Var (83600) Population: 1,274 Altitude: 300 m
This is a lovely village perched on a ridge extending west from the Bois de Bagnols. The village sits in a clearing, surrounded by forests of umbrella pines, and has a great view out over the valleys and hills to the south and west. Market day Wed, Sat.
If you approach from the north (Fayence, Bagnols) or the south (Fréjus), the village suddenly appears as you come out of the forest. On the road from the east, however, out by the Chapelle Notre-Dame, you have a view across the fields of the village sitting up high and stretched out on the ridge.
The St-Antonin church in the center, rebuilt in the 16th and 17th centuries, has a tall beffroi (alarm-tower) with a clock and with a wrought-iron belfry (campanile) on top. In the center square, where the café terraces are shaded by large plane trees, is a unique bronze fountain with Leda's swan.
Climb up the village streets to the top of the hill and you'll find the little 17th-century Chapelle Ste. Anne with its interesting octagonal-pyramidic bell tower. On this hilltop is a open park where you can rest, and have a fantastic, panoramic view out across the countryside. Beside the park is the village football pitch, and beside that is a curious round stone building covered in ivy.
Cascade de Gourbachin
About 500 m out of the village on the D47 road, in the direction of the Chapelle Notre-Dame, a bridge crosses over a small stream. A path goes back into the forest to the east, up the Vallon de Vaouloube to the Cascade de Gourbachin. The valley is deep and narrow, following the tiny, bubbling stream back behind the village of Bagnols. The thick trees completely covering the valley and the steep sides of the hills provide perpetual shade, making this a very cool and lovely 15-minute hike during the heat of the summer.
The waterfall (cascade) at the end of the lovely walk isn't a Snoqualmie Falls. The tiny stream has taken centuries to carve a deep, shallow cleft through the rocks and hollow out a pretty basin at the base of the low cliffs.
History of Bagnols-en-Foret
First record, 11th century Bagnols
Prehistoric: enclosures are located nearby at La Forteresse (2 km south) and at Bayonne (3 km southwest, in the Bois du Défens).
Gallo-Roman: Gallo-Roman vestiges are located at St. Denis to the west. Also at St. Denis, the romanesque chapel St-Donat-et-St-Domnain is built on a Roman site. A Roman "meules" (millstone) carving factory can still be seen at the Col de la Pierre du Coucou, in the hills 2 km south of the village.
Medieval: Bagnols was part of the fief of the Bishops of Fréjus.
Market day: Wed, Sat.
• GPS: 43.537036, 6.697547
The forests Bois du Défens and Bois de Malvoisin to the southwest and the Bois de Bagnols to the east all have good hiking possibilities. To the south, the hills are forested and rocky, with steep outcrops that look wild and beautiful. A garbage-sewage treatment facility is located 4 km south-southeast, so that area should be avoided because of the odor. There are still plenty of wild hills, though, with good trails and beautiful scenery.
The trails to the southeast lead to the Gorges du Blavet. If you're hiking during the summer, this beautiful site will bring you relief from the heat.
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.)