•Alpes-Maritimes (06510) • Population: 143 • Altitude: 860 m
Bézaudun-les-Alpes is a tightly-grouped Medieval village sitting on a ridge in the rocky hills north of Vence, in the Alpes-Maritimes.
West of Bézaudun the hills stretch out into the Cheiron mountain chain; to the east the barren hills and valleys extend to the edge of the Var river that flows down to Nice.
The Bézaudun village houses are all built from the local stone: calcaire, tuf and marne, and many of them date back several centuries. Some buildings a colored the soft Provençal pastels, but most are faded and the village nearly blends in to the rocky hills.
The remains of the Bézaudun chateau sits at the top of the village. Now mostly a newer house attached to the original tower (12th, 13th century) and vestiges of the medieval wall.
Just below the old chateau tower is the 13th-century church Nativité de la Vierge, topped with a bell tower and campanile [ photo-3 ]. In the foreground of this photo is an iron cross on a round stone base; the base stone reminds us of "Christionized" milestones — Roman milestones that are carved down to the round base, fairly common in this region.
On a hilltop 500 m south of the village is the 12th-century Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Peuple. This was a parochial church, but lost that title a century or so later when the Nativité de la Vierge was built in the center of the village.
In the hills surrounding Bézaudun-les-Alpes are a few bergeries, with stone enclosures. These shepherds' sites date from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Commerce and Dining
There is no commerce and no dining in Bézaudun-les-Alpes, and the village itself is rather isolated, so bring your own food or arrange your timing accordingly.
Discover more in ProvenceBeyond
History of Bézaudun-les-Alpes
First record, 1150 Besaldu; Castrum de Bezaduno in 1200.
Prehistoric: There was a prehistoric enclosure at Billeplain (possibly the place now called Villeplain, in the hills about 1 km east of Bézaudun.
Medieval: In 1232, the bishop of Vence aquired the land of Romée de Villeneuve in exchange for a part of Coursegoules. Rayomnd Laugier became lord of Bézaudun in 1236.
More Recently: An earthquake in Feburary 1887 badly damaged Bézaudun, and extensive rebuilding was needed to restore many of the buildings. the buttresses of the chucrh were added at this time.
• GPS: 43.808884, 7.096523
There's excellent hiking all around Bézaudun-les-Alpes, with loop hikes possible in all directions.
To the west, hiking trails go to Coursegoules and well past to Gréolières. To the northeast the a trail goes up along the ridge to Bouyon and beyond.
A large loop to the southeast also connects with the GR51 Balcony of the Cote d'Azur trail. Continuing on the GR51 will take you to the Col de Vence or to Saint Jeannet.
The southeast loop has a short side-trail up to the Mouton d'Anou peak (1070 m), with a magnificent view south and east.