Cogolin is sprawled between the foothills of the Maures and the Golfe de Saint-Tropez. The village is built around its "little rounded hill" (cougoul, but doesn't have the focused feeling of a real centre village, possibly because the habitation is so spread out and the outlying shopping areas are so extensive here.
Nearby: | Cavalaire-sur-Mer 15 km | Garde-Freinet 13 km | Gassin 10 km | Grimaud 3 km | Mole 9 km | Plan-de-la-Tour 23 km | Ramatuelle 12 km | Ramatuelle 12 km | Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer 20 km | Saint Tropez 9 km | Sainte Maxime 13 km | Verne Chartreuse 24 km |
The town is centered around the Place de la République, site of the Hotel de Ville (town hall) and the Saturday market. We were a bit disappointed in finding a poor selection of cafés in the town center; in fact there seem to be far more restaurants than cafés here.
Cogolin Old Town (Vieux Village) is an area of streets between the central Place de la République and the hill-top location of the Tour de 'Horloge and the cemetery. There is no centralized old-town so common in many of Beyond's Medieval villages, but Cogolin's old streets are stil very interesting and definitely worth a strolling visit.
Cogolin's pipe-making industry is centered around the Courrieu family business, begun in 1802 and on of the oldest pipe factories in the world. Even if you're not a smoker, it's well worth visiting the Courrieu shops and taking a tour of the workshops, all located along the main Boulevard de Lattre de Tassigny in the town center.
Along the same street, L. Roux has his pipe-making shop, although not quite as old, being founded in 1864.
Pipe making is a natural for this region, as the local Maure hills have an abundant supply of tree heath (bruyère aborescent), the source of "briar" wood.
14th-c Clockless Tower
The 14th-century clock tower (tour de l'horloge) is all that's left of the original castle built on the top of the hill. The clock is no longer there, and the bell was moved to the St.-Sauveur - St-Etienne church. The rest of the castle was destroyed in 1579 during the Wars of Religion. The hilltop location is still walled off, but now as a private domain. You can get a glimpse of it from the cemetery.
The Saint-Sauveur - Saint-Etienne church was built in the 16th century, and consecrated in 1550 by the Bishop of Fréjus. The church has two naves, one for each of its patron saints. It also has two "looks": the back-side of the bell tower, with its red pyramidal roof, is in the original (or refurbished) grey stone, as is the front of the chuch at the west side; the sides of the ancient church are finished in smooth, bright white.
Centered on the white south-side of the Saint-Sauveur - Saint-Etienne church is a round sundial (cadran solaire), very colorful and obviously refurbished. The sundial's motto "A CADUN SON SOULEU" is Provençal for the French A Chacun Son Soleil, or in English "We each have our own sun".
Our translation is by courtesy of Eugene, July 2008.
Changed Street Names
In Cogolin "Vieux Village" we found a lot of double street names, indicating a penchant in the near past for renaming the streets. Rue Rompe Cul was the ancient Rue du Piquet. (We've always liked the Rue Rompe Cul that shows up in many old villages, meaning roughly, "fall on your butt".)
Place Saint Roch became Place Bellevue (moving from a Saint to a nice view). Placette Haute became Place de la Liberté, probably around the time most towns and villages in France obtained a Place de la Liberté and Paris lost its Bastille. Rue Edgar Quinet became Rue Saint Exupéry, marking a shift from revolutionary intellectuals to adventurers. Grande Rue became Rue Nationale and Rue Centrale became Rue du 11 Novembre. Rue du Puits became Rue des Mines, shifting from wells to mines. Rue Romaine became Rue de la Resistance. Rue du Grand Four became Rue ds Moulins, going from one large oven to multiple mills.
Rue du 19 Mars 1962 is obvious, marking the end of the war in Algeria, although the previous street name was not marked. Although there's a lovely sundial (cadran soleil) on the St-Sauveur church, we couldn't find one on the Rue Cadran.
Cogolin by the Sea
Cogolin, like nearby Grimaud, is separated from the Golfe du St-Tropez by a flat plain. And like Grimaud, the commune of Cogolin stretches across the 4 km of low lands to to the sea where the seaside areas of Port Cogolin and Marines de Cogolin are located.
Marines de Cogolin is a recent seaside "village", very similar to and just beside Port Grimaud. Marines de Cogolin has a collection of habitations, shops and restaurants surrounding a large marina.
Port Cogolin is a much older, and smaller marina, nestled in between Port Grimaud and Marines de Cogolin.
First record, 1055 Cucullinus; 1079 Cugulino; 13th-c Cogolino. The name came from the local expression cougouilloun or cougouyouon, which means round-topped butte. The original village was built on this round-topped hill, set far enough back from the seaside to hopefully avoid Saracen raids and the marsh deseases.
An alternate and more romantic origin of the name Cogolin has it that a small boat arrived in the adjacent Golfe de Saint-Tropez carrying the body of the Knight Torpes, accompanied by a rooster and a dog. The rooster flew inland and landed in a nearby filed of flax (lin). The village was built there and named "Rooster in the flax", or Coq au lin.
Prehistoric: Signs of prehistorique presence were discovered at Portonfus, 3 km to the northwest.
Gallo-Roman: Traces of Roman habitation were found at Portonfus, les Garcinières (1 km northwest), Grenouillé (2 km east) and la Gavotte. At Saint-Maur (1.5 km NW) were a funeral inscription and an alter (autel) being used as doorstep.
Medieval: In the year 952, William the First ("Guilaume 1ere) fought off the Saracens. The troups of Raymond de Turenne, the Scourge of Provence, attacked in the 14th century.
Office de Tourisme
Tel : 04 94 55 01 10; Fax: 04 94 55 01 11
Raimu Museum - Musée Raimu
Follows the career of actor Raimu (aka Jules Auguste César Muraire), including the films Marius, La Femme du Boulanger, L'Homme au Chapeau Rond, Les Gaités de l'Escadron, and displays his César award. A part of the museum is also dedicated to the French film writer Jean Nohain.
Location: Espace Raimu 18 Ave Georges Clémenceau
Open: 10h-12h, 15h-18h; July-Aug: 10h-12h, 16-19h ; Closed: Closed: Sun mornings; Tue (except school vacations)
Entry: 3.5 €
Tel: 0494 541 800; Fax: 0494 544 324
Templars Museum - Musée Templier
Association Empreintes et Traditions Maures et Provence.
Presents the Provencal history of the Knights Templars.
Open: Wed-Mon 15h-18h; Jun-Aug 10h-12h, 17h-20h. ; Closed: Closed: Tue, holidays
Tel: 0494 548 042, or 0494 949 018
- Raimu Museum - Musée Raimu
- Follows the career of actor Raimu (aka Jules Auguste César Muraire), including the films Marius, La Femme du Boulanger, L'Homme au Chapeau Rond, Les Gaités de l'Escadron, and displays his César award. A part of the museum is also dedicated to the French film writer Jean Nohain.
- Location: Espace Raimu; 18 Ave Georges Clémenceau
- Open: 10h-12h, 15h-18h; July-Aug: 10h-12h, 16-19h
- Closed: Sun mornings; Tue (except school vacations)
- Entry: 3.5 €
- Tel: 0494 541 800; Fax: 0494 544 324
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web: musee-raimu.com
- Templars Museum - Musée Templier
- Association Empreintes et Traditions Maures et Provence.
Presents the Provencal history of the Knights Templars.
- Location: 5, rue Edgar Quinet (now Rue Saint Exupéry)
- Open: Wed-Mon 15h-18h; Jun-Aug 10h-12h, 17h-20h.
- Closed: Tue, holidays
- Tel: 0494 548 042, or 0494 949 018
- Department 83, Var Buses
- See Beyond's Var Department Bus Schedules for downloading the Var bus-lines map [Plan du Reseau] and bus-line schedules [Horaires] (link for PDF files).
- Schedules for the Var bus lines are on the VarLib Horaires-Ligne page (http://www.varlib.fr/horaires_ligne/?rub_code=6") - type the line number in the Numéro ... ligne box to access the bus schedule PDF link. (Type a couple of digits in the box to get a list of route numbers.)
- Fréjus - Grimaud/Cogolin Bus
- Bus line 7601 from St Raphael and Fréjus has stops at St Aygulf, Les Issambres, Ste Maxime, Grimaud-St Pons, Port Grimaud, Cogolin-La Foux and St Tropez. From St Pons or La Foux, the line 7702 serves Grimaud and Gogolin. Links to Var bus maps and schedules are explained on [Bus Schedules, page-16 Var].
- Les Arcs - Grimaud/Cogolin Bus
- Bus line 7202 from Les Arcs (main train station) serves La Garde-Freinet, Grimaud, Gogolin, La Foux and Saint Tropez. There are three buses a day: morning, mid-day and evening. Links to Var bus maps and schedules are explained on [Bus Schedules, page-16 Var].
IGN (1/25,000) #3545 OT "St. Tropez, Ste. Maxime, Massif des Maures"
To the south, it's only a couple of km across the Môle river valley, past a water treatment plant, and into the hills for a magnificent stretch of isolated trail for many kilometeres.