What to do on Porquerolles Island? Que faire sur l'île de Porquerolles?

Le Port pizzaria on Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse

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:

  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • 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
  • etc... 

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 (c) Krisin Espinasse
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"

Island dog and laundromat on Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
 Island dog and laundromat. 

  • Though you'll see plenty of island dogs, the village of Porquerolles gets its name after the wild boar that once roamed the island

Mehari and island vehicles on Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
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.

sandwich hut on the port of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
 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:

Calanque in Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse

  • Not pictured here... but among the many points of interest is the botanical garden or la conservatoire botanique national méditerranéen de Porquerolles

Exotic door in Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
 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.

Artisinat on the island of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
Out in front of the artist's house... or one of the artist's homes. There must be plenty of them living on this begs-to-be painted island.

Domaine Perzinsky on the island of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
Walking towards Domaine Perzinsky, on our way back to the village.

Porquerolles vineyards were among the very first to be classified Côtes de Provence. There are three vineyards on the island:

  • Le Domaine de l’île
  • Le Domaine de la Courtade
  • Le Domaine Perzinsky

Le fort du Grand Langoustier (c) Kristin Espinasse

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

Teddy Bears on the island of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
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!)

To respond to this post, thanks for leaving a message here in the comments box.

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:

Kristi's nap (c) Jean-Marc Espinasse
After lunch I borrowed Mr. Sacks for a pillow and took a nap while Jean-Marc went hiking and photographing.

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tergiverser + pictures of the French island of Porquerolles

pebble beach nearest the port of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
The island of Porquerolles is only a 15-minute ferry ride from coast (near Giens and Hyères). More, in today's story column.

tergiverser (tehr-zhee-vehr-say)

    : to hem and haw, to dither

Also: to delay, to procrastinate, to put off, to dally, to shilly-shally or dawdle or linger or tarry...

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce tergiverser and the example sentence, below: Download MP3 or Wav file

Lorsque Jean-Marc m'a invité pour un week-end sur l'île de Porquerolles, j'ai tergiversé. Est-ce qu'on pouvait tout laisser derrière nous? When Jean-Marc invited me for a weekend on the island of Porquerolles, I wavered. Could be leave everything behind us?

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

When Jean-Marc suggested we escape the renovation for a night--and get away to the nearby island of Porquerolles--I hemmed and hawed, unsure about leaving the kids and the dogs behind. 

But when I learned Jackie was invited to stay the weekend at a friend's... and that Max had agreed to look after Braise and Smokey, I began to consider the break Jean-Marc was offering me. In the 7 months since moving houses--and all the decisions and disruptions involved in the process--it could be refreshing to have a change of scene. 

And, after all, I thought, Max would be comfortable in the room where Mom had stayed: it was completely independent of the partly condemned house. He could even invite a friend over for the night (a change from all the party weekends he's been enjoying, away from home).

With our teenagers' encouragements, Jean-Marc and I left just before noon on Saturday. I suggested we visit the village of Bormes les Mimosas, which wasn't too far from the Giens peninsula and La Tour-Fondue, where we would be catching the 15 minute ferry to Porquerolles.

Village of Bormes les Mimosas (c) Kristin Espinasse

In Bormes les Mimosa we had lunch at Lou Portaou, where we had eaten 18 years before, on our honeymoon. Jean-Marc must have told the waiter the story two or three times and, rather than hush my husband, it occurred to me to rejoice knowing he remembered so much about our lune de miel

After lunch, Jean-Marc followed me through the rain as I snapped pictures of one of France's most flowerful villages--only this early in April, many blossoms were still sleeping... if not all of them:

Tickling the nose of Alexandre Vigourel (c) Kristin Espinasse

On our way out of Bormes, and not 3 hours after leaving home, we were surprised by a call from our daughter.... Would it be okay if she and her girlfriends slept at the house tonight? Jackie wanted to know.

Hors de question! I growled into our car's speakerphone. But Jackie eventually sweet-talked her way into an agreement. Besides, she informed us, she and her girlfriends were already back at our house....

Noticing my agitation at the unexpected change of events, Jean-Marc suggested we not let this ruin our weekend. "The girls will be fine," he assured me. They could hang out in the safehaven and we could order pizza to be delivered to them for dinner.

Jean-Marc leaving the docks at Porquerolles, entering the village (c) Kristin Espinasse
Photo: Entering the village along Rue de la Ferme.  Jean-Marc brought his vélo but we realized, later, that it costs more to use your own bike (ferry fees) than to simply rent a bike. (Notice his beloved leather bag... I need to add this one to the sacoche gallery....)

When our boat arrived at the island of Porquerolles we rushed beneath the rain from the little port right to our hotel, less that a 5-minute walk from the dock. Our plan was to relax the first evening, have dinner at the inn, then enjoy a tour of the island on Sunday, when the clear blue skies would return.

It was peaceful to be in an uncluttered room, away from the dust and all the renovation equipment. As it was still cold and rainy out, I slipped off my shoes and got under the bedcovers to rest until dinner. We were unable to get a room facing the sea and the port, but we had a cozy view of the church and the little square.

Taking advantage of the hotel's wifi connection, I logged on to Facebook. I noticed an update from Max posted onto his timeline for his friends to see.

That's strange, I thought, studying the snapshot of Max and his friends, who seemed to be gathered at the house of one of the kids. I shared the information with Jean-Marc, who smiled. "Are you snooping?"

"No! I'm not snooping." I protested.

"You are snooping!" 

Harrumph! My attention returned to the screen, where I studied the picture of Max and his friends, who were gathered on the porch of one of the kids. I began to notice the cigarettes and the alcohol and all the girls....

"They are having a party!" I informed Jean-Marc. That turkey! He was supposed to stay home and take care of the dogs. Instead, he is out somewhere having a party!

I strained my eyes, searching the photo, when a pot of flowers came into view. It seemed the friend's mom had planted the very same trio of purple, white, and yellow primaveras that I had planted...

...and in the same unmistakable cracked pot! 

Post note: Returning from the island I found those purple and yellow and white primaveras at the other end of our garden, root side up.  As for the pot, it had disappeared.

As I inspected the front porch and the house, I complained to my daughter. "Well. If I were your brother and I had had a party when my parents were away, I would have done a much better job cleaning up the evidence!"

"But Mom," Jackie complained. "We scrubbed the floors!"



As for Max's punishment he might pack his toothbrush and join me for the spring cleaning of the Paris catacombs

French Vocabulary

la lune de miel = honeymoon

hors de question = out of the question

le vélo = bike 

  Doves and church in village of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
Our hotel room faced the Église Sainte-Anne de Porquerolles. Jean-Marc gave the rest of the morning croissants to the friendly doves... (re the hotel, we stayed at L'Oustau)

Port in Porquerolles

The Quai des Pecheurs or Fishermen's dock.

  fishing boat on Porquerolles
Classic wooden Provençal fishing boat, aka le pointu.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.