Var (83510) Population: 6,340 Altitude: 240 m
Lorgues is a small fortified provençal town, and much of the ancient wall, defensive "portes" and other old buildings remain beautifully intact. The old narrow streets have vaulted passages, ancient stairs, and many buildings and doorways contain lovely stone carvings. Many of the old "portes" allowing entrance into the walled central village, such as the 11th-century Porte Sarrasin and the 12th-century Porte Trébarry, still have the look of antiquity with their weathered grey stones.
Lorgues is an active place, the size and feeling of a large village with the shops and services of a town. Much of the center of Lorgues is "old", but the true old-town is the maze of Medieval streets rising along the upper side of the main drag: the Boulevard Georges Clemenceau and Cours de la République.
The main street through the center of the town is partly one-way and single-file for cars, allowing a calm, relaxed atmosphere for the many terrace cafés [Photo 3]. Both sides of the center street are shaded by large plane trees (platanes); some of the plane trees in the upper village are centuries old and truly impressive.
A walking tour around the old part of the town, marked by 20 numbered plaques, visits most of the ancient sites, many of them dating from the 12th century; a small map with descriptive drawings is available from the Office de Tourisme. The walking-tour numbered plaques are getting rather worn (2007-08) and we're hoping they'll be replaced soon.
The 18th-century collegial St-Martin church, in the center of town, is one of the largest in the Var. Viewed from outside the village, the massive Saint-Martin church is the most obvious feature of Lorgues.
The other prominent feature of Lorges is the 12th-century clock and bell tower, topped with the 1623 wrought-iron campanile [Photo 8]. The campanile bell-tower is in the old village, and was once at the corner of the defensive walls.
The tall Fontaine de la Noix [Photo 4] was built in 1771, with the toothy dolphins at each corner [Photo 6]. The marble plaques on three sides of the fountain commemorate, in Latin, Lorguaise historical events of 1813, 1818 and 1402. The fourth side of the fountain has Lorgues' coat of arms, with the lion and the dog symbolizing "force and fidelity".
A lot of the buildings in Lorgue are joined in long, continuous facades and painted in a multitude of Provencal colors with contrasting shutters. Ranging from pastels to bright colors, these give a certain theme to the village, with the lively mix of colors brightening up the long main street and shady squares, such as the Place Neuve [Photo 14].
The D562 road between Lorgues and Carcès to the west zig-zags through forests and fields, following the Argens river, and is a beautiful drive.
There are two old aqueducts along this road. One is about 7 km from Lorgues: turn north off the D562 and go about 500m up the little D250; the aqueduct will be on your left. A second aqueduct is about 11 km from Lorgues, on the north side of the D252 road, directly beside the small road bridge crossing a stream.
The Saint Ferréol Hermitage, on the hilltop at the northeastern edge of Lorgues is described on its own page.
There's a very nice, old sundial at the Place de l'église, on a house facing the front of the huge Saint-Martin church [Photo 20]. It's covered by the shadow of the adjacent building until the afternoon.
Another sundial is less ancient but quite interesing, in the housing-estate area Lotissement Les Amandiers. It's a short walk up through the old village, on an ocre-orange house beside a rounded corner with a solid white, saw-toothed-top fence. The lotissement has been there for 30 years (1970s) and the sundial has been on the house long enough to be fading.
History of Lorgues
First record, 986 Lonicus; 1038 de Loneges
Prehistoric: some prehistoric vestiges remain, with dolmens at St-Jaume (2 km west on the D562), la Roque-d'Aille, Maren and la Colle.
Celto-Ligurian: Lorgues was the site of a large Ligurian settlement, with an oppidum-refuge on the Saint-Ferréol hilltop overlooking the current town.
Gallo-Roman: some traces of Gallo-Roman occupation remain, including at Castel-Roubine to the east, in the Flourieye valley, Palet, and an aqueduct at Plaines.
Medieval: Lorgues was an important town during the middle ages, popular with the monks of the Thoronet Abbey and the Hospitalers Knights. Le Castrum de Lorgas was well fortified to withstand the barbarian invasions of the 5th and 6th centuries and the Saracen raids of the 9th century. The population suffered the consequences of several of these "conflicts", up to the arrival of Austrian troops in 1764. Around 1156, the Templiers installed their Commanderie du Riou, and improved the defensive walls. Many of the current walls and fortified portes are from this period.
Tel : 0494 73 92 37; Fax: 04 94 84 34 09
The Office de Tourisme is in a tiny stand-alone building up at the top end of the main street (Cours de la République), past the post office on the right. The location just beside the street is called the Place Trussy, and the building is now marked "Espace Relais Jeunes".
Market day: Tue. Smaller daily market.
Mar (Mid) - Foire
Sep - Fête de la Saint Ferréol. Marché aux raisins (grapes)
Oct (End) - Foire
Dec (Beg) - Foire
• GPS: 43.483318, 6.349754
IGN (1/25,000) #3544 OT "le Muy, Lorgues, Mont Roquebrune, Maures"
IGN (1/25,000) #3443 OT "Aups Salernes"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #25 "Maures Haut-Pays Varois"
There are no Grande Randonnée trails through Lorgues, but there are some local trails through nearby woods and hills.
• To the southwest, a pair of trails lead out to the village of Vigneaubière, then follow along the river Argens to Carcés.
• To the northwest, a trail along the edge of the hills branches out to a nice hiking area directly norht of Entrecasteaux.
• to the northeast, trails and small roads around the hilltop site of the Ermitage St-Ferréol continue on through the wooded hills towards Flayosc.
Famous for truffle recipes. Famous in having a CNN report (Oct 2007) and earlier FR3 report ("Des racines et des ailes"). "Bruno" uses over 5000 kg of truffles per year in his dishes. A large terrace and three inside dining rooms.
Location: le Plan Campagne Mariette,
2350, Route des Arcs
2.5 km south of Lorgues on the D10 (direction Taradeau/Vidauban).
Menus from about 60 € to 110 €, depending on the type of truffles. Also an auberge, with 3 rooms, 130-205 €.
Tel: 0494 859 393
Department 83, Var Buses
- See Beyond's Var Department Bus Schedules for downloading the Var bus-lines map [Plan du Reseau] and bus-line schedules [Horaires] (link for PDF files).
- Schedules for the Var bus lines are on the VarLib Horaires-Ligne page (http://www.varlib.fr/horaires_ligne/?rub_code=6") - type the line number in the Numéro ... ligne box to access the bus schedule PDF link. (Type a couple of digits in the box to get a list of route numbers.)