The Village



From Nice, the RN202 and the tourist railway follow the River Var, first northwards and then westwards to Entrevaux, 65 km away by road. There was a village on the right bank in Roman times, but in the 10th century its vulnerability, and its susceptibility to flooding, caused the villagers to shift to higher ground and the more easily defended site on the left bank. Vauban, military engineer to Louis XIV, designed the most recent ramparts in 1693, when Entrevaux was a border post between France and Savoy. It is sometimes forgotten that the county of Nice, which extended from the Italian border to Entrevaux, reverted to French rule as recently as 1860 after the reunification of the Italian states. Garibaldi, the hero of reunification, was born in Nice. Italy is only an hour and a half away by road and the Italian influence is still strong - reflected in cuisine, in architecture, in family names, and in the regional accent.



Features of the old medieval town are everywhere - stepped streets and vaulted passageways, street fountains and village squares. You enter the village over a stone bridge and through the Porte Royale, one of three gates into the village. The three drawbridges are still in place. A fortified way zig-zags up to the dramatic citadelle (floodlit through summer) on the top of the hill, from where there are plunging views of the valley and the village below. The cathedral, set into the ramparts, has an 11th century bell-tower built by the Knights Templar, a famous Eustache organ (1717), one of only three in France, and other treasures dating from its time as the seat of a bishop. Highly photogenic, Entrevaux is listed as one of The Most Beautiful Villages of France and features in most coffee-table books on rural France.


There is a religious procession over the hills to St-Jean-du-Désert on the weekend nearest 24 June and the spectacular biennial 'medieval' festival on the weekend before 15 August in odd-numbered years. The parking square serves as a checkpoint for the Antibes-Côte d'Azur stock car rally in late October - a deafening but spectacular event. A small weekly produce market is held in the parking square and there are larger markets in the neighbouring villages of Annot and Puget-Théniers.

Walking in Provence is among the finest in the world and Entrevaux is on the famed Grande Randonnée 4. The newsagent at Puget-Théniers, opposite the church, has a selection of Cartes IGN (Serie bleue) 1:25000 maps on which the trails are shown.

Access to the citadelle is through a coin-operated turnstile in Rue de l'Orbitelle next to the new museum at the powder magazine. The cathedral is usually open. In summer there are also guided tours of the village, its fortifications, the citadelle, the cathedral, the olive-press, the grain-mill and so on. Other more energetic local leisure pursuits include rafting, canoeing and swimming, tennis, climbing, mountain biking, horse riding and, in winter, skiing at Valberg-Beuil (easy access, 40km north).


The village has a good range of facilities to cater for tourists as well as its permanent population of about 750. There are four restaurants, café bars, a pizzeria, créperie, butcher, bread shops, patisserie, general stores, mini-mart, doctor, chemist, newsagent, craft and gift shop, pottery, post office, bank agency, BP service station, and so on. Puget-Théniers (7km east) has an even wider range of facilities, including full banking facilities, a multi-lingual ATM and a 'Shopi' supermarket. The market town of Annot is 15km to the west. Both of these towns are also on the rail line.


More photos from around the village




Maison Charvin Entrevaux France