About Le Lavandou beaches
Less well known than St Tropez and St Raphael, or nearby Bormes les Mimosas, Le Lavandou has been gaining in popularity in recent years as a more chilled-out resort than its neighbours to the east. It is very popular with families and those seeking a more low-key kind of place. However, with 12km (7 miles) of coastline, some good diving, a pleasant town centre, an international marina and sport fishing port, Le Lavandou is a resort that offers something for everyone. It gets busy in summer, but March is also a good time to visit, when the famous Corso Fleuri takes to the streets and the town centre turns into a big street party.
Le Lavandou boasts 12 sandy beaches. The main ones include Plage du Lavandou and Plage de l’Anglade to the south of the port and St Clair to the east – these are the closest to the town centre. Farther to the east are La Fossette, Aiguebelle and Cavaliere, which are interspersed with smaller coves. A little train links the beaches with the town centre.
Beyond the beach:
Diving is popular along this stretch of the coast and Le Lavandou has several diving schools catering to beginners as well as advanced divers. In town, the Eglise St Louis (rue du Port) built in 1855, is a pretty Provençal church well worth seeking out. If you fancy a walk, follow in the footsteps of the artists who used to live in the St Clair area and explore the Chemin des Peintres, or head for the Sentier du Littoral, a track that hugs the coastline and offers beautiful views.
The beaches that line Le Lavandou’s waterfront are ideal for families, with lifeguards on duty and clean, safe waters. Mini Port in Cavalière (bassin Beaumont) is a small theme park with electric boats and cars, bouncy castles and merry-go-rounds that will keep the little ones occupied for an hour or two. The Jardin d’Oiseaux Tropicaux in nearby La Londe features plenty of tropical birds from around the world and will interest older children.
Porquerolles, the most westerly of the Iles d’Or (also known as Iles d’Hyères), is the closest to Le Lavandou. The northern part of the island is the most built up, while the southern coast still boasts beautiful, unspoilt little coves of turquoise waters and white sands. An excursion to the nearby island of Port Cros, a national park with typical Mediterranean fauna and flora, is another option.
Hire a boat for the day (or the week) and explore the area on your own. Sur La Vague (quai Baptistin Pins) has a few models to choose from. If you would rather stay on terra firma, Le Club de Cavalière (near Pramousquier on the road to Cavalaire-sur-Mer) (www.clubdecavaliere.com) is a Relais & Chateaux property with its own private beach, a swimming pool, suites with their own private terrace, and an acclaimed restaurant serving local Provençal cuisine.