This morning saw us arrive at the French port of Toulon which is France’s premier naval port and principal base of the French Navy.
Due to her size, Viking Star was able to berth very close to the town centre.
Today was the first of our Viking ‘Optional’ excursions i.e. ones that are chosen from a selection of enhanced excursions and carry supplementary charge. We had chosen one entitled ‘Cassis and France’s Seaside Scenery’, a 5 hour morning tour at a cost of £69.00 per person. This was to be followed by the Viking complimentary excursion in the afternoon, a boat tour of the harbour and a walking tour of Toulon itself.
Our coach took us to the attractive fishing village of cassis where we initially boarded a boat for a cruise through a magnificent network of canyon-like inlets: geological marvels that provided the stone masonry for the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York.
On completion of the boat trip we were escorted to a winery where we sampled copious quantities of wines and local fare before being given free time to wander around the picturesque harbour.
Time was a little short on return to the ship so we opted to try the ‘Pool Grill’ for a quickie lunch before heading off for our second excursion.
The Pool Grill was impressive – see the photographs – and I particularly enjoyed my ‘Pastrami King’s Burger.
Toulon is affectionately known as the s known as “The City of Fountains”. The prize for the most novel goes to ‘Fountaine des trios Dauphins in Place Puget though my interest was really taken by the harbour boat ride. I served as an officer on HMS Bulwark when she docked for a week in Toulon in 1982.
Our guide was particularly good and took us to many interesting sites including the Opera House – the second largest in France – and La Corderie – a naval rope making factory dating back to 1697 which had connections to the local prison more infamously recognised for its feature in the musical Les Miserables.
Our evening onboard saw us make our first visit to one of Viking Star’s speciality restaurants, the Italian themed Manfredis.
Here we had an excellent meal with all the additional asides of a truly Italian experience.
Following dinner we took ourselves off to the production show, Songscape – An Operatic Fantasy.
Tomorrow we head for Monaco which we only visited in march on board P&O’s Britannia. Our plan is to skip Monte Carlo and head to Nice. Watch out to see how we got on.