La Verrerie Basse Bridge
Pont Basse Verrerie - Provence Beyond
The Basse Verrerie bridge is a 15th century, long double-arched stone bridge sitting isolated in the woods at the edge of a large field. Integrated onto one of the stone railings in the middle of the bridge is a time-shifted milestone (borne) with the carved information "St Tropez 35 km".
The newer (and current) St Tropez road, the D558, cuts straight across the wooded Aille river a couple of hundred metres north of the old bridge, where the old road had done a loop to find an easier crossing of the small valley. We don't know when the road was changed, but it's been many a year that the old road and its lovely bridge have been isolated out in the woods.
There's now a small hamlet of active habitation at the northen end of the bridge. The nearest building, visible across the adjacent field [PHOTO] might have been the old verrerie, or glassworks, that this spot was named after. The "Piste de la Tuiliere" also indicates there was tile making nearby.
Finding the Basse Verrerie Bridge
Located about 3 km southeast of Le Cannet-des-Maures, theres a roundabout at the exit of the A56 autoroute, and a second roundabout south of that one. Follow the D558, direction La Garde-Freinet and St Tropez. One km after the 2nd roundabout, the D558 crosses over the autoroute. Five km after crossing over the autoroute, theres a tiny road to the right (the north entrance to la Haute Verrerie). The D558 then crosses the river on a barely-visible bridge, and just after, stop at the right under the large pine trees where a tiny road angles back to the right [photo]. No entry for cars on this road, but you can park and walk in the 500 m to the bridge.
The little road is marked "La Tulerie" on a fire-road sign, and it's an easy 10-minute stroll to the end of the road and the old bridge. You stop here, and you'll see the end of the stone bridge in the trees to the right.
A fire-road sign here indicates "Piste de la Tuiliere", "Piste des Aurèdesm 3.4 km" and "D.75 4.8 km". We haven't checked these out yet, but from the IGN hiking map, it looks like the Piste de la Tuiliere is a fireroad that follows along the south and east side of the little river, separated in places by vineyards. It should make a nice walk.
You can walk across the bridge along the ancient roadway, to get from one side to the other, to examine the old "borne" or to enjoy the view westward across the fields. From your first approach to the southern end of the bridge [photo] you can go down to the river at the right to have a look at the arch. In the summer, when the water is low, you can walk across the river and follow up the northern bank across the fields.
In July we had the marvelous sight of a half-dozen Black Kites (Milvus migrans) soaring and hunting over the fields, mostly out over the far treeline you can see at the right of our PHOTO-X.
Much closer, at the very near end of the same field, there were lots of bright-yellow Golden Orioles (Oriolus oriolus) flying back and forth between the tall trees just beside us.
About 3 km southeast of La Basse Verrerie you'll find an old Roman Bridge (Pont Romain), beside the rocky hillside near the junction of the D558 (St Tropez road) and the D48.
In the opposite direction, 3 km northwest of La Basse Verrerie, is the Pont de la Haute Verrerie, an ancient stone, donkey-backed bridge. This one is off to the west side of the D558 road and, like the Basse Verrerie bridge, was abandonded when the new road straightened out a kink in the old route.
• GPS: 43.358265, 6.394379
IGN (1/25,000) #3544 OT "le Muy, Lorgues, Mont Roquebrune, Maures"