There are several beaches within a few kilometres of the house. Plage de Gigaro is La Croix Valmer's principal beach, a long sandy stretch with amenities on hand. But there are a string of lovely coves and bays to choose from, from family friendly options to quiet hideaways that are only accessible from the coastal path. In summer a free shuttle bus runs between the village and the nearest beaches.
La Croix Valmer has been a popular holiday destination since Roman times, and a key feature of the village are the grand 'belle-epoque' villas dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You will find a number of cafés and restaurants, and a small open-air theatre where performances are sometimes held in summer.
Take a drive west and discover the villages along the coast: Cavalaire, Aiguebelle, Le Lavandou, Bormes les Mimosas...
Long stretches of the coastal path are accessible in this region, affording some absolutely stunning views. You may like to follow some of the 18km route from Cavalaire beach to Cap Camarat, much of which is a protected zone for Mediterranean wildlife. Some beaches are only accessible via the coastal path, so these are of course less crowded even in high summer.
An 'underwater path'
Don flippers, mask and snorkel to explore the marine flora and fauna of the coastal waters at close quarters. It is self-guided, but you will follow a designated 'path' with submerged information panels, and plenty to see including a shipwreck and an anemone garden. The starting point is 1km from the Gigaro beach car park.
The gardens of the Domaine de Rayol
Explore the wonderful array of gardens at Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer. As well as Mediterranean flora, there are dedicated areas for plants from other parts of the world, such as the Australian garden, the Chilean garden and so on. In contrast to the formality found in many European gardens, here there is an emphasis on working with nature rather than trying to constrain it. You can wander and discover the different landscapes at your own pace, with or without an audio guide, or you can take a guided tour to get extra insight and information.
Laid out in a spiral shape, this pretty medieval village sits on a little hill overlooking the Bay of Pampelonne. Both the buildings and the way of life here are well preserved, giving visitors a flavour of traditional Provence. In the summer, there are many open workshops and arts & crafts on display. The main square, the Place de l'Ormeau, hosts a market every Thursday and Sunday.
This lengendary beach was brought to the world's attention in the 1940s and 50s, when film stars such as Brigitte Bardot and Errol Flynn starting frequenting it, and its fame has not waned since. Some may come here for the private beach clubs and jetset atmosphere, but many just appreciate its natural aspect - five kilometres of white sand backed by sand dunes and brush, no promenade or high rise.
are available to hire at the Tennis Club in La Croix Valmer.
A variety of water activities can be tried at La Croix Valmer, including sailing, kayaking, surfing and pedalos at Débarquement beach, and paddle-boarding, water-skiing and wakeboarding at Gigaro beach.
La Croix Valmer is well catered for in terms of spa and well-being facilities. Why not enjoy a masage or a beauty treatment as part of your holiday relaxation?
Go celebrity spotting and enjoy the high life in this famously chic seaside town (approx 20 minutes' drive when the roads are clear, but can be much longer when they are not!). Take a stroll along the pretty waterfront to admire all the fancy boats in the port, then through the narrow streets lined with pastel facades up to the town centre where shopaholics and gastronomes will be in seventh heaven.
Taste the local wines
The classic tipple in Provence is rosé, but whites and reds are also produced here. There are many local vineyards where you can taste and buy wines direct. One of the nearest is the Domaine de la Croix on the edge of the village.
Massif des Maures
The countryside set back from the coast is called the Massif des Maures where the hills are thickly covered with cork oaks, chestnut trees and umbrella pines. It's a great area for hiking, horse riding and mountain biking. Collobrières, in the heart of the Massif, is a characterful little town famous for 'marrons glacés' (sugared chestnuts).
Day trip to Porquerolles
Head west to Hyères, and take the boat across to the Ile de Porquerolles. A National Park, it boasts beautiful unspoilt white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, and you will find no cars on the island!
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