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Côte d’Azur, Pays de Maures, Var

43°18'25.24"N 6°38'29.58"E
Published: June 2010
last updated: March 2011
article versions : en

++++The visit

Sainte-Maxime is another one of famous resorts of Côte d’Azur, situated Plage de Sainte Maxime across the golf from legendary Saint-Tropez. The biggest town of the golf of Saint-Tropez lives primarily from the summer tourism. It may not offer lots of touristic attractions, but you’ll appreciate the gay atmosphere of southern town, long beaches and wonderful view on the burg of Saint-Tropez. The heart of Sainte-Maxime is its impressive port, surrounded by a promenade, a ground for petanque and old commercial district. Don’t miss local markets: except a market-hall on street Fernand Bessy, open every morning except Momday, you will find the stalls on the streets of the old town. Thursday is the day of local produce, a funfair on Friday and flea-market all day long on Wednesday.

Two main historical landmarks of Sainte-Maxime are conveniently situated on the same square: on the eastern side of the port - La Tour Carée (Square tower) built in XVI century to protect a small port run by the monks of Thoronet abbey. Nowadays the tower hosts museum of local traditions. Next to it - parish church with its marble altar.

Sainte-Maxime will be a lucky discovery for the sports lovers. Boat tour operators, diving and jet-ski schools are open from april till sometimes october. Saint-Maxime is surrounded by hiking and biking trails taking you to the heart of impressive Forêt des Maures (Moorish forest).


Sainte-Maxime - the tween-sister of Saint-Tropez was founded by the phocaeans under the name of Calidianus. Like other towns of the Mediterranean coast of France, Calidianus was later occupied by romans, then ravaged by saracaens and barbarians. Restored around 1000 AD by the monks of Lérins, who gave it the name of their parton-saint, Sainte-Maxime stayed a tiny coastal town up until XIX century. It ows its development to the construction of the railroad, relying Paris with the Meditarrenean coast, and thus arrival of first tourists to the Côte d’Azur.

++++Practical information

Sainte-Maxime is easily accessible by the departmental road 25 or by the scenic RD 559 (Route de Saint-Tropez). It is quite close to Toulon-Hyères airport (40 km) and not far from the international airport of Nice (90 km). The lovers of train will have to first tome to Saint-Raphael and there take a bus to Sainte-Maxime.

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