Visit Porquerolles, the biggest of the Golden Islands on French Riviera.

White sand, turquoise sea, golden reflections under the sea, palm trees and colored little houses. Thailand? Hawaii? No, France. Incredible, right? I know I also thought it when my colleague showed me pictures of those islands, recommending me to visit Porquerolles.

So I went there, to the Golden Islands.

Why are those called like that? There is a wonderful legend behind the name: a prince once lived in that lands, who had four beloved daughters. Four women of a matchless beauty as well as skilled swimmers. One fine day, under the careful watch of their father, they started swimming off shore, farther and farther away… until the black sails of a pirate ship appeared. The girls started swimming fast as possible towards the shore, but the ship caught up to them. The father, in despair, prayed the gods to save his daughters from kidnapping. The gods, moved, decided to turn the girls into three stunningly beautiful islands. The fourth girl, who desperately reached with her arms towards the father, became what today is known as the Hyères peninsula.

Visit Porquerolles, view from above
Porquerolles’ sea from above

The sensation of caressing those girls is alive and strong while walking on Porquerolles island’s streets, the biggest of the three islands (the others are Port-Cros and Levant). You admire her as you would do with a wonderful woman.
The turquoise sea that caresses her features, enhances and soothes the traits of that woman, frozen in a moment of despair.

Visit Porquerolles, the biggest of the Golden Islands

Porquerolles, 7 km long and 2,5 km wide.. a big woman indeed, and yet you can easily visit it all by walking, in a day, without losing any of its wonders.
At least another day should be dedicated to the sea: how can you not want to spend a whole day in a sea like that?

As soon as you step foot on it, you are welcomed by the pastel colored houses, and by the village main street – built to attract to the island the families of the soldiers who were allocated here – which is filled with restaurants and bike rentals, the only vehicle that you can use on the island if you’re a tourist.
Along the streets, people who smiles with their sea bag and a slush in their hands (those are incredible, try the one with banana and kiwi) have one only thought: relax.

Visit Porquerolles, traditional directions
Visit Porquerolles, traditional wood indications

The first thing you’ll see on the island, if you follow the road towards the “Plage d’Argent”, is the Place d’Armes, a big square (big considering the dimensions of the island.. don’t expect to see Time Square) crowned by the yellow St.Anne Church, in which you can see a reproduction of Michelangelo’s Pietà.
Keep on going up behind the church, along the dirt trails surrounded by the green, you can get to St.Agathe Fort, dated 1400 (what’s left of it). From here you can get an awesome view on Plage de Notre Dame and on Giens peninsula.

Farther yet you can find the “Moulin de Bonheur”: windmill of good fortune, one of the rare examples of Provençal windmill.

 

Visitare Porquerolles, il molino della buona fortuna
Visit Porquerolles, Moulin de Bonheur

Now you can cycle downhill, enjoying of the wind in your hair and the smell of berries, peach and olive trees which invades the air.
Don’t go too fast, though. Discover the details, because there are many of them.
Live it, with no rush.
It’s the island itself that encourage you to do so.
Don’t miss flowers’ colors, the smells, the doves, the games made by olive trees’ shades on the ground.
Get to the beaches from the least walked paths.

Visitare Porquerolles, l'ingresso alla Plage de Notre Dame
Visit Porquerolle, entrance to Plage de Notre Dame

The beaches are all so different among them.
The Plage d’Argent is made of white sand which drowns down in a turquoise sea. You don’t get it all at once: it lets you discover itself slowly: put your feet in the water and walk on. Get to the buoys, where you can still touch the ground. There you’ll get the sense of that aquamarine color.

Visitare Porquerolles, la Plage d'Argent
Plage d’Argent’s sea

The Plage Notre Dame is something else.
Sand of a peculiar color which tends to ocher, which accompanies yourself into the water with a soil made of pebbles… which ends a few steps after, to do space to the sand and the pale blue sea, that mixed with the sand color almost seems green. A unique color.

Visitare Porquerolles, il mare della Plage de Notre Dame
Plage de Notre Dame’s

“I was happy only once, that was at Hyeres” –
Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Visit Porquerolles: how to get on the Island

It’s the southernmost part in French Riviera.
By the highway you need to follow to Marseille, exit at Toulon, and then go on towards Hyères.
By plane you can get to Toulon’s airport and then take a shuttle and get to Hyeres center in ten minutes. From thereyou need to get to the Tour-Fondue port, where ferries leave to the island at the cost of 19.50€, round trip.

On Porquerolles website you can find many useful infos.

12 comments

  1. Mamma mia che spettacolo!
    Non conoscevo questo angolo di paradiso, e sì che da quelle parti ci sono passata!
    Veramente un posto da favola, tranquillo e rilassato…proprio quello che serve per staccare la spina!
    Grazie per avermelo fatto conoscere…e molto suggestiva anche la storia del “povero” padre che salva le figlie!
    Ciao a presto….

    1. Ciao e grazie a te Ila!
      Hai detto proprio bene, il posto perfetto per staccare la spina… un paio di giorni qui e rinasci!
      Sono contenta di avertelo fatto scoprire… se ci fai un salto poi fammi sapere come è andata 😀

  2. Che meraviglia! non le conoscevo, anche perchè nonostante la vicinanza con la Francia, non ci siamo mai addentrati per bene.. terrò questo appunto presente per un itinerario fuori porta !
    Buona serata 🙂
    Daniela

    1. Se sei lì vicino approfittane appena puoi… anche a Maggio o fine settembre, così eviti la calca!
      E lì c’è il sole 360 giorni l’anno 😀
      Grazie Daniela, buona serata a te!

  3. Penso che mi servirebbe un posto così. Adesso.
    Sai quando vuoi correre sulla sabbia bianca e tuffarti nell’acqua cristallina?
    E poi è così vicino.. wow!

  4. WOW.. UN POSTO BELLISSIMO DI CUI NON CONOSCEVO L’ESISTENZA. PENSARE CHE E’ COSI’ VICINO ALL’ITALIA MI FA ANCORA DI PIU’ VENIRE VOGLIA DI VIAGGIARE.

  5. Nonostante siano passati molti ( e dico molti) anni da quella volta in cui ho messo piede a Porquerolles, ho ancora un nitido e bellissimo ricordo della pace che mi aveva trasmesso, lontana ma così vicina alla costa azzurra dove ero in vacanza. Il mare spettacolare, la vegetazione che si tuffava in acqua…un senso di quiete!
    Bello il tuo racconto! Un abbraccio
    Cri

    1. Sono due mondi opposti la Costa Azzurra e queste isole, vero Cri?
      Eppure sono così vicine!
      Spero si manterranno così per sempre…
      Grazie, un bacione!

  6. Che bello! *_* Io la Francia la adoro, secondo me è per molte cose simile all’Italia, soprattutto per quanto riguarda la varietà incredibile di paesaggi.
    Mi segno questo posticino per quando andrò da quelle parti! 🙂

    1. Sono d’accordo, anche se la conoscono davvero poco…
      Vedrai, te ne innamorerai!

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