First of all, let's talk about Le Castellet today: Lou Castelet in Provençal (the little castle).
It has a population of around 3,800 and a total surface area of 45 km2. This vast commune is divided into 5 villages and hamlets: Le Castellet village, Le Brûlât, Le Plan du Castellet, Sainte Anne du Castellet and Le Camp du Castellet (on the plateau).
Le Castellet village, which is the nearest tourist attraction to Le Beausset, is a fortified medieval village built on a hill some 250m above sea level. This well-known village is also very popular with visitors, both for its geographical location (a perched Provencal village) and for the beauty of its cobbled streets lined with ancient buildings of homogeneous architecture.
It’s also famous for being the setting for Marcel Pagnol’s film “The Baker’s Wife”, adapted from the novel by Jean Giono, starring Raimu.
Le Castellet and its shops
The shops in Le Castellet village are mainly aimed at visitors, selling decorative items, scented candles and much more. As Beaussetans, we’re used to doing our shopping in Le Castellet for Christmas shopping in particular, but also for any gifts to be made during the year, as well as for clothes/shoes/fashion boutiques in general, not available in Le Beausset.
Le Castellet also boasts a number of art galleries, as well as local craftsmen and numerous restaurants with or without panoramic views, all of which are a pleasure to visit.
A little history
The first castle, like many in the region, was built on high ground to defend against the various invasions.
In the 12th and 13th centuries, the first village grew up around the castle.
The château was first owned by one family in 1434, then by another in 1680, until the French Revolution.
Around 1800, the château was bought by 4 Beaussétans, who installed an oil mill, a school classroom and two dwellings.
In 1923, Castellet took on a tourist dimension and began its development plan. Painters, sculptors and shopkeepers set up shop in the village.
What to see in Le Castellet
In the heart of the medieval village of Le Castellet, you can visit the Transfiguration parish church. This building dates from the late 11th – early 12th centuries. It has been altered several times, notably in 1754, when a new nave was added to the existing Romanesque one. It was last restored in 1990, leading to its listing as a historic monument.
The château, dating from the 12th and 18th centuries, is not open to visitors, as it currently houses the town hall. It is also listed as a historic monument.
This fortified village features gates and ramparts, including an opening called Le Trou de Madame, which offers a breathtaking view over the entire valley, with its many vineyards, olive groves and, of course, the sea!