Discover intriguing, medieval Entrevaux, perched on a rocky spur at the meeting point of two valleys in the mountains north of Nice.
Overlooking the Var river and protected by a 17th Century citadel sitting even higher above the village, this walled village guards a once highly strategic approach to the south. There’s even a drawbridge!
Meander through the narrow, twisting alleyways. Be mesmerized by the tall, slender structures, many in disrepair, with impractical, precarious staircases. Pause in curious small squares. Drink from primitive fountains.
Marvel … seriously, marvel … at the 16th Century gem that is Notre-Dame-De-L’Assomption. Its simple exterior gives no hint of the beauty within.
If you feel fit, climb for twenty minutes to the citadel for a breathtaking view. Hiking trails abound through this alpine area.
With a rich, turbulent two thousand-year history, Entrevaux was officially established in the 11th Century. Its greatest glory appears to have occurred in 1536 when the inhabitants courageously retook the town from capture by Charles Quint of Spain and Austria and returned it to the King of France.
The day I discovered Entrevaux, wind whipped through the cramped passageways, creating dramatic shifts in light and shadow. My camera shutter steamed. Stories begged to be told. I was enraptured.
There are many small communities throughout Europe, with colourful histories like this, that struggle to stay alive after so many centuries. Regional economy falters, infrastructure crumbles, young people leave. Beauty and history remain.
My imagination was captured. Is yours?
Drive north of Nice for an hour on the Route des Alpes or take le Train des Pignes, at certain times of the year a steam train runs on this line ensuring you travel in style!
The Office de Tourisme has a useful walking guide. More information can be found at this link.
Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, and loves to travel, particularly to the south of France. She is the award-winning author of the Love In Provence novels. Entrevaux is featured in Book 2, Promises To Keep. Find Patricia at her Facebook or Amazon Author Page or her website.