Once the peaceful home of monks and farmers, the Île de Porquerolles is now regarded as a secluded bastion of luxurious serenity. The largest of the ‘gold’ islands within the delicious Hyères gulf, Porquerolles still contains the essence of what the Côte d’Azur was forty years ago. Close to the gorgeous Cap Corse and sharing its balmy climate has helped popularize the islands fragile, protected landscape. The glittering beaches of the north may be what Porquerolles is famous for, but the imposing cliffs of the south are a spectacular sight, rising majestically from the clear azure water, as are the prolific groves and vineyards situated in the islands fertile interior. On this quaint bijou island, unsurpassed natural attractions and bucolic luxury are offered up at every turn.
Stepping onto the diminutive port of the town of Porquerolles, a captivating sight of feral coastal beauty and stunning architecture overwhelms you. The nearly two centuries old church looms above, while the boutiques and harbour side cafés beckon seductively. Just outside the charming village centre, lies the plage d’Argent, a 500 kilometre stretch of dazzling ivory sands fringing a bay of crystal blue waters and backed by an aromatic pine forest. A host of luxurious villas are staggered among the islands numerous havens of fruit trees and ambrosial flowering scrub, providing the rare treat of an island hideaway rich in provençal flavour.
Displaying innumerable signs forbidding smoking, littering and flower-picking, the Île de Porquerolles is a pristine region of distinction. Dotted with abandoned 16th century forts as well as being home to a small number of garrisons for the French armed forces, this prevalent military presence has protected Porquerolles from the intense development that has scarred the radiant face of the Côte d’Azur. Combined with the regulatory hand of the Conservatoire Botanique de Porquerolles, this is a region of unspoiled beauty sure to enthrall the heart of any naturalist.
Historically the first region to produce what is now known as the ‘vins des Côte de Provence’, the vineyards of the Île de Porquerolles enjoy a prestigious reputation. Associated with the conservation program which protects the islands unique heritage and environment, the island now has three flourishing vineyards which produce the luminous appellation Côtes des Îles.
From the 360˚ lighthouse view of the lush landscape and pristine sea to the sprawling sight of prolific groves of silver-green olives and a kaleidoscope of fruit trees, the Île de Porquerolles is a glorious idyll of intense natural beauty and quaint charm whose glamorous reputation comes nowhere near to describing how truly dazzling a destination it is.