Port-Cros Island

Port Cros is one of the Hyères Islands, situated on the Mediterranean sea about 7 nautical miles away (circa 12km) from the coast, directly facing the city of Lavandou.

As well as being a beautiful island, Port Cros is a national Park, which guarantees beautiful landscapes and tranquil surroundings.

It is impossible not to surrender to the charm of the port. Shaded by palm trees, a certain “tropical island” feel, springs to mind. The few restaurants and bars on the port offer several dining possibilities and contribute to the relaxing atmosphere. A little grocery store where you can stock up on all the basics is only a short walk away.

Make sure to take out money before you sail to the island, as there are no banks or ATMs to be found there! All motorised forms of transports are not authorised to circulate, in order to preserve the peace and beauty of the environment.

Perfectly nestled away in this comfortable holiday rental villa, the stress and havoc of the city life will be so very easily forgotten. A haven of ultimate calm and relaxation.

Positioned just meters away from the docks of Port Cros, InDiPaCha benefits from one of the most splendid bay views. We highly recommend the breath-taking sunrise and sunsets - make sure to add them to your short to-do list this holiday.

Tourism
Discover the island of Port-Cros

Port-Cros is the first National Park solely dedicated to Marine life protection and was created in December 1963:

* “Le fort de l’Eminence” looks out over the bay where a castle, a small church and a couple of fishermen’s cottages are located. Port-Cros is the craggiest of the 3 small islands in the group.

* “Vigie et Vallon de la Solitude” is the earliest strategic road that leads to the Vigie (formerly a semaphore) offering a magnificent view of the whole island cluster from the Sicié Cap to Camarat Cap and the Maures Islands.

* “Le manoir d'Hélène” is so called due to the heroin of the novelwritten by Melchior de Vogüé entitled Jean d’Agrève.

* “Port-Man” offers a beautiful sight on Levant Island, Maures Island and the coast.

Port-Cros National Park includes Port-Cros, Bagaud, Gabinière and Rascas islands.

Port-Cros was given to France to be a focal point for Environmental Protection.  The archipelago is called “îles d’Hyères” or even “îles d’Or”, meaning “Golden Island”.

The numerous water sources are the reason of the prolix vegetation. The island is 4.5km long and 2km wide covering a total of 700 hectares - nearly 2000 hectares including the marine territory - making it the largest European Marine Park, at 207 meters.

Port-Cros National Park is the only park that belongs entirely to the French State.

 

History

The word “Cros” comes from “creux”, meaning “hollow” in French. Port-Cros Island is so-called because of its hollow-looking small port. Greeks used to call this Island “Messé”, meaning “Island in the middle”.

The island is rich in history.  Graves, gold currency and extensive drainage and tunneling reveal the former presence of great Roman colonies.  Lérins monastery, was a major building on Levant Island during the 5th century, with an annex on Port-Cros Island, in Notre-Dame valley.  Sadly pirates destroyed it between the 10th and 16th Centuries.

Aware of the Hyères population in 1531, King François the 1st put the three islands of Bagaud, Port-Cros and Levant under the authority of Bertrand d’Ornezan, in charge of raising fortifications.

From 1549, Christophe de Rocquendorf was in charge of this marquisate. To attract colonies to these islands, a right to refuge asylum was given to common law criminals.  Unfortunately, their behaviour was worse than the piracy.

There was still no fortification in 1617 to protect Port-Cros, so Richelieu organized the resumption of operations, building “La Tour de l’Eminence”, “Le Fort de l’Estissac” and “Le Fort de Port-Man”. Louis the 14th fought against piracy and banditism caused by inhabitants as well as corsairs but never to the point of installing garrison on the Island, thus English militaries plundered it in 1700, before conquering it in 1742.  They were later kicked out of the island byt Comte of Maurepas.

Louis de Colvet, Mirabeau‘s father in law, was the last Port-Cros marquis. He sold the three islands to Jean Joseph Barthélémy Simon de Savornin in 1783.  The English once again destroyed Port-Cros in 1793. Napoleon Bonaparte cared about Port-Cros, referring to it as a strategic anchorage. He restored the fortification in 1811 and sent 1000 to 2000 soldiers there. A “compagnie d’Invalides” replaced them after the fall of the Empire.

The French State purchased Bagaud in 1815.  Misters Gazzino and Rolland, then Comte de Retz owned successively Port-Cros and the Levant Islands. Comte  de Retz sold Port-Cros to Mr Bourgarel. After many owners, Doctor Crotte milked the Island at the beginning of the 20th century, and tried in vain to create a rich American ouristic complex.

Marcel Henry, a notary and Claude Balyne bought the island in March 1921. They sustained a reasonable tourism on the island, thanks to the construction of a hotel and the implementation of maritime lines.

A lot of artistic and literary personalities used to go Port-Cros between the two World Wars, such as André Malraux, André Gide, Saint-John Perse, Paul Valéry and Jules Supervielle, who made the “Fort du Moulin” his mansion-house. Vicomte Eugène-Melchior de Vogüé, a french writer born in 1848, who was an Academie Francaise member too, used to live in Port-Cros. He introduced Russian novelists such as Tolstoï, Tourgueniev and Dostoïevski to French people.

On 15th of August 1944, during the Provence landings, fights took place between a German garrison (150 soldiers) and French commandos on Port-Cros Island. The last bastion only surrendered on the 17 th of August.

The creation of the National Park in 1963 is the latest chapter of Port-Cros’s well-documented history. Yann Arthus-Bertrand, a French photographer, is currently restoring Port-Man fort.

The island is part of the Hyères local authority. 

Boat discovery submarine(Aquascope)

Explore the marine environment "without getting wet" through the portholes of the hull.Every day from April to November (except bad weather).

Time : 30 mn. ( 10 passagers )


  Fee:
Adultes 15 €
Enfants (de 4 à 12 ans) : 10 €

Reservation  groupes :
Tél. : 04 94 05 92 22

Walking and Hiking

The island of Port Cros discovers 30km walk on marked trails crisscross the forest on the island.The national park is a place for discovery of great diversity, three beaches are sublime to discover a white sand, and the other two gravel.

Sun Diving

A team of young and dynamic professionals will guide you in:

  • Home groups
  • Diving exploration all levels
  • Baptism from 8 years
  • Training Levels I to III
  • Initiation to marine biology
  • Diving at night

Sun plongée

Fauna (wildlife) and Flora

“Le conservatoire du littoral”, a public organisation dedicated to protecting the coastline in France, acquired two glens between 1998 and 2006 proving an access to La Palud and Port-Man bays...

Amongst the fauna found on the island are a few scarce species including:  Goélands leucophées, Aigles bottés (a scarce kind of Eagle), Faucons pèlerins (a kind of hawk), Puffin cendré and Puffin de Méditerranée (two shearwaters).

A lot of migratory species come to the island during the autumn and spring seasons.

The non-amphibias wildlife includes rare species such as Discoglosses sardes (amphibias) and Phyllodactyles (a kind of gecko which you can find in Corsica and Sardinia as well.)

You can also see various species of invertebrates and chiroptères on the island.

The Mediterranean forest is unspoiled.  Alep pines (coniferous trees) are being slowly replaced by Oak trees, “chêne vert” especially. “La barbe de Jupiter” and “l'herbe-aux-chats” are two extremely rare and closely protected species on the island.

Port-Cros is filled with scrubland species such as strawberry trees (so-called “arbousiers”) and arborescent briars.