In a privileged position between Cannes & Saint Tropez, this small town with its fantastic coast enjoys a truly particular “art de vivre”, a good compromise between the liveliness of the closest towns and the tranquility of the Var, the region renowned and appreciated for its unspoiled beaches, rocky shores and an exceptional quality of life.
Only 30 minutes from Cannes and less than one hour from St Tropez, the town of Saint Raphael is the ideal place for those who love tranquility, but not too far from the partying.
The Casino, the well-patronized sandy beaches, and luxury Villas & Hotels are the pride of this center, that also boasts an important congress center and one of the best-regarded European Wellness Centers.
The name Saint Raphael is of Roman origin, this area having seen Roman visitors, then pilgrims in transit to Marseilles from the year 1000, the nearness to the then important religious center of Frejus making Saint Raphael a flourishing and rich center. The Romans it was who built the first magnificent villas and residences for nobles or high-ranking military officers, and still today, some of the most beautiful and best preserved in the region.
After the 10th century, barbarian and pirate incursions had a hand in shaping Saint Raphael, with depredations and Moorish influences that set our imaginations going today. The Templars, and then the Knights of Malta, restored peace to the area, and Saint Raphael still boasts many vestiges of the Temple order. Napoleon chose Saint Raphael when he triumphally disembarked following the Egyptian campaign, the event being marked by a pyramid built in the harbor.
Already around the mid 19th century, Saint Raphael modernized itself into an excellent coastal resort, thanks in part to the railroad that connected it to other already well-known centers that were frequented by a top-level international clientele. In those years came the Casino and some villas of particular beauty, one of the most special being Villa Mauresque, built by the architect Pierre Chapoulard, and known for its particular «Moresque» style. Politicians, writers, artists and important personalities have stayed in Saint Raphael and have left us the heritage of this quiet and pleasant lifestyle.
The Esterel, with its infinite rocky red cliffs and its American canyon-like uplands, tiny hidden bays and coves, its long sandy beaches, its welcoming atmosphere, the Casino, luxury Villas & Hotels, all make Saint Raphael a favorite among a demanding clientele that loves privacy but without being too far away from the animated evenings of the livelier centers.
The turnpike lies well away from the Saint Raphael coast and so it is worth taking the coast road that passes through the Esterel, snaking its way among the rocks of this fiery red massif, a thrilling procession of extraordinary rocks and seascapes.
SAINT RAPHAEL TOURISM BUREAU
Saint Raphael tourist information
Quai Albert 1er, BP 210
83 702 Saint-Raphaël cedex
Tel. +33 494 19 52 52
Fax. +33 494 83 85 40
In association with