San Raphaël has the largest marina in the French Riviera.
Fréjus was first inhabited by the Celtic Ligurian tribes. They created a defensive wall to defend their settlement. It was colonized by the Phocaeans of Massalia (Marseille). In 49 BC The Adrian Way, linking Italy and Spain passed through the site by order of Julius Caesar. He named the site Forum Julii (the market of Julius) and the port Claustra Maris (the sea bolt). It prospered due to its strategic location on the Adrian Way. The port grew rapidly and became one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean. However it started to decline with the establishment of the Pax Romana (Roman Peace). Because of the peace and stability throughout the empire it lost its military value. With the fall of Rome it declined further and during the 7th and 9th centuries it was repeatedly raided by Muslim invaders. In 1138 the port offered shelter to Genoese sailors. In 1347 it was ravaged by the Black Death. In the late 15th century it continued to be plagued by pirates.
In the early 16th century it was an important site for the production of wheat, vine, fishing and sheep farming which allowed it to grow demographically despite suffering invasions during the French Wars of Religion. It dwindled in the 18th century. On October 9, 1799, general Napoleon Bonaparte landed there returning from Egypt in order to defend the French Directory in Paris. In 1860 the marshes were drained and the town leased the land to fishermen who built huts.
It served as a base for Senegalese Tiralleurs during the First World War. In 1942 it was occupied by the German Army and in August 1944 the allies used it for Operation: Dragoon, the landings in Southern France that liberated the city.
Museums - Archeological
There is a continuous sand beach stretching between St Raphaël in the east and St Aygulf to the west. They enjoy good shelter from westerly winds. It is undeveloped, open land to the west, while the east, in front of the esplanades of Fréjus and St. Raphaël, is very popular with high level facilities including showers, beach clubs and restaurants. Closer to St Aygulf, the beaches broaden to large tracts of sand with mini bays created by stone breakwaters.
The town of Fréjus has a variety of cultural infrastructure. There are three museums, the Archaeological Museum, the Local History Museum and the Marine Troops Museum that host interesting and worth-to-visit collections.
St Raphaël has a Municipal Archaeological Museum with collections of prehistoric and Gallo-Roman finds that have been uncovered by archaeological excavations on sites around the town. It also included objects of Provencal tradition including the famous figurines of Provence.
Religious Monasteries and Churches
Fréjus is the seat of the diocese that oversees Catholic parishes in the department. The city has several Catholic religious buildings: the Chapel of St. Francis of Paola, the Sainte -Brigitte Reyran, the Notre- Dame de l'Assomption, the Notre Dame of Jerusalem, the church of the Sacred Heart and the Church of St. Roch.
Protestant worship is present in the town and has an evangelical center and Bible Baptist Church . A synagogue welcomes Jewish worship, Hien Pagoda Hông You for Vietnamese Buddhist worship. The mosque is still devoted Missiri but receives more faithful.
The Catholic parish of St. Raphael depends on the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon. It has several places of worship including: Notre -Dame- de-la -Victoire built in 1887 by Pierre Aublé in a neo-Byzantine style to commemorate the victory of the Christian Holy League at the Battle of Lepanto (October 7, 1571) against the Ottomans. Cabourdin is the last church in France to have been elevated to a basilica by Pope John Paul II on January 14, 2004. There are also Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Agay, Saint -Bernadette Valescure, the Sacred Heart in Boulouris; chapels Saint - Roch in Dramont of All Saints in Valescure, Our Lady of Peace on the eponymous plateau at Saint -Honorat Trayas and St. Anne.
Protestant worship is present with a temple of the Reformed Church of France, one of the Anglican Church, Armenian Apostolic Church, a Baptist church. The Russian Orthodox Church has the church of St. Raphael the Archangel. The Mormon Church has also a place of worship.