Toulon (French pronunciation: [tu.lɔ̃]; Provençal Occitan: Tolon in classical norm or Touloun in Mistralian norm), italian language: Tolone, is a town in southern France and a large harbor on the Mediterranean coast.
In 1486 Provence became part of France. Soon afterwards, in 1494, Charles VIII of France, with the intention of making France a sea power on the Mediterranean, and to support his military campaign in Italy, began constructing a military port on the rade of Toulon. His Italian campaign failed, and 1497, the rulers of Genoa, who controlled commerce on that part of the Mediterranean, blockaded the new port.
In 1524, as part of his longtime battle against Emperor Charles V and the Holy Roman Empire, King Francis I of France completed a powerful new fort, the Tour Royale, Toulon, at the entrance of the harbour. However, a few months later the commander of the new fort sold it to the commander of an Army of the Holy Roman Empire, and Toulon surrendered.
In 1543, Francis I found a surprising new ally in his battle against the Holy Roman Empire. He invited the fleet of Ottoman Admiral Barbarossa to Toulon as part of the Franco-Ottoman alliance. The residents were forced to leave, and the Ottoman sailors occupied the town for the winter.
King Louis XIV was determined to make France a major sea power. In 1660, his Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert ordered Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban to build a new arsenal and to fortify the town. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toulon,_France