It’s the place to be at the moment because of the ‘Festival de la Mode et la Photographie‘ taking place at Villa Noailles: Hyères les Palmiers.
This small town on the Côte d’Azur is not as known as Cannes or StTropez, but its beauty is inimitable. I (Digi K) know for a fact, because I’ve spent many summers in the family house there.
Hyères has not yet much been discovered by the jetset as the other Rivièra destinations (which might change with all the coverage on Vogue Paris about the festival) and still has a certain authenticity. Aside from fashionpeople once a year, the area is also popular amongst sailors and surfers. Though it used to be a spa retreat for wealthy Brits at the overlap of the 19th/20th century.
The location is idyllic, with the adjacent peninsula Presqu’île de Giens, offering a variety of beaches, from pristine sand to rocky inlets, small fishing ports, and protected natural areas. There’s the airport of Toulon/Hyères just a few kilometres away, and ferryboats departing from the old fortress Tour Fondue (tranlation: melted tower) to the surrounding islands Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Ile-du-Levant, where the water is so transparent it almost feels like you’re in the Carribean.
Hyères’ old town is also worth seeing, with its narrow streets, medieval arches, and lovely old Provençal houses painted in pastel hues. The Place Massillon is the centered open square surrounded by cute café-restaurants and their terraces, some in the shade of the 12th-century Tower of St Blaise. The square is also the location for the daily market.
It is a car-free area to be discovered by foot, but once reaching the observation table on top of the hill the town leans against, a fantastic view will open up in front of you.
A bit outside of Hyères-town, and a stone’s throw away from the airport, the port St Pierre is the place to hang out and savour some fine seafood cuisine, local specialties -aïoli, bouillabaisse, or Pâtes au Pistou- accompanied by a glass of wine from the neighbouring ‘domaines’.
A perfect getaway for those who want to escape the decadence, but still enjoy the pleasures of the Côte d’Azur.
All images (except the first) © Karine Bloem/The Digitalistas