What to See & Do in...

What to See and Do in… Sanary-sur-Mer

Greetings dear readers and friends. Well, it’s certainly hard to believe that it’s springtime already. We’ve had a long week of rain, thunderstorms, and Mistral-force winds… I’m just hoping that means many, many blooming flowers are headed our way next month. Of course, our “bad weather” is nothing compared to other parts of the world, but it’s hard to remember that Provence has a very distinct winter when the south is internationly known for its sunshine and glimmering summer beaches.

At any rate, I’m ready to get a little bit of that “glimmer” back very soon. Spring is a truly beautiful time of year in Provence and a chance to enjoy the best of what the region has to offer.

And, as I’ve “splashed” all over this blog, Sanary-sur-Mer is one of our favorite spots to catch some of that south-of-France “magic”. I simply love this town.

So now that les beaux jours are just around the corner, I can’t wait to get back to our favorite “hidden gem”. And if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Sanary-sur-Mer during your travels, here is a list of some of the best things to see and do during your stay.

-Shop the (incredible) Provençal market

This market is one of our absolute favorites. If you’re in Sanary on market day, Wednesday, you’re in for a real treat. I would estimate that the market takes up about 2 city blocks and you’ll find everything from seasonal produce to Rosé wine-tasting to Provençal tablecloths and spring / summer clothing. The daily market is just as lovely, only it’s about a fourth of the size and mainly focused on local foodstuffs. At any rate, don’t forget to bring your camera… it’s an amazing visual feast.

Find more info about the Sanary market on this market-of-the-month post.

Market Sanary

-”Promenade” along the charming port

The French sure enjoy their promenades…and with good reason. When the sun is shining on the colorful port of Sanary, there’s nothing like a nice stroll (after your market stop) to soak up the “southern” atmosphere. We usually take a break at the Bar du Sport for a nice cup of coffee… and when the summer months arrive, there’s also a nice gelato shop right on the port.

-Picnic along the sea

Indeed, the last picnic we had along the sea in Sanary was last spring with our dear friend Kathy (of Cook in Provence). I happened to prepare a few goodies the night before, but you can easily pick up what you need at the market and local bakeries near the port. However you plan your picnic, it’s a beautiful setting and pas mal (not bad) for the budget.

-Enjoy a long lunch of moules-frites (& a cool glass of Rosé) at Crêperie Le Galion

Another great alternative to a picnic is eating at one of the crêperies along the port. I tend go traditional and order a crêpe myself, but the “real experience” is ordering a big bucket of moules-frites (mussels & fries) washed down with a nice bottle of Rosé. Although not a huge mussels fan, I have to say that the white wine & cream sauce is worth the trip alone.

-Browse Sanary’s many boutiques & specialty shops

Sanary is full of adorable, and sometimes very chic, shops & boutiques. You’ll discover everything from kitchen tools & gourmet goods to baby clothes and designer handbags. Whatever you fancy, a walk through the multi-colored streets just behind the port is a charming way to discover the city.

-Stop for a mid-afternoon snack at Boulangerie / Pâtisserie La Fountaine

Well, sometimes this turns into a “mid-morning” snack as we usually find any good excuse to visit Sanary’s tasty bakeries after a morning at the market. I think the photos speak from themselves, but either of the two bakeries along the port are incredibly tasty and fresh – not to mention pretty busy! Get ready to stand in line with the locals for your baked goodies… while inevitably adding on tarts and sweets to your wish list.

Sanary sailing

-Take a boat ride to the local islands or the famous Calanques

There are a lot of “jumping off” points to visit the islands off the coast (the Paul Ricard islands), and the spectacular Calanques of Cassis / Marseille, and Sanary makes as good a place as any to start your day at sea. There are numerous tour operators along the port, and you can check the Sanary tourist office for more detailed information.

-Visit a local festival

Ahh, festivals… I love these events as it’s a chance to meet with the locals and also learn more about Provençal traditions. You can find a list of Sanary’s festivals on the city’s website, and a few annual favorites include: Chocolate & Wine festival, Cuvée de la Ville (more wine-tasting in April!), and the Fête des Voiles – celebrating the traditional pointus boats.  Also, don’t be surprised to find an impromptu antique-fair taking place many weekends along the port – another great place to pick up some French souvenirs from your travels.

About Tuula

I’m a 40-ish American woman & I’ve been blogging about my travels around belle Provence since moving here in 2010. You can also find my travel writing in International Living magazine, Charming Small Hotels (France), & Living France magazine. Bienvenue!

5 comments on “What to See and Do in… Sanary-sur-Mer

  1. Such beautiful and inspiring things to do, Tuula. 🙂 You’ve given me a lovely escape today. 🙂

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  2. I have spent many months of vacation in Sanary, and I regularly go back with pleasure. I love walking along the cliffs from downtown to Port-Issol and further to la Cride and along Bandol Bay. There are many nice beach areas to swim and watch sunset!

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  3. I’m visiting in a weeks time, and I’m nervous about the weather and what to pack!

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    • Hi Kate, sorry for the late reply! Well, if you are coming this week or next, the forcast looks good. I would bring a light jacket, a sweater or two, and long-sleeved shirts / blouses. One t-shirt just in case. We went to Sanary yesterday and it turned out to be hot… a big surprise! But today was a lot cooler, so we’re in a bit of an “inbetween” between winter and spring. Hope that is helpful and have a fantastic trip!

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