Var (83690) Population: 1,029 Altitude: 350 m
This perched, medieval village is established around a group of caves, some of which prepared as dwellings, but never used for habitation in earlier centuries.
The main village has a large, shaded square, for parking, playing "pétanque" and many terrace café-restaurants.
There's one main street running though the center of town, with shops along both sides. A side street off the main street is lined with terrace café-restaurants beneath large, shady plane trees. Beside this are petanque courts and a parking area.
A picturesque vaulted passage [photo 6] leads into the meticulously restored "vieille ville", with many of the original walls remaining. We particulary liked the many vaulted passages and supporting arches between some of the walls.
The "grottes troglodytes" at the edge of the village are in a series of "tufa" cliffs and caves. The site is now part of a municipal park, well landscaped with lawn, pools, plants and trees. A 40m waterfall cascades down the front of the cliffs to one side, while a series of little paths wind up the cliff face further to the right. The park is open every day, but entrance into the caves is only during May-September.
Back to the Future
In the year 2000, the "Villecroziens" installed in the park at the base of the cliffs a time capsule, to be opened a hundred years down the line, in the year 2100. Mounted on a concrete base are 10 steel "boxes", skewered by a vertical 3-bladed propeller shaft, an interesting sculpture in its own right. If any of our younger readers are in the area around that time, be sure to stop by to see what the messages from the past had to say.
Nearby Ancient Religious Sites
A Templers Commanderie, built in 1156 is located in the woods a few km southeast of Villecroze. Built by the Templiers du Ruou, the area of the commanderie is now called the "Ruou". By car from Villecroze, go southeast on the D557 (direction Lorgue/Flayosc) for 5 km, turn left (east, still the D557, direction Flayosc) and go 1 km, left again (north) for 1 km. The private road goes west into the woods.
The Saint-Michel Orthadox Monestary is located about 8 km southeast of Villecroze, 6 km northwest of Lorgues, on the D10 road.
History of Villecroze
Prehistoric: : This was a neolithique site, and there are vestiges and many nearby locations.
Medieval: co-ruled by the Seigneurs (Lords) de Castellane and the Abbey St. Victor de Marseilles. Before the revolution, the commune was co-ruled by the Galiens, the Abbey St. Victor and the Order of Malta. The commune prospered until the 11th century, when it was devastated by Saracen raids.
Aug (after 8th Sun) - Fête: St. Romain
• GPS: 43.582373, 6.275653
IGN (1/25,000) #3443 OT "Aups Salernes"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #25 "Maures Haut-Pays Varois"
There are several hiking trails in the hills and valleys surrounding the village, with many loop possibilities. Some of the trails pass through the line of villages: Sillans, Salernes, Villecroze, Tourtour and Ampus. The forested hills to the northwest and southeast are also have several marked trails.
Reader Barbara reported on the Beyond Forum: Try Au Bien Etre, it's an auberge south of Villecroze on the road to Tourtours. Wonderful hospitality and food to match. Very reasonable. [It's actually 3 km south of Villecroze on the D557 (direction Lorgues/Draguignan), in the woods on a small road to the right (West) of the main road coming from Villecroze. Beyond lunched there in August 2007, and it is very nice. Also an auberge/hotel.]
Villecroze is in the region of the Côte de Provence wines, and the smaller region of the appellation Coteaux Varois. (see Provence Wines)
Location: Rue roger Maurice
Tel: 0494 859 100, or 0494 859 102 (Bibliothèque Musicale)
Line 16: Aups, Salernes, Sillans-la-Cascade, Villecroze, St Antonin-du-Var, Entrecasteaux, Cotignac, Lorgues, Carces, Montfort-sur-Argens, Correns, Le Val, Brignoles
Line 20: Draguignan, Villecroze, Aups
Var (83) Bus Schedules (HORAIRES) PDF schedule for each line.
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.)
Les Arcs - Draguignan - Salernes - Aups Bus 1201
- Var bus line 1201 connects Les Arcs (Gare SNCF/TGV), Draguignan, Flayosc, Villecroze, Salernes, Aups.
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 (1201) 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.)