After 6 lovely days in St. Remy, we headed off to Hyeres. We’re ocean people (live by and love the sea) and having read about Hyeres on trip report (thank you Chicchantal and Azuralive), decided to give it a try. It was a holiday Monday and traffic was really quite light. We arrived at our hotel around 2:30. We stayed right on the beach, in the appropriately named Lido Beach Hotel. What a find! The hotel is right on the beach. We had a small ocean front room ( 70€) on the first floor (2nd in North American lingo). The hotel has its own terrace with sun loungers and umbrellas, and the ocean was a good 15 feet from the end of our terrace. Two doors down there was a restaurant/bar and we decided that a nice glass off Rose wine was in order, grabbing a table right by the sea. Sitting there having our wine we watched as a Thunder storm moved along the coast towards us. We strolled back to our hotel around 5, as it looked as if the rain would arrive soon, and sat on the hotel terrace. The wind sure whipped up the ocean, and the many boats out on the water raced for the port. Hyeres (and Port St. Pierre) is a sailor’s paradise. The port was filled with sail boats and power boats. Clearly expensive boats but nothing like we saw along Cote d’Azur (Nice, Monaco, etc). The folks at this port are serious sailors, and captain their own vessels (or most of them anyway). As it turned out the storm stayed out to sea. For the rest of our time in Hyeres it was warm and sunny.
Hyeres was such a treat. Our hotel was busy, almost exclusively with French tourists. The water was warm, but cool enough to be refreshing. The beach area was quite busy, which made for nice people watching, but the area in front of our hotel was pretty much just used by our hotel. We usually take a pass on hotel breakfasts, but it was impossible to turn down a chance to be served right by the sea. A nice basic breakfast (croissant, fresh bread with jams, orange juice and a large pot of coffee for 7 €) in the terrace area, all served by smiling, friendly Madame and Monsieur Briande.
We spent both days meditating by the sea, swimming, strolling around, and enjoying picnics. The first morning we drove into the medieval city (about 10 minutes). Hyeres is a lovely city, filled with small shops; it had a very pleasant lived in vibe. We picked up a selection of fresh fruits (melons, strawberries as I recall) and a fresh baguette. The second morning we walked to the Port to get our picnic supplies…2 quiche, a nice hunk of cheese, and a bag of plums. Bag at the hotel we asked Madame if she would keep our quiche and cheese in her fridge for us. Big smile and once she heard we had quiche she said that she would not only keep it in the fridge, but that she would heat and serve it too us at lunch time. We thought this was pretty nice, given that the hotel does have many rooms with kitchenettes, and we had opted for the cheapest ocean front room. At lunch Madame delivered our quiche on a plate with cutlery. We were just getting settled at our table on the terrace under a sunbrella, when Monsieur appeared with a basket of fresh bread. For your cheese he gestured with a big smile. These were small things but we felt so welcome at Hotel Lido.
The beach and Port area also offer lots of bars, cafes and restaurants. All 3 days we walked down to the port (about 500 metres) and had a late afternoon/early evening aperitif. We found a nice, reasonable bar/crepereie..Cafe Voile D’or where a large glass of house wine was 3 €. The first and last night we had pizza at La Palomina, right in the port. There is a huge selection of restaurants (people eat really late in Hyeres Plage, most not arriving until at least 9:15). This pizza turned out to be the best of the trip, and very reasonable ( 12.50 € ) with a nice bottle of Rose for 16 €). The other night we ate at l’endroitte, which is the bar/restaurant 2 doors down from our hotel. We again had a table right at the edge of the deck, with the ocean 5-6 feet below. The food was only average (especially for the price), but the setting was remarkable. I think it came to approx. 80 € with a nice bottle of wine, entrée and seafood grill mix.
One afternoon, around 5, we drove to the end of the island where the ferry leaves for Pourquiolles. I hear great things about the islands, but be warned that the crowds getting on and off the ferry were insane, and this was a Weds. in early June. Unable to find any parking we continued on to Giens, a nice little village overlooking the ocean. There was a very moving war memorial in Giens (small but with an astonishing view). We had an enjoyable crème glace as we wandered the village.
All and all, a visit to Hyeres beach in highly recommended. We had such a wonderful time, and for 3 days we felt like local tourists (if that makes any sense). When we travel we are always interested in history, but we also try and experience a bit of modern day life. A few days on the beach in Hyeres let us experience a French family vacation. Everyone was so friendly. All the guests would say bonjour, aurevoir, and when we left Madame Briande exchanged cheek kisses with both Debbie and I. It’s just hard to put into words, but even with our brief 3 night stay we felt a part of their family. If you’re looking for a place that is off the beaten path for North American tourists, and a chance to have a good value seaside experience, Hyeres and the Lido Beach hotel is great option.