The military port of Toulon is the principal base of the French Navy, sited in the city of Toulon. It holds most of France's force d'action navale, comprising the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle as well as its nuclear attack submarines, in total more than 60% of the tonnage of the French Navy.
The word rade comes from the old English term 'Road,' "a protected place near shore, not so enclosed as a harbour, where ships can ride at anchor.". The Rade of Toulon is one of the best natural anchorages on the Mediterranean, and the largest rade in Europe. It is protected from the sea by the peninsula of Giens and the peninsula of Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer, and has been used as a military harbour since the 15th century. The Rade shelters the port of Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer, the port of La Seyne-sur-Mer, as well as the arsenal, or military port of Toulon, and the commercial port.
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