Today, we’re handing it over to Claire from “Ô l’idée blog”, as she discovers Porquerolles island. Let’s follow her as she delves into the exploration of the Golden Isle that was once given as a wedding present… Thanks a lot Claire for the beautiful words and images!

Off Hyères’ coasts, the Golden Isles archipelago is the southernmost part of Provence, a small paradise between sky and sea. Today, let’s explore Porquerolles, the most visited of the Golden Isles, and enjoy its turquoise waters and mosaic of colourful landscapes .

From the Tour Fondue on the Giens peninsula, shuttle boats connect the charming harbour of Porquerolles, in just 15 minutes. A few steps away, we are already in the heart of the village where bars and restaurants welcome visitors. It is also there that one can rent bicycles to tour the island thanks to the 37 miles of signposted tracks.

Exiting the village you’ll have to choose between various hikes. One to the West towards the Langoustier beach and the plage d’Argent (Silver Beach) and the another to the East of Porquerolles towards the lighthouse and Notre-Dame beach. That’s the one we invite you to discover with us today. To fully enjoy the surroundings and landscapes, it’s better to take a full day. This signposted circuit is 11 km, with 170m altitude difference.

The walk starts in the shade of the trees, South of the village, towards the rocky coast. The road, lined with oak and eucalyptus trees, winds through the plains of the National Botanical Conservatory and its orchards of olive, fig, mulberry and almond trees. It also goes along a small pond near a wooden hut where one can watch the birds that live there.

Arriving at the first creek, known as Gorge du Loup, the white rocks stand out in the Mediterranean turquoise waters and contrast with the greenery of the surrounding scrubland. The show is stunning, nearly exotic.

Just a little further, we are standing by the lighthouse of Porquerolles. And the sight is breathtaking, it is a succession of cliffs and beautiful panoramas that unfolds in front of your eyes like Calanque de l’indienne (the Indian), the Oustau de Dièu (meaning God’s House in Provencal dialect) and the Pointe des Salins, one of the highest points of the island.

After the rocky coast, we go North from Pointe des Salins to find a completely different atmosphere: the vineyards and crops of La Jonquière and La Courtade shape the landscape, with their yellow, green and blue mosaic. Afar, outlines of military forts are to be discovered through the pine trees.

A path in the shade takes us to the northern coast of the island, through colourful and flowery fields, very suitable habitats for the wildlife. It’s not unusual then to catch a glimpse of pheasants.

The arrival at Notre Dame beach, elected “Europe’s most beautiful beach” in 2015, is the best reward after a long hike. The white sand seems the finest and the water the clearest, a soft and clear turquoise.

The bay stretches towards Les Mèdes , sheltered from the winds. A true paradise where relaxing is a must before resuming the walk back to the village.

Along the path, many other trails lead to more discreet beaches. Arriving on the main plaza in front of the Chapel, we end our walk with a coffee and ice cream break and go off to wander through Emmanuel Lopez Garden, not far from Parc’s House (Maison du Parc).

It is now time to leave, not without a twinge of regret, but with lots of beautiful memories in mind.

Thank you Claire for the story. If you read French, do not hesitate to visit her blog or her facebook page