Hyères the oldest resort on the Côte d’Azur with Queen Victoria and Tolstoy listed as its early admirers. Popular resort that exports cut flowers and exotic plants the most important being the date palm which can be seen all over the cities streets.
Hyères is a fabulous town, and vastly different from the seaside resort area of the coast. Coming up from the beach, or turning in from the end of the autoroute, you’ll drive up through a commercial-residential district on the Avenue Gambetta with its wide sidewalks lined by double rows of palm trees.
From the top of the avenue, much more town extends out to the east, including wide pedestrian shopping malls. Straight north from the end of Ave Gambetta, continue on the Rue Rabaton to the Place Massillon and the start of the old town.
The Place Massillon is a large, open square, with the 12th-century Tower of Saint-Blaise and several good terrace cafè-restaurants. The daily market is held here, and the tiny streets leading to the square are packed with market stalls and shops. The well-restored old “tower” was a Knights Templar commandery.
Above the Place Massillon are a maze of interesting old streets on the hillside, meriting hours of wander and exploring; It’s small enough, though, that you’ll discover most in just an hour or two. On one level there’s an observation table with a good view of the plains below and the coast. Behind the observation table, the medieval Porte Pensicola leads upwards tint even narrower streets, many of them paved with thick round cobble stones and bordered by stone walls, with shrubs and flowers everywhere. A lot of the streets of the upper vieille ville have the stone roots of the underlying rock joining streets and walls.
The old town has, in addition to its narrow streets and medieval arched portes, lovely old houses, many painted in the Provençal pastels with contrasting shutters and doors. Most are finely restored, many with the ancient stone door and window frames integrated into the facades.