Bonjour from the Côte d’Azur. I’m currently soaking up the sun in the French Riviera. For the past 2 weeks I’ve been revisiting my favorite places as well as exploring new beaches, villages, and restaurants.
In this blog post I want to share an off the radar destination with you. Forget about Saint-Tropez, Cannes, and Monaco for a minute. I’m taking you on a day trip to the rustic island of Porquerolles (Île de Porquerolles).
CÔTE D’AZUR: ÌLE DE PORQUEROLLES
Located 15 minutes off the coast, it’s the largest and most westerly of the Hyères Islands (Îles d’Hyères). These tiny islands are conserved by the French government and strict laws prohibit urbanization. They are also known as the Islands of Gold (Îles d’Or) thanks to their remarkable natural beauty.
The easiest way to reach Porquerolles is by ferry from La Tour Fondue. It runs regularly and costs 19.50€ round trip per adult. Tickets are sold at the port.
Upon arrival in Porquerolles you will feel disconnected from the crowds of the Côte d’Azur. Come here if you are seeking peace and quiet. There is no noise pollution. Listen to the birds and the waves gently crashing on the shore.
The only village is immediately next to the harbor. There isn’t much to see — some restaurants, shops, and a church around the large square — but it’s quaint. Wander through the back streets to see massive bougainvillea plants covering the locals’ homes. There are great photo opportunities along Rue Sylvia Fournier and Rue de La Ferme.
EXPLORE THE ISLAND BY FOOT OR E-BIKE
You must explore the island by foot, bike, or e-bike. There are a handful of rental shops with comparable prices. Cars and scooters are nonexistent.
Dirt paths lined with eucalyptus and pine trees lead you everywhere. The most popular beaches, Plage de la Courtade and Plage Notre Dame, remind me of the Caribbean.
Plage de la Courtade is family friendly with calm, shallow water. It’s also easy to reach — 5 minutes by bike or 15 minutes walking from the harbor. Plage Notre Dame is further away, 15 minutes by bike or 50 minutes walking, but worth the extra effort. The crescent shaped beach has golden sand and turquoise water. Tons of boats drop their anchors in the bay here.
Don’t expect to find beach clubs with lounge chairs and umbrellas. I didn’t even notice a single vendor selling food or beverages. It’s important that you bring a knapsack with the essentials: hat, sunscreen, water, snacks, beach blanket, pop up tent, etc. The weather is generally sunny year-round and there isn’t much shade.
Last week I didn’t know anything about Porquerolles yet now it’s one of my favorite day trips from the French Riviera.
Jellyfish and the cold temperature of the sea discouraged me from swimming this past weekend but remember it’s early June. Come now if you want to connect with nature. It’s also a great time of year for kayaking and sailing adventures. Other main points of interest are the fort and wineries.
Ready to do your escape off the Côte d’Azur?