Toulon is a 167,000-inhabitant city located in the south east of France. It is the prefecture of the Var department and the third city of the Provence Alpes Cotes d’Azur region (PACA, also known as French Riviera) in terms of population (the 15th of France). 190km to the Italian border, it is built near the Mediterranean Sea, along a charming harbour.
Situated between sea and mountain, the city holds many natural assets. As regards economy, it is the economic centre of Var where tourism, trade and administration are the main resources. Toulon houses the largest French military harbour. The latter is also the gateway to Corsica (in 2008, 65% of the passengers travelled from the Var department to Corsica).
Upon visiting the old quarters of the city, you will discover Toulon’s architectural heritage, Telo Martius’ history and the military harbour. After the unification of Provence and France, Toulon became a shipbuilding location and its harbour was used to house navy fleets. During the 19th century, many Italian, Breton and Corsican immigrants settled in the city. After WWII, the harbour and many dwellings needed to be rebuilt. Thus, all around the old city many apartment are constructed in buildings.
In the north of the city, the Faron mount stands at 584m. This is a limestone massif offering an amazing view over Toulon and its surroundings. The mount is accessible both by road and by aerial tramway. Toulon’s arsenal is the port of registry of Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier as well as the home of numerous nuclear submarines.
As regards architecture, some monuments are worth a visit. Here are some examples: Toulon’s opera, cathedral, royal tower, square tower and bathyscaphe. The area offers approximately 20 natural parks where you can have a break and admire the scenery.
In 2008, Toulon was one of the most expensive French cities with more than 150,000 inhabitants. The average property price in 2009 is €3,123/sq m, which is quite high since the national average is €3,197/sq m. Rental prices are also high: €12.38/sq m a month against €12.22/sq m a month in France as a whole). As 52% of the inhabitants rent property, Toulon represents a great location for buy-to let property. Even if prices are high in Toulon, the latter has much more on offer such as scenery and dynamism. The French Riviera always seduces new residents or investors, whatever property prices may be. Indeed, the area offers strong rental opportunities as well as a fast return on investment.
To get updated info about the property prices in Toulon, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Gastronomy: Toulon’s cuisine is essentially a Mediterranean one and influenced by Provence and Piemont (Italy). For example, you can easily find flower courgette beignet (courgette with a special pastry called ‘beignet’ around), bagna cauda (a sauce made of anchovies, garlic and olive oil), daube provencale (meat and red wine), panisses (dish made of split pea) and so on to be discovered in the area. However, Toulon also offers some specialities such as the socca, which is a split pea flour pancake. The latter has several names according to the town/area in which you buy it: it is named farinata in Italy, cade in Toulon and socca in Nice. As regards alcoholic drinks, Toulon has its own Pastis (an aperitif made of fennel and liquorice with a taste of anise). Le Vin du Clos Lamalgue is a local wine to be tasted! In terms of sweets, the city is not outdone: the caillou du Faron is a great delicacy created in 1981. Just taste, you will not be disappointed!
Climate & scenery: Toulon is located at the seaside and houses a beautiful military harbour. The city offers both amazing tranquillity and dynamism. Indeed, it is built between the sea and the mountains. This touristy location is a thriving place where you don’t have time to be bored. If you are looking for nature and quietness, you can hike in the mountains and the Faron mount amongst others. The climate there is pleasant since very sunny and hot in summer. However, the area is touched by regular winds. Thanks to its closeness with the sea, temperature is always mild. All these assets may convince hesitating people to settle in the city.
Location – Transport links: Toulon is easily accessible from the UK thanks to three main airline companies (Easyjet, Ryanair and Airways) flying to London Gatwick or London Stansted. The city’s railway station is the most important of Var. With the high-speed train, you can travel to Paris, Lille, Brussels, Lyon, and Nice. Regional lines lead to Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Hyères and Luxembourg amongst others. From Paris and Lille, you can then reach the United Kingdom thanks to the Eurostar train.
Street markets: the city is renowned for its street markets making the charm of Provence. They are part of Toulon’s heritage and are a mean of meeting the locals and discovering typical produce. In the city centre, the street market is so huge that it seems endless. In the morning, you can find mainly spices, vegetables, fruit and herbs. In the afternoon, it is converted into a flower and craft industry market. There are plenty of wonderful things to see and do, including visiting museums and landmarks such as fountains.
Apartments: they are the first kind of dwelling in Toulon in terms of number. Indeed, over 76% of properties are apartments. They are a great type of property if you are looking for a buy-to-let investment or a second home. Some of them are built in residences/housing estate and offer interesting facilities: park, automatic gate, parking, swimming-pool, modernism and quietness. They have the advantage of being located close to all amenities i.e. town centre, harbour and beaches.
Villas: these properties are widespread all over the French Riviera. They are luxury and modern properties offering huge space both outside and inside the house. They come with a swimming-pool, a land planted with trees, a courtyard and sometimes a parking. Inside, they are very luminous due to the number of windows and picture windows. Front facades are painted in pale colours like beige, pink or orange. Pillars are often built on the terrace and give a charm to these beautiful properties.
Town houses: if you can’t afford to buy a villa but are looking for a house, you can pitch on town houses. They hold a piece of land and a terrace. Such properties are often modern: walls are in general painted and you will not need to do any renovation. However, some may need some works on the front façade since they are sometime quite old. They have no particular architecture style but town houses are a good kind of dwelling either for a buy-to-let or as a main home (for a sunny retirement for example).
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