Saint-Raphael is a beautiful seaside town located just some kilometers from Frejus. It is an old resort on the coast and there is ample evidence that affluent Romans spent their summers here about 2,000 years ago. Today, it is regarded as a calm resort on the French Riviera. This resort is very well-maintained and clean and also has a tiny harbor. The harbor has beaches on both sides. In fact, both locals and tourists prefer this resort.
You can also find traces of old Greek occupation in the locality. If you are visiting the resort, you must drop in at the local Archaeology Museum to learn more. It was the famous emperor Napoleon Bonaparte who first made Saint-Raphael famous after he landed here to post his Egyptian adventure. The emperor set off for the town when he was initially exiled. There is a small memorial near the port to commemorate this historic event.
1. Massif de l'Esterel
The Esterel Massif is a mountain range in the Mediterranean coastal belt in the departments called Alpes-Maritimes and Var in southeast France. This mountain range has Cannes and Mandelieu as its neighboring cities on the east while Frejus and Saint-Raphael lie on its west side. The mountain range is composed of rocks and soil that appear to be of volcanic origin and is primarily composed of porphyry. The latter gives a red color to the hills. You will find that the terrain here is rugged and has oak forests and deep ravines.
With a height of 618 meters (2,027 feet), Mount Vinaigre is the highest peak of this massif. The mountain range spreads across a sprawling area of 320 square kilometers (124 square miles) out of which about 130 square kilometers (50 square miles) are officially protected in the National Forest of Esterel. You can enjoy activities like mountain biking trails and hikes in the natural reserve. The mountains of Esterel also house the holiday village called Cap Esterel.
Massif de l'Esterel
Website: Massif de l'Esterel
2. Basilique Notre-Dame de la Victoire
It is one of the 10 minor basilicas situated in France’s lle-de-France region. It is convenient to access the place, with “Bourse” as the nearest Metro station. This sanctuary boasts many beautiful paintings by Louis-Michel van Loo, an 18th-century French painter. Part of the already destroyed monastery was damaged in 1858. The mayor’s office and a police station were built in their place.
Basilique Notre-Dame de la Victoire
Address: 19 Rue Jean Aicard, 83700 Saint-Raphaël, France
3. Les Bateaux de Saint-Raphael
This is the sole ferry boat company that operates from Saint-Raphael to Saint-Tropez, the two French Riviera towns. This ferry company also operates between Cannes and Sainte-Marguerite as well as to the coves that are situated between Agay and Saint-Rafael and to an island called Porquerolles at present. The route may vary with the change in seasons. The ferry service between Saint-Rafael and Saint-Tropez is operational from April to November. The service is more frequent during the summer season. You can always check their website for the latest schedule.
Les Bateaux de Saint-Raphael
Address: Gare maritime, Quai Nomy, 83700 Saint-Raphaël, France
4. Jardin Bonaparte
This garden is located on the town’s Vieux Port right above a car park with the same name. The garden Bonaparte is a prominent place of interest on Saint-Raphael Bay. You can walk along a concrete walkway to reach this beautifully landscaped garden and experience a calmness that relaxes both your body and mind. It is a well-maintained garden with adequate seating arrangements.
You can stroll around this lovely place and watch the yachts sailing in the harbor. An English lady runs the adjoining hotel where you can place your orders for the following day. This big public garden is situated on the harbor’s south. Often the garden also hosts photo exhibitions. The garden also has a large play area for your children.
Address: Prom. René Coty, Saint-Raphaël, France
5. Musee Archeologique
It is regarded as the biggest Alsacian museum that displays a rich collection of archaeological findings in the region from the Prehistoric era to the Merovingian dynasty. This famous museum is situated in the Palais Rohan’s basement. Musee Archeologique also showcases an overview of the region’s human habitat starting from the most ancient traces of human settling and dwelling.
The museum also focuses especially on Argentoratum and its outposts like Seltz or Saliso along the Rhine. One of the most famous objects in this museum is in the style of the legendary Caius Largennous. You will also find displays so the findings from sanctuaries of the Gallo-Roman in Mackwiller and on the Mont Donon and Merovingian findings on Erstein.
Address: Rue de la Vieille Église, 83700 Saint-Raphaël, France
Website: Musee Archeologique
6. Casino Barriere de Saint-Raphael
This mid-sized casino in Saint-Raphael is officially known as Casino Barriere de Saint-Raphael. The casino boasts of 175 slot machines, which is a considerable number. However, the total live game tables are few. This casino offers certain classic and popular casino games like Roulette and Blackjack. However, the casino does not have poker cash games. If you want to visit the casino, you should be aware that you can play on the slot machines between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Casino Barriere de Saint-Raphael
Address: Square de Gand, 83700 Saint-Raphaël, France
Website: Casino Barriere de Saint-Raphael
7. Waterworld lac du dramont
Are you in a mood for some thrill and want to unwind yourself? Then you should visit this wonderful water park with an impressive collection of modules and spreads over an area of 1,200 square meters (13,000 square feet). There is a host of playful courses on water for various age-groups. All the activities are family-oriented while its entrance is reserved for couples, children below 18 years of age and families. The park authorities may refuse the entry of a group of adults into this water park.
Waterworld lac du dramont
Address: Saint-Raphaël, France
8. Tiki Plage, a gorgeous private beach
Saint Rafael is famous for its pristine beaches that attract both locals as well as visitors from other nations. One of the prominent ones is Tiki Plage, which is a private stunning private beach. It is located right in the heart of the French Riviera between Agay and Saint Rafael. The cove is sheltered and that makes the water as clear as crystal. If you are fond of snorkeling, then this is the right place for you. Your kids will love this family-friendly beach with an ice cream kiosk. Adults can also spend time at the beachside bar and enjoy the WiFi access.
Address: Rue Marie-Louise Robinson, 83700 Saint-Raphaël, France
Website: Tiki Plage (in French)
Saint-Raphael seems to have it all, from its beautiful beaches to a vibrant old town just behind the harbor. It’s a definite must-visit for anyone who just wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and instead, experience the island side of life. So if you want to experience the clash between old and new, come on down to Saint-Raphael and have a blast!
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