Sitting in the shadow of a grand mountain on a red rock coastline that contrasts vividly with the blue sea, Saint Raphael has been a seaside resort since ancient Roman times. Located halfway between Cannes and Saint Tropez, San-Raphael lies is on the main train line that runs along the Riviera from Italy to Marseilles, and also connect the South of France to Paris. It is also the train station you would have to stop at to get on one of the buses or boats that run to Saint Tropez. If driving, Saint Raphael is very accessible as it's just off the A8 motorway, while buses connect here for Nice, Saint Tropez and other Riviera towns.
For a quiet seaside resort catering mainly to families, Saint Raphael has some very good restaurants. Michelin-starred Archange serves up delicate, delicious seafood from its dining room overlooking the port, while Les Voiles (also in the marina) creates excellent dishes using fresh market produce. Enjoy the rustic ambience and Provencal specialities of La Table, or head to Pizza Gourmande for their very popular gourmet pizzas.
Also see: Book My Restaurant
Saint Raphael is rich in history, dating back to its ancient past as a seaside resort for the Romans.You can learn all about the local area in the Museum of Prehistory and Underwater Archaeology, located in the San Rafeu church.
In 1799 Napoleon Bonaparte and his forces arrived by ship from Egypt, prior to his coup d'état in Paris, and he also stopped here on his way into exile on the island of Elba.This was also a very fashionable resort for French artists, writers and intellectuals in the 19th century, including Alphonse Karr,Georges Sand, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Frédéric Mistral and Guy de Maupassant. A walk around the town will reveal some stunning buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, one of the most spectacular being the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Victoire- a 'must see' if you are in St Raphael.
Also see: Book My Sightseeing
Things to Do nearby
There are a number (36!) of small beaches in the area, and plenty of walking trails and other activities in the countryside behind the town. San Raphael also lies on the Route de Mimosa- an absolutely superb long-distance walking trail that hugs the coast of South East Provence, visiting several towns along the way. With so many beautiful areas to visit along the coast, why not take advantage and take a boat trip?You could either go to St Tropez or the island of Sainte-Marguerite, or take a short cruise to the spectacular cliffs and sea caves. If you are into golf or tennis then you are in luck as they are a joint club in St Raphael!
Also see: Book My Things To Do
With numerous beaches along the St Raphael coast you will not be short of places to sunbathe, swim, snorkel and explore the rockpools and cliffs. The bay of St Raphael and the marine nature reserve of Agay also have a host of dive sites and there are various dive schools you can use as a great way to explore the area further.
Situated just north of the town is the Valescure Golf & Tennis Club, with an 18 hole, par 68 course. This is a very short course with narrow fairways, small greens and a number of water hazards. For other Riviera golf courses, see our golfing pages
Also see: Book My Round
Saint Raphael is overwhelmingly a family resort destination, so it's not a wildly exciting place at night.There's the Casino Barrière de St-Raphaël if you fancy a gamble, or the young crowd can be found at La Reserve Club or Coco Club.
Also see: Find My Bar