Village des Tortues


This sanctuary protects one of France’s most endangered species, the Hermann tortoise (Testudo hermanni) today found only in the Massif des Maures and on Corsica. In summer, the best time to see the tortoises is in the morning and late afternoon. Watch them hatch from mid-May to the end of June; they hibernate from November to early March. Guided tours at 10.30am and 2pm are enlightening.

The Station d’Observation et de Protection des Tortues des Maures (SOPTOM; Maures Tortoise Observation and Protection Station) runs the tortoise clinic, where wounded tortoises are treated and then released into the Maures. Young tortoises also spend the first three of their 60 to 100 years in SOPTOM's hatcheries and nurseries, safe from the predations of magpies, rats, foxes and wild boars. Check the website for many other events and educational opportunities.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Var attractions

1. Monastère de la Verne

10.66 MILES

The majestic 12th-century Monastère de la Verne sits on a forested ridge in the Massif des Maures, rising like an island of honeyed stone in a sea of…

2. Ancienne Abbaye de la Celle

10.68 MILES

Built over an earlier Christian structure (itself sitting on the foundations of a Roman villa), this 12th-century Benedictine Romanesque abbey has been…

3. Abbaye de Thoronet

11.26 MILES

The simplest but most beautiful of 'The Sisters' (a trio of great Provençal Cistercian abbeys including Silvacane and Notre-Dame de Sénanque), Thoronet,…

4. Domaine de l'Abbaye

11.76 MILES

Excellent wines are produced using traditional methods, in vineyards originally cultivated by monks in the 12th century. Ring the bell if it seems no one…

5. Château des Bormettes

12.32 MILES

Scenic, with a cellar located under a former Carthusian monastery, des Bormettes is also ancient, with evidence of wine-production in the area going to…

6. Clos Mireille

12.35 MILES

One of three estates comprising Domaines Ott, a winemaking concern with roots in the late 19th-century, Clos Mireille is still run by descendants of…

7. Domaine de la Sanglière

12.46 MILES

Côtes de Provence and La Londe Appellation rosés, reds and whites can be tasted at this winery with a view of the sea. Technically it's in Bormes-les…

8. Villa Noailles

12.94 MILES

A cubist maze of concrete and glass, the villa was designed by Robert Mallet-Stevens in 1923 as a winter residence for devoted lover of modern art Vicomte…