Var (83300) Population: 37,501 Altitude: 181 m
Draguignan is a large, market town, located between the Côte d'Azure of Nice and Cannes, and the Verdon Gorges and lavender fields of Valensole.
Draguignan is more suited for shopping and markets than as a tourist location, but it could make a suitable base for a vacation in the Var if you prefer your nights in a town rather than a village.
A decent Saturday-morning visit of Draguignan could start with the shops in the the center. Then wander east into the old town, eventually to the great food market at the Place du Marché. After sampling some of the wonderful offerings, like olive bread or nut bread, various cheeses and olives, set off up the hill and through the old town.
At the top is the Tour de l'Horloge (our photo, above), beside the little open-air Théatre de Verdure. At the far side of the hill are a couple of Olive Oil Mills [photo], side by side and just up the road from the Rue des Moulins.
The streets of the old town (roughly between the Tour de l'Horloge and the Place du Marché) are interesting for wandering, even though they don't have quite the same Medieval character as many of the smaller villages.
Down in the center of town, beside the main drag, is a large park-square. The park is surrounded by the foire, the clothing market.
Flood June 2010
A serious flood in June of 2010 caused several deaths in Draguignan and more in the surrounding villages.
See Draguignan Flood
History of Draguignan
First record, 909 Dragonianum.The name comes from the legend of biship Saint Hermentaire who saved the people by killing a dragon.
The town motto of Draguignan is Alios nutrio, meos devoro (I feed others, I devour my children), which sounds to us like a mixed message.
Celto-Ligurian: There was a Celtic presence in this area, and one source of the town name, even pre-Roman, is said to be the Celtic word Drak, for Dragon (indicating St Hermentaire didn't slay the first of them). An ancient dolmen, the Pierre de la Fée, is located only 1000 meters northwest of the center, on the south side of the D2955 road.
A Celto-Ligurian oppidum with three concentric walls was located in the area of Les Tuilières, about 3 km east of Draguignan center.
Gallo-Roman: Numerous vestiges of Roman occupation remain in Draguignan, including the Roman road just north of town, and the thermal baths at the St Hermentaire chapel, just southwest of the center.
Tel : 04 98 105 105; Fax: 04 98 105 110
• GPS: 43.541094, 6.464732
IGN (1/25,000) #3543 OT "Draguignan"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #25 "Maures Haut-Pays Varois"
Draguignan is a large town, surrounded by housing, commerce and farms, sou you'll have to drive out of town a bit for hiking in the nearby hills.
Chemin de Malmont - Voie Romaine
There is one loop-hike to the north of town, towards Le Malmont. It can be done on foot from the center, but that's about a half-day and includes a lot of paved roads. We drove out and did just the most northerly (and remote) part.
Drive northeast out of the center, first towards Grasse, then just out of town turn off left towards the Chemin de Malmont. This is the old Roman road, starting about 2 km from the center, going northwest up a wooded valley to Le Malmont. We saw a pair of golden eagles as we started up, making a nice beginning for an otherwise uneventful walk.
The Roman road is still very much in evidence: many sections still have the Roman edging stones, sometimes along both sides together. In a couple of places parts of the original Roman surfaces stones are still in use.
About 30 minutes to the top, and over to the left (west) to the orientation table and a great view, excepting for the ubiquitous haze. All of Draguignan is spread out below, backed by low hills and distant mountains.
The Botanical Walk is a short loop around the top of the hill. A great idea and an excellent walk, but most of the botanical panels are lost or damaged from vandalism.
- Location: 456 rue Jean Aicard
- Tel: 0494 689 500; Fax: 0494 470 059
- Bus tours to many places (eg, Venise, Paris, Portugal); pickup in towns in the Var, Alpes Maritimes and Alpes Haute Provence.
Department 83, Var Buses
- See Beyond's Var Department Bus Schedules for downloading the Var bus-lines map [Plan du Reseau] and bus-line schedules [Horaires] (link for PDF files).
- Schedules for the Var bus lines are on the VarLib Horaires-Ligne page (http://www.varlib.fr/horaires_ligne/?rub_code=6") - type the line number in the Numéro ... ligne box to access the bus schedule PDF link. (Type a couple of digits in the box to get a list of route numbers.)
Draguignan - Fayence Bus
- Bus line 3201 connects Draguignan, Figanières (Quatre Chemins), Callas (Quatre Chemins), Seillans, and Fayence.
Les Arcs - Draguignan - Salernes - Aups Bus 1201
- Var bus line 1201 connects Les Arcs (Gare SNCF/TGV), Draguignan, Flayosc, Villecroze, Salernes, Aups.
Schedules for the Var bus lines are on the VarLib Horaires-Ligne page (http://www.varlib.fr/horaires_ligne/?rub_code=6") - type the line number (1201) in the Numéro ... ligne box to access the bus schedule PDF link. (Type a couple of digits in the box to get a list of route numbers.)
- Location: 574 CHEMIN DU BAGUIER; 83300 Draguignan
- Tel: 0494 674 099
- Location: 544 CHEMIN SAINT JEAN; 83300 Draguignan
- Tel: 0975 594 382
TRANSPORT TAXI JACQUOT
- Location: ; 391 CHEMIN DES TEISSONNIERES; 83300 Draguignan
- Tel: 0624 100 954, or 0646 467 818