Le Var: Bandol, Le Cadiere d’Azur & Le Castellet

I have had the good fortune to spend some time in ‘The Var ‘region of France recently, and have discovered some very beautiful villages along the way. The Var is very diverse and you’ll have a choice between the sea, vineyards, and countryside. There is no lack of things to do and depending on your mood, you’ll have everything you need within minutes.

Here’s an example of a few towns that I really enjoyed and are all within close range of each other. All can be done in one day.

Bandol: The Var

Bandol is a dream. You can spend the day at the beach, enjoy the market and the little provencal shops, drink coffee while soaking up the sun or do as the French do and spend a couple of hours having lunch at one of the many restaurants that line this lovely harbor side town.

I have found that the nicest way to spend the day in Bandol is to park the car at the very end of the village. You must go right and follow the road straight through town. The port will be on your left and the town on your right. Once you’ve passed all of the restaurants, keep going straight and follow until you can just about go no further. On the left, you will see a parking lot which is free! From there you can walk back along the water which will lead you to the main strip that lines the harbor of Bandol. Here you will be able to wander, admire, eat, drink, and simply enjoy soaking up the atmosphere of this lovely seaside town. As you walk along, you will most likely see the locals playing boule, children whizzing by on their rollerblades, and families strolling along admiring the beautiful views that Bandol has to offer.

The Var – France at its best

As you travel along these tiny little country roads you will drive through the many vineyards that produce that wonderful Rosé that we all love so much. If I were you, I’d get lost just driving around. There are so many beautiful homes and little cottages to admire. It is France at its best and sometimes, I just have to pinch myself as there is not one inch of this area that isn’t as beautiful as the next. If you like to take photos, this is an opportunity not to be missed. From my recent experience, Bandol has everything to offer and I would not miss it.

  • Morning coffee by the sea,
  • a walk,
  • followed by lunch and
  • why not a little wine tasting in the afternoon?
  • Afterward, have a nice nap in the sunshine.

You will not be disappointed.

Le Cadiere d’Azur – The Var

This beautiful medieval village is not far from Bandol and sits high up on a cliff where you’ll enjoy the spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and you’ll be looking right back down at Bandol.

I fell in love with this village. There is an atmosphere here where you can sense that the community is very tightly knit. I enjoyed walking by all of the diverse shops where I was kindly greeted by many of the shopkeepers as I walked by. There is a lot of artisanal work and you will discover some unique finds as you work your way through the shops.

I particularly loved a small shop where a creator was making mobiles (wall hangings). He saw me peaking in and unlocked his door to let me have a browse. Inside he had many beautifully crafted mobiles that were hanging from the ceiling and the walls. They were true pieces of art. He was very gracious, gave me his card, and told me where to find Le Cadière-d’Azur. He was very kind and it felt authentic to have someone in front of you creating art for a living. I found this whole town to be full of people like this. What you see here, you will find nowhere else.

In today’s world, this is very special, indeed!

Have a good walk around and check out all of the pretty streets as they wind their way up and down throughout the village. As always, there’s a lovely church at the top of the village where you’ll enjoy the quietness of the streets. It is quiet and kind. I think I could live here.

Le Castellet - The Var

This beautiful village also sits high above Bandol. It is, yet another gem that is worth a visit. From here you will have spectacular views of the Sainte Baume and all of the surrounding vineyards. Le Castellet is adorned with nice shops catering to a tourist crowd. Here you will find local products and a variety of handcrafted gifts to take back with you.

This is a beautiful little town and is great for a short stop. I think it would be best to have a walk and a drink here. You will love the medieval castle which is now the Town Hall. The beauty of this little village is candy for the eyes. Not to be missed if you are close by and a nice way to end (or begin) your day in Bandol.

Have you been to The Var, Provence? Which are your favourite places? Please share in the comments section below.

Image credits:
All images are copyright Suzanne Vidal 

If you'd like to read more about The Var, Provence
- the series 'Exploring Provence' will provide an immersive experience for you.

About the Contributor

Suzanne Vidal

I have a long history with France as I married a French man in 1988 and have 3 dual-national children.  I've lived in different parts of France over the years and I'm currently living in Aix-en-Provence.  I enjoy sharing my experiences and bringing France to life via storytelling.  Read more on my blog or follow me on Instagram @suzannegrossovidal.  À bientôt!

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One Comment

  1. Jo Aherne Apr 16, 2023 at 5:40 PM - Reply

    Fabulous! You’ve made me desperate to go to both towns! I loved the clear directions to the car park in Bandol. It just makes it so easy to get there, park and get on with the visit. One less argument with the husband/partner!

    Your photos were stunning too.

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