Var (83570) Population: 709 Altitude: 14 m
The village of Entrecasteaux is quite picturesque, with the 17-century chateau dominating a long, plain main street, and a couple of old-village areas with many interesting things to discover. Market day Fri.
Arriving from the north (from Salernes), you see only the long, ordinary main street lined with shops and cafés, until you discover the big chateau off to the left. Entering from the south (Carcès) you cross a pretty, stone bridge and pass through a narrow slot between high old buildings to the center dominated by the huge, rectangular chateau.
The village center first seems a bit plain, with a somewhat dingy row of houses, shops and cafés across from the chateau. But there's a more ancient village with narrow streets to wander up on the hill beside the chateau, and the other half of the old village on the hill across from the chateau.
Out at the southern edge of the village, just below the cemetery, is a very pretty 13th-century hump-back bridge [Photo-19]. This bridge seems to us to be an identical style to the one beside the farm [Photo-18], so that one must be the same age.
The garden at the base of the chateau is a patterned hedge, somewhat like a maze design, surrounding a small pool that has an ancient astrolabe (3D sundial) sitting on a rock in the center [Photo-01]. We photographed this same view in 1996 [Photo-01]: the rock was mossy then, without a sundial, and there was a lot more foliage masking the wall in front of the chateau.
The gothic church up at the top beside the chateau [Photo-17] is the 14th-century église Saint-Sauveur. One of the old streets goes behind the church on the north side of the hilltop, passing through a long, vaulted passage that was the main entrance to the village in the 18th century [Photo-13].
There's a very nice view from the back side of the hilltop, of an old farm , what was probably a mill, and a very pretty stone bridge [Photo-18].
Walk out of the west end of the town, past the 18th-century mill, "Moulin La Rouguière", for a very nice view back along the river towards the village [Photo-09].
Entrechateaux raised silkworms in the 19th century, producing 12 tons of cocoons a year.
The chateau of Entrecasteaux is a massive rectangular building, without towers, and with rows of windows across the entire front. It was built in the 17th century, but on the base of a 10th-century fortified castle. The rectangular form with the windows is similar to the chateau at nearby Sillans-la-Cascade.
The vaulted caves remain from the original castle, and on the main floor are rooms with at least one Louis XV fireplace, a restored 17th-century kitchen, and a grand stairway with 17th-century wrought-iron railing. The library includes a collection of Ming porcelains.
The chateau's park [Photo-03] (à la française) was designed by André Le Nôtre (1613-1700) who also designed the Tuileries in Paris and the gardens of Versailles.
Entrechateaux turned out to be a village of sundials, although a couple of them are fading away.
Facing the chateau from the main street, there's a sundial on a house across the parking area, at the far left of the school (this thumbnail photo).
Just to the left of the chateau, an orange and black sundial is on the end of the "Auberge du Chateau" building [Photo-20].
The chateau sundial is might fine, but it's up very high, top-center of the chateau [Photo-01, center of the building].
Entering Entrechateaux from the south (the D31 from Carcès), there are two very old sundials on adjacent corners of an old house on the right, just before the village center. One is faded to nothing, but has enough color to give a feeling of its past glory [Photo-21].
History of Entrecasteaux
First record, 1012 Intercastra, Intercastellas.
The name probably comes from the village's geographical location between the three fortified houses (castellos of Riforan, Salgues, and Pardigon. The Chateau of Riforan (with chapel) is 5 km northwest of Entrecasteaux, 4 km east of Cotignac. The Chateau of Salgues is 6 km northeast of Entrecasteaux, just before the orthodox monastery of St-Michel. The farm Pardigon is 4 km southeast of Entrecasteaux, alongside the D562 road between Carcès and Lorgues; there's a ULM flying field just across the road from the Pardigon farm, and a small Roman aqueduct 1 km up the road towards Carcès, at the first bend.
The domain including the village was owned by the Châteaurenard family around the year 1000. Over the centuries the village was protected by concentric rings of fortifications. It became a Lordship of Castellane in the 11th century (like Cotignac), part of fief of the Counts of Provence until the 14th century. The lords of Grigan took ownership from the Castellanes and built the first chateau. In 1670 the Count of Grignan rebuilt the chateau in its current form, and had the gardens built with the design of Le Notre.
The Lubac family took over the chateau in the 19th century and kept it until 1949 when they sold it to the comune of Entrecasteaux. In 1974 the chateau was sold to private owners, and it has changed hands a couple of times since then.
• GPS: 43.515625, 6.244047
IGN (1/25,000) #3443 OT "Aups Salernes"
IGN (1/25,000) #3444 OT "Brignoles Le Luc"
There's no haute-cuisine in Entrecasteaux, but there are a couple of restaurants, cafés and a small pizzaria-restaurant.
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.)