Sometimes, we think of Provence as only the French region of lavender and the towns that enchanted the artists of Impressionism. But there are many other surprises in the south of France, and without a doubt, one of them is the island of Porquerolles, and the entire archipelago of Hyères to which it belongs.
Porquerolles, Port Cros and Ilê du Levant
These three islands of Provence make up the Hyères archipelago, some islands already frequented by the Greeks as its archaeological wealth attests to.
All three have a great tourist interest despite their small size. For example, to get an idea you have to think that the island of Porquerolles that occupies us here has an area of about 12 square kilometers. It measures only 7.5 km long by about 3 wide.Porquerolles - BiceksPhoto
Not only the Greeks have passed through these islands. They were also trodden by the Celts or the Romans, and the presence of all of them has been in the form of archaeological remains among which rich mosaics stand out. And much later, Porquerolles and the other islands of the archipelago were assaulted on different occasions by pirates who sailed through the Mediterranean between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries.
Porquerolles, part of a national park
The ecological value of this archipelago is undeniable, so much so that since 1971 the nearby island of Port Cros became 80% of its territory in a national park. A protection that since 2010 also includes the island of Porquerolles.Porquerolles - sergiopazzano
That the island is part of the National Park of Port Cros already gives us an idea of the type of tourism that can be done here. Basically The island is the ideal place to relax and devote himself to the contemplative life, alternated with walks around.
It will discover its north coast, with sandy beaches surrounded by pine trees and the inevitable aromatic plants of Provence. A landscape that contrasts with the steep and rocky coast of the south.
The only town is to the north and has the same name as the island. A town originated during the times of the nineteenth century in which it was considered that Porquerolles could be an important military enclave. Nowadays in that town everything revolves around its port, which the ferries that connect it with the continent and the rest of the islands arrive.Porquerolles - Samuel Borges Photography
An essential walk is the one that leads to the lighthouse of Cap d'Arme. Although it is to the south, given the small island area, it is an easily realizable path. The small effort has the reward of seeing this beautiful lighthouse built in 1837, and in whose vicinity there was an earlier mill of the eighteenth century and a church.
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the coast."
- André Gide -
Hiking and other sports in PorquerollesPorquerolles - Oliver Gobin / Flickr.com
We have already warned that the island is to relax, and few things more relaxing than taking leisurely walks through the natural environment. Thus, there are several routes perfectly marked, like the ones that unite the different military forts. Some of these trails are also practicable with mountain bikes, easily rented here.
That in terms of land, because at sea it is possible to dive and discover its incredible backgrounds. What is forbidden is fishing, since we must not forget that we are in the protected territory of a unique national park, an authentic jewel to discover in French Provence.