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Between the centre of Hyères and the îles d'Or, the Giens promontory is connected to the mainland by two sandbars which surround the salt flats and the Etang des Pesquiers. Aleppo pine forests and cliffs overlook the sea in this beautiful natural site.
Over 270 species of birds have been identified on the Giens promontory. The Conservatoire du Littoral is responsible for the protection of this rich and fragile ecosystem.
It is from this point that ferries depart, taking visitors to discover the "Golden Islands": Porquerolles, Port Cros and Le Levant await you. Discover their crystal clear waters, vineyards, the great abundance of life on the sea bed, as well as the sandy beaches and the chirping of cicadas.
Discover this lovely sanctuary at the top of the hill. The Costebelle Hill has, since the tenth century, been a place of pilgrimage for the people of Provence. But it was in the thirteenth century, after the return of St Louis from the Crusade that a shrine in honour of the Virgin Mary was built. According to legend, a mother prayed to the Virgin, asking her to bring her son back alive from the Crusades, and that in return, she would build a sanctuary.
Destroyed by the Germans in 1944, and reconstructed after the war, the new Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation is a superb example of sacred art and important heritage of Hyeres. The façade consists of carved and moulded sculptures by Lambert-Rucki, and it supports a the Loire stained glass window. A centrepiece of post-war religious art.
In the fourth century before our era, the Greeks founded the fortified city of Olbia, the name meaning "blissful". In fact, the archaeological site of Olbia is the only site of its kind still visible on the Mediterranean coast.
This ancient maritime trade centre boasts several and Roman and Greek ruins. This major site features spas, shops, shrines and homes.
Down through the ages, the site had many other functions. Indeed, the remnants of the Saint-Pierre-de-Almanarre medieval abbey have also been unearthed here.
The harbour in Hyères looks out onto the Mediterranean, and is a pleasant spot to explore. Numerous sailing boats of varying sizes sit in this sheltered basin. The village is popular place for visiting sailors to stop and explore, along with the Giens promontory and the îles D'Or.
The port plays an important role in this pretty town on the côte d'Azur. Head to the harbour for a stroll among the boats or enjoy a drink at a cafe and watch the world go by.
Off Hyères, the Iles d'Or are aptly named, as they are rich in natural treasures. Porquerolles is the Mediterranean at its best. The sandy beaches and clear shallow waters are perfect for children.
Scuba diving, sailing and kayaking await lovers of the big blue. Walkers can get lost in leisurely strolls in the vineyards and discover the small coves of Porquerolles.
The island also boasts a rich cultural heritage with fine views from the Moulin du Bonheur (Bonheur Mill), the Sainte-Agathe Fort overlooking the village and the Sainte-Anne church. After visiting the church, take a table at one of the terraces around the square, where you gave an excellent meal, accompanied by the chirping of the cicadas.