08/29 > 09/20/2020

On the road

Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region

Departments: Alpes de Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, Var, Vaucluse.
Population: 5.1 million.
Prefecture: Marseille
Surface: 31,400 km2
Specialities: Mediterranean cuisine, pizza, pissaladière, panisses, chichis, bouillabaisse, petits farcis (stuffed vegetable), alouette sans tête (beef meatballs), pieds et paquets marseillais (lamb feet and tripes), salade niçoise, pan bagnat, gardiane de taureau (stew), oursins (urchins), fish (dorades, seabass, rougets, denti, marbrés, pageots, pagres, sars), wines (rosés of Provence, côtes de Provence, côtes du Rhône, Palette, Bandol…)
Major sports clubs: Olympique Marseille, OGC Nice (football), Rugby Club Toulon. Cercle des Nageurs de Marseille (natation)
Events: Football World Cup, Euro 2016, rugby World Cup, rugby union tests, Tour de France, Paris-Nice, GP La Marseille, Haribo Classic, Tour du Haut-Var, Tour de la Provence, beach volley, beach football, rugby union in Toulon. Mondial de pétanque in Marseille.
Festivals: Cannes film festival (cinema), festival d’Avignon (theatre), chorégies d’Orange, Aix en Provence festival (opera), jazz in Nice, Marseille Festival (dance). Midem (Cannes), Marsatac (Marseille), Fiesta des Suds (Marseille), Plages électroniques (Cannes), Rencontres d’Arles (photography)
Economy: 7 pc of France’s GIB, third region in France, 16th en Europe. Agriculture (wines, farming), services (80 pc), universities (Aix-Marseille, first university in France, Nice, Toulon), ports (Marseille, Nice, La Ciotat, Port-Saint-Louis), petrochemicals (Fos), logistics, Nice and Marseille airports, tourism.
Tourist sites: beaches and seaside resorts (Saint-Tropez, Nice, Saint-Raphaël, Fréjus, Cassis, Bandol..), Palais des Papes in Avignon, Arles (amphitheatre, Roman vestiges), Marseille (Old Port, Panier, calanques, château d’If, Mucem), Nice (Promenade des Anglais, old Nice, old port), Mont Ventoux, Cannes, ski resorts in Hautes-Alpes and Alpes maritimes (Serre-Chevalier, Le Sauze, Orcières-Merlette, Isola 2000), Briançon (citadel), Aix-en-Provence.
Websites: www.maregionsud.fr 


In the Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur region.
On a territory of 4,299 km 2, the department has a population of 1.081 million, spread over 27 cantons and 163 communes.
Prefecture: Nice (Pop: 340,000)
Sub-prefecture: Grasse
History: the department was first created in 1793 (and was then mainly composed with the former county of Nice – see below – detached from the Kingdom of Sardinia) and handed back to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia in 1814.
Finally the Nice province was given back to France in 1860 and the Alpes Maritimes department was created for the second time.
Tourism: The Mediterranean, the Alps and the sunny weather led the department to focus on tourism with 11 million tourists in 2019.
The seafront is one of the most attractive in the world – Cannes, Cagnes sur Mer, Antibes, Juan les Pins, Nice, Menton – and hosts countless cultural activities: Cannes Film Festival, Nice Carnival, Nuits du Sud in Vence, Gastronomy Festival in Mougins.
Economy: congress cities (Nice Acropolis, Cannes Palais des Festivals), technology clusters like Sophia-Antipolis (the largest high-tech cluster in Europe with 2,500 companies and 38,000 jobs) the Cannes-Mandelieu space centre (first satellite maker in Europe).
Sports: OGC Nice Football, OGC Nice Handball, Cavigal Nice Basket, Sharks Antibes, AS Cannes Volleyball, RC Cannes Volleyball, Stade Niçois Rugby, Nice Hockey Côte d’Azur, Nice Volleyball, Entente sportive du Cannet Volleyball.
Websites: www.departement06.fr

Km 8

Aspremont (Pop : 2 170)

On a promontory overlooking the plain of the Var.
The original village was abandoned on 1426 for the current location. The ruins are still visible on Mount Cima.
In the Middle-Ages, the Rostong family built a castle and a chapel and ruled the area for two centuries. Aspremont then belonged to the Counts of Provence, the Chateauneuf, Chabaud, Marquesand and Borriglione families.
Its production of olive oil and wines was renowned in the county until the late 19th century.

Km 12

Castagniers (Pop: 1,620)

Perched village surrounded by centenary olive-trees and cypresses. On the banks of the Var, the Spinelli olive oil mill has been in function since 1250.

Km 20

Colomars (Pop : 3,420)

Its Notre-Damme-de-la-Nativité church (19th century)
Renowned for its olive oils (AOC), its olive paste and tapenade.

Km 20.5

Carros (Pop: 12,330)

Commune of the Prealpes d’Azur territory
Carros is divided into three centres: Carros Village (the historical centre around the castle), Carros Les Plans (agricultural centre) and Carros Ville (urban centre). Belongs with Gattières and Le Broc to the three “perched villages” overlooking the Var valley. Located at 400 metres of altitude, the medieval village, built around its 12th century castle, retained its traditional architecture.
After the French Revolution, Carros, located in the new department of Var, was a border village. It had to wait for 1860 and the annexation of the County of Nice by France for Carros to join definitely the newly created department of Alpes Maritimes. In 1968, the new town was created in the same time as the industrial area.
Old castle overlooking the village, Church tower, St. Claude Church.

Km 109.5

Tourrette-Levens (Pop : 5,000)

The commune was peopled from Prehistoric times and the Palaeolithic when Cro-Magnon men lived in the Merle caves and the Baume de Perigaud. At the start of Antiquity, the presence of Ligures (Italo-Celtic tribe) is noted. Several inscriptions indicate a long an important Roman implantation. The old village dates from the 11th and 12th centuries. Deserted in the 19th century, it is partly ruined.
St. Rosalie church, Baroque, 12th century (listed as a historical monument in 1937).

Castle and museum
A rare castle of the County of Nice still standing. Built on the site of an ancient temple in the 11th century, it was rebuilt by Raymond Chabaud in the 12th century with its six towers (only one remains) which turned it into a fortified castle (three round towers and three square towers).
The chateau was one of the control spots on the famous road of the salt, the link between the port of Nice and Piedmont.
Bought by the commune in 1992, it houses a museum of butterflies and natural history.
Every year, it hosts a medieval festival and several cultural manifestations.
With a surface of 280m2, the Museum of natural history and butterflies displays a collection highlighting biodiversity: 5,000 butterflies and insects from the world over, 700 samples of rocks, fossils, shells and minerals, 350 stuffed animals.

Km 118

Levens (Pop: 4,740)

Several vestiges attest of the presence of population since the Roman times. In the Middle Ages, the village developed around the watchtower and the castle built on the rocky hill overlooking the site. Fief of the Riquier d’Eze family and later of the Grimaldi de Beuil (governors of the county of Nice who handed the region over to Count Amadeus VII of Savoy).
François Malaussena (1814-1882), born in Levens was the first mayor of Nice (1861- 1870).

Km 124.5

La-Roquette-sur-Var (Pop: 940)

Perched village at an altitude of 380 metres.
Like Saint-Martin-du-Var, La Roquette sur Var was created from the
division of the old commune of La Roquette Saint-Martin. The Castel Vieil site was occupied from Neolithic to Antiquity.
Mentioned as a fortified place in the first half of the 11th century. The village has 16th and 17th century houses. St. Pierre Church, Baroque with a remarkable gilded wood altarpiece from the 17th century.

Km 128.5

Saint-Martin-du-Var (Pop: 3,000)

Commune created in 1867, after de dismantling of La Roquette sur Var. St. Roch church.
Lake Le Broc: Located in the 50 ha park of the same name, listed as a departmental nature park, (playground, birdwatching, fun-sports course). The artificial lake covers 22 ha of the park and is a favourite of anglers. Free access but opening hours.

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