tergiverser + pictures of the French island of Porquerolles
quatre quatre (4X4) + photos of French landrover

What to do on Porquerolles Island? Que faire sur l'île de Porquerolles?

Le Port pizzaria on Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse

Jean-Marc and I stole away to Porquerolles island recently. Because it was play and not work, I didn't pay a lot of attention to detail or think about what could be shared in another France city guide.

This is where you come in. If you have been to Porquerolles, or have researched it while planning a future trip on the southern French island, please share with us here some of the activities and tips that come to mind:

  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • ferry info
  • what to pack
  • how to get around on Porquerolles
  • activities for kids
  • favorite beaches
  • what not to miss
  • nearby islands and towns to visit
  • etc... 

Meantime, I'll share a host of photos and add some interesting facts beneath them, in hopes that you'll be inspired to visit this little pedestrian island only a hop, skip, and ferry ride from the coat of Giens. 

Jean-Marc and "Mr Sacks" on the main square in the village of Porquerolles (c) Krisin Espinasse
Jean-Marc and Mr Sacks on the main square in the village of Porquerolles. Eucalyptus trees frame la place which is lined by boutiques and café-restaurants. 

  • The size of the island = 12,54 square kilometers (or 4,84 square miles)
  • It's one of the 3 Hyères islands a.k.a. "the golden islands"

Island dog and laundromat on Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
 Island dog and laundromat. 

  • Though you'll see plenty of island dogs, the village of Porquerolles gets its name after the wild boar that once roamed the island

Mehari and island vehicles on Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
You cannot bring your car onto the island, but you can appreciate some of these local classics-on-wheels. The one of the right is a Méhari. You see lots of these off-roaders threading through all the foot traffic.

sandwich hut on the port of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
 Save a few euros by ordering a sandwich and eating it on one of the many benches that overlooks the gravel square or the port or, better yet, take a picnic and hike inland a few kilometers for a view of the vineyards and vergers, or orchards or for this view:

Calanque in Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse

  • Not pictured here... but among the many points of interest is the botanical garden or la conservatoire botanique national méditerranéen de Porquerolles

Exotic door in Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
 Off the main square there is a long alley of what seem to be bungalows. This narrow had one story habitations on either side and one had the urge to jump up and down like a pogo stick... to see what sort of bucolic scene was on the other side of these walls....


  • It is said that in 1912 the island was purchased as a wedding present for a lucky bride-to-be. Buyer François Joseph Fournier then planted 500 acres of vines. (No wonder Jean-Marc loves this island!)
  • In 1971 the state purchased most of the island in an attempt to preserve it from development.

Artisinat on the island of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
Out in front of the artist's house... or one of the artist's homes. There must be plenty of them living on this begs-to-be painted island.

Domaine Perzinsky on the island of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
Walking towards Domaine Perzinsky, on our way back to the village.

Porquerolles vineyards were among the very first to be classified Côtes de Provence. There are three vineyards on the island:

  • Le Domaine de l’île
  • Le Domaine de la Courtade
  • Le Domaine Perzinsky

Le fort du Grand Langoustier (c) Kristin Espinasse

There are nine forts on the island of Porquerolles, including Le fort du Grand Langoustier (pictured) and Le fort Sainte-Agathe.

From the port of arrival, this is the first beach on the left. Pass in front of all the cafés, go around the corner and you're there! Off season you'll see this peaceful scene. 

  • Porquerolles was the inspiration for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Teddy Bears on the island of Porquerolles (c) Kristin Espinasse
The laid back islanders on Porquerolles are known as les porquerollais (see exhibit A, above... and if you love teddy bears, see exhibit B here!)

To respond to this post, thanks for leaving a message here in the comments box.

For help creating this edition, I looked up facts in these guide books/sites. Click on the titles to view them:

Has this post tickled your fancy for Porquerolles? Will you be adding  it to your bucket list? I'd love to know, here in the comments box.

Check out some of the excellent reader-submitted tips or What to do in France guides:

Kristi's nap (c) Jean-Marc Espinasse
After lunch I borrowed Mr. Sacks for a pillow and took a nap while Jean-Marc went hiking and photographing.

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Sandy Maberly

I'm not surprised that it was the inspiration for Treasure Island! What a paradise. Glad that they are preventing it from being overtaken by "civilization". I had to laugh at the name though. When I first read it, all I could think of was pork roll!

Heinz Rainer

Love it. Many years on the Cote never appeared to me. Frejust, St. Raphael, St. Tropez, Nice, but Porquerolles .. never heard. Thanks for letting us know. Will be on my must do list. best wishes Heinz

Jacqueline Satterlee

I hope you have many more getaways where you can take such beautiful pictures! Thank you for discovering this place for us !

Heinz Rainer

:) Frejus .. pardon mois

Jens for Copenhagen

I have only been on Porquerolles once: That was in July 1985 when I spent a whole day there taking snapshots, visiting the lighthouse on the Southern coast, visiting the vineyards, eating grilled daurade with ½ a bottle of vin rosé in the small harbour and most of all swimming from the beautiful beaches, plage d'argent and plage Notre-Dame.
I walked around and still remember the quietness and the fact that there were very few tourists like myself in spite of the season.

Jens from Copenhagen

Jens is not only for Copenhagen but also from Copenhagen!

David Simmons

On peut lire Mon Ami Maigret (My Friend Maigret) qui s'y déroule....


Kristi Darling,

Another treat for us this morning - beautiful photos and so much interesting information that I would have missed about this lovely island.

I must brag about my wonderful son Jean-Marc...last Saturday when I turned on my computer I was greeted with little notes and photos from Jean-Marc throughout this adventure. The first email said,

'KRISTI IS HAPPY' Love, Your Son

AND then the emails continued throughout the day, each with a photo and a little note from Jean-Marc. Sunday morning when I woke up there were four more notes/photos from JM - the last one "We will take you here Mom"...

I received seven emails from JM - needless to say his thoughtfullness of including me in this adventure is a memory I will treasure forever.

I am so happy - what a relief to have both of my daughters happy and well cared for by beautiful men.



Eileen - Charlottesville, VA

Hi Kristin,
I can picture laying on that beach! How gorgeous! I love how Jean-Marc included your Mom in the adventure. I need to tell Tara about this island so she can visit!

Cynthia Lewis (Eastern Shore of Maryland)

Thank you so much for the special treat this Tuesday morning. Now we are all refreshed from having spent a weekend exploring Porquerolles (I could almost feel the breeze and the sunshine). Jean-Marc, your photos are beautiful and much appreciated!

Julie Farrar

Merci for all le ciel blue since it's still slightly gray and cool in the Midwest.

Susan Dautel

I love how well traveled Mr. Sacks is. And how he can be lovingly shared and double as a pillow. I think he is the Velveteen Rabbit!


I SOOOOOOOO want to go here! It's beautiful.

Sandy Vann

Merci Kristin for sharing the gorgeous photos and tips on visiting this special isle. It is definitely on our must see list. We were so close but it was rather rough sailing during the couple of days we spent on the Presqu'ile de Giens. How beautiful the sea. JM was so thoughtful to share the experience with your mom via his emails and photos. His first thoughts being that it made you happy, made me smile. To a wonderful Spring and new adventures ahead to all of you. Hope the re-entry to the world of renovations wasn't trop dificile? Step out in your garden with the dogs ...and remember it will soon be a distant memory and all so worthwhile.

Cassie Alexandrou

Dear Kristin,

I loved the photo of you napping on the beach -- probably the most beautiful beach I've ever seen. For me, there is nothing more calming and peaceful than being near the sea/ocean. I hope this getaway with Jean Marc soothed your soul and helped "recharge your batteries".



You have really inspired me to take my camera down from my closet and carry it with me everywhere! I used to love photography in high school and had bought a very good camera which I used often. Once things went digital I just got lost somehow. I have used my small digital camera a few times, but I can't seem to find a good system for saving the photos to my computer, sharing them, etc.
But perhaps if I follow your example of taking photos of everything and everywhere it will urge me on. It is worth a try. Thanks again for the wonderful photos of life.

Kristin Espinasse

Cathy, do not despair. I am the same way! I will neglect my camera for months... then dust it off. Just go get it and keep it in your purse (or near it). A friend recommended Picasa (free photo organizer by Google) and I absolutely love it for organizing and even editing. Download it!

Cassie, thanks! Lying on the beach and listening to the gentle waves put me right to sleep. So soothing after all the jackhammering of renovation! 

Mom, glad you shared JMs notes. Jean-Marc learned a new photography tip: usually he points his camera at me and as I sit there feeling as natural as styrofoam he takes his time regulating the picture. This time I thanked him for wanting to take a picture, but suggested he take them when I was unaware. A little better! I did not realize he took the picture of the nap on the beach. Will enjoy the souvenir.

Nancy Hyere

Lovely! I've added it to my "bucket list". My husband and I have a small vacation home in a village in the Languedoc, near Carcassonne. Each year we try to take a "vacation from our vacation" and spend a couple days/nights some place within a day's drive away. This looks to be a perfect choice! Thanks for sharing.


What a beautiful island! Thank you for taking us there!

Bill Facker

Ah, the healing/calming water .. beautiful photography, Kristin & JM .. and how nice you are now living near the Sea. I can't help but recall the jingle from McDonalds "you deserve a break today, so get up and get away ... " Much deserved. Mahalo, Bill

joie in Carmel, Ca.

I immediately thought that this was a place for Jules. The water, the palm trees, the artists, the ambiance. Sign me up.

Joan Linneman

It's very nice. I had never heard of it until your last post. Amusez-vous bien!
Joan in Kankakee,IL





Diane Young

Gorgeous pictures. I have a friend who is an Episcopal priest and she went to a monastery that I think was on one of the Hyeres Islands. She spent a week there. Is there a monastery on one of the islands? The area certainly looks like heaven on earth, n'est-ce pas?
Have sent photos of nonours. Hope you get them.

Kristin Espinasse

Gus, bring Paulette!

Diane, I think there is a monastery on the island. Can anyone comment on this?

Bettye Dew

Near the end of his life, Robert Louis Stevenson said, "I was only happy once. That was in Hyeres." He lived there, in a tiny house, for sixteen months with his new American wife, Fanny. The air was good for his health,he was emotionally happy, and he loved the area, including, surely, the Ile de Porquerolles.


We went to Porquerolles on a day trip from Hyeres in July 2009. Absolutely beautiful island. We thoroughly enjoyed renting bikes, which allowed us to explore the island with our 2 children ages 6 and 9 months at the time. Plage Notre Dame was beautiful and wonderfully relaxing.

Peter Jarrett

Hi Kristin,
Really for Jean-Marc but I hope he sampled the wine. Last year I shared a bottle of 1987 red La Courtade wine with a friend. It was beautiful especially as I expected it to be well beyond its best but it was still drinking beautifully. There is a story to the wine and how it ended up in my cupboards in Canada for all those years. The wine was presented by Henri Vidal for a conference banquet on Reinforced Soil in Glasgow. One or two bottles were left at the end of the banquet and this was one of them that I kept until my buddy from Glasgow and I could get together and drink it. Finally last summer both friends and the wine ended up in the same place and enjoyed the well aged wine.
Best wishes,
Peter Jarrett

Christine Allin

Thank you for giving us a little slice of paradise. Oh the trees...gorgeous trees! I hope when you return with Jules that she takes her paint brushes. How fortunate you are to have such beautiful serenity so close by.......

Marianne Rankin

I'd never heard of Porquerolles, and learned some interesting facts. I'd definitely like to visit it if I ever get back to France. What a lovely place! Thanks for sharing the photos. I'm especially partial to beaches.

Kristin, I hope you were wearing sunscreen during your nap by the water.

Stan York

Having visited Hyeres many times on business I had the opportunity to visit Porquerolles several times.
Tip#1 Parking near the ferry port at La Tour Fondue can become very crowded in the high season, so start your journey early in the day.
Tip#2 Across from the parking there is a path which leads behind the houses along the coast. There are some beautiful vantage points for sunrises over Porquerolles.
Tip#3 Instead of turning left to La Tour Fondue just past the Hippodrome, turn right toward Giens and follow the road all the way to the end where the military has is blocked. There is a beautiful sunset beach.
Tip#4 As you found, the best way to see the island is by rented bicycle. There are shops just outside the port.
Tip#5 My favorite beach is Plage de Notre Dame. Photos taken under the trees of the sailboats near the beach on the bright blue water are amazing.
Tip#6 The view from the Phare on the sea side of the island is great.
I have photos of most of these sights if you are interested.
Thank you for highlighting such a beautiful place in the South.
Stan in Tennessee

Lisa A.,Los Angeles, CA

Youtube video:
"Escale sur l'ile de Porquerolles"... Olives anyone! :)


Sue Hungerford

I love this post! In the 70's, I worked at the VVF at Giens and got to visit the islands and gaze at them almost daily. Good memories!


L'isle du Porquerolles is one of three islands of the Hyeres archipelago. L'isle du Levant is a short sail to the east of Porquerolles and features the ville de Heliopolis, with its domaine naturiste, ou en anglais, its well-known nudist colony. It is worth the trip, for no other reason than to get the bare facts on Levant Island. We sail over from Lavandou, just 5 clicks up the road from Bormes-les-Mimosas. This is really a beautiful region of France, although quite crowded during the summer vacation season. The town of Hyeres on the Giens peninsula is fantastic, with its hidden fishing ports, colorful sailing vessels and breathtaking views of the Med. St. Topez is less than an hour away (depending on traffic) and Port Grimaud, although a relatively new city, is a boater's (and diner's) paradise.


I like this sit throw I am only nine

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