This is not a real tourist-attraction village, but we enjoy making a café and walk-around stop whenever we pass through the area, during visits in the Var or on the way to the Luberon.
The couple of cafés in the village center can be best described as "authentic", and the service is always friendly.
The nicest of the village fountains is the ornate 3-spigot fountain in the center [Photo-02]. The elevated area behind the fountain is the Place du Posteuilis, the site of the village market. In our photo you can see the ancient grain hall, not the village library.
The old village streets are fairly limited, but there are a number of elaborate medieval doorways [Photo-10...]. We also found a few pretty, Provencal-colored houses [Photo-04] and some picturesque windows and shutters [Photo-09].
For commerce there's the basic small-village shops in the center. Along one of the small streets a block or two away from the center is a one-woman produce shop. She makes a great jam from squash (courge) and a chestnut-pumkin (potimarron) paste [Photo-06]. In addition to the specialty homemade products, it's worth the visit to see the packed one-room shop interior.
The Rians church is the monumental 19th-century Saint-Laurent, with a pair of unique stone towers [Photo-01]. Inside is the 14th-century wooden statue Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth, the oldest in the Var.
One of the town's ancient defensive portals, the 17th-century Porte Saint-Jean, is nicely restored on one of the old streets [Photo-07].
History of Rians
First record, 11th century Riannum, Rianz
Celto-Ligurian: Several Celtic-Ligurian oppidum were located around Rians.
Gallo-Roman: Several good remains of Roman occupation have been found here, including a Roman wine cave and a Roman well in the village. A Roman villa from here was moved to Toulon, and a Roman alter has been used as part of a fountain at Parques.
Medieval: Originally a chapter of Saint-Sauver (probably of Sainti-Sauver d'Aix-en-Provence). In 1348 Reine Jeanne made a gift of Rians to Raymond d'Agoult. Rule eventually passed to the domain of the Valbelles and then to the Castellanes. Other Roman artifacts were fouond at Saint martin and Saint Maurice.
• GPS: 43.606872, 5.756911
IGN (1/25,000) #3343 OT "Greoux-les-Bains, Rians"
Our IGN map shows a nice loop-hike going east from the village, mainly along the river plain but passing a bit through the wooded hills of the Montagne d'Artigues.
The PR (Petite Randonée) loop hike connects to the GR99a (Grande Randonnée) trail. The GR99a goes east through the villages of Artigues, Esparron and Saint Martin. To the north the GR99a goes to the village of Saint Paul-lès-Durance on the Durance river.
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.)