find a place even in high season by wandering along quai Gabriel -Péri. Some places have music, especially at weekends – but just try people watching in a comfortable chair.
Restaurants vary from simple creperies to the rather expensive, but very luxurious.
Le Favouille, 9 rue Abbe Helin, Le Lavandou 83980, Tel no, 33 (0)4 94 71 34 29, 50€
La Louisiane, Boulevard de Front de Mer, Lavandou. Tel no: 33 (0)4 94 71 13 02, 60 €
This isn’t the cheapest part of France of course, though even here prices do drop a few kilometers inland. It has so much else going for it that if this is the life style you desire check that budget carefully and then contact Sextant properties who will be able to put you in touch with a bi-lingual agent who really knows this town and its surroundings very well indeed. Whether you wan t a small apartment or cannot live without a garden and your own pool there are properties available to view. The agent will be able to arrange viewings on dates to suit you and the seller, will accompany you and answer any queries that you have.