Var (83830) Population: 1,069 Altitude: 416 m
Bargemon is an ancient village in the upper Var department, sitting at the edge of the Canjuers plateau at the base of the Var Prealps. Dating back to the early 9th century, Bargemon was fortified in Medieval times, and still retains vestiges of walls and fortified entries. Market day Thur.
Approaching Bargemon from the north, the D25 crosses the huge Canjuers military base (with occasional army tanks crossing) the road goes over the Col du Bel Homme (915 m), then drops down to the village set in the forested hills below [Photo 2].
At the Col du Bel Homme (915 m), there's a magnificent view of the valleys and mountains to the south (in a panorama from east to west), including the Mediterranean sea and far villages nestled in the hills and on the coast. If that's not enough, a small lane to the west goes about a km (a 15-minute walk) to the orientation table at the Blaque Meyanne peak (1033 m) where the view is even more magnificent.
As the road winds down the mountainside, there's an excellent aerial view of Bargemon as well as the village of Claviers further to the south.
Bargemon village has an ancient feel to it. The streets are narrow and the many squares with flowing fountains are heavily shaded. The buildings are old, and there are many examples of the past here, including the 12th-century church built into the old defensive wall of the village.
Bargemon is known for its pure water and its climate and, like some of the other villages of this region, has olive-oil mills and honey.
Sites of Bargemon
In the 11th century Bargemon was protected by a 12-meter high wall with a watch tower ever 10 meters. Some parts of the remparts remain today, and there are still a few of the fortified entries (portes), most dating to the 16th century. Photo 7 shows the walls on Rue des Remparts.
The Porte du Château is a passage through the wall between two joined towers.
The Porte du Clos is today the open passage between the Tour du Clos and the Chapelle de Montaigu [Photo 1].
The Porte de la Tour de l'Horloge, on the Rue Gabriel Péri, is a fortified passage through the walls, and you can still see the slits for raising and lowering the portcullis. Above, the short square tower with the small campanile has a fairly modern clock; the original clock, that gave the time and the phases of the moon, can be seen in the Musée-Galerie Camos on the Place St Etienne (closed Mon morning and Tue).
The Porte de la Prison is a deep passage through the walls, with the entrance to the 1585 prison. The most recent use of the prison was during the liberation in 1944.
Bargemon has a few ancient fountains.
The fountain with the tall pillar, on Place Philippe Chauvier, [Photo 4] was built in the 16th century.
The Fountain de la Poissonnerie with the round stone basin [Photo 6] dates to the First Empire (1804-1814). Another fountain with a round stone basin is at the Place de la Marie, also built in 1805, still intact in its original form. Both of these fountains were used by tanners as well as for washing clothes.
Favorite sons of Bargemon include:
- Christophe-1ere de Villeneuve-Vauclose, who prevented the Saint Bartholomew's Day festivities in Provence;
- Abbé Moreri (1643-1680) who wrote an historical dictionary;
- Guilhem de Bargemon, a troubadour (1285);
- Philippe Chauvier, a Provençal poet (1903);
- Antoine d'Argbaud, Bishop of Sisteron.
More recent visitors.
The area around Bargemon (and much of the department of the Var) has become a popular second-residence area for Brits. In 2003, the Beckhams purchased the Domaine Saint-Vincent just outside of the village; 250 acres and 34 rooms give them a fair amount of privacy here.