Jean-Marc and I stole away to Porquerolles island recently. Because it was play and not work, I didn't pay a lot of attention to detail or think about what could be shared in another France city guide.
This is where you come in. If you have been to Porquerolles, or have researched it while planning a future trip on the southern French island, please share with us here some of the activities and tips that come to mind:
- ferry info
- what to pack
- how to get around on Porquerolles
- activities for kids
- favorite beaches
- what not to miss
- nearby islands and towns to visit
Meantime, I'll share a host of photos and add some interesting facts beneath them, in hopes that you'll be inspired to visit this little pedestrian island only a hop, skip, and ferry ride from the coat of Giens.
Jean-Marc and Mr Sacks on the main square in the village of Porquerolles. Eucalyptus trees frame la place which is lined by boutiques and café-restaurants.
- The size of the island = 12,54 square kilometers (or 4,84 square miles)
- It's one of the 3 Hyères islands a.k.a. "the golden islands"
- Though you'll see plenty of island dogs, the village of Porquerolles gets its name after the wild boar that once roamed the island
You cannot bring your car onto the island, but you can appreciate some of these local classics-on-wheels. The one of the right is a Méhari. You see lots of these off-roaders threading through all the foot traffic.
Save a few euros by ordering a sandwich and eating it on one of the many benches that overlooks the gravel square or the port or, better yet, take a picnic and hike inland a few kilometers for a view of the vineyards and vergers, or orchards or for this view:
- Not pictured here... but among the many points of interest is the botanical garden or la conservatoire botanique national méditerranéen de Porquerolles
Off the main square there is a long alley of what seem to be bungalows. This narrow had one story habitations on either side and one had the urge to jump up and down like a pogo stick... to see what sort of bucolic scene was on the other side of these walls....
- It is said that in 1912 the island was purchased as a wedding present for a lucky bride-to-be. Buyer François Joseph Fournier then planted 500 acres of vines. (No wonder Jean-Marc loves this island!)
- In 1971 the state purchased most of the island in an attempt to preserve it from development.
- Le Domaine de l’île
- Le Domaine de la Courtade
- Le Domaine Perzinsky
There are nine forts on the island of Porquerolles, including Le fort du Grand Langoustier (pictured) and Le fort Sainte-Agathe.
From the port of arrival, this is the first beach on the left. Pass in front of all the cafés, go around the corner and you're there! Off season you'll see this peaceful scene.
- Porquerolles was the inspiration for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The laid back islanders on Porquerolles are known as les porquerollais (see exhibit A, above... and if you love teddy bears, see exhibit B here!)
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For help creating this edition, I looked up facts in these guide books/sites. Click on the titles to view them:
Has this post tickled your fancy for Porquerolles? Will you be adding it to your bucket list? I'd love to know, here in the comments box.
Check out some of the excellent reader-submitted tips or What to do in France guides:
- What to Do in Paris?
- What to Do in Aix-en-Provence?
- What to Do in the Loire Valley?
- Where to Rent a Car in France?
- What to do in Lyon?
After lunch I borrowed Mr. Sacks for a pillow and took a nap while Jean-Marc went hiking and photographing.
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi