Frejus

Lynne Alderson (September 2006)

A long, sandy beach with lots of space for family picnics, an old town with 30 artists’ studios, Roman remains, a Gothic cathedral with one of France’s oldest baptisteries, a Zoo, and Europe’s largest water park – Frejus has lots to offer for a day out. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Aix; September is a great time to visit as the crowds have gone and hopefully we still have sunny days to enjoy.

The Old Town

Start at the Office du Tourisme (closed 12-2) – it is well-signed up in Centre Ville, and there are 260 free parking spaces next to it in le Clos de la Tour. They will give you a map plus a trail to take you round all the artists who sell their work in the old town.

Frejus was founded by the Romans. The remains - the amphitheatre, theatre, and remnants of a 40 km aquaduct can all be visited. The easiest way is to take le petit train which runs between them in the summer months.The Cathedral is well worth a visit. It has a Gothic nave, well-preserved cloisters and a Roman baptistery which is one of the oldest buildings in France. Markets are held on Saturdays and Wednesdays and are full of the usual Provencal fare. You can sit in one of the squares under the plane trees with a coffee and enjoy the ambiance.

On the Beach

In Roman times, Frejus was by the sea, but the old harbour has long since silted up and left the town inland; so you need to drive the mile or so down to the seafront. You can park on the boulevard which runs along the coast – and from there enjoy the wide sandy beach. There are restaurants galore – especially nice for families are the pizzerias with terraces on the sand. You can walk along the promenade to St Raphael which also has a sandy beach and a few pretty fin de siecle buildings.

Europe’s Largest Wave-Pool

Aquatica, the largest aquapark on the Cote d’ Azur, has amazing water-slides such as the Twin Twister and the White Hole. Its wave-pool is apparently the biggest in Europe. Hurry though, as it closes towards the middle of this month, so check out its website before visiting: www.parc-aquatica.com. Frejus Zoo on the other hand is open 365 days a year and has 130 species on 50 acres of Mediterranean woodland. Details on www.zoo-frejus.com.

Wining and Dining

The town has many restaurants clustered in the heart of the old town. La Provence recently recommended ‘L’entrée des Artistes’ at 63 Place St-Francois de Paule where apparently le moelleux tiede au chocolat is to die for.

La Fete de l’Omelette Geante

This huge omelette will be made from 5000 eggs in an enormous pan, during the festival at Saint Aygulf on September 9th and 10th. Apparently it is something to do with Napoleon asking for one to feed his army – it sounds like a lot of fun.

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