Bormes les Mimosas

This picture postcard hilltop village is one of my favourite places in Provence – despite the fact that it’s very well-visited by tourists. The trick is to visit outside the peak summer months – but even then you certainly won’t be the only foreigners wandering the village’s winding streets.

Situated between St Tropez and Hyères you’ll leave the main road and will approach the village up a very winding road with hairpin bends – quite hair-raising for the uninitiated. There’s a car park in the centre of the village which usually has a reasonable number of places – although you’ll need to get here early in the summer.

Bormes is a charming place with narrow cobblestone streets, delightful small squares and there are numerous craft shops to pick up typical souvenirs. There are flowers absolutely everywhere which add to the village’s charm and you’ll be enchnted by the fabulous views of the coast down below.

If you want to do some proper “sightseeing” rather than simply strolling around drinking in the ambiance, the two most important historic monuments in Bormes are up the hill from the village. The first is the Church of Saint-Trophyme, built in the 18th century in the roman style so the church gives a good impression of a much older church. Apparently this is the church frequented by French presidents when staying in the region.

The ruins of the 12th century castle (not open to the public) are at the highest point of the village and reached by a pretty path and has lovely views across the Mediterranean to the Iles d’Hyères.

There’s also a Museum of Art and History on rue Carnot. The art collection it contains is also quite interesting – exhibits feature mostly 19th and 20th century artists working in the region.

There are numerous restaurants and cafés in Bormes, but I have no specific recommendations to offer where the food blew me away. To be honest, I tend to be guided by finding a restaurant with a spectacular view down to the sea rather than searching for gastronomic excellence. And there are plenty of restaurants where you’ll be able to eat reasonably well with a fabulous panorama of the coast down below!

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