Cruising Through La Seyne-Sur-Mer
Embarking on a Mediterranean cruise was an unforgettable experience especially when it’s your first cruise. The route was from Barcelona, Spain to Civitavecchia, Rome for an 11-day voyage. For first time cruisers, exploring some of the most fascinating ports along the way can be amazing with others or on your own. There are historical landmarks or breathtaking natural beauty around especially when it’s a first for you.
Before embarking on a cruise, arriving a few days ahead gives you enough time for adventures and we did
explore Barcelona for the most part, then continue with more adventures on each port the cruise visits. It’s always a good thing to arrange a pre/post cruise stay with your cruise.
As one of the port of calls on a cruise, La Seyne-Sur-Mer, a small seaside town on the French Riviera in Provence, offers a delightful experience for travelers seeking a mix of history, culture, and breathtaking natural beauty. Nestled on the picturesque French Riviera, this charming port town is a hidden gem that shouldn’t be missed. This small port on the Mediterranean sea is about an hour away from the Gulf of Saint Tropez, but not anywhere as famous. Although it has a population of around 65,000, the charming city of La Seyne-Sur-Mer is actually part of the larger agglomeration of Toulon, which is right next door.
Upon arriving at La Seyne-Sur-Mer, you’ll immediately be captivated by the town’s historical Old Town. Take a stroll through its narrow winding streets, which are adorned with vibrant, pastel-colored buildings. The architecture is a beautiful blend of Provençal and Italian influences, a testament to the region’s rich history. Along the way, enjoy the serenity of the local squares and gardens, offering opportunities for relaxation and people-watching.
We were to late to sign up for Marseille so we decided to explore on our own. It’s only a 10-15 minute walk to get to the city center from the cruise ship port. Marseille would have been 40 miles / 65 km from La Seyne-Sur-Mer.
For those who visit by car, one of the things you can go is the beach. One of the finest beaches in the area is the Plage des Sablettes, which is around 2 miles (4 km) away from the town’s main port. A fine sand beach, in an area where many beaches have pebbles, the Plage des Sablettes is a little slice of heaven for beachgoers. But, did you know there are around 6 beaches around that you can explore on your own?
While exploring the Old Town, a quick stop by the local cafes is a must. You may indulge a few bites for a tasty pastry (we did!) or sip on a cup of freshly brewed coffee, taking in the laid-back and friendly atmosphere that La Seyne-Sur-Mer is known for. The locals are always happy to share insights and recommendations, making each interaction a delightful cultural exchange.
For panoramic views that will leave you speechless, a visit to Mont Faron is highly recommended and would have been a good alternative but since we only have our feet to rely on to get to explore, we stayed close by. With a car, it’s just a short drive away from La Seyne-Sur-Mer and this scenic mountain offers a vantage point from which you can admire the sprawling coastline and the charming city of Toulon. To reach the summit, you can take a cable car ride, adding an adventurous twist to your exploration.
Once you’ve reached the top, prepare to be amazed as the breathtaking views unfold before you. The sparkling Mediterranean Sea stretches out, dotted with sailboats and yachts against the backdrop of rolling hills and the bustling city below. The panoramic terrace at the summit provides an ideal spot to capture memorable photos or simply take a moment to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you but for now, it’s just an imagination. Perhaps, next time, we can go to the top and be amazed fully.
But we are in town, walking and enjoying every bit of La Seyne-Sur-Mer. You can immerse yourself in the local maritime culture. There’s all kinds of great artists that show their work through graffiti. Graffiti is everywhere and they are good! Also something very visible is the artistic pastries everywhere. They look so good, we can;t refrain ourselves from trying some. There’s Torta, Craque Monseiur, Pizza, Baba that are all decorated well and very tempting.
A walking tour is a good way to explore places like you are local and sometimes, you’ll discover some interesting landmarks that you would not expect. The moment we turn the unfamiliar alley, you can see at the end there is a church, directly behind the waterfront, that stands a somewhat old look. Like a curious traveler, you want to check it out and there stood after a few steps, a 17th century catholic church, Église Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Voyage. The church’s name “Our Lady Bon voyage” is meant to bless good fortune to those sailors setting out to sea and to wish for their safe return. Though I’m not a sailor myself, but being on a cruise somewhat qualifies me as a sailor and I wish to get the blessings too by visiting inside this church. It was beautiful inside, kind of old but well kept. It even has the old piano pipes clearly visible. There’s a chapel for some quiet time though it’s very quiet inside. The area around is lined with shops, bars and restaurants, the area around the harbor front and on the small streets behind, are well worth a visit.
Another landmark we passed by for a picture was the Forges Et Chantiers De la Méditerranée. Here, you’ll witness the busy comings and goings of ships and may even have the opportunity to see some luxurious yachts up close. For history enthusiasts, a trip to the Naval Shipyard Museum is a must. This fascinating museum showcases the region’s maritime heritage and provides insights into the historical significance of Toulon as a Mediterranean naval base. There is so much to see here.
We remembered to savor the flavors of the region with some pastries along the way. Indulge in some authentic Provençal cuisine, featuring freshly caught seafood, flavorful olive oil, and aromatic herbs. The local markets, such as the Marché des Sablettes, offer an array of tempting delicacies that will surely satisfy your taste buds.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking a picturesque French Riviera experience, La Seyne-Sur-Mer has something for everyone. With its charming Old Town, panoramic views from Mont Faron, and maritime heritage, this port of call is sure to leave a lasting impression on any traveler lucky enough to visit. So, when planning your next cruise, be sure to include La Seyne-Sur-Mer on your itinerary – a hidden treasure waiting to be explored.
When it’s time to go back on the cruise ship, we made it early. There is enough time to relax before enjoying dinner with the amazing waiter and everyone who makes the cruise very worthwhile and enjoyable.
Next port will be Genoa, Italy for this 11-Day Grand Western Mediterranean. Stay tuned! Here are pictures taken while exploring La Seyne-Sur-Mer.