Sea, boats and sun
If you come from Issambres, you will not want to tear your eyes away from the vast blue stretch of water ahead. The waves break first on a rugged coastline, before reaching the beautiful sandy beach of Nartelle, popular with fans of watersports and swimming. At the far end lies Pointe des Sardinaux, a protected nature area facing a beacon out at sea and a well-known site for scuba diving. The three bends which follow symbolise the idealised image we have of the Côte d’Azur: lovely parasol pines in harmony with the coast road; a few hundred metres further on the marina with space for 800 boats, watched over by the church’s clock tower; and the town centre’s beach just a stone’s throw away. Before this, over the landmark bowstring bridge and past the Club Nautique, you will discover all the attractions of the Croisette beach: to port, a carpet of smooth pebbles, to starboard hot sand, and aft diving into turquoise blue water.
Atmosphere guaranteed all year !
Sainte-Maxime is a lively place all year round. You love shopping? You will be spoilt for choice with all the boutiques! You are active? Every kind of watersport is available (sailing, diving, boating, jet-skis, water skiing…), but you can also play golf, tennis, do all forms of hiking (mountain bikes, horse riding, walking), or stroll with the family in the Myrtes botanical garden. You love shows? We are already preparing the next ones in the Théâtre de la Mer and Carré Léon Gaumont cultural centre, the finest in the Gulf. Interested in architecture - then the art deco circuit is for you; or in events - Free Flight, Var Rally and the Jet-Cup; or going out - the new waterfront’s café terraces welcome you with music and the restaurants are legion. But that’s before perhaps winning the jackpot at the Casino !
Provencal at heart
Sainte-Maxime likes to remind us of its Provencal roots; the Tour Carré Museum invites you to find out more about the folklore and parade heralding the arrival of mimosa. We also celebrate Saint Peter, Saint John and the olive tree, as Sainte-Maxime is home to the largest olive grove in the Var. The very soul of Provence is revealed with just a few drops of this golden elixir on local seafood or produce from the land. There is a real sense of being at home here; and to guard this legacy the town takes part in quality initiatives like Famille Plus, guaranteeing a personalised welcome for children and parents, the Blue Flag for quality bathing water and it is a station classée de tourisme for the quality of the welcome. Of course you cannot leave the area without doing a tour of the mimosa forest. To get there head for the Col du Gratteloup via the new highway and take the picturesque route to Plan de la Tour; then another 2.6km to the parking area and start of the Catalugno path. It’s another world: you will see; it’s wonderful !
A little history
Sainte-Maxime is named after a nun from Provence, a mother superior in the Callian monastery who lived in the 8th century. The saint is celebrated every year in May during the Bravade, a colourful local festival. Throughout the Middle Ages Sainte-Maxime was deserted. In the 15th century the monks from Thoronet Abbey, which owned the territory, concocted a plan to repopulate the area by allocating parcels of land. The project failed and it was not until the 18th century that Sainte-Maxime developed with houses being built by the sea, and the embryonic village and harbour began to take shape. The Toulon-St Raphaël railway built at the end of the 19th century boosted the economy and opened the way to tourism.
A stroll along Sainte-Maxime’s seafront which has had a makeover; shopping or having an ice cream or refreshments on a terrace. For a culture break, visit the Tour Carré Museum to learn more about local traditions. Be sure to go through the old town especially for the architecture from the inter-war period (several buildings have the Patrimoine XXe Siècle label as being important legacies of the 20th century). Enjoy this break to breathe in the scent of spices, fresh fruit and vegetables, charcuterie & flowers in the market. For fish, head for the harbour and the local fishermen, for bric-a-brac the Marché Forain, Promenade Simon Loriere. If you need to unwind, aim for the Myrtes’ botanical gardens, right there beside the sea where you can swim, relax and dream.
From the forecourt of the parish church is a lovely panorama of the whole of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez; from the town hall’s esplanade (once a silkworm farm) a magnificent view of the town and Gulf; from Tourelles Château where Léon Gaumont lived; from Pointe des Sardinaux, pine woods ideal for picnics and diving to explore the marine wildlife
A stroll in the village
Start from Promenade Simon Lorière to Avenue Général de Gaulle; turn right at Condroyer quay (little mermaid statue by local sculptor Jean Portal); go as far as the harbour master’s office (architecture reminiscent of a ship). Come back via the shopping mall, cross Avenue du Général de Gaulle - Tour Carrée and opposite is the church (for its main altar and bell tower). Go up Rue Jean Aicard, then Rue Paul Bert and Montée de la Résistance to the covered market. Place du Marché (fountain by sculptor Gérard Zislin). Descend via Rue Courbet then Rue and Place des Sarrasins. Continue to Place Louis Blanc, Rue de Verdun and Avenue Jean Jaurès in the town centre; then Avenue De Lattre de Tassigny and Casino beach (sports alley, Provence Landings memorial, gardens by the sea and Promenade Simon Lorière)
A stroll along Sainte-Maxime’s seafront which has had a makeover; shopping or having an ice cream or refreshments on a terrace.
For a culture break, visit the Tour Carré Museum to learn more about local traditions.
If you need to unwind, aim for the Myrtes’ botanical gardens, right there beside the sea where you can swim, relax and dream.