The Saint Ferreol Hermitage site is a hilltop at the northeastern edge of Lorgues, with a 13th-century chapel, ruins of a Ligurian oppidum and Roman castrum, and a lovely forest walk.
The "Hermitage" is not so much a hermit's hut as an impressive rectangular building sitting in the woods at the top of the hill. The building is perhaps overly refurbished, and there aren't any real ruins to visit. Even the little ring of stones marked "Oppidum" looks more like a collapsed borie than a hilltop fort. But the site is lovely, and even the pair of water reservoirs are built of stone and look as if they belong here.
Even without fantastic ruins, this is an excellent place to relax, picnic, follow the marked "exercise" course, or just walk through the woods, shaded by huge trees and cooled by the hilltop breeze.
The ancient stone walls of a protective oppidum have been dated to the 4th century BC (iron age), but this strategic site is probably even older than that. In the first few centuries AD there was probably a real hermitage located here.
The "modern" hermitage was probably built in the 13th century, and enlarged to its current form in the 18th century. It was during the 18th century that a second chapel was built, and the cult of Saint Ferreol was established.
There's another Saint Ferreol Ermitage 20 km southwest of Perpignan, 5 km northeast of Céret (66400). That one is labeled "Saint Ferriol Ermitage" on the hiking map (note the difference in spelling).
Cabro d'Or Legend
Local legend has it that the woods on the hilltop are the home of the Cabro d'Or, the ellusive "golden goat" that's always just at the edge of being caught. There was once a temple here dedicated to the chève d'or and the hilltop still retains the name. Part of the local legend there was that the chèvre d'or tempted Saint Ferréol.
Discover more in ProvenceBeyond
• GPS: 43.493243, 6.364174
IGN (1/25,000) #3544 OT "le Muy, Lorgues, Mont Roquebrune, Maures"
IGN (1/25,000) #3443 OT "Aups Salernes"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #25 "Maures Haut-Pays Varois"
A parcours de santé (exercise walk) trail circles the hilltop woods, and the site is lovely and cool for walking in the summer.
For additional excercise, you can begin by walking here from the center of Lorgues and climbing to the top via the Chemin de Croix, the 19th-century stone steps with 14 oratories along the way [Photo 2].