Bormes-les-Mimosas, French Riviera

Bormes-les-Mimosas is a commune in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. The town is home to the Fort de Brégançon, a state residence used as the official (mainly summer) resort of the President of the French Republic.

The municipality of Bormes-les-Mimosas is located on the Mediterranean coast, at the extreme south of the Massif des Maures. It extends from the ridges of the main massif to the end of Cape Bénat which advances into the sea opposite the Hyères islands, passing through the small depression of the Batailler stream, which ensures communication between the plain of ‘ Hyères and the “Corniche des Maures” (Lavandou, Cavalaire). The village of Bormes is hung on the hillside, facing south, under the ruins of its old castle.

Bormes-les-Mimosas is a city in bloom and won the 2003 Gold Medal awarded by the Entente Florale. The Fort de Brégançon, located in the commune, is the official retreat for the President of the French Republic. The historic village is situated on the hills. Medieval houses are overgrown with bougainvillea flowers. Significant buildings include the church and the town hall. Other parts of town include the seaside district of La Faviere with its marina.

Towards 400 BC AD, a Ligurian tribe from Italy called Bormani invests the coast near Cabasson. After staying long fishing people living cabotage and trade salt, iron and lead silver, the Bormani emigrated in the hills ix th century to escape the relentless attacks of the Saracens and numerous pirates. The village and its ramparts were built at the xii th Century.

A Ligurian tribe from Italy called Bormani″ took over the coast near Cabasson. Long a people of fishermen living on the coasting trade and the trade of salt, iron and silver lead, the Bormani emigrated on the hills in the 9th century to escape the incessant attacks of the buckwheat and many pirates. The village and its ramparts were not built until the 12th century.

The death of Queen Jeanne I Naples opens a succession crisis at the head of the County of Provence; the towns of the Union of Aix (1382-1387) supporting Charles de Duras against Louis I of Anjou, while the lord of Bormes, Rosselin de Fos, supported the duke of Anjou from the spring of 1382, this support being conditional on the Duke’s participation in the Queen’s relief expedition. The village will be governed from the xiii th century until the French Revolution, five dynasties lords whose powerful lords of Fos.

Living mainly on agriculture, the village will be governed from 13 th century until the French Revolution, five dynasties lords whose powerful lords of Fos. For a long time the fishermen’s district of the town, Le Lavandou asked for its independence in 1907 and became a full-fledged town on June 9, 1913.

At the end of the Second World War, the landing of Provence took place between Saint-Raphaël and Ramatuelle on the night of August 14 to 15, 1944. The landing forces head towards Toulon, and liberate Bormes-les-Mimosas on August 17, 1944.. The Battle of Toulon will take place from August 20 to 26, 1944.

In 1968, Bormes became Bormes les Mimosas because of the important flowering of this tree of the acacia family.

In 2011, accommodation was varied and composed in particular of: 11 hotels, ie 263 rooms, 10 campsites ranging from 1 to 5 stars, with 2,784 locations, 2 holiday villages, as well as seven guest rooms.

In 2016, the town has 72 restaurants, the majority of which are open only during the summer season. The Michelin guide referenced in its 2016 edition two establishments, the Rastègue distinguished by one star and the CAP120 restaurant with two forks and a gourmet plate.

The proposed activities are geared towards nautical and outdoor recreation: a three-star port and nautical station, including an sailing school, and several diving points; as well as seven hiking and cycling circuits.

Culture heritage
Bormes les Mimosas has an exceptional heritage to discover, throughout the seasons… From Notre Dame de Constance to Fort de Brégançon, history is revealed through old stones…

Our Lady of Constance
At the top of the hill of Bormes les Mimosas which rises to 324 m, the chapel of Notre Dame de Constance, a Romanesque building, was built in the 12th century by the Chartreux de la Verne at the request of Constance de Provence, daughter of Robert the Pious.

It can be reached by the path bordered by oratories which begins behind the castle. From the chapel, a panoramic viewpoint over the village and the Hyères Islands is offered to the walker. It is also a landmark for sailors who sail offshore.

The St François de Paule Chapel
It was raised in 1560 by the Bormeans grateful to Francesco Martotillo who became Saint-François de Paule. This Calabrian monk born in 1416 holds gifts of healer. Called by King Louis XI when he was ill, he stopped at Cap Gouron and asked for God’s mercy to save the village from the scourge. He then becomes the patron saint of the village which is celebrated on May 4.

Its statue erected in front of the entrance was installed in 1791. The chapel escaped the destruction of the revolutionary era thanks to the citizen Courme who acquired it as national property in 1791 and returned it in 1827 to the parish. Inside, an 18th century altarpiece is raised to the glory of the Patron Saint. A modest cemetery adjoins the building. We discover the tomb of Jean-Charles Cazin, painter from Samer who wanted to be buried there.

The stained glass windows of the chapel were restored in 1993 by a master glassmaker in the pure tradition of the art of stained glass. This goldsmith’s work consists of 2,500 pieces of mouth-blown glass set with lead. This creation evokes the life of Saint-François de Paule and represents the fauna and flora of our region. An oculus representing the face of the holy man is placed above the front door.

Saint-Trophyme Church
The church was built in place of a modest Romanesque building of which discrete vestiges remain. It then replaced the parish church of the castle which had become too small and dangerous. Eight years were necessary between 1775 and 1783 to build it as we know it today. Dedicated to Saint-Trophyme, bishop of Arles in the 5th century, it is made up of three naves and has a bell dating from 1684, six reliquary busts placed in the pillars as in many Provencal churches. In 1998, restoration works were undertaken inside the building and frescoes dating from its construction were discovered: thus one can admire in the choir, God the Father, the altar of the Virgin with its draped and his angels.

The castle of the Lords of Fos
Between 940 and 1257, the sovereignty of the Viscounts of Marseille, powerful lords of the land of Fos spread over many cities in Provence such as Toulon, Marseille, Cassis. The seigneury of Bormes is part of the lands they dominate. Roger de Fos, 1st Lord of Fos had the castle built in 1257 on a narrow plateau which overlooks the village at an altitude of 180 m. The construction of this one will continue until the XIVth century.

In 1589, during the wars of religion, the inhabitants siege the castle and kill the Lord Pompée de Grasse then Baron de Bormes. In 1654, the Lord of Covet, left the castle to settle in a house outside the ramparts and gave it to the Religious Minimes. The building then becomes a convent. Then in 1767, too few religious attended the auction of the monument as a national asset. A “sans culottes de la revolution” bought it and signed the end of the Lords of Bormes. After the Revolution, the castle was followed by various buyers.

In 1791, the still intact castle served as a barracks for soldiers who joined the armies of the republic. From 1900, the half-demolished castle was bought by several individuals who restored it while preserving the ruined exteriors of the building. It was classified as a historic monument on January 12, 1931.

The Fort of Brégançon
Brégançon is a rocky islet 35 m high, today connected to the coast by a 150 m long pier. Historically, the fortress of Brégançon was coveted for its geographical location which allowed the surveillance and defense of the harbors of Hyères and Toulon.

Located near the silver lead mines of Cap Bénat and the almandine garnet of La Verne, 400 years BC, the Greeks installed a trading post there with the Ligurians. Later, Brégançon becomes a lair of corsairs. First lordship of the Viscounts of Marseille, powerful lords of the land of Fos, Brégançon is subject to all lusts. Willingly or by force, over the centuries the peninsula passed into the hands of several masters attached to the crown of France.

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In 1257, Charles d’Anjou, who became Count of Provence by his marriage, had him repaired and armed. In 1483, the last lord of Provence, Charles du Maine bequeathed the county to the king of France Louis XI. The peninsula will be the site of deadly fighting as in 1408 against the Saracens and in 1578 during the war between Protestants and Catholics. In 1793, Bonaparte, then artillery captain, had the fort rearmed during the conflict with the Anglo-Spanish fleet.

The building was listed as a historic monument in 1924 and established as a presidential residence in 1968. Pierre-Jean Guth, architect of the national navy, Grand Prix of Rome, transformed the fort into a pleasant summer residence while respecting what was left of the old fortress. If General de Gaulle has benefited very little from the charms of Brégançon, presidents Pompidou, Giscard D’Estaing, Mitterrand, Chirac, Sarkozy have stayed there in turn.

President François Hollande, who came to the Fort in 2012, decided to open it to the public. It can now be visited via reservations at the tourist office (link to the office’s page for reservations).

The Art and History Museum
Created by the painter EC Bénézit, the museum has a collection of paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries where one can admire, among others, the works of Jean-Charles Cazin, HE Cross, T. Van Rysselberghe, Carrier-Belleuse.

It is within the framework of a magnificent 18th century residence located at the bottom of rue Carnot, with impressive stone ceilings, that the museum welcomes its visitors. First used as a prison, town hall or boys’ school, this building is now an essential place of Bormean cultural life with numerous exhibitions, conferences and events.

Places and monuments
Bormes-les-Mimosas is often compared, thanks to its old village, to a Provencal crib: old houses covered with pink tiles, flowery alleys, ramparts and castle ruins, the old medieval village offers a panoramic view of the plain and the islands Golden.

The town has five monuments protected as Historic Monuments and 60 places and monuments listed in the general inventory of cultural heritage. In addition, it has 23 objects listed in the inventory of historic monuments and many objects listed in the general inventory of cultural heritage.

Historical monuments
The town has five monuments protected as historic monuments:

the fort of Brégançon and the islet which supports it have been classified since September 25, 1968
the Saint-Trophyme church of Bormes-les-Mimosas is registered since November 21, 1973
the Notre-Dame de Constance chapel, at the top of the hill overlooking the old village, has been listed since 1926
the remains of the castle of the Lords of Fos, at the top of the old village, have been inscribed since 1931
the chapel of Saint-François-de-Paule has been registered since April 11, 1963
located next to the old cemetery (some tombs still visible) and near the remains of windmills. It was erected in 1560 in homage to the hermit Francesco Martolillo, known for his benefits and miracles, who delivered the village from the plague in 1481 when he went to Paris at the bedside of the dying King Louis XI. He founded the begging order of the Minims. He was canonized by Pope Leo X in May 1519. This chapel is the oldest chapel dedicated to him.
In 1653, the brotherhood of the White Penitents made it its seat and the burial place of its members.
In 1791, it was bought as a National Property by the citizen Maurice Courme who refused to transform it into a flour mill and returned it to worship in 1827.
It was restored in 1988-1989 by the association “Saved Old Bormes”.

Other places and monuments
The “castral borough of Belvezin” at a place called Cuberte, could be that known by a charter of 1056. The site of the “bourg castral de Gibouel” at a place called La Cadenière, appeared in the acts delimiting the area of the Chartreuse de la Verne in 1174 in the form ” als casals de Geboel”, and in 1223 ” ad Collam de Giboel “; the first known mentions of “Bragansono castrum” also date back to 1223.

the statue of Saint François de Paule in front of the chapel on Place Saint-François, erected by the Pénitents brothers with the assistance of the local population in 1791; this Calabrian monk would have delivered the village from the plague in 1481;
old wells;
the Favière district with its marina and its marina around the saloon. Farther spread out the beaches of Favière, Cabasson, Estagnol, and Pellegrin;
the Trapan dam, a reserve of drinking water for the towns on the Var coast east of Toulon;
the dam of the Château de Brégançon;
Cigalou Park (botanical garden);
the Gonzalez Park (Australian botanical garden);
the Cap Bénat lighthouse also called the Cap Blanc lighthouse (maritime signaling establishment);
the monument to the dead of the war of 1914-1918 and the monument indicating that “the Allied troops (commandos from Africa) who liberated Bormes on August 17, 1944 arrived by this road”;
the monument to the memory of the firefighters burned in their truck during the fire of June 21, 1990 in Cabasson;
the tomb of Jean-Charles Cazin, painter and sculptor, in the cemetery of the Saint-François-de-Paule chapel;
the trompe-l’oeil of la Bouchonnerie.

Major events
In Bormes les Mimosas, the seasons come and go with the rhythm of the events. Small and large events allow Bormeans to meet, exchange, share and welcome their visitors around strong and festive moments. Among the essentials

The year begins in January with the demonstration of garden lovers. Exhibition of collectible plants, garden arts, conference, floral art, workshops for children… Two days where the old village becomes the place of all discoveries.

The Corso Fleuri
An explosion of colors, a procession of scents… the flower parade of Bormes les Mimosas has amazed young and old for 79 years.

Medieval bollards
Equestrian tournaments, troubadours, workshops, shows… Three days during Bormes les Mimosas revives its medieval past and offers the ideal setting for its old village to put on its finest attire of yesteryear.

Sports in light
Children’s and sports festival in June! Organized every year on the beach of La Favière, Sports en lumière, the event created by the champion Pierre Quinon is a moment always eagerly awaited by children and adolescents.

Summer festivities
Argentinian tango festival, humor evenings, cabaret, classical music, rock or jazz concerts… two months during Bormes les Mimosas puts small dishes in the big ones to arouse good humor in all neighborhoods.

Gourmet getaway in Bormes
Much more than a gastronomic fair, Escapade Gourmande in Bormes is an invitation to live an experience. Four days of entertainment around gastronomy, good living together and sharing to extend the summer in the summer setting of La Favière.

Christmas festivities
In mid-December, Bormes les Mimosas cooks up a weekend under the sign of the old man with the white beard. Artists, shows, gourmet market, workshops… the children’s party takes place in the Pin district then in the village.

Cultural festivities
End of January: Mimosalia, weekend dedicated to rare plants and the garden taking place in particular in the Cigalou park.
February: Flowered Corso, at the time of the mimosa flowering.
Pentecost: Medieval bollards
1st weekend of June: Light sports
July 9: Bormes-les-Mimosas celebrates the independence of Argentina, because Hippolyte de Bouchard, a native of Bormes, participated significantly during the War of Independence. To pay homage to him, an International Festival of Summer of Argentinean Tango (FIESTA) has been organized since 2016.
July and August: many events, festival, concerts, humor evenings.
September: Gourmet getaway in Bormes
October: Bormes à tout vent
December: Christmas in Bormes

French Riviera
The French Riviera is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France. There is no official boundary, but it is usually considered to extend from Cassis, Toulon or Saint-Tropez on the west to Menton at the France–Italy border in the east, where the Italian Riviera joins. The coast is entirely within the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France. The Principality of Monaco is a semi-enclave within the region, surrounded on three sides by France and fronting the Mediterranean. Riviera is an Italian word that corresponds to the ancient Ligurian territory, wedged between the Var and Magra rivers.

The climate of the Côte d’Azur is temperate Mediterranean with mountain influences on the northern parts of the departments of Var and Alpes-Maritimes. It is characterized by dry summers and mild winters which help reduce the likelihood of freezing. The Côte d’Azur enjoys significant sunshine in mainland France for 300 days a year.

This coastline was one of the first modern resort areas. It began as a winter health resort for the British upper class at the end of the 18th century. With the arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century, it became the playground and vacation spot of British, Russian, and other aristocrats, such as Queen Victoria, Tsar Alexander II and King Edward VII, when he was Prince of Wales. In the summer, it also played home to many members of the Rothschild family. In the first half of the 20th century, it was frequented by artists and writers, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Francis Bacon,h Wharton, Somerset Maugham and Aldous Huxley, as well as wealthy Americans and Europeans. After World War II, it became a popular tourist destination and convention site. Many celebrities, such as Elton John and Brigitte Bardot, have homes in the region.

The eastern part (maralpine) of the Côte d’Azur has been largely transformed by the concreting of the coast linked to the tourist development of foreigners from North Europe and the French,. The Var part is better preserved from urbanization with the exception of the agglomeration of Fréjus-Saint-Raphaël affected by the demographic growth of the maralpin coast and the agglomeration of Toulon which has been marked by urban sprawl on its part West and by a spread of industrial and commercial areas (Grand Var).

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