At Essential Sailing, we love the history, culture and cuisine of the places we visit almost as much as the sailing to get there. Our Captain’s Blog brings you a taste of what to expect from our luxury crewed sailing holidays around the French and Italian Riviera. In this blog we visit the scented village of Bormes-les-Mimosas
Sit back and be inspired.
The village of Bormes-les-Mimosas, with its ice cream coloured houses, is undoubtedly one of the Riviera’s most picturesque villages. It has had a chequered history – founded by the Gauls, conquered by the Romans, then continually sacked by the Saracens, Corsairs, Moors, Genoese and finally during the Wars of Religion (1562-1598). Depending on the season, it is bathed in the scent of mimosa, eucalyptus or chamomile. During February, when the mimosa is in bloom, the village celebrates with a corso fleuri – an extravaganza of floral floats made from thousands of yellow flowers.
A circuit touristique (tourist itinerary) spirals down steep stairways and alleys, with amusing names – venelle des Amoureux (Lover’s Lane), draille des Bredouilles (Gossipers’ Way) and steepest of all, rue Roumpi-Cuou (Bottom-Breaker road). On the way it embraces most of the main sights, which include a fine 16th century chapel dedicated to Bormes’ patron saint, Saint Francois de Paule (who rescued the village from the plague in 1481), an 18th century church built in Romanesque style, countless craft shops, and a ruined castle with dazzling views across the bay of le Lavandou and the Massif des Maures.
One of the charms of Bormes les Mimosas, is its maritime border and wild appearance that emerges. Coves and sandy beaches alternate over 22 km, facing the Golden Islands, the Levant and Port Cros. It is good to walk it off and get drunk perfume spray mixed with those of softwood scrubland and pine forests nearby. Fine sand, golden and shimmering, crystal waters of the changing color palette where turquoise are harmoniously blend the deep blue sea. Beaches with sweet names, inviting you to dream and rest: Cabasson Estagnol or le Pellegrin and Favière offer all the facilities needed to spend pleasant moments with family or friends.
Favoured by a climate of great sweetness and an exceptional light, plants and flowers grow here in abundance. The hardiest species in the wild, to the finest essences, Bormes-les-Mimosas has an unusual floral heritage. The vegetable spectacle being constantly renewed, world of colors and fragrances, explosion of yellows and greens in the sweet and heady scent of acacias, the town will not leave you indifferent. There are many varieties and extraordinary plants from Mexico, North Africa, India and China not to mention 60 species of mimosa , whose generous clusters exhale perfumes, both sweet and intoxicating, adorn the village from December to February, a long scarf “buttercup”.
One of the best ways to discover the exceptional flora is to follow the flowery circuit of gardens:
The Exotic Garden – between the Rue Bonaparte and Rue des Oranges, this small garden brings together an amazing variety of tropical and Mediterranean plants, 90 rare species from distant countries. We discover with surprise fuchsia, lantana, hibiscus, abutillons, sage, banana trees, papyrus, callandrias …
The Cigalou Park – located in the heart of the village, you’ll have time to stroll through its alleys lined with eucalyptus, cedar trees, palms … the 8877 sqm landscaped pergolas, benches, and playgrounds for children make the park a place of relaxation and recreation greatly appreciated. Wonderful views over the Bay of Bormes-les-Mimosas and the Golden Islands. Access is by the Boulevard du Soleil or the rue Jean Aicard.
Gonzalez Park – this botanical garden with an area of 2400 m² in Australian vegetation (about 250 species) including a collection of Acacia, Banksia, Eucalyptus, Grevillea, Hakea of, tea tree and Erémophilia is to the village entrance (facing Cigalou Park).
Richard Reeves is the founder of Essential Sailing and if you have been inspired to relax on a luxury sailing holiday, why not make this idyllic world your reality.