Why go to Toulon?
Toulon's cable-car system offers a breathtaking view of the city from Mont Faron
Some visitors might feel underwhelmed with the lack of famous historic sites
The tastes and scents of Provence are prevalent in this modest seaside town
Toulon Cruise Port Facilities?
The cruise terminal itself has little in the way of facilities and no shops, though it does have a surprisingly good market which springs up when ships come in, selling authentic local goods like scented soaps, glassware and ornaments.
A tourist hop-on, hop-off sightseeing service, the 'petit train touristique', operates from the quayside and offers a city tour or a visit to the naval base (the only way you're going to get to see it on land). It's an excellent option for those who have restricted mobility or if you have a strong interest in military history. It's also a good option for visitors looking to visit the beaches east of the city. (February 14 to November 18, 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.)
Good to Know?
Toulon is a busy city, and people should look out for traffic on the congested roads. A lot of the older parts of the city have pedestrianized zones, allowing visitors to explore in safety, but some of the thoroughfares around the port can get quite jammed.
On Foot: The city lies about five minutes' walk from the cruise terminal, and while Toulon is a large city with a bustling port, the city center is compact, with attractions like the opera hall, stadium, naval museum and art galleries, all accessible without needing public transport. The streets are easily navigable and if you're willing to step off the main drag, you'll be rewarded with small squares and plazas only accessible on foot.
By Bus: Toulon is well served by bus routes and visitors can use them to get around the city and to travel further afield. The bus station, La Gare Routiere (+33 4 94 24 60 00), is a few minutes' walk from the town's main square, Place de la Liberte. A number of bus services run out of this depot with regular routes to destinations including Saint Maximin, Brignoles and Aix-en-Provence.
By Taxi: There is a taxi rank right by the port and others are dotted throughout the city. Companies include Taxis Region Toulonnaise (+33 4 94 93 51 51), which operates a service within the city and also offers sightseeing services, Access Central Taxi (same number) and Chavry Charles Taxi (+33 6 12 11 53 26).
By Car: Toulon can suffer from heavy traffic and driving in the city can be difficult. If you're only in the city for a brief period, it's not worth it to rent a car. If you have longer to spend in the area and particularly if you're planning to visit other towns and cities in the region, renting a car is a good option. Sixt Rent a Car (+33 4 94 166 165), Avis (+33 4 94 00 84 40), Europcar (+33 4 98 01 00 00) and Hertz (+33 4 94 00 84 48) all operate within the city, and have offices at the train station.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The euro. Most cruise ships will have an onboard bureau de change but there are plenty of banks in the city center; the nearest ATMs are in Place Louis Blanc, the large square which marks the start of the open-air market and home to the town's tourist office, a few minutes' stroll from where you're docked. Most shops and restaurants accept credit cards, though not American Express.
French, although many people -- especially in the city's museums, restaurants and shops -- will speak English, but this should not be relied upon. It's worth learning a few French words and phrases to make your stay more enjoyable.