Var (83136) Population: 1,263 Altitude: 275 m
This picturesque village is located in the deep forested valley of the Naj river, north of Toulon. Méounes-lès-Montrieux has a Romanesque-Gothic church with a tall bell tower, numerous old fountains, a canal-lavoir system and some nice hilll walks.
The roads into town are lined with platane trees on both the south (Route de Toulon) and the north (Route de Brignoles), giving a pretty and shady (except wintertime) first impression.
The 16th-century Romanesqe-Gothic parish church in the center was enlarged in the 17th century. Its tall, square bell tower is topped with an elegant 6-column dome. Inside the church, in addition to the marble angels by Duparc are some Gallo-Roman tombstones.
A group of shops is clustered just behind the church, opposite a parking area in front of the town hall. The bakery is picturesque, and has great bread. The "grocerie store" beside has fresh vegetables and fruit.
Small streets along the east side of the village are nice for wandering and discovering, especially for the old fountains. You can continue up past nice squares up the hill to the Saint Michel chapel [Photo-10], and just a few minutes beyond that to the "Colline de la Vierge" at the top, with a statue of the Virgin and a great view of the forested hills and the village below [Photo-11].
The small, swift Naj river flows through the village, some times underground. It's channeled in front of the Hotel de Ville beneath stone bridges and tunnels, and goes down to a complex of little canals and falling water to a lavoir complex a few blocks south [Photo-13].
Méounes-lès-Montrieux has 10 old stone fountains. Many of them are small, sitting along the village streets, or in nice locations, such as the one on the main Route de Toulon on the south side [Photo-07].
The large fountain on the main square in front of the church [Photo-01] looks rather dreary when it's not on. Even the much prettier fountain by the Hotel de Ville [Photo-06] looks ordinary when off, at least in the winter time.
The Four Seasons fountain at the Place des Anciennes Ecoles [Photo-04] is more elaborate, with 4 marble faces, and the House of Heads (maison des têtes) as a backdrop.
Just up the street on the Grand'Rue is the Marianne fountain [Photo-05], sculpted by Emile Aldebert to represent France.
The 12th-century Chartreuse de Montrieux is located in the hills 2.5 km south of the village, where a few monks still reside. This is also the site of the earlier, ruined village of Montrieux-le-Jeune.
The ruins of an abandoned village are located on the south bank of the Gapeau river, 2.5 km southwest of Méounes-lès-Montrieux.
Grotte des Rampins
This large grotto is located in the hills 2 km southeast of the village, just a short walk in from the D564.
History of Méounes-lès-Montrieux
First record, 965 Melna or 1060 Molna, possibly from the Celtic for montagne (mountain), or alternately for miel (attributing to the quality of the local honey)
Gallo-Roman: There were at least eight Gallo-Roman villas in the area, including at St-Lazare (1 km south) and Cros de l'Oumé. One item discovered was a metre-high pagan alter stone engraved "IOVI" for Jupiter, now on display in the Hotel de Ville (town hall). There are many Gallo-Roman remains around Méounes-lès-Montrieux, at St-Lazare (1 km south) and Cros de l'Oumé. The village church has a stone from a Gallo-Roman temple.
• GPS: 43.281385, 5.969721
IGN (1/25,000) #3345 OT "Signes, Tourves, Massif Sainte-Baume"
Méounes-lès-Montrieux is surrounded by forested hills and valleys. A set of hiking trails called Excursionnistes Toulonnais and marked on the IGN map as ETnn (ET4, ET17, etc.) include the area around Méounes-lès-Montrieux.
The ET trails to the south and the southeast include loop hikes out past the Montrieux Chartreuse and Belgentier, and hook up with the GR9 (Grande Randonnée) around Belgentier.
To the north and northwest the ET trails go to La Roquebrussanne and Mazaugues, and connects with the GR99 that passes through Signes.
Méounes-lès-Montrieux has suitable dining here year-round.
Méounes-lès-Montrieux is served by theses VAR buses:
- 4402: Toulon, La Valette-du-Var, La Garde, La Farlédé, Solliès-Pont, Belgentier, Méounes-lès-Montrieux, La Roquebrussanne, Néoules, Garéoult, Tourves, Saint Maximin.
- 4408: Brignoles, Forcalqueiret, Garéoult, Rocbaron, Néoules, Méounes-lès-Montrieux, La Roquebrussanne.
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.)