Alpes-Maritimes (06260) Population: 1,703 Altitude: 409 m
Puget-Théniers is on the Var river, between Villars-sur-Var and Entrevaux, on the N202 highway, 60 km northwest of Nice. Market day Sun.
The Mairole river runs down through the town, beneath huge overhanging weeping willows, plane trees and a stone bridge, to empty into the Var river. The village sits off to the side of the road, at the feet of steep rocky cliffs. Many of the old buildings are a bit run down, but the old village is big enough to make exploring the narrow streets quite interesting.
There are plenty of shops and outdoor cafes here, even a large supermarket. There's no weekly market but there is a monthly Foire, although it's not on a particular weekday or date each month.
Puget-Théniers hosts a very modern Maison de Pays Moyen-Var (inaugurated Aug 1997). Located beside the Train des Pigne railway station, the Maison de Pays provides tourist information and sells local products for the 31 communes of this beautiful river-valley area.
History of Puget-Théniers
The medieval history of Puget-Théniers is full of violent confrontations between the inhabitants and the ruling lords of the Glandeves of Saint-Auban. In 1385, the land was confiscated from the Glandeves and given in servitude to the Grimaldis of Beuil, and in 1400, it was attached to the House of Savoy. The castle was captured and razed in 1691 by order of Louis XIV.
As if man's inhumanity wasn't enough, the plague invested the town three times in the 15th century, and a good part of Puget-Théniers was washed away by a flood in 1625. With the washed-out roads remaining closed for the next 343 years (reopening in 1868), the town regressed considerably until it was attached to France in 1860.
• GPS: 43.955238, 6.895536
IGN (1/25,000) #3641 OT "Moyenne Var"
Puget-Théniers has great hiking, with the GR510 grande randonée passing through town and many other hiking trails in the hills on both sides of the river valley.
South, the GR510 goes up through the forests and over the Col de Rigaudon (1365 m), then heads east and southeast past the villages of la Penne and St Antonin. There are a few side trails branching off the GR that allow loop hikes in this area.
On the north side of the river, the GR510 goes northwest from the west side of town, over the ridge at Le Castagnet and out over the Crête d'Aurafort (1000 m).
There are several other marked hiking trails north of the village, allowing short, medium and long loops, with the longer ones going past the villages of Puget-Rostang and Auvare.
The Via Ferrata "Demoiselles du Castagnet", just west (up-river) of Puget-Théniers. The start of the Via Ferrata is 700 m out of town, on the right before the road crosses the railway. There's a parking area 500 m in, on the left, before (probably dry) waterfall.
Train des Pignes
One Saturday afternoon we stopped to watch the volunteer train men repairing and repainting a 1911 wagon, and were invited to go into the nearby engine house to look at the two ancient steam locomotives there. The engine house, with its grease pits, workbenches and tool racks, looked like it hadn't changed in the last eighty years.
Bus Line 770 Nice - Beuil
- Bus line 770, Nice -Beuil, departs from the Nice Gare Routier, stops at the Gare SNCF (railway station), Nice airport terminal-1 and several village along the way. The full trip takes 3-1/2 hours and costs 1 euro.
Stops include Colomars gare, Plan-du-Var, Villars-sur-Var, Touët-sur-Var, Puget-Théniers, Entrevaux, Guillaumes, Valberg station, Beuil Les-Launes, Beuil syndicate-d'initiative.
An official list of Alpes-Maritimes bus lines, with links to the schedules for each line (PDF), is available on the following link:
- Web: www.cg06.fr/fr/servir-les-habitants/deplacements/transport-collectifs/lignes-et-horaires/lignes-et-horaires/