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835km (519 miles) S of Paris; 127km (79 miles) SW of Cannes; 68km (42 miles) E of Marseille

This fortress and modern town is the principal naval base of France -- the headquarters of the Mediterranean fleet, with hundreds of sailors wandering the streets. The Var's capital, Toulon has cleaned up its act considerably since the demise of the Front National-led council, but it's still not the most attractive place to spend precious holiday time. Aside from the port with its boat trips, the real reason to come here is to take the cable car up Mont Faron with its zoo and far-reaching coastline views. Avoid the port area and the rue d'Alger at night.