First, let's talk about Le Beausset today: Lou Beausset (Le Beausset) in Provençal (the little escarpment).
It has a population of around 10,000 and a total surface area of 36 km2. This vast commune is divided into three main areas: the town center, Le Beausset Vieux, and the Beausset countryside in the heart of the vineyards.
Le Beausset also attracts residents from Le Castellet, La Cadière d’Azur, Evenos and Sainte Anne d’Evenos, for shopping and errands of all kinds.
Toulon/Hyères airport is 40km away, Marseille 70km.
Toulon TGV station is 13km away, Marseille Saint Charles 50km.
Shops in Le Beausset
For all amenities, Le Beausset has two supermarkets, two veterinary clinics, specialist stores selling materials, garages, kitchen manufacturers, gyms, ironmongers, glaziers, upholsterers, gift/china/pottery stores, etc…. but still with an “artisanal” dimension, both in terms of size and the fact that there are no national banners.
When you live in Le Beausset or spend your vacations here in our gîte or chambres d’hôtes, there’s no need to go anywhere else: you’ve got it all right here!
As for food stores (excluding supermarkets), Le Beausset town center offers a generous selection. In addition to the big Friday market with nearly a hundred stalls, we have a super butcher offering top-quality products at very reasonable prices, two small mini-markets that are always open, delicatessens, a super chocolatier, a cheesemonger, a delicatessen, a greengrocer and, of course, bakeries/pastry shops. And all around the town center, vineyards and olive groves to stock up on Provencal wines and olive oils.
As in every town center, there are cafés/bars/tobacs/presses/newspapers, which in the summer months make for a very pleasant little ritual, so typical of Provencal vacations: drinking a coffee or aperitif in the town hall square, under the plane trees, next to the fountain, while reading a newspaper…
A brief history of Le Beausset
Until the 15th century, Le Beausset was a perched village (now known as Le Beausset Vieux) successively occupied by the Ligurians, then the Phoceans, then the Romans.
This strategic location controlled the main land route between Marseille and Toulon, with Le Castellet upstream and Evenos and Ollioules downstream.
The drying up of the plain and the retreat of external threats enabled the inhabitants to move into the present-day town center. The Le Beausset vieux site was abandoned in 1506. What remains today is a magnificent little 12th-century Romanesque chapel from which you can admire an exceptional panorama over the bays of Sanary, Bandol, Saint Cyr and La Ciotat.
In this chapel, reputed by pilgrims to have cured illnesses, you’ll find a gallery of over 80 ex-votos, the oldest of which date back to the 18th century.
Things to see and do in Le Beausset
Le Beausset isn’t a tourist town in the strict sense of the word, but there’s plenty to keep you busy when you spend a few days there on vacation.
The “Chemin des Oratoires” is a beautiful, slightly challenging hike along a 5km path, with a height difference of 315m, for a short climb of around 2 hours. The reward after this climb is a breathtaking panorama! A 360° view of the Beaussétane valley, the Castellet plains, the Massif de la Sainte Beaume, Mont Caume and the Massif du Gros Cerveau, and on the seaward side, the whole of the Bandol cove, Saint Cyr sur Mer, right up to the Bec de l’Aigle rock at La Ciotat.
Also at the top, the 12th-century Chapelle Notre-Dame du Beausset Vieux, with its gallery of ex-votos and Provencal crib, is open to visitors.
The Maison départementale de la Nature des 4 frères is another option for walking along nature trails, on your own or accompanied by nature guides.
There are 5 trails ranging from 1.5km to 10km.
Some of Le Beausset’s wineries open their doors for wine tours and tastings. The range includes Bandol wines in red, rosé and white, as well as vins de pays, also in the three colors.