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Roche Taillée. About 10 km south of Mons, on the tiny D56 road, are the remains of a Roman aqueduct. This is marked on the local "Michelin" map as "Roche Taillée", and is located directly beside the road.

It's not obvious what you're seeing at first glance. You can cross a small bridge over a deep, narrow slot in the rock. Then when you go down and walk through the slot you see that it has been carved by hand through solid rock. This section of the aqueduct is about 50 m long and 12 m deep, and only 2 m wide. At the part where the little bridge crossed over, the aqueduct was carved through as a tunnel - nearly two thousand years ago.

The red-and-white mark on the right-hand corner (photo, left) indicates a (Grande Randonnée) hiking trail. The yellow mark is for a local-area hiking trail.

This is apparently the beginning of the Roman aqueduct that supplied Fréjus, about 30 km south. Quoting from The Roman Remains of Southern France (James Bromwich - Routledge):

"150 m above the river, the builders first cut a ledge round the cliff, but it was faulted and must have crashed into the valley. To get a secure base, the Romans dug this 50 m long, 20 m deep cutting. They would have used hand drills and wedges, then fire to heat and water to quench, so splitting the stone, but it would have done no more than slightly reduce the amount of back-breaking chisel work. The path of the aqueduct can be followed downstream with ease for some distance. The atmosphere is secluded, even mysterious. It looks empty of human habitation and apart from the swine-herds and woodmen, it must have been so in Roman times."


Directions for the Roman aqueduct:

From Fayence, D563 north (direction Mons)
- 7 km (before the Col d'Avaye), right on the D37
- 3.5 km, left on the D56 (direction Mons)
- 1 km, on the right of the road is a sign for the aqueduct. Leave the car and look for a path down through the bushes. The aqueduct is actually just beside the road.
- You can continue on the same little D56 road up to Mons.
From Mons, D563 south (direction Fayence)
- 6 km (1 km after the Col d'Avaye), left on the D37
- 3.5 km, left on the D56 (direction Mons)
- 1 km, on the right of the road is a sign for the aqueduct.
From Mons, D56 east (direction St Cezaire)
- 4.5 km, right on D56
- 3.5 km, on the left of the road is a sign for the aqueduct.

Covered Stone Aqueduct

roche taille aqueduct Hiking out the country lane northeast of Mons village, towards the Saint-Pierre chapel and oratorie, we discovered that the stone wall along the road was actually a covered aqueduct. This is obviously a very ancient (and we guess Roman) aqueduct coming down across the fields past the local areas of Riens and Les Ferrages to the village of Mons.

This part of the aqueduct is broken in several places, allowing you to see inside. It's about 1 meter (3 ft) high and a half-meter (1-1/2 ft) wide inside. In some places the "wall" aqueduct is clearly rounded on top; in others it is squared off on top like a normal stone wall. We managed to trace the sometimes invisible aqueduct across the fields, past a newly build house (Feb 2003), towards "Le Haut Riens", about 2 km northeast of Mons, before giving up the hunt.

This is not part of the Roman aqueduct to Frés; that one begins with the source of the Siagnole river, southeast of Mons and about half way between Mons and the "Roche Taillée"


• GPS: 43.670703, 6.720802


IGN (1/25,000) #3543 ET "Haute Siagne"

Didier Richard (1/50,000) #19 "Haute Provence Verdon"

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