•Alpes-Maritimes (06750) • Population: 341 • Altitude: 1182 m
The village is pretty and in a lovely setting, backed by a long rocky cliff. The main street inside the village doubles as a long center square, with the mairie, a general-store type of shop and one excellent little restaurant.
On the main road (two minutes walk from the "center") are a few more shops, including an epicerie (grocery store), gift shop and another café-restaurant, Le Petit Cabri. and the café is on the main road.
Andon is very quiet though, and set in a high valley amidst hills and forests. The hills along the north side are forested, and they rise up as a long, rocky cliff. Outside the center village, there are several ski/vacation style chalets.
In June there is an annual Spring Festival with medieval combat in the style of the Knights of the Round Table, along with a variety of other games and entertainments.
Andon is located at the east end of a long, narrow plateau that's planted with grain.
A few years ago there was one nice shop in the center of the village, Chez Sylvie, that had absolutely everything, like an old-fashioned general store. There's still (2009) a shop there, now a 'Proxi' grocery store, bakery, etc. [ photo-7 ] with an adjacent 'coiffeur' (hair dresser).
Along the main road at the front of the village are a few more shops, including a gift shop and another general-story type épicèrie (grocery store), 'tabac', paper shop [ photo-8 ].
Andon's café-restaurant is Le Petit Cabri, on the main road in front of the village, and also has rooms to rent.
The real jewel is the Chez Nous, a small restaurant in the center of Andon village. We haven't tried it, but there were some journalistic reviews in the window with glowing praise. The Chez Nous has a single menu at 15 euros mid-day or 25 euros evening. They're open Thur mid-day; Fri and Sat mid-day and evening; Sun mid-day. Reservations: 0666 101 778.
History of Andon
Prehistoric: The site of Andon has been inhabited since prehistoric times.
Celto-Ligurian: An ancient oppidum (hilltop site) sas located at Font Frey, overlooking the Loup river, 2 km east of Andon village. Anothr 3 oppidum at Barlet, 6 km southeast, just south of the hamlet of Canaux, included fortified peaks, double walls, and had important remains.
Gallo-Roman: There was a Roman cemetery at La Selle, 3 km northeast of Andon village, where two Roman milestones were discovered. A Roman road ran along the Loup river valley, east of Andon village, where several artifacts, including milestones, were discovered.
Medieval: The original medieval village was on the ridge of Castellas just to the south of the current village, where the remains of the feudal castle and some of the old walls sit in the rocks.
Five km northeast of Andon village are the Castellaras Ruins, a hilltop site with the ruins of a 12th and 14th century fortified village and the Chateau de Castellaras.
Tel (Mairie annexe à Thorenc): 04 93 60 74 24
The small ski station of Audibergue is located just a couple of km south of Andon. They have three ski lifts for the north-facing slope of the Montagne de L'Audibergue, 1640 m at the top, and it's a cross-country ski center.
Andon is at the eastern end of a shallow valley, with the village of Caille at the western end, 5 km away. Caille is a cross-country ski (ski de fond) center, especially for the valley between the two villages. Cross-country skiing is popular here, with the high plains sheltered by the surrounding hills.
• GPS: 43.773792, 6.785714
IGN (1/25,000) #3542 ET "Haut Estéron"
Hiking is excellent around Andon. There are long east-west ridges and plateaux both north and south of Andon. Climbs to the ridges tend to be steep but short, and a lot of the trails have very easy elevation changes, and different loop day-hikes are available.
West from Andon village the trail is pretty flat along the southern edge of the valley to Caille village. From there the trails go on to Séranon or Valderoure, or loop back to Thorenc, north of Andon.
South of the village trails go up to the top of the Audibergue mountain range (1632 m), with a magnificent view south across the countryside.