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Bay of Bandol:

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Location: Bay of Bandol (France (South))
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On this page you can see an overview of the location, including interactive maps, climate data, and photos.
You can also see what other divers thought, the top dive sites, what fish to see, and what wrecks there are.
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This charming bay on the Provencal coast of France has excellent diving and is historically important in many ways - not least because it was here that Jacques Cousteau developed and testing the first aqualung while he was a naval officer based at nearby Toulon.

The town of Bandol is about an hour's drive from Marseille, about 30 mins from Toulon and has all the amenities you'd expect of a seaside resort. There are also some great villages to explore just inland as well as lots of vineyards for 'un petit degustation'.

The visibility can range from 5 to 25 metres depending on the weather and diving is possible, weather permitting, all year round. The main weather porblem is the Mistral, the cold north wind that comes down the Rhone valley and can cause very lumpy sea which makes diving difficult. Usually the best diving time runs from mid June to mid September.

Some shallow dives but more deep dives from 15 to 40 metres. Many of the dive sites are on large rocky massifs that are home to lots of fish and soft corals. Gorgonias and seafans are very common as are jewel anenomes. The deeper site are home to large groupers and morays. Conger eels are also quite common and on selected sites lots of octopusses can often be found. Shoals of jack and wrasse may be seen as well as barracuda.

Not too many wrecks, though there is a good one at Cap Sicié (just off Toulon). Other popular sites are Les Basses Moulineres and Ile Rousse. If you get very lucky, it may be possible to dive Les Grottes des Fauconniers, a series of caves uner the cliffs just west of Bandol, but the weather and currents have to be just right. For the archeologists, there is lots of evidence of VERY old wrecks in quite shallow waters; lots of bits of old Roman amphorae. Provence was after all important for its wine 2000 years ago.

There are a number of dive operators in the area and two in Bandol itself. You must make sure that you have a valid diving medical certificate/letter and proof of adequate dive insurance (this is a French legal requirement) and most operators operate on a club basis which means there is usually a one off joining fee each year. A boat dive with Bandol Plongee (tank of air and weights only)costs €26

Finally remember, in France they speak French - don't expect your dive guide to speak English but if you make the effort to speak their language, you will generally get a friendly response.
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Climate Data:
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Most visitors thought
Bay of Bandol was:
Ranked as Good by independant reviews Ranked as Good by independant reviews Ranked as Good by independant reviews Ranked as Good by independant reviews
Non diving activities: Lots to see and do!
Language: French
Money: Euros
Stability: No travelling problems expected
More Information: Country Bio from Lonely Planet

Rating: Ranked as Excellant by independant reviewsRanked as Excellant by independant reviewsRanked as Excellant by independant reviewsRanked as Excellant by independant reviewsRanked as Excellant by independant reviews95%
Highest ranked My Blue Planet photo shared by Sushi.
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