Getaway to the South of France Cruise
From Mediterranean Barcelona to the iconic coasts of southern France
The Spanish city of Barcelona is the beginning and end point of Pullmantur's Escape to the South of France cruise. Over the course of three nights, you will have the opportunity to get to know some of the most iconic monuments and enclaves in the Catalan city, as well as Toulon, which is situated in an eclectic port environment on France's Mediterranean coast, and the port de Sète, which stands out for being the Canal de Midi's outlet to the sea, an exit for the waterway created in the past to allow commercial exchanges between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, avoiding passage by way of the Strait of Gibraltar.
Barcelona, the second city in Spain with the most populous after the capital, Madrid, is also the main seaport of Catalonia. In recent decades, it has become one of the most popular European cities thanks to its recognizable cultural, social and economic development. In addition, from the celebration of the famous 1992 Olympic Games, which highlighted the very best of Barcelona to the whole world, its modernity and its architectural beauty, were a particular hit. While visiting Barcelona you can see landmarks like the Sagrada Familia, the majestic work, still unfinished, by the international genius Antoni Gaudí, and the Las Ramblas boulevard, and iconic thoroughfare that you can not miss while on Pullmantur cruise through the Mediterranean Sea.
Among the most important places in Barcelona, one of the most spectacular is the Plaza de Cataluña, one of the nerve centres of the city and the confluence of its main communication routes. Very closeby one can visit the Contemporary Museum of Barcelona, which draws attention for its modern exterior design. Take time to visit the many famous Ramblas, such as the Rambla de Canaletas or the Rambla de Santa Mónica, where you can see some of the most iconic monuments and buildings in Barcelona. Check out the La Boquería market, the Santa Creu Hospital, which dates back to 1401, or the Gran Teatro del Liceo. Opposite the latter, the Plaza Real (Plaça Reial) is a jewel of neoclassical style and considered to be one of the most attractive squares in all of Spain.
Travel through the streets of Toulon, a city that flourishes at the foot of Mont Faron
The second city that you will visit on Pullmantur's Escape to the South of France cruise is Toulon, recognized as the western fringe of the Cote d'Azur. It is located in the heart of a cove and is the third largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region, located a few kilometers from the Italian border, with its entire coastline is bathed by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The port of Toulon is one the most important in France and home to some very famous vessels, such as the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier and a large part of the French submarine fleet.
Among the main landmarks in Toulon is Puget Square, which boasts a curious fountain decorated with dolphins that dates back to the eighteenth century. Also worth visiting is Raimu Square, with the striking and robust Opera building, where some of the nation's finest productions are presented. Nearby one finds the Royal Tower, an ancient fortress that practically breathes historys. Toulon is blessed by its privileged geographical location, surrounded by the sea and the mountains, and it is a popular resort during the coldest months of the year, a pleasant, sunny destination where you can relax on the beach in sandy areas like the Plage du Mourillon.
While sightseeing in Toulon, don't miss out on the Boulevard Strasbourg, which divides the old part of the city and the most avant-garde and cosmopolitan neighbourhoods, such as the area where the Place de la Libertè is located. Other interesting places to visit are the Place Puget or the cathedral Sainte Marie de la Seds, which was completed in the 11th century, specifically in the year 1096. And if you are looking for a tasty treat, make sure to visit the picturesque and curious Provencal market stalls that are arranged along the busiest streets in the city, where you can buy handmade products created with raw materials of finest quality.
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Discover Sète, the most important fishing port in France
Another stop on Pullmantur's Escape to the South of France cruise is the city of Sète, which is located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, and near Montpellier. The city dates back to the year 1666, when Louis XIV ordered that the famous Canal du Midi should come to an end in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, right at the foot of Mount Saint-Clair and just past the calm waters of the Thau lagoon. Today, it is the most important fishing port in France and it is precisely here that a peculiar and fun fish auction takes place, a curious spectacle that is worth observing in this key port on the French Mediterranean.
The best way to really explore Sète is to walk through its streets and surrendering to its charms. The city is inevitably linked to the sea but also a showcase for art, it is very common to run into sculptures by famous artists, such as the Mamma de Di Rosa in the Place Hospitalet, Nocca's 'Poufre' in the Place León, or the Iron Lady, a work by Szabo, located in front of the Mediatheque. In addition to these wonders, art lovers can visit numerous interesting and prominent museums, among which are the Space Georges Brassens, a space that pays homage to the city's prodigal son with fascinating image and sound exhibitions, and the Paul Valéry Museum.
Finally, if you have time, travel the 30 kilometres that separate Sète from the exquisite and delightful city of Montpellier. Founded in the 8th century, its streets boast buildings of different and varied styles, from those in the French medieval style, to the neoclassical Arc de Triomphe, the Royale du Peyrou Square and the San Clemente aqueduct. While here, make to visit other outstanding buildings including the modern, 19th century Place de la Comédie, which connects the renovated part of the city with the charming medieval quarter of Ecusson. In this network of narrow streets, the Babote Towerand the Gothic cathedral of Saint Peter of Montpellier stand out.
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