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  Villages /  Saint Vallier-de-Thiey

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Saint Vallier-de-Thiey

• Alpes-Maritimes (06460)   • Population: 1,536  • Altitude: 724 m

Gallery of 11 photos for Saint Vallier-de-Thiey

St Vallier is a very pleasant small town just 12 km from Grasse, and the first stop along the Route Napoléon going into the Beyond of the Riviera. It's set on a high plateau, overlooked by the high hills. St Vallier began as a Roman stronghold, and contains a Romanesque church dating back to the early 12th century.

village photo St Vallier is a great picnic stop, especially for families with kids. A very large, open park of green grass has space for a multitude of families to play ball and throw frisbees, and it's surrounded by large horse chestnut trees for picnics in the shade. A playground and tennis courts are located in the far-right corner of the open park.

village photo For travelers, there are plenty of shops here, hotels and several gas stations. One garage handles sports cars, and I've often seen MGs, Morgans and such. They also sell a very nice looking Lotus Super Seven replica. [Now out of business, sadly - 2005]

Ponadieu natural rock bridge

The Ponadieu natural rock bridge (pont naturel) requires a hike out to the west of the village. The "pont" is actually a big tunnel where the Siagne flows through the rock. The river is cool and clean there, and some of the pools are big enough for splashing about in the summer. On the face of the rock "bridge", high above the river, are large, shallow caves. The trail up past the caves has some great views from the top, were we once saw goats "grazing" on the vertical rock cliffs opposite.

A walk out the dirt road to the west, towards the Grotte de Baume Obscure, will take you past hundreds of rock walls out in the woods. Many of the rock walls are in parallel lines, only about four meters apart. Others are in large rectangles, with the walls very thick. They have a feeling of real age about them, fitting with the ancient dolmens and tumuli in the region.


The Grotte de Baume Obscure, only 3 km from St Vallier, is open to visitors all year, and has a tour that will take you 1200 metres into the earth. The caves are west of St Vallier, out a small dirt road (10 minute drive or 45 minute walk). At a constant 12 degrees C (54 F), it's a refreshing idea for the middle of the summer; woolen ponchos can be rented for about 2 euros. Entrance to the caves is arouond 10 euros adults, half-that for kids (5-12).

History of Saint Vallier-de-Thiey


First record, 1061 Ecclesia Sancti Valerii

Prehistoric: Numerous outstanding prehistoric sites here.
icon dot 12 aligned dolmens (some are now gone) at La Fay; dolmens d'Arboin (destroyed), Détoutaï, La Parra, Pomeiret and Verdolines.
icon dot Remains of six prehistoric camps, with the one at Castellaras de la Malle in the form of an elliptic.
icon dot Barrow mounds: tomb at Mal-àGrau; "tholes" at la Colle and 5 "tholes" at Ste-Anne; tumulus at Caillassou.
icon dot At the Grotte Lombard: silex blades, pottery and bone awls.


• GPS: 43.698336, 6.848138


IGN (1/25,000) #3543 ET "Haute Siagne"

IGN (1/25,000) #3643 ouest "Grasse"

Didier Richard (1/50,000) #26 "Pay d'Azur"

The GR 4 (Grande Randonnée) passes about 2 km east of St Vallier, crossing the Plateau de Caussols north-south. The GR 51 (Balcony of the Cote d'Azur) passes about 2 km south of St Vallier.
• To the north, there are a number of loop hikes possible, and loops can be made out to the east, connecting with the GR 4.
• To the south, there are a couple of good loop hikes, with the junction of the trails with the GR 51 at the Croix de Cabris. A loop hike can also be made out to the southeast, using parts of the GR 4 and GR 51.
• There's a lot of good hiking to the west, in the forested hills and ravines of the Siagne. Access from St Vallier is out the dirt road to the Grotte de Baume Obscure, or out the paved road just to the north. A loop hike out to the Siagne, passing the Grotte des Deux Goules and visiting the Ponadieu natural rock bridge can take 5-6 hours, but shorter loops can be done as well.

Fun - Amusement - Kids

Grotte Baume Obscure Souterroscope

Visit the underground caves; 15 minutes from Grasse.
•   Location: Chemin de Sainte-Anne
•   Open: Apr-June, Sept: 10h-17h weekdays, 10h-19h weekends. July-Aug: 10h-19h daily; Oct-Mar: 10h-17h weekends.
•   Tel: 0493 426 163; Fax: 04 93 42 69 19
•   Underground temperature 13 deg C, bring warm clothing.

Grottes des Audides

Underground caves (grottes) and musuem, parc prehistoric.
•   Location: Route de Cabris CD4
•   Open: July-Aug, daily, 10h-18h; Sept, June, except Tue, 14h-17h Oct-May, except Mon-Tue, 14h-17h
•   Tel: 0493 426 415
•   Underground temperature 13 deg C, bring warm clothing.

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