The veille ville (old town) is large and interesting. It has a combination of Provencal village feeling with some typical seaport-town areas (little « dive » bars and places named after far-away locales). A fair number of oriental fast-food places adds to the exotic touch.
Toulon’s Place Louis Blanc with terrace Squares (Places). There are nice squares everywhere in the old town, and it’s fun to discover them by wandering randomly through the area, rather than navigating by map. In fact, the large square where we ate didn’t even appear on the map (at least I couldn’t locate it). And the squares aren’t just in the old town. The Place de la Liberté, half way between the old town and the railway station is large and open and has a magnificant fountain on a grand scale. There’s also a pleasant, open square outside the ramparts at the Porte d’Italie at the east end of town.
Passages. One area of the old town has many covered passages crossing between the long, parallel streets.
Along Quai Cronstadt of the harbor Seafront.
The seafront along the port is a walking area lined with terrace cafés, souvenir shops, fishing boats, tour boats for excursions of the Rade de Toulon and the islands, yacht harbor and a backdrop of warships of the naval base. The statue base has nautical bas-reliefs and, with the figure pointing out to sea for the sailors. It was built in 1847 in honor of King Louis-Philippe.
Building-size trompe l’oeil at Square Trompe-l’Oeil Murals. Here in Toulon we found the largest and most elaborate trompe l’oeil wall murals we’ve ever seen. The Hotel du Port scene is probably the finest that we’ve seen. It’s located at the Square Léon Vérane, a couple of blocks from the port. It’s at the edge of a town quarter that was once called Chicago, and depicts nautical scenes, including sailors and prostitutes, ones a staple of that area.
Larger than life boat sculpture at The galleon mural at the Place Vatel is actually 3-dimensional, with the front of the old sailing ship extending out from the wall in larger-than-lifesize stone. The sculpture accurately depicts the 19th-century 80-gun, Royal ship Neptune. The actual ship was decommissioned in Toulon in 1868, and the original figurehead of Neptune is on display in Toulon’s Maritime Museum.