The fact that the Iles d’Or are very close to the Terrasses du Bailli***, lying just opposite the hotel, and that they’re easy to get to from Cavalaire or Lavandou, means they make a very pleasant day excursion for guests. Depending on your fancy, head off to discover one of the three pearls of the Var coast: Ile du Levant, an island for naturists; Port Cros with its National Park – a paradise for underwater fauna and flora; or Porquerolles, the largest of the three islands, which you can roam across on foot or by bike.
Of the three Iles d’Or, there’s no doubt that Ile du Levant is the most distinctive. Part of the island is a military zone that is closed to the public. It is a mysterious, wild, pollution-free site that has been preserved from the hustle and bustle of society. Its heights are dominated by the village of Héliopolis, a cradle of naturism.
The second Ile d’Or is Port Cros. Boasting unsuspected riches on land and at sea, in 1963 it became one of France’s first national parks. It’s a small island with a handful of untamed paths, an outstanding natural site that is unspoiled for anyone who loves hiking or swimming in clear waters – meaning it’s a dream stopover. Although it is tiny (4.5 km long and 2 km wide), Port Cros has a high point of 194 metres: Mont Vinaigre, which makes it one of the most mountainous of the Iles d’Or. The panorama from the top of the ridge line is breath-taking.
Porquerolles is a multi-faceted Ile d’Or. To the north, the landscape is occupied by a beach with turquoise waters; to the south, a steep coastline is shaped by creeks and inlets; and in the centre there is a cultivated plain with a wine estate. You can stroll along the island paths accompanied by the scent of pines, myrtle or heather on foot or by bike. In total there are 54 km of trails! And then for art lovers, there is the Fondation Carmignac, which opens its doors to the public every year so they can discover a contemporary art exhibition; on the program this year is the Imaginary Sea.
Everyone agrees that the legendary islands known as the Iles d’Or are a real gem on the magnificent Var coastline: a new way of understanding nature and the sea.