Relatively unspoilt coastline turns increasingly urban as you head west to Toulon. A final pocket of blue and green surrounds La Londe (population 8840), midway between Le Lavandou and Hyères. Explore its olive groves, vineyards and flower gardens on guided walks organised by the tourist office or hire a bike and wine-taste by pedal power.
Adjoining the Seillans tourist office is a gallery of work by Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst, who lived here in the 1960s and '70s. Hôtel des Deux Rocs, a boutique hotel with fig-flower Fragonard soap in the bathrooms, a fine collection of B&W family photos and a gourmet restaurant, wins the prize hands-down for most atmospheric village inn.
November to late February, those alien-looking nuggets of black fungus can be viewed at the Thursday morning truffle market on Aups' central plane-tree-studded square. Truffle hunts and pig-snouting demonstrations lure a crowd on the fourth Sunday in January during Aups’ Journée de la Truffe (Day of the Truffle).
La Garde Freinet
Local traditions unfold in the village of La Garde Freinet (topped by 13th-century ruins of Fort Freinet) at the environment-driven Conservatoire du Patrimoine du Freinet, which hosts exhibitions (flora, fauna, cork harvesting) and organises themed discovery walks (adult/child €9/4.
Cap de Carqueiranne
Immediately west of Hyères, Cap de Carqueiranne is a partly forested stretch of headland, criss-crossed by tiny lanes. The coastal path that edges its way from the town of Carqueiranne is a scenic means of exploring the pretty cape. Reserve ahead at L’Oursinado, hidden on a cliff above the tiny port of Les Oursinières.
Île du Levant
Île du Levant, an 8km strip of an island, has a split personality. Ninety percent of it is a closed military camp, and the remaining pocket of Héliopolis (on the island’s southwestern tip) is a nudist colony. The post office, cafes and hotels are clustered around the central square, place du Village, 1km uphill from the port along rte de l’Ayguade.
Domaine du Rayol
This stunning, lush Mediterranean garden, with plants from all Mediterranean climates the world round, is wonderful for a stroll or a themed nature walk (adult/child €11/6). The dense flora cascade down the hillside from a villa to the shushing sea, and while flowers are at their best in April and May, it’s always worth a visit.