Visit Saint-Raphael (Provence, France)
Saint-Raphael is a seaside resort a little way south-east of Frejus in the French Riviera. The town is one of the oldest resorts on the coast - there is evidence that wealthy Romans used to pass their summers here 2000 years ago!
Nowadays Saint-Raphael is one of the calmer resorts on the French Riviera, standing in the shadow of the rugged Massif de l'Esterel. It is a very clean, well maintained resort with a small harbour, and beaches to either side of the harbour. It is one of our favourite resorts on this part of the Cote d'Azur.
The more eastern of the beaches is backed by grand regency era hotels, now with cafes to the front, and Saint Raphael also has a large number of cafes and shops in the area around the harbour, again all very clean and modern where you can escape from the sunshine. Behind the harbour there is a colourful old town to explore, which has a daily fruit and vegetable market.
Another imposing 19th century building in the centre of Saint-Raphael is the byzantine style basilica.
To the south of the harbour is a large public garden area where photo exhibitions are sometimes held, which also contains a large children's play area. If you head east along the sea front from the centre of saint-Raphael you reach another harbour area called Saint Lucia. You can then follow the coast path to Boulouris and a selection of smaller beaches.
As well as the romans, there are also traces of both prehistoric and ancient Greek occupation in the area. Visit the Archaeology Museum in the town to learn more. In more recent years it was Napoleon who brought Saint-Raphael to the public gaze when he landed here after his Egypt 'adventure', and set off from Saint-Raphael when he was first sent into exile, an event commemorated in a small memorial in the port area.
Places to visit near Saint Raphael
Deep-sea diving and the coastal path are among the most popular activities in and near Saint-Raphael. The surrounding coastline (more than 30km of coastline is found here) and the Massif de l'Esterel together represent a protected and carefully maintained environment, including restrictions on new developments along the coast.
The beaches and rocky section of coast are characterised by the red rock, as found in the Massif de l'Esterel and best seen by following the coast road east to Theoule-sur-Mer.
Saint Raphael is also on the popular 'garden route' called the Route des Mimosas.
Photos of Saint-Raphael
Click any picture to start the gallery
Address: Saint-Raphaël, Draguignan, Var, Provence, 83700 || GPS: latitude 43.4253, longitude 6.76833
Map of Saint-Raphael & places nearby
Highlights close by
Cap Esterel 8km
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Saint-Raphael, France
- Eglise de St Raphaël (Saint-Raphael) - religious monument
- Frejus Cathedral cloisters - national monument (2km)
- Frejus - town of art and history (2km)
- Cathédrale Saint Léonce (Frejus) - religious monument (3km)
- Parc zoologique de Fréjus - zoo or wildlife park (6km)
- Parc du château de la Napoule - remarkable garden (18km)
- Abbaye de Lerins (Cannes) - religious monument (24km)
- Cannes - ville fleurie 4* (24km)
- Seillans - most beautiful village (25km)
- Grimaud - recommended detour (26km)
Market days in Saint-Raphael: Regular market(s) are held in Saint-Raphael each Tuesday & Monday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Saint-Raphael (Francais)