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The Republic of France

Hyères - France

Holiday in Hyères, FranceHyères is a commune in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. This old town is situated 4 kilometers or 2.5 miles from the sea set on a hill surrounding the Castle of Saint Bernard. Between the town and the sea sits the pine-covered hill of Costebelle, which overlooks the Peninsula of Giens. Its position facing the Mediterranean to the south makes it a popular location for tourism in the winter, and facilitates the cultivation of palm trees; about 100,000 trees are exported from the area each year. As a result, the town is frequently referred to as Hyères Les Palmiers. The three islands of the Îles d'Hyères, namely Porquerolles, Port-Cros and the Île du Levant, are located just offshore. Hyères is the oldest resort on the French Riviera. The Hellenic city of Olbia was refounded on the Phoenician settlement that dated to the fourth century BCE; Olbia is mentioned by the geographer Strabo as a city of the Massiliotes that was fortified against the tribe of the Salyes and against those Ligures who live in the Alps. Greek and Roman antiquities have been found in the area. The first reference to the town dates from 964. Originally a possession of the Viscount of Marseilles, it was later transferred to Charles of Anjou. Louis IX King of France, often referred to as "St Louis" landed at Hyères in 1254 when returning from the Crusades.

Holiday in Hyères, FranceLord Albemarle, the British ambassador, stayed in Hyères during the winter of 1767-1768, but it was the two visits of the Prince of Wales during the winters of 1788 and 1789 which made Hyères popular with the British. The English agronomist Arthur Young visited Hyères on the advice of Lady Craven on 10 September 1789. He mentioned the many British living there in his book Travels in France. The London-born and Eton-educated Anglo-Grison Charles de Salis died in Hyères in July 1781 at age 45, and was buried in the Convent des Cordeliers. In 1791, Charlotte Turner Smith published her novel Celestina, which is set in Hyères. During the period of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, the British left the area, but they returned after 1815. Joseph Conrad, who lived for a while in Hyères, wrote his novel, The Rover, which is set in Hyères, during those years. William FitzRoy, 6th Duke of Grafton spent the winter and spring each year at Hyères because he and his wife suffered from ill health. An Edwin Lee M.D. published in 1857 a book on the virtues of the climate of Hyères for the recovery of pulmonary consumption and in November 1880 Adolphe Smith first published The Garden of Hyères. In 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson came to Hyères and for about two years lived first at the Grand Hotel, of which the building still stands in the Avenue des Iles d'Or, and then in a chalet called Solitude in the present rue Victor-Basch. He wrote then: "That spot our garden and our view are sub-celestial. I sing daily with Bunian, that great bard. I dwell next door to Heaven!". In later years he wrote from his retreat in Valima: "Happy (said I); I was only happy once; that was at Hyères."

Holiday in Hyères, FranceIn 1884, Elisabeth Douglas, daughter of Alfred, Lord Douglas, had a small cottage as she called it built on the Costebelle Hill by the architect Thomas Donaldson who used to spend his winters in Hyères during those years. The British presence culminated in the winter of 1892 from 21 March to 25 April when Queen Victoria came for a stay of three weeks at the Albion Hotel. At that time, the British influence was so strong that shop signs were in both French and English. There was an English butcher, a chemist, two banks and two golf courses. There were also two English churches, plus one at the Grand Hôtel in Costebelle, whose buildings still exist. All Saint's Church at Costebelle and Saint Paul's English Church on Avenue Beauregard. Some signs of this strong English presence have vanished, like the small dell in the cemetery where there were once some hundred graves. Some of these, such as those of Lord Arthur Somerset or Richard John Meade, bore testimony to the aristocratic nature of the community. Other vestiges remain, like the fountain near the new public library in a square shaded by plane tree. The inscription reads: "In loving memory of Marianne Stewart who died on 18 August 1900. She laboured many years in the cause of mercy to animals. Her last wish was that a drinking fountain should be set up for them in Hyères". Many wounded British soldiers were sent to the town to convalesce during World War I. The American novelist Edith Wharton wintered in Hyères annually from 1919 until her death in 1937. The garden of her villa, Castel Sainte-Claire, is open to the public. The villa previously belonged to Olivier Voutier, a French naval officer, whose grave is in the garden. It was Voutier who discovered the Venus de Milo in 1820 on the Aegean island of Milos.

Holiday in Hyères, FranceAs part of Operation Dragoon on 15 August 1944, the joint United States-Canadian First Special Service Force came ashore off the coast of Hyères to take the islands of Port-Cros and Levant. Port-Cros is a French island in the Mediterranean island group known as the Îles d'Hyères. It is part of the commune of Hyères, and part of the department of Var in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. The island was donated to the French government with the promise that a national park, the Port-Cros National Park, would be created on the island. This was established on December 14, 1963. The island is 4 kilometers wide and its most elevated point is 199 meters in height with a total space of 650 hectares. During the American and Canadian invasion the small German garrisons offered little resistance and the whole eastern part of Port-Cros had been secured by 06:30 am. All fighting was over on Levant by the evening but on Port-Cros, the Germans withdrew into old thick-walled forts. It was only when naval guns were brought to bear that they realised that further resistance was useless. An intense naval barrage on 18 August 1944 heralded the next phase of the operation – the assault on the largest of the Hyères islands, Porquerolles. French forces – naval units and colonial formations, including Senegalese infantry – became involved on 22 August and subsequently occupied the island. During World War II, during the Allied invasion of Provence, the Battle of Port Cros took place on the island on August 15, 1944, in which the German garrison of 150 men fought against a force of American and Canadian commandos, known as the Devil's Brigade. The island was captured by the Allies on August 17, 1944. When Madame Henry, the owner of the island, died in 1966, she bequeathed the island to the state, with the exception of the hotel Le Manoir, which her great-nephew, Pierre Buffet, inherited. The Port-Cros National Park was created in 1963. The photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand is working on the restoration of the fort at Port-Man. During the invasion the US-Canadian Special Forces landing at the eastern end of Porquerolles took large numbers of prisoners – the Germans preferring not to surrender to the Senegalese.

Holiday in Hyères, FranceHyères is home to the Hyères International Fashion and Photography Festival, a huge fashion and art photography event which has taken place annually at the end of April since 1985. Through parallel fashion and photography competitions, the Festival International de Mode et de Photographie à Hyères, directed by Jean-Pierre Blanc since its creation 27 years ago, gathers ten young fashion designers and ten young photographers every year under the patronage of an international jury. An observatory of trends as well as an international launching pad, the Hyères Festival has showcased, more than 300 first-time collections by new fashion designers from all over the world and exhibited the works of over 80 young and innovative photographers. On every edition, the festival presents at the Villa Noailles —the landmark cubist villa built in the 1920’s by Mallet-Stevens — several exhibitions that explore the coalescing boundaries between art, photography and fashion. On the three days of the festival, young fashion designers present to the public their first collection in a series of fashion shows directed by Maïda Gregoiri-Boina. Their proposals are examined and assesed by an attentive jury of industry professionals. Numerous talents revealed by the past 20 editions of the festival's Fashion Competition have since become essential names in the world of fashion such as Viktor & Rolf, Gaspard Yurkievich, Anke Loh, Alexandre Matthieu, Xuly Bët, Felipe Oliveira Baptista, Thierry Rondenet & Hervé Yvrenogeau (Own), Xavier Delcour, Cyd Jouny, Marc Le Bihan, Karine Arabian, Sébastien Meunier, Crstof Beaufays, Christian Wijnants, Rivière de Sade, Sandrina Fasoli, Laurent Edmond, Ute Ploier, Hamid Ed-Dakhissi, Henrik Vibskov, Richard René, Daniel Ledermann, Swash, C-Neeon and Romain Kremer to name only a prominent few. www.villanoailles-hyeres.com

Holiday in Hyères, FranceThe Festival public attendance increases year after year, attracting designers, industrialists, trendwatchers, agents, buyers, textile federations, distributors, gallerists, museum directors, department stores. The festival's aim is to offer young talents a genuine professional opportunity by providing them with material and logistical support, as well as profitable contacts and intensive media exposure. All exhibitions charge no admission and remain open until early June. This festival was among the first to recognize the talents of Viktor & Rolf. The city also plays host to the annual MIDI French Riviera Festival in July, a music festival now into its sixth episode. 2010's MIDI saw around 15 acts play at the Villa Noailles complex and brought the new 'MIDI Night' event to Alamanarre Beach in the early hours of Sunday morning. Villa Noailles is an early modernist house, built by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens for art patrons Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles, between 1923 and 1927. It is located in the hills above Hyères, in the Var, southeastern France. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the couple were important patrons of modern art, particularly surrealism. They supported film projects by Man Ray, Salvador Dalí, and Luis Buñuel and commissioned paintings, photographs and sculptures by Balthus, Giacometti, Constantin Brâncuşi, Miró, and Dora Maar. Villa Noailles features prominently in Man Ray's film Les Mystères du Château de Dé. Charles de Noailles died in 1981. In 1940 the villa was occupied by the Italian Army and turned into a hospital. From 1947 until 1970, the villa was the summer residence of Marie-Laure. She died in 1970, and the house was purchased by the city of Hyères in 1973. The villa is now used as an arts center and for special exhibits.

Holiday in Hyères, FranceThe railway station Gare d'Hyères offers connections with Toulon, Marseille, Paris and several regional destinations. The airport, which is known officially as the Toulon-Hyères International Airport, is situated 4 kilometers or 2.5 miles to the southeast of the town center, on a sandy plane near the seashore. Toulon-Hyères Airport, also known as Hyères Le Palyvestre Airport. The airport served 502,974 passengers in 2010. The area was first used by private aircraft at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1920, after the marsh had been drained, French naval aircraft used the field, and in 1925 it became an official base of the French Fleet Air Arm (Aéronavale). It has been a commercial airport since 1966, but the Navy maintains a significant facility for helicopters and fixed wing aircraft within its perimeter. There are currently, as of 2009, scheduled flights to and from Stockholm, Bristol, Ajaccio, Paris, London, Brest, Brussels and Rotterdam.


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