•Var (83920) • Population: 2,384 • Altitude: 80 m
La Motte is a tiny village in the Var, between Draguignan and Le Muy, with a large spirit and an old mill with a wonderful treasure.
We found La Motte to be cleaner, neater, and more colorful than many of the tiny, out-of-the way villages we visit. Another pleasant surprise was the active village life, unusualy for the size of the place, and for a visit on a Sunday, when many little villages seem to be catching up on their sleep.
The village café, Le Cascade, was the social center on a Sunday morning, with visiting and conversation gatherings on the terrace and the adjacent village square and fountain. Inside the café was even more lively. The large room was packed, at bar and tables. A real family place, some tables were all women, others were for the kids, and the rest were for the rest of us. Like the village, the café was colorful, clean and neat — not always the case with "colorful" French cafés.
The center of La Motte village is cheerful, with a bright pastel town hall (Mairie) flying the French, Provence and European flags, one of the village fountains, some colorful shops, and the bright white village church with its narrow bell tower.
The huge plane trees in the village square were bare of leaves in the begging of this February day, their pruned white branches contrasting with the deep blue sky.
It's not very big, but there are a few narrow village streets to explore in La Motte, some with stone arches and some climbing step-streets. The stone arches (photo-5) turned out to be 'bardas', suspended bridges that connect two houses.
Fountains of La Motte
A few old, stone fountains are scattered around the village. Nothing spectacular, but each has a different design and each is nicely marked with a stone name-plaque.
All the necessary commerce is available in La Motte, with butchers, bakers, anepicerie (grocery store), hair dressers; even a post office.
Treasure Mill (Le Moulin)
The real treasure of La Motte is the fabulous collection of M. PIZAY's immense artistic talent on display in what used to be the village's olive-oil mill. Free entry, and open even on Sundays, the mill presents the vast range of wood sculpting, painting, graphics and santon-style figures from the hands of a very talented artist.
M. Pizay's treasures in the Moulin on their own merit a visit to La Motte. Our La Motte Moulin page shows just a sample of what you'll find inside.
Flood June 2010
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History of La Motte-en-Provence
First record, 1039 la Mota
Gallo-Roman: There was a Gallo-Roman site at Meyas, a hillside 2 km west of the current village, and other signs of Roman occupation in the area.
Medieval: Guillaume, the Viscount of Marseille, gave this fief to the Abbey of Saint-Victor in 1044. It later passed to the Villeneuve family, and was eventually purchased by the commune.
More Recently: La Motte was the first village liberated by the Allied Troupes after the 1944 debarkment in Provence.
• GPS: 43.492969, 6.535735
IGN (1/25,000) #3544 OT "le Muy, Lorgues, Mont Roquebrune, Maures"
Surrounded by low forested hills and vineyards, the countryside is pretty but not set up for serious hiking.
A short (1 hour) loop hike west of the village goes past Le Saut du Capelan, a frothing waterfall on the Nartuby river. The trail isn't well marked (faded yellow blazes attest to several years since the last trail marking), so an IGN map would be helpful. Still, with the walk mostly through local vineyards, you can't get seriously lost.
Beyond's IGN 3544 OT map shows a slightly longer loop hike into the more forested hills northeast of the village. Our map notes that we did that hike-walk in June of 1993 — pre-Beyond, and lost to our memory.
We found (but didn't try) one restaurant-pizzeria in La Motte. For do-it-yourself lunches, in addition to the bakeries, a local butcher is also a delicatessen, offering a wide selection, including: "Saturday - Paella; Sunday - Couscous Royal".
Transportation La Motte-en-Provence
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.)