The Cote d’Azur, described as the Blue Coast, is one of the world’s most famous coastlines with its endless sunshine, clear blue skies and sparkling sea. In the department of the Var, La Croix Valmer lies at the eastern end of the Baie de Cavalaire on the St. Tropez peninsula at the foot of the Massif de Maures hills. In this most beautiful setting, between Le Lavandou (26 km) and St. Maxime (16 km), the town owns 220 hectares of nature reserves. It prides itself on the quality of its swimming waters and has seven naturally sandy beaches. The sunrises and sunsets can be spectacular with views across the bay and towards the mountains in the distance. The village has kept up its green credentials despite an influx of summer visitors and provides opportunities for memorable walks through the woods, along the coast and amongst the vineyards.
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According to legend, the name of La Croix Valmer derives from the Roman Emperor, Constantine who, in 312 AD, is said to have had a vision of a cross in the sky displaying the words “in hoc signo vinces” (by this sign you will conquer) on his way to wage war against his brother-in-law. On 16 April 1893, a stone cross monument was erected by the local vineyard owners at the exact site where the vision is said to have taken place to commemorate Constantine and his conversion to Christianity. However, the veracity of this story is challenged by the reality that the name actually comes from its location: “The Crous” meaning the crossroads, and “Vaumar” meaning “valley of the sea”, as the original village was located at the top of the hill.
Prehistoric remains have been discovered demonstrating that this area has been inhabited since ancient times and there is evidence of a Roman farm at Pardigon, dating from the third century BC.
During World War II, the beaches of La Croix Valmer played an important part in the Allied invasion during Operation Dragoon and one of the local beaches, Plage du Débarquement (Landing Beach), pays tribute to the bravery of the troops involved.
The beaches of La Croix Valmer lie two kilometres from the village and are extremely popular with locals and visitors alike. Gigaro Beach is particularly appealing to families with a mixture of pebbles and sand, set in a natural, rocky environment. There are parking facilities with toilets, showers and restaurants from where you can watch wind-surfers, water sports of every denomination or just lie on a sun lounger and enjoy the tranquillity of this unspoilt resort. All aquatic equipment can be hired on a daily basis and there are small boats which can take you to the local beaches of Cavalaire and Cap Lardier.
Cycling and hiking equipment are available for those wishing to venture into the foothills of the mountains behind La Croix Valmer as well as exploring the vineyards and walking the coastal routes. Taking the bike path to discover the diversity of landscapes, rich flora and unique marine area is an enviable pursuit. Leisure activities also include horse riding which can be an excellent way to enjoy this captivating countryside, tennis, bowling, a cinema and golf at nearby Beauvallon.
Local shops include a fishmonger, butcher, baker, banks, supermarkets, hairdressers and also a post office, gendarmerie and a leisure centre. There is a market every Sunday morning on the Place des Palmiers where there is something for everyone ! Local produce, fruits and vegetables, smells and memories of Provence, together with crafts, jewellery and clothing are all on offer in a colourful, picturesque setting.
When the sun goes down, there is also the famous Marché Nocturnes in Forum René Rinaudo where, traditionally, people rendezvous with a glass of good local AOC wine to discuss their fortunes. The Office de Tourisme, located in the centre of the village at 287 rue Louis Martin, is available to give you up to date information.
Accommodation & Restaurants
There are several good hotels in the area, though some are expensive – and some are privately owned with no access to the public. However, both Cavalaire and La Croix Valmer are bursting with hotels, apartments and villa rentals. These are family resorts and many of the hotels have associated restaurants. If you are on a generous budget, try the La Palmeraie – Chateau-Valmer which is a beautiful and exclusive place to stay – or La Brigantine sas Varotel which is on the Plage de Gigaro.
Gastronomique and traditional restaurants include L’Orangeraie, Le Plein Sud, Les Jardins de Mon Plaisir, Les Souleias, La Pinede Plage and Restaurant Le Magnan. There are, however, many inexpensive cafés and local restaurants where simple food can be enjoyed including seafood, pizzas and terroirs specialities.
By road: access is via the Autoroute du Soleil – La Provencal A8 towards St. Tropez.
By rail: The nearest rail link is to Toulon or Saint Raphael.
By air: The nearest airport is St. Tropez/Le Mole but there are very few flights and most are private. Nice is the main airport (approx. an hour and half’s drive) with more choice of flights and good prices year round. Direct flights to Marseilles and Toulon Hyeres are also frequent from the UK.