The village and the region
If you have the choice, do try arrive the village by the hilltops. Take the wild and little frequented road between La Mole and Le Rayol-Canadel. This 12 km long road alternates dense valley's, thick maquis and sheer khaki-coloured rocky spurs. The road winds round the Maures national forest, sometimes crossing old stone bridges. Then suddenly, when you were thinking that the evergreen forests were going to stretch on forever, you will be amazed to come across one of the French Rivièra's most spectacular coastal panorama's. The immense Mediterranean Sea literally explodes into view. Bleu, bleu everywhere. Opposite, a group of lazy little islands basking in the sun, just waiting for you to disembark.
( view on Le Rayol-Canadel, Cap Nègre and Cap Bénat from "Col du Canadel")
The street, where the villa is situated, ends in a path, wich can be the start of endless walks in the hills of the National Protected Forest "Massif des Maures", one of the few places in the world where turtles live. Sometimes you can even find one in the garden. It's also a great place for mountain-biking.
(Beach of "Pramousquier")
Le Rayol-Canadel is in fact a part of the French Rivièra which has not yet been discovered by mass tourism. If you want to visit more touristy places: Saint-Tropez, Saint-Maxim, Fréjus etc. are only between 30 and 45 minutes away and Cannes 60 minutes. Le Lavandou is 10 minutes away and Hyères, 20 minutes. If you want, we can give you advice for things to do every day, to discover and enjoy this paradise.
(...the lucky ones.....)
You must visit: Jardins du Domaine du Rayol !
These gardens are a beautiful natural outdoor exhibition. The "Conservatoire du Littoral" (Botanical Conservation), which is now the owner, has put the landscape gardener Gilles Clément in charge of restoring and re-designing the site. There are 12 acres of flora from medeterranean climes and also from all over the world. Mediterranean carob trees, Australian acasias, South African strelitzias, Mexican agaves, Asian bamboo, New-Zealand linseed and Chilean palm trees all in a truly magnificent setting. During summer you can also snorkel in the adjacent underwater gardens!
( the "Rayol-Canadel promotion team....Sylvie up second left, Dave up right")
Another must to visit are the islands of "Iles d'Or". Especially the National Park "Port-Cros" (no cars allowed...) and Porquerolles (can hire bikes). Just take the boat from Le Lavandou and experience the beauty of these islands and their underwater flora and fauna. Don't forget your mask and snorkel!
Port Cros Saint Tropez
( Sylvie (at that time 10 years) and "Dédé" (le patron du restaurant "Maurin des Maures"), planting an olive tree)
Swimming, sailing, snorkeling, sailboarding, pedalo's, diving....
On the beaches of Le Rayol, Canadel and Pramousquier there are life-guards during summer season. There is good snorkling along the rocks. The EC rates this cove as the cleanest water in this part of the mediterranean. It is warm enough for swimming from May till October. Le Lavandou/Saint Clair has an active diving centre with instruction and all the gear available for rent at Lavandou Plongee (diving school). It is suitable for kids from the age of 8 years up! The school has several professional instructors and they are very eager to make children and adults enthusiastic about safe scuba diving.
Laurent (boss/instructor of Lavandou Plongee) and Dave just
before his "Baptism dive"......Dave:"Laurent kept his hand
on my shoulder all the time....."
Ready to go.........an unforgetable experience!!! The "Kenavo" (40 divers!!!!) will bring you to unspoiled
diving spots like "Port Cros"...
For further information about this great diving club please visit their beautiful site:
Sailing schools in Pramousquier and Cavalière, with organised lessons for beginners to the experienced with a variety of boats (cats, 470's, 420's etc.) for hire.
Some pictures of the sailing school "Raid 22".....in Cavalière (5 minutes):
Eric (instructor/boss..), Sylvie, Dave and their friends/guests from Finland:
Sonja and Felix at the end of their sailing-weekend!
And off they go!!!
For more information about this professional sailing school (Club Nautique de Cavalière), that has a great reputation in this region for their child-friendly and safe way of teaching kids on "their boats"...please visit their site:http://raid22.free.fr/ecole.htm
In Cavalière there is also water skiing, water scooters, parasailing, Crazy Banana and much more.
Tennis, golf, horse riding....
Tennis courts in Cavalière. Golfcourses in Le Lavandou (practice) and Valcros/La Londe (18 holes).Horse Riding near La Mole.....with beautiful tracks in the Maures Forest.
For the children......
Lots of sand and water!!! But also: a beautiful mini-golf (15 min.) in an exotic garden, "Niagara" swimmingparc (15 min.), with 7 water slides, jacuzzi and turkish bath, tropical bird-zoo (20 min.), "Kiddy-parc" (25 min.) small attraction-park, O.K.Coral western-town (60 min.) live western shows and fairground for children......and many more things!!!
( Sylvie, Dave, guests and friends in the "mini golf exotique") 2003
It's soo beautiful.....the "Calanques de Cassis"...
The hinterland...in the winter you can even see the snowy tops of the Alpes..
View from Domaine du Rayol
Hope to see you soon in this lovely paradise!