Ile de Port Cros, 83400 France – Port Cros island, French riviera
The big building is the Fort du Moulin
Overview of the village of Port Cros
Fort du Moulin overlooking the harbour
Port-Cros is a one of the three Mediterranean islands of the Iles d’Or with Porquerolles and the Ile du Levant. It is part of the Var department which hosts the French national park of Port-Cros which is the first marine national park in Europe. It was created in 1963 and covers 700 ha “inland” and 1300 ha in the sea.
It is a natural protected area so there are many regulations like no cigarettes outside the village to prevent forest fires (the fine is 135 euros by the way), no bikes, no cars, no litter, no dogs except in the village, no fishing to safeguard marine flora and fauna…
We went there for the 3 hour ridge path walk, to explore the unspoilt countryside on the southern coast of the island – which is considered hard and it was indeed hard, especially with that heat as it was about 29 degrees, and the sun was hitting well. That said, I am not complaining about the weather: it is nice to have summer time in autumn! Be sure to wear good shoes, sunscreen and have water in your backpack.
You can also go there for swimming or scuba diving (check the regulations). The water was crystal clear: we could see quite deeply and saw many fish everywhere, including at the harbour. In the unique village you have a few restaurants but in winter (from mid November to mid March) everything is closed. There is no bank nor ATM. There are some hotels and I noticed one of them using solar energy.
To get there, we went with la Compagnie des Iles d’Or from Lavandou harbour. The boat ride takes about 35 minutes. It is not cheap as it costs 24.50 euros per adult and 20.30 euros per child round trip. The return ticket was valid until 2010. Not much use for me but if you stay at the hotel it is nice.
The Sun Bistrot is the building at the left
The Sun Bistro
The Sun Bistro is a simple bar/cafe/pizzeria/sandwiches/paninis place. There are other restaurants that looked better but it was already past 3pm when we finished the hike so it was too late for lunch. We were not very hungry because we did anticipate it by having a big breakfast in the morning but we were quite thirsty.
Inside, away from the sun!
Coupe Mont Blanc
Coupe Café Liégeois
Another view of the Café Liégeois
Two icecream cups would fix it! We ordered a Café Liégeois (coffee and vanilla ice cream) and a Coupe Mont Blanc (vanilla ice cream with marron cream). Both came with a glass of icy water which was very welcome. The bill was 16 euros which isn’t the best value for money but the desserts were good and this place is fairly remote in some way, which involves some cost.
What to see here:
The beautiful village and its harbour is overlooked by the Fort du Moulin which was built under François 1 (the king who built the château de Chambord) in 1531. Unfortunately that fort cannot be visited but there are two other forts you can visit: the Fort de l’Eminence and the Fort de L’Estissac.
Fort du Moulin. Photo taken from the Mont Vinaigre.
Fort du Moulin at the left, Fort de l'Estissac on top of the hill
Fort de l'Estissac