Saint Raphaël

Saint Raphaël is set between the massif of the Estérel and 36km of coastline in the region of Var. It has a small commercial centre and each neighbourhood that makes up the town has its own identity.

Saint Raphaël is not known to be picturesque, as it is more of a resort town. However, there is an old town in the centre of the district that offers some old architectural charm. What used to be a fishermen’s enclave, Quartier de la Marine, now houses a casino and luxurious villas and is a lively and boisterous part of Saint Raphaël.

There are many activities to please everyone in the town. Sailing, canoeing, sea fishing, jet skiing, hiking and spa visits are some of the most popular. The café scene in Saint Raphaël is well known, so the streets of the town are likely to be filled with French lounging in the sun with a coffee in hand.

The town generally attracts families and a more mature crowd wanting to take advantage of the golf courses and sunny beaches, largely due to the fact that it is less costly than most resort towns on the French Riviera.

The experts say

The size of Saint Raphaël is quite small and getting around by foot is generally recommended. The streets are small and having a car could be a hassle, especially when it comes to parking.

The property market in Saint Raphaël

The French Riviera property market in Saint Raphaël offers a variety of options, from villas to apartments and studios. Ocean views are more expensive; however, in the centre of town properties can easily be found at a lower price and can act as great investment properties.

A newly built Saint Raphaël property for sale in the centre of town is generally priced at around €200,000 for a small one-bedroom, but other properties can easily increase to €500,000 given the right location. Villas and houses are generally priced above the €2,000,000 price point and can escalate to €10,000,000.

Despite property value having dropped slightly in 2014, the demand for the region is increasing and the rental opportunities for the region are strong.

  • The town of Saint Raphaël charmed writer Alphonse Karr so much that he moved there for the remainder of his years.
  • The name of the town was briefly changed to Barraston in 1794, but switched back later in the 19th century.

Three insiders tips for Saint Raphaël

GET – fresh vegetables from the food market, which is held every day at Place Victor Hugo and Place de la République.
DO  – dive 20m below sea level to visit the remains two Belgian barges that were torpedoed in July 1944. Professional snorkelling and diving help is necessary, but there are plenty of offers near the beach.
SEE – the scenic route of the Corniche d'Or, which links St. Raphaël to Cannes and was opened in 1903 by the Touring Club de France. It gives a panoramic view between the Var and the Alpes Maritimes.

At glance

  • Area:90 km sq
  • Population: 35,000
  • Town has two tropical beaches, Plage du Veillat and Plage Beaurivage.
  • Harbour has 230 berths
  • Nearest airport is Nice
  • TGV reaches the train station in Nice to reach Saint Raphaël
  • Jardin Bonaparte is a 20,000m sq garden that is fantastic for children

- Added to shortlist

- Removed from the shortlist