I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Monday, 24 September 2018

Western Mediterranean Cruise - Day 7 Toulon

I was woken up at 2am by the ship rolling around.  I looked out of the window and could see a rather angry sea but no rain, I thought I would open the door but there was no way it was going to open!  I went back to sleep and woke up again about 3am and though we were rocking it wasn’t as bad.  We later found out that the wind had been a Force 8, much stronger than forecast.

We were due in Toulon at 10am but it was 8am when we moored up (or should it be docked?).  We thought it was something to do with the overnight wind but, no, yet another medical emergency 🙁. It had been decided rather than get a helicopter in we would steam into Toulon at full pelt and get the casualty into an ambulance.

We took advantage of the early start and decided to have breakfast in Toulon.  The ship actually docked at La Seyne as Silhouette is too big for Toulon and a shuttle boat into The town had been organised which cost $20 return per person which we felt was rather steep so we walked to the public ferry and paid €2 for a single trip!

The port is nicknamed “Cuverville” (literally meaning “bottom facing town”!) by the locals, this emblematic bronze figure sculpted by Louis-Joseph Daumas stands proudly on the port in front of the Town Hall, his left index finger pointing out to sea. The statue was inaugurated on May 1st, 1847 in honour of King Louis-Philippe. 

We found a rather unfriendly restaurant for breakfast which was just French bread and jam - it was a real shame as I’m sure there were better ones.

There were a few super yachts in town but we couldn’t decide which one to buy so we left it!!

After breakfast we walked to the Cours Lafayette where there is a market every day except Sunday.  The produce looked amazing.

We walked along several streets 

The towns is filled with these amazing hanging baskets.

The opera house is said to the second largest, in France, after Paris.

I can’t find out anything about this clock tower other than it is on the building used by the Toulon Tribunal Administratiff.

We found this interesting fountain in the Place Puget. It is the Fontaine des Trois Dauphins and was sculpted by Toscana and Chantel in 1780 and is overflowing with vegetation.  I guess there are some dolphins under there somewhere.

We found the bow of this old boat.  It is a reproduction of a 18th Century Royal vessel.  The figurehead is original and represents the Roman sea god Neptune.

We found a little road train which took us round Toulon for about 50 minutes where we learned quite a bit about the town.  In this day and age it is probably most famous for its rugby team - even I have heard of them!  Rugby Club Toulonnais was founded in 1908 and has won a few championships in its 110 year history.

Initially a Roman colony, Toulon became part of France in 1481 – the city grew in importance after Henri IV founded an arsenal here. The young Napoleon Bonaparte made a name for himself in 1793 during a siege in which the English, who had taken over Toulon, were expelled.
The Toulon, we see today, was built in the 18th Century in the Baroque style and the port was built in 1830 and is the biggest naval base in France.  They have a history of submarine building with the very first one being launched in 1898.

During World War II, in September 1942, France scuttled 90 naval boats in the harbour so that the Germans, should they move in, wouldn’t have access to them.  By that November 90% of the fleet had been scuttled.  500 residents of Toulon died during the bombing.

Toulon was bombed very heavily in August 1944 and a lot of the town has been rebuilt using reclaimed land.

The old town had decayed in the 1980s and 1990s, but recently many of the fountains and squares have been restored, and many new shops have opened.

The end of our train trip was outside an ice cream shop and, well, it would have been rude not to go in!

Jim was feeling very tired and, as it is quite a walk from where the public ferry drops its passengers in La Seyne, we decided to get a taxi back.

We watched the sail away from the top deck at the front of the ship and it was pretty amazing.  Here are just a few photos.

There will now be a break in the blog posts as we heard back to Southampton. More next week!!

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