What if you went on holiday to Bandol this summer to recharge your batteries after those long months of confinement?
Bandol inevitably resounds in the minds... It is a name steeped in history and bursting with sunshine, which even before the Saint-Tropez boom in Brigitte Bardot's time, attracted personalities such as Paul Ricard, Raimu, Louis Lumière and Katherine Mansfield to the resort
Bandol was thus one of the first seaside resorts in France, and remains today one of the most authentic and pleasant in the Var and the French Riviera.
Discover through this top 10 why Bandol is the destination to discover urgently on the Var coast!
1- The Island of Bendor, the preserved jewel of Bandol
The private island of Bendor is a timeless little gem. Access is from the port of Bandol via regular shuttles in only ten minutes. Despite its small size, this island gives a feeling of freedom and unspoilt wilderness with its small beaches with crystal clear waters. Bought in 1950 by the industrialist Paul Ricard, this island was quickly developed by this benefactor with the creation of a port, a small village, hotels... Passionate about the arts and himself an artist, Paul Ricard wanted to make this island a meeting place for artists and it is still dotted with statues and works of art that delight visitors. For a stay on the island: the Delos hotel with its old-fashioned charm and its dream swimming pool is a must
2- The Coastal Trail and its natural wondersThis6.5 km footpath that runs along the Mediterranean Sea on a hillside, between creeks and umbrella pines, is a waking dream in Bandol. During the walk, you can decide to take a dip, observe the endemic flora, listen to a cicada song and enjoy the simple pleasures offered by this wilderness. The start is on the small beach of La Reinette - south-west of the port of La Madrague - and ends in Bandol on the beach of Renécros. All along the route, many points (Point Grenier, Point Fauconnière...) offer beautiful views. Don't miss a stop at Barry beach where the first regulators were tested with Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his Mousquemers
3- Bandol, land of gastronomy
Contrary to some seaside resorts on the French Riviera, Bandol offers a real gastronomy worthy of the name, far from simple snacks and brasseries. As proof, it has a starred table with its restaurant "Les Oliviers" where the chef Jeremy Czaplicki excels in creativity. But Bandol is also a gastronomy that has been steadily moving up the range in recent years with a real philosophy of good food where short tours and local products are privileged. Among the addresses of the moment not to be missed: la Chipote, l'Œnothèque, Frangipane, Ness or l'Amandon en Provence. To discover Bandol's gastronomy even better, don't miss the event "Bandol à table" which will take place from 15 to 18 October 2020. You will be able to discover the delicious cuisine of the iconic restaurants of Bandol which will take part in this event among which the Oliviers, l'Atelier du Goût, la Chipote, l'Auberge du Port, the restaurant of the Casino of Bandol, Au Clair de Vigne, la Caravelle, le Grand Large and the Mediterranean
4- The famous wines of Bandol
In the collective unconscious, Bandol is of course its wines. If it is above all the rosé of Bandol that is popular, it is important to know that the red and the white are also wines of great quality, much appreciated by connoisseurs. Since 1941, the wines of Bandol have been an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée and one can visit many vineyards in the surroundings of Bandol to better understand the specificities of the grape varieties of these world-famous wines. But if you just want to take an initiation, the Bandol wine library, place Lucien Artaud, will be perfect for a tasting session in town and some bottle purchases in their shop
Leisure activities galore in Bandol
Bandol has much more to offer than its beaches and a sunbathing session, which is always very pleasant. It has a large number of leisure facilities: tennis courts with sea view, casino, bowling, golf, water sports, scuba diving clubs, walks at sea ... You can for example discover the creeks of Cassis, but also cetaceans aboard ultra-modern boats and all comfort that are Atlantis 1, 2 and 3 (hybrid) moored in the port of Bandol. Finally, there is no lack of thrills for those who want to, with the range of water activities on offer that will blow your mind with BSN 83: jet ski, towed buoy, flyboard, wakeboard, etc., not forgetting the possibility of renting or privatising a boat.
6- The Promenade of Bandol
On land, the seaside promenade is a real pleasure thanks to the free and vast strolling space it offers since its redevelopment following long works. In just a few minutes, you can go from your beach towel to the shops on the promenade for a shopping session. There are souvenir shops, beachwear and accessories boutiques, and of course a few ice cream parlours and terraces to quench your thirst. And for lovers of greenery, the Parc du Canet, located near the promenade, offers a wooded and classified setting that is a real treat for nature lovers, in addition to the unmissable coastal path
7- A city rich in events and festivities
Bandol is of course the playground for Formula 1 lovers since the town is close to the famous Castellet circuit where many competitions take place.
It is also a festival of street art with notably the realization of portraits on the quay during the week of July 27th. At the beginning of August, the treasure hunt event with 6 characters pleases families without forgetting the very animated festival of the terraces in August
Finally, in December, one should not miss the illumination of the main buildings of the city which starts at the town hall, crosses the square, behind the church, rue Marçon, before ending beautifully on the quay
8- A tasteful hotel industryThe hotel offer in Bandol is varied and of high quality. The town offers hotel residences as well as guest rooms and 5-star establishments. We fell in love with the Ile Rousse Thalazur Bandol hotel, with its feet in the water on the magnificent Renécros beach with its crystalline waters. Its Thalazur spa is ideal for relaxing after the confinement, as is its infinity swimming pool whose sublime gradation of blue reproduces that of the sea, not forgetting its star-spangled table "Les Oliviers", the icing on the cake of this luxury hotel.
Just across the street, the Splendid Hotel, which has just been renovated, is the novelty of the summer; it offers boutique-hotel type accommodation where each room has a private space decorated with contemporary art. Its swimming pool, dug into the rock in the basement, whose glass walls face the outside, is particularly original
9- Provencal markets
Bandol offers several picturesque and typical markets that smell good in Provence and will delight lovers of local products. You can indeed find there fruits, vegetables and local products of Bandol. They are small producers of the region who come to sell them directly to boaters, a logic which fits directly into the gastronomic philosophy of the town which intends to encourage short circuits. Visit the daily market in Bandol from 9am to 12.15pm on the village square and at the Grand Marché on Tuesday mornings from 9am to 1pm on the Quai Charles de Gaulle
10- Exceptional cultural sites
Bandol is also culture which gives even more attractions to this small paradisiacal town of the Var. It has been frequented by historical characters that everyone knows: Jacques-Yves Cousteau who made the first tests of regulators during the dives in front of the Barry beach, Katherine Mansfield who lived for a long time in the Beau Rivage building now transformed into a superb charming hotel, Raimu who lived in Bandol in the eponymous villa overlooking the Renécros beach, the painter Ravaisou who had his studio in Bandol, Louis Lumière - the inventor of cinema - who stayed regularly in Bandol where he ended his days, and, finally, Paul Ricard, the benefactor of Bandol who bought the island of Bendor and Les Embiez and turned them into tourist gems preserved from mass tourism.