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Heritage

Heritage

As you stroll through our villages steeped in history, or through the typical vegetation of the Var, you'll have the pleasure of discovering the sites and monuments that make up our heritage. Castles, chapels, abbeys: history and stories to look at and listen to.

Our "must-haves

Not to be missed:
1. Le Thoronet Abbey, an architectural marvel with unique acoustics. Along with Silvacane and Sénanque, it is one of three Cistercian abbeys in Provence. Its simple, contemplative architecture inspired many 20th-century architects.
Our houses next door:
La Bastide de Notre-Dame (Entrecasteaux); Le Clos d’Alari (Saint-Antonin du Var); Le Mas de San Lou (Cabasse); Le Mas de Cotignac (Cotignac); La Bastide Selva (La Garde-Freinet). La Maison Saint Louis (Besse sur Issole).

2. In the heart of the Provencal village of Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Baume, you’ll find its imposing 29-meter-high cathedral. A place of pilgrimage, home to the relics of Mary Magdalene and a gigantic organ. The third tomb of Christianity, the Basilica of Saint-Maximin is a place steeped in history that we invite you to visit.
Our houses next door:
Bellone en Provence (Brue-Auriac); Le Domaine Saint-Dominique (Seillons Source d’Argens).

3. Another of our recommendations: the cloister of Fréjus Cathedral. A unique venue in Provence, featuring ancient paintings on the wooden ceiling of the cloister’s lower gallery. Religious representations, scenes of daily life, but also a veritable bestiary of hybrid creatures and fantastic animals.

Nos maisons à côté:
La Maison de Platane (Fayence);Le Mas des Romarins (Fayence); Le Clos des Cambres (Les Arcs-sur-Argens)

4. If you’d like to explore further, take the tourist trail “In the footsteps of the monasteries of the Var”. 16 monasteries await you on this heritage and cultural itinerary, which takes in pretty Provencal villages, emblematic sites of the Var, guided tours…

Our region is also home to many castles. A whole heritage awaits you: buildings that bear witness to the passage of time, every stone, rampart, object and construction from the past. Whether wine-growing castles, ruins steeped in history, architectural marvels set in the heart of nature or must-see tourist attractions, the castles of the Var open their doors to you.

5. A not-to-be-missed visit is the Château d’Entrecasteaux! With its formal garden, it has been refurnished with period objects for a very realistic journey into the past.

Our houses next door:
La Bastide de Notre-Dame (Entrecasteaux); Le Clos d’Alari (Saint-Antonin du Var); Le Mas de Cotignac (Cotignac); Le Mas de San Lou (Cabasse).

6. Certain ruined castles such as Château d’Hyères La villa Thalassa (Le Lavandou) or Fort Freinet at La Garde-Freinet, La Bastide Selva (La Garde-Freinet) offer breathtaking panoramas.

7. The grotto of Mary Magdalene at La Sainte Baume is one of the most important pilgrimages in the south of France. The natural grotto carved out by erosion (baumo, in Provençal) has become one of the oldest places of pilgrimage in the Christian world: St. Mary Magdalene is said to have lived here for thirty years.

Our houses next door:
La Bastide de Notre-Dame (Entrecasteaux); Le Clos d’Alari (Saint-Antonin du Var); Le Mas de San Lou (Cabasse); Le Mas de Cotignac (Cotignac); La Bastide Selva (La Garde-Freinet).

Military heritage

We’re no slouch when it comes to military heritage either! Thanks to its strategic geographical location, the Var was an area with high military potential.

Forts, cannon towers and museums bear witness to the 700 years of history that have shaped our department. A few must-sees to enhance your visit.

The Fort de Brégançon in Bormes-les-Mimosas, La villa Thalassa (Le Lavandou) perched on a 30-metre rocky outcrop surrounded by the sea; the Fort du Pradeau at the southern end of the Giens peninsula; and the group of forts designed to protect the Toulon roadstead (Tour Royale, Fort Balaguier and Fort de l’Eguilette).

We also invite you to visit the various museums highlighting the region’s military heritage, such as the Musée National de la Marine in Toulon, the Musée de l’Artillerie in Draguignan or the Musée des Troupes de Marine in Fréjus.

Our houses next door:

La Maison de Platane (Fayence); Le Mas des Romarins (Fayence);
Le Clos des Cambres (Les Arcs-sur-Argens)

The département has also produced a leaflet entitled “La Route du Débarquement de Provence” (The Provence Landing Route), which contains a wealth of information and historical facts, as well as maps of the landing beaches, major natural sites and memorial sites.

Parks and gardens

Botanical enthusiasts will be delighted to learn that the Var region boasts several parks and gardens that have been awarded the “Jardin Remarquable” label, including some 15 exceptional gardens of botanical, historical or aesthetic interest, all of which are excellently maintained.

To visit these must-see sites and marvel at the many plant species on a beautiful outdoor stroll, follow the tourist trail “Les Parcs et Jardins remarquables du Var” (Remarkable Parks and Gardens of the Var) set up by the department.

We’re proud to say that 68 communes in the Var have been awarded the “Villes et villages fleuris” label!

Along the way, you’re sure to enjoy beautiful plant compositions and discover species that thrive in the Mediterranean climate.

Exceptional prizes are awarded by the label every year, and 4 towns in the Var have been awarded a “Fleur d’or”: Bormes-Les-Mimosas La villa Thalassa (Le Lavandou) where over 700 species of flowers can be found; Hyères La villa Thalassa (Le Lavandou) with its 3 botanical gardens; Le Lavandou La villa Thalassa where every year we find the flower parade during the festival of the sun and flowers; and Sanary-sur-Mer, which makes a point of highlighting biodiversity and its natural heritage.

Stop off at the Rayol Canadel botanical garden. The Domaine du Rayol is a 20-hectare protected natural area, owned by the Conservatoire du Littoral, at the foot of the Massif des Maures between Le Lavandou and the French Riviera Saint-Tropez. La villa Thalassa (Le Lavandou and La Bastide Selva (La Garde-Freinet).

Last but not least, we recommend a stroll through our many charming villages. Discoveries around every corner, a heritage steeped in history for each of them, monuments, museums and sites to visit, all imbued with a resolutely Provencal and Mediterranean spirit.