1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers >
1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population
without double counting : residents of multiple communes (e.g.,
students and military personnel) only counted once.
TOULON (French pronunciation: ; Provençal : Tolon (classical
norm), Touloun (Mistralian norm), pronounced ) is a city in southern
France and a large military harbour on the
Mediterranean coast, with a
major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d\'Azur
Toulon is the capital of the Var department .
The Commune of
Toulon has a population of 165,514 people (2009),
making it the fifteenth-largest city in France. It is the centre of an
urban area with 559,421 inhabitants (2008), the ninth largest in
Toulon is the third-largest French city on the Mediterranean
Toulon is an important centre for naval construction, fishing, wine
making, and the manufacture of aeronautical equipment, armaments,
maps, paper, tobacco, printing, shoes, and electronic equipment.
The military port of
Toulon is the major naval centre on France's
Mediterranean coast, home of the French aircraft carrier Charles de
Gaulle and her battle group. The French
Mediterranean Fleet is based
* 1 History
* 1.1 Prehistory to the Roman era
* 1.2 Arrival of Christianity and the Counts of
* 1.3 Royal Port (15th–18th centuries)
* 1.4 19th century
* 1.5 20th century
* 2 Main sights
* 2.1 The Old Town
* 2.2 The Fountains of Old
* 2.3 The Upper Town of
* 2.4 The Harbour and Arsenal
* 2.6 Mount Faron
* 2.7 Vauban\'s fortifications
* 3 Climate
* 4 Museums
* 5 Education
* 6 Literature
* 7 Transport
* 8 Points of interest
* 9 Gastronomy
* 10 Sport
* 11 Notable residents
* 12 International relations
* 12.1 Twin towns – sister cities
* 13 See also
* 14 References
* 14.1 Bibliography
* 14.2 Notes
* 15 External links
Timeline of Toulon
PREHISTORY TO THE ROMAN ERA
Toulon Cathedral (11th to 18th centuries)
Archaeological excavations, such as those at the
Cosquer Cave near
Marseille , show that the coast of
Provence was inhabited since at
Paleolithic era. Greek colonists came from
Asia Minor in
about the 7th century BC and established trading depots along the
coast, including one, called Olbia, at Saint-Pierre de l'Almanarre
Hyères , to the east of Toulon. The Ligurians settled in the
area beginning in the 4th century BC.
In the 2nd century BC, the residents of Massalia (present-day
Marseille) called upon the Romans to help them pacify the region. The
Romans defeated the Ligurians and began to start their own colonies
along the coast. A Roman settlement was founded at the present
location of Toulon, with the name Telo Martius – Telo, either for
the goddess of springs or from the Latin tol, the base of the hill –
and Martius , for the god of war. Telo Martius became one of the two
principal Roman dye manufacturing centres, producing the purple colour
used in imperial robes, made from the local sea snail called murex ,
and from the acorns of the oak trees.
Toulon harbour became a shelter
for trading ships, and the name of the town gradually changed from
Telo to Tholon, Tolon, and Toulon.
ARRIVAL OF CHRISTIANITY AND THE COUNTS OF PROVENCE
Toulon was Christianized in the 5th century, and the first cathedral
Honoratus and Gratianus of
Toulon (Gratien), according to the
Gallia Christiana , were the first bishops of
Toulon , but Louis
Duchesne gives Augustalis as the first historical bishop. He assisted
at councils in 441 and 442 and signed in 449 and 450 the letters
Pope Leo I from the province of Arles .
A Saint Cyprian , disciple and biographer of St. Cæsarius of Arles ,
is also mentioned as a Bishop of Toulon. His episcopate, begun in 524,
had not come to an end in 541; he converted to Catholicism two
Visigothic chiefs, Mandrier and Flavian, who became anchorites and
martyrs on the peninsula of Mandrier. In 1095, a new cathedral was
built in the city by Count Gilbert of
Provence . As barbarians invaded
the region and Roman power crumbled, the town was frequently attacked
by pirates and the
ROYAL PORT (15TH–18TH CENTURIES)
Ottoman wintering in Toulon
Ottoman wintering in Toulon The Tour Royale (16th
century) Barbarossa 's Ottoman fleet, of the Regency of Algiers
, wintering in the harbour of
Toulon in 1543, with the Tour Royale
(bottom right). The
Toulon Opera House (1862) A view of
the University campus
Provence became part of France. Soon afterwards, in 1494,
Charles VIII of
France , with the intention of making
France a sea
power on the Mediterranean, and to support his military campaign in
Italy, began constructing a military port at the harbor of Toulon. His
Italian campaign failed, and 1497, the rulers of
Genoa , who
controlled commerce on that part of the Mediterranean, blockaded the
In 1524, as part of his longtime battle against Emperor Charles V and
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire , King François I of
France completed a
powerful new fort, the
Tour Royale, Toulon
Tour Royale, Toulon , at the entrance of the
harbour. However, a few months later the commander of the new fort
sold it to the commander of an Army of the Holy Roman Empire, and
In 1543, Francis I found a surprising new ally in his battle against
the Holy Roman Empire. He invited the fleet of Ottoman Admiral
Toulon as part of the
Franco-Ottoman alliance . The
residents were forced to leave, and the Ottoman sailors occupied the
town for the winter. See
Ottoman occupation of Toulon .
In 1646, a fleet was gathered in
Toulon for the major Battle of
Orbetello , also known as the Battle of Isola del Giglio, commanded by
France's first Grand Admiral, the young Grand Admiral Marquis of
Brézé, Jean Armand de Maillé-Bréze of 36 galleons, 20 galleys, and
a large complement of minor vessels. This fleet carried aboard an army
of 8,000 infantry and 800 cavalry and its baggage under Thomas of
Savoy, shortly before a general in Spanish service.
Louis XIV was determined to make
France a major sea power. In
1660, his Minister
Jean-Baptiste Colbert ordered Sébastien Le Prestre
Vauban to build a new arsenal and to fortify the town. In 1707,
War of the Spanish Succession ,
resisted a siege by the Imperial Army led by Duke Victor Amadeus II of
Sardinia of Savoy and Prince Eugene . However, in 1720, the city was
ravaged by the black plague , coming from Marseille. Thirteen thousand
people, or half the population, died.
In 1790, following the
French Revolution ,
Toulon became the
administrative centre of the département of the Var . The leaders of
the city, however, were largely royalists, and they welcomed the
arrival of a British fleet. At the siege of
Toulon , the British were
expelled by a French force whose artillery was led by a young captain,
Napoleon Bonaparte . To punish
Toulon for its rebellion, the town lost
its status as department capital and was briefly renamed
View in 1850
Napoleonic Wars , from 1803 until 1805 a British fleet led
Horatio Nelson blockaded Toulon.
In 1820, the statue which became known as the
Venus de Milo
Venus de Milo was
discovered on the Greek island of Milo and seen by a French naval
officer, Emile Voutier. He persuaded the French Ambassador to Turkey
to buy it, and brought it to
Toulon on his ship, the Estafette. From
Toulon it was taken to the
Toulon became the base for the conquest of France's colonies
in North Africa. In 1820 a French fleet with an army departed from
Toulon for the conquest of
1849, during the brief Second French Republic,
Baron Haussmann was
named Prefect of the Var. During his year as prefect, he began a major
reconstruction of the city, similar to what he would later do in
Paris. He tore down large parts of the old fortifications and built
new boulevards and squares. The new
Toulon Opera House, the
second-largest in France, opened in 1862.
In 1867, on the orders of
Napoleon III General François Achille
Bazaine arrived in
Toulon without an official welcome after abandoning
the Mexican military campaign and Emperor
Maximilian I of Mexico .
During World War II, after the Allied landings in North Africa
Operation Torch ) the German Army occupied southern
Anton ), leading French naval officers to scuttle the French Fleet
Toulon on 27 November 1942. The city was bombed by the Allies
in November of the following year, with much of the port destroyed and
five hundred residents killed.
Toulon was liberated by the Free French
Forces of General
Jean de Lattre de Tassigny on 28 August 1944 in the
Toulon became again the préfecture, or administrative
centre, of the Var. Five years later the University of
Toulon was one of four French cities where the extreme-right Front
National won the local elections in 1995. The Front National was voted
out of power in 2001.
THE OLD TOWN
The old town of Toulon, the historic centre located between the port,
the Boulevard de
Strasbourg and the Cours Lafayette, is a pedestrian
area with narrow streets, small squares and many fountains. Toulon
Cathedral is located here. The area is also home of the celebrated
Provençal market which takes place every morning on the Cours
Lafayette, which features local products. The old town had decayed in
the 1980s and 1990s, but recently many of the fountains and squares
have been restored, and many new shops have opened.
THE FOUNTAINS OF OLD TOULON
Fontaine du Dauphin, Place Paul Comte. The fountain, on the wall of
the Bishop's residence, appears in the drawings of
Toulon made for
Louis XIV in 1668.
Fontaine des Trois Dauphins, Place Puget (1782)
Fontaine de l'Intendance, Place Amiral Sénès, (1821)
The Fontaine-Lavoir de Saint-Vincent, Place Saint-Vincent (1832),
replaced the original fountain built in 1615. It had a fountain for
drinking water and two basins, for washing clothes, one for washing
and one for rinsing.
View of downtown
Mediterranean Sea from Mount Faron
The Old Town of
Toulon is known for its fountains, found in many of
the small squares, each with a different character. The original
system of fountains was built in the late 17th century; most were
rebuilt in the eighteenth or early 19th century, and have recently
THE UPPER TOWN OF BARON HAUSSMANN
Place de la liberté.
The upper town, between the Boulevard de
Strasbourg and the railway
station, was built in the mid-19th century under
Louis Napoleon . The
project was begun by
Baron Haussmann , who was prefect of the Var in
1849. Improvements to the neighbourhood included the
Toulon Opera ,
the Place de la Liberté, the Grand Hôtel, the Gardens of Alexander
I, the Chalucet Hospital, the palais de Justice, the train station,
and the building now occupied by Galeries Lafayette, among others.
Haussmann went on to use the same style on a much grander scale in the
rebuilding of central Paris.
THE HARBOUR AND ARSENAL
View of Toulon, the Arsenal and Mount Faron from the Harbour.
Military port of Toulon
Toulon harbour is one of the best natural anchorages on the
Mediterranean, and one of the largest harbours in Europe. A naval
arsenal and shipyard was built in 1599, and small sheltered harbour,
the Veille Darse, was built in 1604–1610 to protect ships from the
wind and sea. The shipyard was greatly enlarged by Cardinal Richelieu
, who wished to make
France into a
Mediterranean naval power. Further
additions were made by
Jean-Baptiste Colbert and
Le Mourillon is a small seaside neighbourhood to the east of Toulon,
near the entrance of the harbour. It was once a fishing village, and
then became the home of many of the officers of the French fleet.
Mourillon has a small fishing port, next to a 16th-century fort, Fort
Saint Louis, which was reconstructed by Vauban. In the 1970s the city
Toulon built a series of sheltered sandy beaches in Mourillon,
which today are very popular with the Toulonais and with naval
families. The Museum of Asian Art is located in a house on the
waterfront near Fort St. Louis.
Mount Faron (584 metres (1,916 feet)) dominates the city of Toulon.
The top can be reached either by a cable car from Toulon, or by a
narrow and terrifying road which ascends from the west side and
descends on the east side. The road is one of the most challenging
stages of the annual Paris–
Tour Méditerranéen bicycle
At the top of Mount Faron is a memorial dedicated to the 1944 Allied
Operation Dragoon ), and to the liberation of
The Porte d'Italie, built by Vauban. Napoleon departed from this
gate in 1796 on his Italian campaign.
Beginning in 1678,
Vauban constructed an elaborate system of
fortifications around Toulon. Some parts, such as the section that
once ran along the present-day Boulevard de Strasbourg, were removed
in the mid-19th century, so the city could be enlarged, but other
parts remain. One part that can be visited is the Porte d'Italie, one
of the old city gates.
Napoleon Bonaparte departed on his triumphant
Italian campaign from this gate in 1796.
The Harbour at Sunset
Toulon has a
Mediterranean climate , characterised by abundant and
strong sunshine, dry summers, and rain which is rare but sometimes
torrential; and by hot summers and mild winters. Because of its
proximity to the sea, the temperature is relatively moderate.
The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is 9.3 °C (49
°F), the warmest of any city in metropolitan France. In January the
maximum average temperature is 12.7 °C (55 °F). and the average
minimum temperature is 5.8 °C (42 °F).
The average temperature in July, the warmest month, is 23.9 °C (75
°F)., with an average maximum of 29.1 °C (84 °F). and an average
minimal temperature of 18.8 °C (66 °F).
According to data collected by Météo-
Toulon is the city in
France with the most sunshine per year: an average of
2,856 hours a year from 1999 to 2008, compared with 2,695 hours a year
Nice and 2,472 hours for Perpignan. This is due to the wall of
mountains that largely protects
Toulon from the weather coming from
Average rainfall is 665 millimetres per year. The driest month is
July with 6.6 mm (0.26 in)., and the wettest is October, with 93.9 mm
(3.70 in). It rains on less than 60 days per year (an average of 59.7
days) and the amount of precipitation is very unequal in the different
seasons. In February, the month with the most rain, it rains 7.1 days,
but with only 88.3 millimetres (3.48 inches) of rain, while in October
there are 5.9 days of rain. July, with 1.3 days of rain, is usually
the driest month, but the driest month can fall anywhere between May
and September. Autumn is characterized by torrential but brief rains;
in winter there is more precipitation, spread out over longer periods.
Because of the proximity to the sea, freezing temperatures are rare;
an average of 2.9 days a year, and lasting frosts (when the maximum
temperature remains less or equal to zero) are non-existent. Snow is
also very rare (barely 1.5 days per year on average) and it is even
more rare for the snow to last during the day (0.3 days a year on
One distinctive feature of the
Toulon climate is the wind, with 115
days a year of strong winds; usually either the cold and dry Mistral
Tramontane from the north, the wet Marin ; or the Sirocco
sometimes bearing reddish sand from Africa; or the wet and stormy
Levant from the east. (See Winds of
Provence .) The windiest month is
January, with an average of 12.5 days of strong winds. The least windy
month is September, with 7 days of strong winds. In winter, the
Mistral can make the air feel extremely cold, even though the
temperature is mild.
The climate is dry and the humidity in
Toulon is usually low. The
average humidity is 56 percent, with little variation throughout the
year; the driest months are July and August with 50 percent, and the
most humid months are November and December with 60 percent.
CLIMATE DATA FOR TOULON (1981–2010)
RECORD HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
RECORD LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION DAYS (≥ 1.0 MM)
AVERAGE SNOWY DAYS
AVERAGE RELATIVE HUMIDITY (%)
MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS
Source #1: Meteo climat
Source #2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity and snowy days 1961–1990)
Toulon has a number of museums.
The MUSEUM OF THE FRENCH NAVY (Musée national de la marine) is
located on Place Monsenergue, next on the west side of the old port, a
short distance from the Hotel de Ville. The museum was founded in
1814, during the reign of the Emperor Napoleon. It is located today
behind what was formerly the monumental gate to the Arsenal of Toulon,
built in 1738. The museum building, along with the clock tower next to
it, is one of the few buildings of the port and arsenal which survived
Allied bombardments during World War II. It contains displays tracing
the history of
Toulon as a port of the French
Navy . Highlights
include large 18th-century ship models used to teach seamanship and
models of the aircraft carrier
Charles De Gaulle
Charles De Gaulle .
The MUSEUM OF OLD TOULON AND ITS REGION (Musée du vieux
Toulon et de
sa région). The Museum was founded in 1912, and contains a collection
of maps, paintings, drawings, models and other artifacts showing the
history of the city.
The MUSEUM OF ASIAN ARTS (Musée des arts asiatiques), in Mourillon.
Located in a house with garden which once belonged to the son and
later the grandson of author
Jules Verne , the museum contains a small
but interesting collection of art objects, many donated by naval
officers from the time of the French colonization of Southeast Asia.
It includes objects and paintings from India, China, Southeast Asia,
Tibet and Japan.
The MUSEUM OF ART (Musée d'art) was created in 1888, and contains
collections of modern and contemporary art, as well as paintings of
Provence from the 17th century to the beginning of the 20th century.
It owns works by landscape artists of
Provence from the late 19th
Paul Guigou ,
Auguste Aiguier ,
Vincent Courdouan , Félix
Ziem ), and the Fauves of
Charles Camoin ,
Auguste Chabaud ,
André Alexandre Verdilhan ). The contemporary collections contain
works from 1960 to today representing the New Realism Movement (Arman,
Christo , Klein, Raysse); Minimalist Art (
Sol LeWitt , Donald
Judd ); Support Surface (Cane, Viallat côtoient Arnal, Buren,
Chacallis) and an important collection of photographs by Henri
Cartier-Bresson , Dieuzaide ,
Edouard Boubat ,
Willy Ronis and André
The MEMORIAL MUSEUM TO THE LANDINGS IN PROVENCE (Mémorial du
débarquement de Provence) is located on the summit of Mount Faron,
this small museum, opened in 1964 by President
Charles De Gaulle
Charles De Gaulle ,
commemorates the Allied landing in
Provence in August 1944 with
photos, weapons and models.
The MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY OF TOULON AND THE VAR (Musée
d'histoire naturelle de
Toulon et du Var) was founded in 1888, has a
large collection of displays about dinosaurs, birds, mammals, and
minerals, mostly from the region.
The HôTEL DES ARTS was opened in 1998, presents five exhibits a year
of works by well-known contemporary artists. Featured artists have
Sean Scully ,
Jannis Kounellis ,
Claude Viallat , Per Kirkeby
Vik Muniz .
Toulon has a conservatory (Conservatoire TPM , part of Conservatoire
à rayonnement régional de
Toulon ) which taught music, theater,
dance and circus and an art academy called École supérieure d\'art
et de design
Provence Méditerranée .
Toulon is also home to a
number of institutes of the University of
Toulon , known until 2013 as
University of the South, Toulon-Var.
Toulon figures prominently in
Victor Hugo 's
Les Misérables . It is
the location of the infamous prison, the bagne of
Toulon , in which
the protagonist Jean Valjean spends nineteen years in hard labour.
Toulon is also the birthplace of the novel's antagonist, Javert.
One portion of the wall of the old bagne, or prison, where Jean
Valjean was supposedly held still stands to the right of the entrance
of the Old Harbour.
Anthony Powell 's novel What\'s Become of Waring the central
characters spend a long summer holiday in Toulon's old town. Powell
himself stayed at the Hotel du Port et des Negociants on two occasions
in the early 1930s and writes in the second volume of his memoirs The
naval port, with its small inner harbour, row of cafés along the
rade, was quite separate from the business quarter of the town. A
paddle steamer plied several times a day between this roadstead and
the agreeably unsophisticated plage of Les Sablettes.
Joseph Conrad 's last novel, 'THE ROVER \', is also set around
The last half of
Dewey Lambdin 's historical fiction novel, H.M.S.
Cockerel, (the sixth novel in his
Alan Lewrie naval adventure series)
Siege of Toulon from Lewrie's perspective, as he commands
a commandeered French barge carrying sea mortars against
Lieutenant-Colonel Bonaparte's forces.
Harbor with ferry
Toulon is served by the
Gare de Toulon
Gare de Toulon railway station, offering
suburban services to
Marseille (1 train every 15minutes during rush
Paris and regional destinations. The port of
the main port of departure for ferries to
Corsica . The nearest
airport is the regional Toulon-
Hyères Airport . The A50 autoroute
Toulon to Marseille, the
A57 autoroute runs from
Toulon to Le
Luc, where it connects to the
POINTS OF INTEREST
* Jardin d\'acclimatation du Mourillon
Tour Royale, Toulon
Tour Royale, Toulon
Local food highlights include:
* cuisine from the
Mediterranean and from Provence
* the cade toulonnaise, a local speciality composed of chickpea
flour and which is equivalent to the
Socca of Nice
* the Chichi Frégi, a type of donut from Provence.
* Smash Sandwiches, a common sandwich available from street vendors
The most successful of the city's clubs are the rugby union team RC
Toulon and the women's handball team
Toulon St-Cyr Var Handball , both
playing in the top division of their respective sports. The basketball
Hyères-Toulon Var Basket play in the second division of the
French championship .
The city hosts the final four of the annual
Toulon Tournament – an
international under 21 football tournament.
The top soccer club is the
Sporting Toulon Var
Sporting Toulon Var , currently playing at
the fourth level of French Football (Championnat de
France Amateurs ).
Famous players such as
Delio Onnis ,
Jean Tigana ,
Christian Dalger ,
David Ginola and
Sébastien Squillaci have played for Sporting.
The city has been chosen by
France as the venue for the
fifth event in the Americas Cup World Series 2016, alongside
international cities such as Portsmouth -webkit-column-count: 2;
La Spezia , Italy, since 1958
Mannheim , Germany, since 1958
* Norfolk , United States, since 1988
Kronstadt , Russia, since 1996
Communes of the Var department
See also: Bibliography of the history of
* Michel Vergé-Franceschi,
Toulon – Port Royal (1481–1789).
Tallandier: Paris, 2002.
* Aldo Bastié, Histoire de la Provence, Editions Ouest-France,
* Cyrille Roumagnac, L'Arsenal de
Toulon et la Royale, Editions Alan
Jean-Pierre Thiollet , Le Chevallier à découvert, Paris,
Maurice Arreckx , Vivre sa ville, Paris, La Table ronde, 1982 ;
Toulon, ma passion, 1985
* ^ Insee - Résultats du recensement de la population de 2008 -
Unité urbaine de Toulon, consulté le 22 octobre 2011
* ^ Aldo Bastié, Historie de la Provence, Éditions Ouest-France,
* ^ A legend which states that a certain Cleon accompanied St.
Lazarus to Gaul and was the founder of the Church of Toulon, is based
on a 14th-century forgery that was ascribed to a 6th-century bishop
* ^ Cyrille Roumagnac, L'Arsenal de
Toulon et la Royale. pg. 43
* ^ for the history of the Old Town, see Michel Vergé-Franceschi,
Toulon – Port Royal (1481–1789). Tallandier: Paris, 2002.
* ^ André-Jean Tardy, Fontaines Toulonnaises, Les Editions de la
Nerthe, Toulon, 2001.
* ^ Haussmann was only prefet of the Var for one year, but his
prototypes for boulevards, apartment buildings and parks that he built
Paris were copied not only in Toulon, but in other large cities
* ^ Michel Vergé-Franceschi,
Toulon – Port Royal (1481–1789.
Tallandier: Paris, 2002.
* ^ Michel Vergé-Franceschi,
Toulon – Port Royal (1481–1789).
Tallandier: Paris, 2002.
* ^ Lameteo.org comparative climate statistics for cities of
France. See also: http://climat.meteofrance.com
* ^ "Moyennes 1981/2010: Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d\'Azur" (in
French). Météoclimat. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
* ^ "STATION Toulon" (in French). Météoclimat. Retrieved December
* ^ "Normes et records 1961-1990:
Toulon - La Mitre (83) - altitude
24m" (in French). Infoclimat. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
* ^ See the page about the Museum on the official site of the
Museums of the Var (in French)
* ^ See the site of the Museums of
Toulon on the
Toulon City Web
Site (in French)
* ^ "Jumelages:
Toulon et ses villes jumelées" (in French). Mairie
d'honneur de Toulon. Retrieved 2015-02-15.
* ^ "Partner und Freundesstädte". Stadt
Mannheim (in German).
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