The historic city of Toulon, set on the French Riviera between Marseille and Hyeres, offers a lovely coastline with sandy beaches and hilltop towns displaying limestone mountains in the background. Toulon, located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region about 522 miles (840 kilometers) southeast from Paris, is France’s most important naval base and the major naval port on the country's southern Mediterranean. An important transport hub for southern France, Toulon has good train connections from the northern to the southern part of the country and is home to the international Toulon–Hyères Airport.
The fastest way between Paris and Toulon is usually flying, which takes less than an hour and a half, though visitors should consider the time spent driving to the airport, plus waiting in security lines and at boarding gates. Airline prices seem to stay uniform throughout the different months of the year, though November can sometimes be higher. Booking in advance is always a good idea. Another relatively fast way to travel from Paris to Toulon is by high speed, direct train—you can usually arrive in around four hours. While driving will take longer, the rewards of soaking up the scenery and making stops along the way at your own leisure may be worth it. Rideshares offer a more relaxing opportunity to be the passenger and meet other travelers. Buses are inexpensive but take the longest and sometimes include overnight journeys.
How to Get From Paris to Toulon
- Train: 4 hours, 16 minutes, from $53
- Flight: 1 hour, 25 minutes, from $55 (fastest)
- Bus: 11 hours, 20 minutes, from $10 (budget-friendly)
- Car: 7 hours, 30 minutes, 522 miles (841 kilometers)
- Rideshare: 9 hours and 39 minutes, $60
There are many trains a day between Paris and Toulon, and prices vary depending on the day and particular journey. From the Paris Gare de Lyon station: It's $53 and up for a nonstop ticket which takes about four hours and 16 minutes (times vary) with TVG Inoui. SNCF’s high-speed express trains called TGV leave from Paris Gare de Lyon throughout the day, making the trip in three hours and 50 minutes. TGV trains have a food area, free WiFi, power sockets, and removable shelves. You can also depart with OUIGO from the Paris Austerlitz station, with one of the quickest trains being four hours and 16 minutes and starting at $53.
When you arrive at Gare de Toulon, the Toulon train station on place de l’Europe, it will take just a few minutes to walk into the center of town.
Toulon-Hyères Airport is 12 miles (19 kilometers) east of Toulon.
From Paris Orly, nonstop flights take about one hour and 25 minutes to Toulon and two airlines fly directly: Air France and HOP!, which in total have several flights a week at $55 and up each way, depending on the date.
From the Toulon airport, a regular shuttle bus takes 30 minutes and heads to the Toulon SNCF railway station/bus station. You can also take a 10-minute ride to the port of Hyères and the bus station. Plan in advance as there are just five return trips a day, with extra runs in the summer.
The bus station (gare routiere) is on place Albert 1er just opposite the train station. One of the lowest-price direct buses costs $10 and takes 11 hours and 20 minutes with Flixbus. BlaBlaBus, isilines, and Eurolines also travel between the two cities. Some buses are direct and others have one stop or run overnight routes, which can affect travelers' sleeping schedules. Many include WiFi and guests may bring a handbag as well as regular luggage.
Paris to Toulon is 522 miles (841 kilometers), which takes around seven hours and 30 minutes, depending on your speed and whether you are making any stops. There are tolls on the autoroutes, the French motorways. The autoroute A50 goes through the center of Toulon, connecting the city to the A57 which heads to Hyeres and Nice. Excellent connections go from Toulon to autoroutes all over France and to Paris. To ensure the most efficient and fast trip, plan your route and check the weather and traffic forecast before you go.
One of the most economical ways of renting a car—if you live outside the European Union (or in the French overseas departments and territories) and plan to be in France for between 21 days and six months—is the Renault Eurodrive. The company has three centers in Paris and many others around Europe.
BlaBlaCar is a rideshare service from the center of Paris to Toulon's city center: It typically costs about $60 and leaves five times a day. The ride takes approximately nine hours and 39 minutes. While the journey is longer than some other options, it does offer visitors a chance to relax rather than be the driver, and to meet fellow travelers. The service includes coverage if the car should break down, and in case the vehicle cannot be repaired quickly enough, an alternative vehicle will take to your destination. If women prefer the driver and other passengers to be female, they can use the Ladies Only service.
What to See in Toulon
Visitors enjoy the renovated historic Old Toulon, where narrow, pedestrian-friendly streets display lovely squares and fountains built in the late 17th century—many of which have been rebuilt and restored. In the old town, Maison de la Photographie is a good museum featuring over 400 works of photography worth exploring. Enjoy the great Marché de Provence market along Cours Lafayette for some weekend shopping, then go for a drink or light lunch at the port where you'll also find the grand Musée National de la Marine (closed through May 1, 2020) displaying maritime artifacts. Check out Toulon's extensive naval base and harbor. For a more expansive look at the city, take the Téléphérique du Mont Faron cable car 1,916 feet (584 meters) up the mountain to enjoy amazing views at the top.