A strip of land balanced between sea and sky
The Route du Mimosa snakes along the side of the hill, winding its way for several kilometres through a landscape of infinite beauty. We have just passed the Foncin white house perched on a hill, when the Maures’ coastal road begins above the old Provence railway line: a portfolio of images which will remain forever etched in your memory. Below, a succession of pristine coves and strips of sand delight those who love swimming and water sports. Their names are evocative: pointe du figuier (fig tree point), anse du petit port (little port cove), and the beaches of Rayol, Canadel and Pramousquier stretching as far as the sheer cliff face of Cap Nègre. Here the clear blue water is enhanced by thousands of mica particles that reflect the sun’s rays, making the sea sparkle more than usual.
A health and seaside resort that takes you by surprise
This small village has many treasures to reveal. The monumental shale stairway begins by the sea and takes you way above the Patec Pergola to the flag, the highest point in the municipality and symbol of freedom. Both are listed as regional heritage sites for their original architecture and breath-taking views. The church and chapel, on the edges of the village, are also worth a detour; the first for its unusual exterior and the second for its colourful interior, as well as the magnificent 19th century villas and the pretty little harbour of Canadel. As for recreation and restaurants, will you have time to discover them all ?
Jardin des Méditerranées
The resort’s reputation is intimately linked to that of the “Jardin des Méditerranées”, as the landscaping à la Renoir is among the most beautiful on the Côte d’Azur. Make a journey in the open air through several hectares of plant species from five continents, suited to a Mediterranean climate: from Australian acacias to the agaves of Mexico, bamboos from Asia to New Zealand flax, palm trees from Chile to the carob trees of the Mediterranean – a guided tour is a must. And then there is the fascinating history behind the Domaine du Rayol, the creative workshops, guided tour, snorkelling in summer to explore the underwater fauna and flora, the gardener’s organic coffee break. Look around you, breathe in the scents and dream on! This is a real Garden of Eden; how can one bear to be away from it ?
From the pass a 360° panorama that takes your breath away !
From the top! In fact it’s impossible to imagine the surroundings without taking the twisty road up to the top of Col du Canadel, amidst the oaks, broom and strawberry trees which thrive even in the brown rocky terrain. At the top of the pass, a fabulous view described on the orientation table awaits you with the Hyères islands as the backdrop. “He who comes here one day, always returns” is the motto inscribed in gold on the municipality’s crest.
A little history
Until the 18th century, there was nothing: a wild coast impossible to access. And yet how beautiful. The arrival of the railway (1885) sowed the seeds for tourism in this region. It comprises five districts (Les Pierrugues, Dattier, Fenouillet, Rayol and Canadel) spread across 300 hectares. The “Terre de France” company was responsible for significant infrastructure work in the Rayol district: 35km of road, the village, stairs, gardens, hotels, the Patec Pergola, a jetty, etc. – the goal being to create a luxury estate. This district, created as an extension to La Mole (1925), became a health and seaside resort before attaining its independence in 1949 under the name Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer. Two memorials serve as a reminder that Canadel beach was the scene of the Provence Landings on 15 August 1944 at midnight.
Coves, beaches, the underwater trail and endless walks on the old Provence railway line; the Domaine du Rayol for its fascinating history, its acquisition and resurrection thanks to the Conservatoire du Littoral; the Patec Pergola and its monumental steps, the memorials to the Africa Commandos buried in the national necropolis; the commemorative plaque to Sir Henry Royce (who stayed here from 1911 to 1931); Canadel’s chapel and Rayol’s church
The Patec Pergola to realise that blue is a natural colour and not one dreamt up by a painter’s imagination! The Col du Canadel (pass): close your eyes as you face the bay then open them suddenly! To prolong the enjoyment, take a hike along the Route des Crêtes, either towards Bormes or Cavalaire (when the route is open): a long tracking shot over a deep blue sea
A stroll in the village
From the Tourist Office, head for Avenue Mistral. Climb as far as the church. Reach the Patec Pergola and take the path to the monumental stairway. Go down as far as the road, cross it and pick up the stairs again, until you meet the earth road (former railway line). Go under the iron bridge and continue to Avenue des Belges. Pass in front of the Domaine du Rayol (Jardin des Méditerranées), take Avenue Rigaud to the junction, Avenue des Américains to the hotel “Le Bailli de Suffren”. Go back up the stairs to Jean Aicard Square; return on Avenue Capitaine Thorel
Coves, beaches, the underwater trail and endless walks on the old Provence railway line.
Domaine du Rayol, for its fascinating history, its acquisition and resurrection thanks to the Conservatoire du Littoral.
the Patec Pergola and its monumental steps, the memorials to the Africa Commandos buried in the national necropolis.