Var (83143) Population: 2,893 Altitude: 241 m
Just a few minutes up the road from Brignoles is a lively and authentic little French Medieval village, with a few ancient sites to add to its charm. This is an unpretentious little village that we discovered by accident while returning from our Millennium's Eve celebration in Arles. It's a short and very pretty drive up from Brignoles, and the unusual wall mural at the entrance to the village (photo, left) is rather nice.
There's real authenticity in the two main village cafés, both centers of social life, packed, noisy and happy. There are several little shops, including bakeries and pottery. The scenes in photos 2, 3 and 4 are all at the very center of the village. Photo-4 is the entrance to the old walled village, through the square bell tower. At the top of this tower is a really magnificent 18th-c campanile, almost impossible to see clearly (we got one shot through the branches [photo-8]).
The Medieval part of the village has narrow streets around the 11th-century church, and there are vestiges of the ancient ramparts. Back here, also, is the olive oil mill (moulin à huile) set in a lovely little park with a pretty fountain [photo-6]. Nearby the mill is a long concrete lavoir with Roman-style columns.
Fountains. Thre are actually 13 fountains in this unassuming little village, many of them very nice and a couple quite ancient.
Sites and Museums
Musée de la Figurine Historique (museum of miniatures and ancient toys, at the Mason de la Pierere).
Musée du Santon
Maison de l'Archéologie, with artifacts discovered in the Var and at Le Val.
Musée de l'Art Sacré
History of Le Val
First record, Mentioned in the year 1200 under its current name Le Val.
Celto-Ligurian: Just 2 km southwest of the village is a dolmen. You can see it's photo on the Brignoles page.
Medieval: Le Val was a Seigneurie of the Abbaye de Montmajour, and then of the Counts of Provence. In spite of being fortified the village was sacked several times in the 16th century. It did, however, resist the attacks of the Piémontais in 1707 and of the Duke de Savoie's troupes.
• GPS: 43.447424, 6.07851
IGN (1/25,000) #3444 OT "Brignoles Le Luc"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #24 "Collines Provençales"
Two km southwest of the village the dolmen sits on a hilltop in the woods beside the line of the underground gas pipeline. A trail follows the cleared area of the pipeline 4 km west to join the GR99 (Grande Randonnée).
The GR99 goes south, crossing the autoroute and railway, to join other trails in the wooded hills around the Loube mountain.
Just north of the village, a trail circles past the chapelles St-Cyriaque and St-Blaise, and follows the hills northwest a couple of km.
Le Val has a couple of decent looking restaurants. Being there on New Year's day (2000), we didn't have enough apetite to sample the special menu offered at each, settling for quiches from the local bakery, eaten at one of the cafés.
Transportation Le Val
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.)