Saint Maximin is just a 30 minutes’ drive from Cotignac and a nice half-day visit combined with lunch at one of its numerous restaurants. With a population of around 16,000, Saint Maximin is considered a medium-sized town in the Var and is also popular to tourists from around Europe that more than triple its population in the Summer.
The town centre is a bustling shopping hub with lots of gift and clothing shops, restaurants, and a large cinema. There are also big supermarkets and a “centre commerciale” with larger shops and plenty of parking in the industrial zone just outside the centre.
The most popular thing to do here is visit the Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, built in the 13th century. The building is as impressive on the outside as it is in the inside and well worth a look. There is also a lovely park next to the famous castle-turned-hotel called Le Couvent Royal, where you can stroll through a cherry grove (and pick the cherries if it’s the month of May and they are ripe enough).
My family’s favourite restaurant is situated just near the centre of town called “Coté jardin.” Great pizzas, pastas, and grilled meats like duck with red berry sauce. It’s a typical brasserie but with class, dark leather chairs, and friendly staff. It’s always best if you book a table in advance, however.