•Var (83136) • Population: 1,691 • Altitude: 376 m
Roquebrussanne is a village in the western Var, stretched out in a long, narrow pattern along the Issole river southwest of Brignoles and north of Toulon.
La Roquebrussanne has enough to offer for a short visit, and it's a good place to plan a nice lunch stop. It is a pretty enough village, and with signs of constant sprucing up. Many of the houses are recently decorated with Provencal colors and contrasting shutters and trim. In the autumn of 2009 we found a fair amount of new housing under construction in the village, a sign that the village is becoming popular for new residents — possibly for people working in nearby Brignoles or Toulon, only about 30 km to the south.
The village is stretched out along the main street, with only one half-length "back street" on the eastern side and a small parallel street on the west along the river. All of the village commerce is along the main street, along with some nice old buildings and some interesting 19th-century doorways.
The main street was obviously the old main road passing through town, but it's much quieter now that the D5 road bypasses the center. Since the D5 road itself isn't even a main road between busy places, the village enjoys a certain peacefulness.
The Roquebrussanne church at the lower end of the village is a rather plain affair. The more interesting 17th-century bell tower in the center has an ornate campanile on the top, and there's a very nice, tall fountain in the square in front of the bell tower.
La Roquebrussanne has the usual village commerce, including a grocery store beside the post office on Place Victor Bagarry.
The Notre-Dame d'Inspiration Chapel is a Medieval chapel on the hilltop site of the original Oppidum and castle. The walk up from the village center follows the original pilgrimage route, passing 7 oratoires along the way. You can drive up to the top of the village to shorten the walking part, but it's still fairly steep along the Medieval paved route.
Roman Villa Marius
The vestiges of a Gallo-Roman farm and winery are located 2 km south of La Roquebrussanne. The largest Gallo-Roman winery-farm in Provence, the Villa Marius was active from 46 BC until the last part of the 2nd century.
To find it, go south from La Roquebrussanne on the D5, direction Meounes, just over 1 km. Take a small road branching to the right, marked Domain du Loou. Another 800 m and park at the first little junction.
A pair of strange and interesting little lakes, Le Grand Laoucien and Le Petit Laoucien are located 2.5 km southeast of La Roquebrussanne, on the north (left) side of the D64 going towards Garéoult.
Formed by a natural, deep circular depression in the woods, the lakes are worth a look. Parking is available (free) beside the first lake (Le Grand Laoucien). A curiosity only (but a nice one): no swimming or fishing. Steep sides so keep the little ones under control.
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History of La Roquebrussanne
First record, 12th century Roca; 13th century Rocha Bresani; 1351 Rocabrossani; later Roque-Vieuse; and Roque-Libre at the Revolution.
Prehistoric: Prehistoric remains at Font-Aurenge included stone-age axes. Bones were found at the Baume Fère and the grotto of Pas Gravet (2.5 km NNE). A dolmen is located at the Col d'Amaron (5 km northeast).
Celto-Ligurian: From the Iron Age to the Ligurian era the first oppida were established in the area, including Pey Bouloun, La Croix de Bérard, the Notre-Dame hill and the summit of Lamanon.
Gallo-Roman: Many Gallo-Roman sites were located in the area. In addition to the Roman Villa Marius at Le Grand Loou (see above) there were major Roman villas at Lamanon, Les Aires, La Frise, Les Chabarts and Les Molières. Other Roman sites were at Coulet de Saint-Arnou, La Font d'Aurenge, La Foux, Sambuc and La Batarelle.
Medieval: In 1022 the people called Les Roquiers inhabited the old Roman site of Les Molières (1.5 km east) before moving up to the hilltop site where the Notre-Dame chapel is located.
La Roquebrussanne was a fief of the Counts of Provence, then owned by the Monastery of La Celle in 1227. In 1707 the chateau was destroyed by the Duke de Savoy and in 1781 it became a domain of the Abbeys of Saint-Victor.
Moulin à Huile
Tel : 04 94 86 82 11
The Roquebrussanne Office de Tourisme is located in the restored 18th-century olive oil mill, and doubles as an art gallery.
Market day: Sat.
Jardin de Elie Alexis
- Location: Chemin des Baumes
- Open: July-Aug: 9h-13h; rest of the year afternoons only.
- Entry: 4 €
- Tel: 0494 869 028
- Email: email@example.com
- Web: www.lejardindelie.fr
- A nice little garden with cactus as well as local flora and rock garden.
• GPS: 43.340246, 5.97625
IGN (1/25,000) #3345 OT "Signes, Tourves, Massif Sainte-Baume"
La Roquebrussanne is located in the hills of the western Var, between the Massif de la Sainte Baume and the Montagne de la Loube, an excellent area for hiking.
The IGN map #3345 OT (1996) shows numerous loop hikes north and northeast of the village. Many of these trails are marked as "ET", segments of the Excursionnistes Toulonnais hiking trails. We're not sure these trails are marked in red on the most recent IGN map so you might have to do careful map navigating.
A short hike out the east takes you to a pair of small lakes (Le Grand Laoucien and La Petit Laoucien), 3 km out. It can be done as a loop hike, but half would be along the D64 road; not too busy but still not great for hikers.
The Auberge de la Loube on the church square is a 2-star hotel with a very good yet inexpensive restaurant.
We found two cafés in La Roquebrussanne: one typical village café in the center (north of the bell tower square) and the café of the Auberge de la Loube across from the church.
Transportation La Roquebrussanne
La Roquebrussanne 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.)