Situated in the heart of the Bandol vineyards, Le Castellet stands out in Formula 1 history as the home of the Paul Ricard circuit. In one of the centers of French wine-making areas, this is the ideal place to relax and enjoy the joie-de-vivre of the small commune.
Only a short drive away, at 45km, Marseille sprawls elegantly along the coastline, welcoming visitors with its many museums, a gorgeous city centre adorned with cathedrals, abbeys and arches, and many attractions outside the city, like the Calanques National Park.
Although Marseille is the closest cosmopolitan city to the circuit, the south of France offers a large variety of options for visiting, and accommodation. Further afield of Marseille is the university city of Aix-en-Provence, located 60km north-west of the circuit.
If you are looking to combine your motorsport experience with a beach escape, then approximately 30km south of the circuit you will find Toulon, a beautiful coastal city that invites you to relax and explore. Alternatively, a little further along the coast, you can top up your tan in Bandol.
If you are travelling from abroad, the closest international hub is Marseille Provence Airport, located 66km from the circuit. The next closest airport is Nice Cote d'Azur airport, 176km away.
There are also some smaller regional airports closer to Le Castellet, such as Toulon - 55km away - and the local airport of Le Castellet. Please be aware that landing slots are limited at the Le Castellet airport.
Paul Ricard Circuit is one of the most famed sites of the region of Le Castellet, but if you want to discover a little more outside of motor racing during your visit, the local region has an abundance of activities to offer.
The quaint village of Le Castellet offers a variety of restaurants rich with the regional cuisine, as well as bars and pubs where you can relax in the evenings. Or stay local, and enjoy the vineyards of the area, with wines that have been enriched by the geography of the plain. The medieval hilltop village offers opportunities for a lazy stroll with plenty to see, from the the castle of Le Castellet, the Saint-Sauveur Church, the Place de L'Ormeau and the Place de la Fontaine.
For those interested in sports and other leisure activities, there are clubs in the area offering tree climbing experiences and ziplining in Castellet Park, a karting track in Brignoles, and even a helicopter flight over the town, offered by the Aerodrome of Le Castellet.
Going further afield, the Sainte-Baume mountain ridge is where you can visit The Grotto in Sainte Baume, a natural sanctuary. Also called the Rock of Mercy, this is a geologic curiosity: a 12km long rocky bar emerged from the sea bed, a relic of ancient times. The Grotto is maintained by Dominican friars, and can be accessed only on foot, so make sure to go prepared with comfortable footwear and water for the journey.
If you are looking to relax and enjoy the sunny climate, head to Bandol, a beautiful beachside town, just 20km away. Take a boat trip to Ile de Bendor, a small island named The Island of the Mediterranean Arts, and enjoy the museums and exhibitions here. You have a number of beautiful beaches from which you can choose, facing east, west and south, as well as a yachting harbour, and a palm tree promenade by the sea front.
Toulon is a gorgeous beachside town just 30km away from the circuit, which offers a combination of experiences. Enjoy the cultural heritage of this city with its museums and theatres, and take a walk along its streets to discover its many monuments - some dating as far back as the XVth century, designed by Marseille-born sculptor Pierre Puget. The city also offers you an array of terraces, pubs and bars which stay open late, so you can experience the French night life while you are here.
Further afield, at a distance of about 45km, is the second largest city in France. Marseille is a truly historic place, having been founded over two thousand years ago. While visiting the city, it will be worth checking the sea fortress of Château d'If, the imposing Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica, and its many tiny streets and alleys, especially La Canebière. Close to Marseille you can also visit a natural oasis, the Calanques National Park, where you can hike, dive, fish and sun bathe.
Approximately 60km north-west of the circuit you will find Aix-en-Provence, in the Aix provence, with sprawling fields of lavender, as well as vineyards which offer you wine tasting experiences, museums and exhibitions, and outdoor activities. You can take a stroll through Paul Cezanne's studio in the city, an unmissable opportunity to discover his artistic universe, as well as the region that inspired him so much.
If you are looking to make the most of your journey to the south of France, why not consider a French Riviera vacation? You can read about points of interest in our dedicated news article.
The Mediterranean climate of south-eastern France brings hot, dry summers, with ample sunshine, so expect blue skies and high temperatures in June
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