Not many people I’ve spoken to have heard of the Île de Porquerolles, it’s a one of three islands off the south coast of France, known as the Îles d’Hyères. Whilst planning our little post-wedding South of France road trip I met up with Lou Dungate. I mentioned to her my plan to visit the island and I was surprised to hear that she and her boyfriend had actually visited it the previous summer. Aside from telling me that I must go, she also gave me some important advice, book early. It’s a small island with limited accommodation, a few hotels and some apartments.
We stayed in a hotel which was clean but small, I think if we went back we would definitely rent an apartment. It gives you the chance to make your own pack-lunch (there’s only one beach bar on the island) and offers a little more space and quiet. Most of the hotels surround the town square and underneath are bars and restaurants. It’s a busy square, people arrive on the Île de Porquerolles all day long and their first port of call is the town square.
We hired bikes to escape the crowds and explore the island, we came prepared for this with a cool bag which meant we didn’t have to worry about cycling back to the town every time we wanted food or drink; I would highly recommend doing this. Although, on one occasion our lunch got quite a bit of abuse from me, excited by the cycling I took us on a fairly dodgy path (usually only for walkers) and managed to throw the cool bag to the ground on several occasions. When we got to the beach a little later in the day it did not look pretty but still tasted great, and the rosé was still in the bottle.
We stayed four nights on the Île de Porquerolles but I would recommend two or three at most. Being small there’s only so much you can do, you can cycle all over the island in a day if you can cope with cycling in the heat. We stopped at various beaches but our favourite was the Plage de Notre Dame on the North-East coast, the further from the port the quieter it got, though I wouldn’t say anywhere on the island was secluded. Most of the island is in the Port-Cros Parc National, this means no fires, no smoking, no cars and that the beaches are fairly rough and ready, don’t expect loungers and pristine beaches, this is all about getting back to nature, although camping isn’t allowed.
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L’Arche de Porquerolles