•Alpes-Maritimes (06140) • Population: 323 • Altitude: 1020 m
Coursegoules is an isolated medieval village perched on a low ridge below the Cheiron mountain cliffs, in the hills north of Grasse, Gourdon and Vence.
Isolated and quite non-touristique, the village of Coursegoules is an interesting medieval village to visit. Narrow streets, step-streets, vaulted passages, and old houses with ancient doorways to discover.
Sites include the 13th-century village church, Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, and the classical Chapelle des Penitents Blancs with a very lovely and unique 19th-century campanile.
It's worth a walk through the village down to the southwest corner to have a good view of the fortified front and the old medieval portal entrance into Coursegoules [ photo-6 ].
Local commerce includes the post office, boulangerie (bakery), and a few other shops. The Auberge de l'Escaou has a terrace cafe on one side and a glassed-in dining room with a nice view of the hills on the other side.
The Cagnes river has its source in the valley immediately to the southeast of Coursegoules. The river flows east and southeast for about 5 km, then heads south, past Saint Jeannet on to Cagnes-sur-Mer and the Mediterranean sea.
For an interesting side visit, take a drive over to the hamlet of Saint Barnabé. Located 10 km away (by road), you drive about 6 km southeast to the Col de Vence, then turn right (west) out the little D502 road that dead-ends at Saint Barnabé, still in the commune of Coursegoules.
Not much of a hamlet here, but there are some prehistoric stones called the "Champs des Idoles" (field of idols).
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History of Coursegoules
Coursegoules was a Celtic-Ligurian site named Corsegolas. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the name had evolved to Castrum de Corsegolis.
Celto-Ligurian: Walls and oppidum are located in Le Tour (1 km ESE), Camp-Reu (1 km SW), Colle-Belle (3 km NNW), Pater-Noster (3 km SE) and Puy-de-Naour. There are also remains of Roman occupation.
Medieval: From the 13th century, Coursegoules was ruled by the Lords of Villeneuve de Vence. It became a Royal town in 1636
More Recently: Coursegoules had a population of about 1000 in the 17th century.
• GPS: 43.794652, 7.039516
IGN (1/25,000) #3642 ET "Vallée de l'Estéron"
There are several good hikes from Coursegoules, well sign-posted, and Beyond sometimes goes there expressly for the hiking.
A short climb northeast over the Cheiron at the Baisse de Viérou (1356 m) offers a day-hike loop north and east through the village of Bézaudun-les-Alpes. There are other, longer loops further north, into the Cheiron forest and eventually down into the Esteron valley.
A trail up to the northwest will take you over the Cheiron ridge (1400 m) and into loops further north, or branching west only part way up the ridge (1159 m) to take you to Saint Pons, where there are two different return trails further south.
A trail south from Coursegoules takes you through mostly rocky hills, looping back via Saint Barnabé and the Col de Vence. Some of this uses the GR51 trail, and there are different loops to return to Coursegoules.