Our guest house “Une Pause en Provence” is located in an area that I would describe as both “Land and Sea”, offering everyone a wide range of activities for short stays or longer vacations.
Activities linked to the Earth: Gastronomy, Hiking, Heritage, Culture…
Sea-related activities: water sports, sea walks, beaches…
Special mention will be made as events unfold at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet.
Through this blog, I’ll be regularly covering a particular topic to inspire you to discover our beautiful Provence Côte d’Azur region, by staying in our guest house Une Pause en Provence, located at the heart of all these activities.
Gastronomic highlights include Châtaigne du Massif des Maures, Nougat, Miel de Provence, Huile d’Olive de Provence, Côtes de Provence, Coteaux Varois and Bandol wines, and Solliès-Pont, capital of the Fig.
About hikingI’d like to share with you some ideas for routes of different levels and lengths, including the Chemin des Oratoires in Le Beausset and the Maison des 4 Frères in Le Beausset, the Massif de la Sainte Baume and the Grotte de Marie-Madeleine, the Massif du Gros Cerveau in Ollioules, Mont Faron and its various activities in Toulon, the Sentier du Littoral and the Sentier des Vignes (Saint Cyr sur Mer / Bandol / Sanary sur Mer).
The Heritage tour will take in the villages of Le Castellet, La Cadière d’Azur, the village and port of Cassis, the Chartreuse de la Verne in Collobrière, the Abbaye du Thoronet, and the famous Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseille.
The Provence-Côte d’Azur region is also rich in culture. We’ll take in the streets of Aix en Provence and its museums, the famous Musée de la Marine in Toulon and the Musée des Arts de Toulon (M.A.T), the famous Mucem in Marseille, as well as La Villa Carmignac in Porquerolles (contemporary arts museum) and, on the way back, the old streets of downtown Hyères les Palmiers and its Templar tower.
For activities related to the sea, there are first and foremost water sports. I’m not going to write much about it, since all you have to do is practice them depending on whether or not you’re an athlete! I’ll just give you some good addresses(scuba diving, paddling, canoeing…).
Golf Dolce Frégate in Saint Cyr sur Mer doesn’t fall into the water sports category, but is nevertheless featured here, thanks to its exceptional seaside location.
On the other hand, the Promenades Maritimes will be developed, because they are simply magical! We’ll be talking about visits to the island of Bendor opposite Bandol and the islands of Les Embiez off Six-fours-les-Plages, the Golden Isles (Porquerolles – Port Cros – Le Levant) off Hyères les Palmiers and the famous Calanques of Cassis.
Finally, for those of you who enjoy a little “farniente”, I’ll give you a quick rundown of the beaches: those more or less frequented, those with sand or pebbles, etc.).
But first, a little history…History of the Var (source: Direction de la communication / Département du Var)
1) From prehistory to antiquity :
From prehistory to Roman times, the Var has a long history spanning almost 3,000 years, as evidenced by the many vestiges of the past. From the Neolithic period, you can discover the Pierre de la fée dolmen in Draguignan, the rock paintings of a sanctuary in Brignoles or the Vieux Mounoï cave in Signes, used as a sheepfold since that time.
Around 500 BC, the Var was populated by Ligurians, soon joined by Celts, who formed the Celto-Ligurian people of southeastern France.
The Greeks founded Marseille around 600 BC. In the following centuries, they established trading posts along the Var coast, including Tauroeis in Le Brusc, Olbia in Hyères and Heraclea Caccabaria in Cavalaire.
The Romans have been here since the 2nd century BC. in a region that still owes them its name Provincia (Provence).
Today’s Var department is crossed by one of the most important Roman roads, the Via Aurelia, leading from Italy to Spain.
A Roman column, Forum Julii (Fréjus), was founded around 49 BC. It was to become a major military port, as evidenced by the size of the aqueduct, amphitheatre and other Roman monuments. Telo Martius (Toulon), the other major Roman city, was a trading port.
2) From the end of the Roman Empire to the French Revolution :
Christianity appeared early in Provence: Fréjus became the seat of a bishopric shortly after 374, Toulon around 441. The decline of the Roman Empire and the High Middle Ages were periods of unrest, insecurity and intermingling of populations: Visigoths, Burgundians and Franks invaded Provence and the Var, which also saw Saracen raids and pillaging.
Villages fortified with ramparts on the peaks, the only defence against troublemakers, date back to this period. The Count of Provence Guillaume I restored order at the end of the 10th century. As part of the Holy Roman Empire, which exercised a very distant authority, the County of Provence passed to the family of the Counts of Barcelona (1112-1245), then to that of the Counts of Anjou, who descended from one of the brothers of Saint Louis (1245-1481). The most important monasteries in the Var were founded in the 11th and 12th centuries: the abbeys of La Celle and Le Thoronet, and the Carthusian monasteries of Montrieux in Méounes-les-Montrieux and La Verne in Collobrières. The Romanesque part of Fréjus Cathedral was built at the same time. Begun in the 13th century, the Basilica of Saint Maximin is the department’s principal Gothic building.
In the 14th century, the territory of what is now the Var department was severely affected by plagues and wars. Joined with the County of Provence to France in 1481, its position as the kingdom’s frontier meant that it was periodically crossed by enemy armies from the 16th to the 18th century. It was also affected by the Wars of Religion and the Fronde. Between 1681 and 1701, under the reign of Louis XIV, Vauban equipped Toulon with impressive fortifications, making it a strategic location for military installations of the time and, later, France’s largest war port.
3) From the birth of the département to the present day :
The birth of the Var département, comprising the south-eastern part of Provence, was officially proclaimed on September 26, 1790. Toulon, initially designated as the department’s capital, was punished for surrendering to the English in 1793. The capital became Grasse, Brignoles and then Draguignan from 1797 to 1974. In 1860, the arrondissement of Grasse was separated from the Var department to form the Alpes Maritimes department with the former county of Nice. The Var River no longer crosses the department to which it gave its name.
The 19th and early 20th centuries were, on the whole, a period of prosperity and economic development, but also the birth of a rather progressive political consciousness.
Alongside the rural exodus, the Var was marked by the creation of railroads, the development of major industrial centers around Toulon and La Seyne sur Mer, the specialization of agriculture (fruit and vegetables, wine, flowers) and the beginnings of tourism. The département was the scene of two major events in the Second World War: the scuttling of the Toulon fleet in 1942 and the Provence landings in August 1944.
In the second half of the 20th century, the Var grew, doubling its population and becoming a leading tourist destination. In 1974, Toulon once again became the capital of the Var region, while Draguignan and Brignoles became sub-prefectures.