Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04320) Population: 785 Altitude: 515 m
Entrevaux is a fabulous sight: a medieval village guarding a narrow pass, a draw-bridge entrance high across a fast river, and walled walkway zig-zaging up through 20 fortified doorways to a 17th century citadel dominating the village and the surrounding valleys. This is popular tourist site, only 60 km from Nice.
Viewing Entrevaux from the outside is impressive, both for the perched citadel and for the walled town. Just as impressive is the walled Medieval town, with entrance through the gate house, across the long draw bridge and through the vaulted gate between the two towers.
The village streets are dark and narrow between the high buildings, maintaining the medieval feeling you get from crossing the bridge and entering the fortified area through the gateway.
The Gothic Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption church is quite grand, dating from 15th and 17th centuries, with a large, oranate facade.
Along the wall in front of the church is a doorway to a very nice playground along the riverside.
Walk through the walled village and follow the signs for the citadel entrance. Cost is 3 euros, including access to the citadel and the Powder-Magazine Museum: you'll need euro coins for the automatic "jeton" dispenser at the entrance.
The walk up the walled and cobblestoned walkway is about 20 minutes, even with the occassional stop for photos (and to catch your breath). It's worth the walk just for the view, and even more for visiting the interior of the citadel's rooms, courtyards and donjon. There's a good map at the top showing how to tour the citadel. We've put a copy here [Citadel Map] to give you an idea before-hand.
Short. We did a recent short visit, and found two hours is sufficient from the train station, walking up to and touring the citadel, visiting the museum on the way down, and back to the station. Taking time for lunch, and a very brief tour of the old town, arriving on the 10h30 train and departing on the 14h18 (towards Digne) works quite well.
Long. If you have more time than "just-passing-through" you should plan to spend the day here. A longer tour of the citadel and the poudrière museum is required if you have an interest in history of Mediveal defenses. The walled town itself requires much more time to explore that a simple walk-around or you'll miss a lot. We suggest that you get the walking tour guide from the Office de Tourisme and put it to use.
The "commercial" center of Entrevaux is along the road opposite the old town. Quite uninteresting, except for practical reasons. Included are the post office, pharmacie, shops, restaurants and such things.
Streets that zig-zag up the hillside opposite the walled village have a great view of the walled town across the river. There are some marked "sites" just a short way up, including the old flour mill and olive-oil mill, with residential areas and a scattering of villas across the hillside.
Along the roadway across an arched bridge is a multi-arched stone aqueduct, called locally the Roman aqueduct [Photo 19].
You can visit the ancient water-powered flour and oil mills. Both the flour mill (Moulin à Farine) and the oil mill (Moulin à Huile) are located in the "outer" village, overlooking the railway station. The oil mill
is still being used. The stone aqueduct along the top of the arched bridge [Photo 19] is just beside the Moulin à Farine.
There are a couple of sundials in Entrevaux. The most obvious one is at the Place de la Mairie, on the upper-right corner of the town hall (mairie), directly above the trompe-l'oiel "window" [photo 21]. This one isn't dated; very tasteful, and in the smae colors as the building.
The second sundial is harder to find. It's big, and now rather faded. Go down along the road between the village entrance and the railway station and look across at the walled town. On the other side of the wall between the two square corner-towers, look at the right-hand building with the green shutters [photo 22]. The sundial is in the center of the building, at a height between the two rows of windows.