Frejus, Var: tourism & sightseeing
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Frejus is in the Var department of Provence, just inland from Saint-Raphael on the Cote d'Azur. As the coast and region around Fréjus has become developed there is little to separate Fréjus and Saint-Raphael.
Frejus has a long and illustrious past dating back to pre-Roman times, and 2000 years ago it was already an important trade centre and port. The sea has now receded so the main port is now at Saint Raphael and Fréjus-Plage.
Frejus has a calm, pretty town centre to explore and merits a visit when you are visiting the region. The medieval centre of Frejus is centred around the Place Formagé where the cathedral of Saint Léonce and the town hall occupy two sides of the square.
The town hall was originally the bishop’s palace and is painted a pale orange colour. From the square you can stroll down the side streets that contain more pastel-painted houses and shops.
The Cathedral of Saint-Leonce is very much the highlight of your visit to Frejus. A small cathedral in an attractive, simple style the main building dates from the 12th century. You will first notice the decorative carvings around the doorway, but it is inside the cathedral that the greatest treasure can be found, with a baptistry and 12th century cloisters.
Frejus was one of the first centres of Christianity in France and the baptistry dates from the 5th century. Very unusual, it dates from the time when baptism required full body immersion*, with a large central well in which believers would be completely submerged.
*The guide explained that it was later that people started to worry about children not being baptised and the more current version of baptism with water on the forehead was introduced.
The baptistry is entered through a doorway made deliberately low so people would enter bent over, then leave upright through a larger door after baptism. The building itself is octagonal with arches and columns around the edges.
In the cloisters one of the highlights is the painted woodwork in the ceiling of the arcaded edges. The cloisters are listed as a French National Monument.
Elsewhere in Frejus
There is an attractive 15th century church - the Church of Saint Maximinus - in Frejus. You will also see scattered Roman remains in the town, including the remains of the aquaduct. Both the amphitheatre and the theatre are still used for summer time events, although the ampitheatre is smaller than those of Nimes and Arles and in a dilapidated condition.
If you are looking for something more offbeat, track down the Chinese pagoda, or the Sudanese mosque, then the memorial to the war in Indochina. I wasn't quite sure why any of them were here, but quite interesting all the same!
Frejus Port and Beach
Sooner or later visitors to Frejus will find themselves at the port or the beach! The port is modern and pleasant to explore, with some of the architecture in the style of traditional pastel coloured Provencal houses. Although the port gives little clue to its long history it is a pleasant place for a waterside promenade.
There is a choice of beaches here, most are of sand and some are supervised in summer so you are sure to find one that is ideal for you!
Sun lovers will want to head just down the road to the beach where Frejus Plage merges into the more up-market coastal resort of Saint Raphael.
Among the natural highlights close to Frejus, the Massif d'Esterel and the coast road between the massif and the sea are both very scenic.
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Map of Frejus and places to visit
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Frejus has received the following tourist classifications: ; listed town of Art and History ;
Address: Fréjus, Draguignan, Var, Provence, 83600, France || GPS: latitude 43.43, longitude 6.74
Plan your visit to Frejus, Var
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Frejus Cathedral cloisters: national monument
- Cathédrale Saint Léonce (Frejus): religious monument
- Eglise de St Raphaël (Saint-Raphael): religious monument (3 km)
- Parc zoologique de Fréjus: zoo or wildlife park (5 km)
- Parc du château de la Napoule: remarkable garden (19 km)
- Seillans: most beautiful village (24 km)
- Grimaud: recommended detour (25 km)
- Gassin: most beautiful village (26 km)
- Jardin Germaine l’Hardy-Denonain: remarkable garden (26 km)
- Abbaye de Lerins (Cannes): religious monument (26 km)
- Cannes: ville fleurie 4* (26 km)
- Grottes de Saint-Cezaire: site of natural beauty (26 km)
Market days in Frejus, France
Regular market(s) are held in Frejus each Wednesday & Tuesday & Sunday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Frejus (Francais)