Fréjus – along with its neighbour St-Raphaël, 3km east – dates back to the Romans. It was established as a naval base under Julius Caesar and Augustus, and its ancient port – known as Forum Julii – consisted of 2km of quays connected by a walled canal to the sea (which was considerably closer then). After the battle of Actium in 31 BC, the ships of Antony and Cleopatra’s defeated fleet were brought here. Little remains of the Roman walls that circled the city, and the once-important port silted up and was filled in after the Revolution. Today you can see a scattering of Roman remains, along with the medieval Cité Episcopale, or cathedral complex, which takes up two sides of place Formigé, the marketplace and heart of both contemporary and medieval Fréjus.
The area between Fréjus and the sea is now the suburb of Fréjus-Plage, with a vast 1980s marina, Port-Fréjus. Both Fréjus and Fréjus-Plage merge with St-Raphaël, which in turn merges with Boulouris to the east.Read More
Fréjus’ neighbour St-Raphaël became fashionable at the turn of the twentieth century, but lost many of its belle époque mansions and hotels to World War II bombardment. All the same, you may prefer to stay here rather than in Fréjus for its livelier, family-friendly atmosphere and easy access to the beaches, which stretch west of the port into Fréjus-Plage and east of the Jardin Bonaparte to the modern Marina Santa Lucia, which offers opportunities for every kind of watersport. When you’re tired of sea and sand, you can lose whatever money you have left at the Casino Barrière (wlucienbarriere.com) on Square de Gand overlooking the Vieux Port.