from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Coat of arms of Toulon
Toulon (France)
region Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
Department Var
Arrondissement Toulon
Canton four constituencies
Community association Toulon Provence Méditerranée
Coordinates 43 ° 8 '  N , 5 ° 56'  E Coordinates: 43 ° 8 '  N , 5 ° 56'  E
height 0-589 m
surface 42.84 km 2
Residents 171,953 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 4,014 inhabitants / km 2
Post Code 83000
INSEE code

Toulon military port

Toulon [ tuˈlõ ] ( Occitan : Tolon , Italian : Tolone ) is the capital of the French department of Var and is located on the Mediterranean coast at the eastern end of the Golfe du Lion , around 70 km southeast of Marseille . The port city has 171,953 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2017) and is the home port of the French Navy in the Mediterranean (→ Toulon military port ).


The coastal region around Toulon has been inhabited by humans at least since the Paleolithic , as findings in the Henry Cosquer Cave have shown. Since about the 7th century BC There were trading posts on the coast founded by Greek sailors from Asia Minor . From around the 4th century BC Celts are detectable in the area. In the 2nd century BC Roman troops occupied the coastal region and founded the port city Telo Martius , possibly named after a Ligurian goddess "Telo" or from Latin tolus ("foot of a hill") and the god of war Mars , from which Toulon later emerged. In ancient times, Telo Martius was known as a center for the manufacture of purple . Towards the end of the Roman Empire, the city and region were Christianized. In the early Middle Ages, the city was repeatedly attacked by Saracens and pirates. After Provence was annexed to France in 1486, Toulon gradually became a military port . In particular, under the minister of Louis XIV Jean-Baptiste Colbert , the fortifications and port facilities were expanded according to plans by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban . During the War of the Spanish Succession , the city was unsuccessfully besieged by coalition troops in 1707 . In the 18th and 19th centuries, Toulon was the starting point for various French naval operations in the Mediterranean. On February 22, 1744, the naval battle at Toulon took place during the War of the Austrian Succession .

Place de la liberté in Toulon

During the French Revolution , the extradition of Toulon to the British by Girondists and Royalists in September 1793 triggered the September Movement in Paris. On December 19, 1793, after a six-week blockade, the revolutionary army captured the city and drove the British out of town. (→ Siege of Toulon (1793) ) Napoleon Bonaparte first played an important military role. After the capture of the city, a bloody judgment followed by the Jacobins . On May 19, 1798, Napoléon and his army set out from Toulon on the Egyptian expedition .

Toulon 1855

In August 1935, a year before the reign of the Popular Front , there were violent uprisings by shipyard workers in Toulon against the government's restrictive austerity policies. This resulted in a large number of deaths and injuries; a state of emergency has been declared.

Aerial view of the port of Toulon on November 28, 1942 with the burning French warships Strasbourg , Colbert , Algérie and Marseillaise (from left to right)
Port with ferry

Toulon's neighboring town of Sanary-sur-Mer was the place of exile for numerous German writers and painters during the National Socialist era : Heinrich and Thomas Mann , Arnold Zweig , Lion Feuchtwanger , Franz Hessel , Anton Räderscheidt and Bertolt Brecht . On November 27, 1942, German troops occupied Toulon as part of the Lila company . In order not to fall into German hands, the French fleet anchored in Toulon sank itself ( self- sinking of the Vichy fleet ). November 24, 1943 brought the city the heaviest Allied bombing raid with around 500 dead.

In January 1944, Hitler named all the major port cities in the west - including Toulon - as " fortresses " - a primarily symbolic act. In February 1944 OKW orders for the defense of fortresses ordered to fight “to the last man” and not to surrender under any circumstances. This did not happen in any of the port cities; a week after the containment as part of the Allied Operation Dragoon , the German troops surrendered in Toulon.

In 1968 the University of Toulon-Var was founded. The Gendarmerie Maritime set up their National Training Center (CNIGM) in Toulon.

In 1995, the right-wing extremist Front National party achieved a majority in a French city for the first time in local elections in Toulon and provided Jean-Marie Le Chevallier as the mayor; this was replaced in 2001 by Hubert Falco ( UMP ).

Population development

year 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2016
Residents 161,797 174,746 181,801 179.423 167,619 160,639 167.816 171,953
Sources: Cassini and INSEE

coat of arms

Description: A continuous golden cross in blue .


The mayors since 1900:

  • 1900–1904: Victor Micholet
  • 1904–1909: Marius Escartefigue
  • 1909-1909: Muller
  • 1909–1912: Joseph Gasquet
  • 1912-1919: Victor Micholet
  • 1919–1929: Émile Claude
  • 1929–1940: Marius Escartefigue
  • 1940-1944: Albert Coulon
  • 1944-1945: Franck Arnal
  • 1945–1947: Jean Bartolini
  • 1947-1948: Paul Baylon
  • 1948-1953: Louis Puy
  • 1953–1955: Édouard Le Bellégou
  • 1953-1955: Celestin Forno
  • 1955–1959: Édouard Le Bellégou
  • 1959–1985: Maurice Arreckx
  • 1985-1995: François Trucy
  • 1995-2001: Jean-Marie Le Chevallier
  • since 2001: Hubert Falco


Cathedral, interior view
Cathedral, exterior view
Tour royale in Toulon
Toulon Opera

The most important sights of the city include:

  • Place Puget with the Fontaine aux Dauphins (1780)
  • Place Raimu with opera
  • Place de la Liberté
  • Cathedral Sainte-Marie de la Seds , Bishop Church of the Diocese of Frejus-Toulon
  • Mont Faron (542 m) with zoological garden
  • Fort Balaguier
  • Le Musée national de la Marine
  • Le Marché du Cours Lafayette
  • Les Anciennes Fortifications de la Rade
  • Monument 'Heinrich Heine' in the Botanical Garden / Mourillon. The Heine monument was created by Louis Hasselriis in 1873 on behalf of Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary for the park of her Achilleion Castle on Corfu . After Kaiser Wilhelm II acquired the palace, the monument was removed and first made its way to Hamburg and finally to Toulon.


The most important branches of industry are shipbuilding and trade, which is carried out through the port. The military is also a major employer .


Satellite image

In addition to the port, from which ship connections etc. a. to Corsica and the Îles d'Hyères , there is a long-distance station on the Marseille – Ventimiglia railway line with connections to Marseille and Nice . Both cities can also be reached via the coastal motorways A50 (Marseille) and A57 (Nice), which tunnel under Toulon. The Toulon-Hyères airport is located approx. 20 km east of Toulon, to be reached via the A570 or with the airport bus from Sodetrav. From there there are flights to, among others, Paris-Orly and London-Stansted (as of February 2006). The nearest major airport is Marseille-Marignane .

Twin cities

Toulon maintains city partnerships with Mannheim ( Germany ) as well as with the (war) port cities of La Spezia ( Italy ), Norfolk ( Virginia , USA ) and Kronstadt ( Russia ). Toulon is also a member of the Federation of European Napoleonic Cities .



  • Maurice Arreckx:
    • Vivre sa ville . La Table ronde, Paris 1982
    • Toulon, ma passion , 1985
  • Jean-Pierre Thiollet : Le Chevallier à découvert . Laurens, Paris 1998

Web links

Commons : Toulon  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Toulon disorders New York Times (archive) August 9, 1935, accessed November 24, 2019.
  2. Peter Lieb : Conventional war or ideological war? Warfare and the fight against partisans in France 1943/44. Oldenbourg Verlag, 2007, p. 484 (online at google books )
  3. Jumelages: Toulon et ses villes jumelées ( French ) Mairie d'honneur de Toulon. Retrieved February 15, 2015.