Var (83440) Population: 1,793 Altitude: 366 m
Seillans is a very ancient village nestled back against the base of a forested mountain, looking out to the south across the lower valleys.
It's located in the eastern Var, beside the popular village of Fayence, and about a half-hour drive west of Grasse.
Seillans is one of the Most Beautiful Villages (Plus Beaux Villages) of France.
The D19 road (Route de Bargemon) from Fayence passes in the plain at the south entrance of Seillans close to the Notre-Dame de l'Ormeau chapel and then narrowly through the bottom of the village, directly beside the tiny "Placette de la Route". This square, with accompanying fountain and lavoir is completely shaded from morning to night by its gigantic plane tree, whose leafy branches stretch out to cover the entire square and even across the road.
From this bottom square, Seillans stretches up through narrow, cobblestone streets that pass between ancient buildings and other lovely squares to eventually reach the Saint Léger church at the top. In between are small, shaded squares with fountains. At the Place du Thouron, a trio of very ancient plane trees shades the ancient stone fountain, which is surrounded by outdoor restaurant tables. Further up near the top, another shaded square with a bubbling fountain and an outdoor café is located beside the ancient Porte Sarrasine (Saracen door). The view from this square is out over a valley to the green hills to the east.
The painter-sculptor Max Ernst and his wife Dorothea Tanning visited here often, and finally settled here in 1964 to live the last ten years of his life.
There is one borie located in the woods just south of the village.
Tourte de blettes - This small quiche-like tart made from a white beet (blette) is the speciality of Seillans. It's baked in a large rectangle, with individual pieces cut for sale or consumation.
The perfumeries of Seillans were located a short way up in the hills outside the village. Dating back to 1883, these went out of business only a few years ago.
Bernard Pellicot - built the Fort de Notre Dame-de-la-Garde at Marseilles;
Colomb de Seillans - author of the prose comedy "La Gageure du Village", performed in 1706 in Paris for the king;
botanist Gaston Bonnier (1853-1922);
Max Ernst (see above);
Princess Di and Fergy vacationed here in July 1996.
In 1888, Queen Victoria visited Seillans to see the Vicomtesse de Savigny, founder of the famous perfumery of Seillans.
History of Seillans
First record, 814 Agro Ciliano, and 1013: Sillonem.
Etymology: Seilhanso, Provençal word for oil bowl (bassine à huile); or possibly Caelius, latin patronymic.
Seillans dates back to 500 BC, when a small Celtic-Ligurian tribe "les Sayllens" established a defensive site on the high, triangular saillant. This oppidum remained isolated from the Greek settlements that arrived later along the coast.
The "Massaliotes" came next, creating a trading center with the descendants of the "Sayllens".
Gallo-Roman: In time, the Romans arrived, first establishing homes around the site of the current village, and later founding a Roman colony of veterans. Roman remains include thermal baths in the village and at Rapiamus; artifacts at Bégude; an enscribed funerary stela at Notre-Dame-de-l'Ormeau and tombs at the Bastide des Saurins.
In the fourth century, the Christians built a chapel in the plain south of the village. It was destroyed by the Saracens in the 10th century, but rebuilt as the chapel Nötre-Dame de l'Ormeau.
Following the collapse of the Roman western Empire in the fifth century, Seillans suffered through several centuries of wars, sieges, and raids, including the Saracens during the 9th century and, much later, the ravages of the French Revolution.
In 884, Seillans was the fief of the Abbey of St. Victor of Marseilles. Later rulers were the Counts of Provence and, in the 13th century, the Hospitaliers.
Tel : 04 94 76 85 91; Fax: 04 94 76 84 45
Market day: Wed.
July (Last weekend) - Fête de St. Cyr
July (1st weekend) - Fête des Selves
Sep (3rd Sun) - Foire
• GPS: 43.635571, 6.644028
IGN (1/25,000) #3543 OT "Draguignan"
The nearest international airport is Nice.
Airport Nice-Cote d'Azur (65 km)
Airport Cannes-Mandelieu (40 km)
Fayence airfield (7 km) - private planes
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.)
Draguignan - Fayence Bus
- Bus line 3201 connects Draguignan, Figanières (Quatre Chemins), Callas (Quatre Chemins), Seillans, and Fayence.
- Bus service is provided daily to Draguignan, Grasse and St Raphaël (beside Fréjus). Bus service to Cannes is provided a few days a week.
Seillans - Cannes Bus
- Line 3002 - Seillans, Fayence, Tourrettes-de-Var, Cannes - at least 3 buses a day (more on school days), 1hr45 journey.