Carqueiranne, French Riviera

Carqueiranne is a French commune located in the department of Var in the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. It is known now as a tourist seaside resort with good windsurfing nearby, at Almanarre Beach. The town has a literary claim to fame as well.

Carqueiranne is a seaside resort located by the sea between the municipalities of Hyères and Pradet and was classified as a Tourist Station in 2019. It is bordered to the east by the Mont des Oiseaux mountain and to the west by the Colle Noire massif, located in the area of the Conservatoire du littoral. The town has a small marina located in the Salettes district. Climate classified Csa in the classification of Köppen and Geiger.

Located in the Var department (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, PACA), between Hyères and Toulon, Carqueiranne, is a coastal town of 10,000 inhabitants, with an area of 14.5 km². It was born from a detachment from the commune of Hyères in 1894 and belongs to the canton of La Garde.

The xi th century xiii th century, the land of Carqueiranne belonged to the lordship of Fos and the xv th century, it was given by the good King Rene Jean-Baptiste de Morance. It was this lord who co-signed as a witness the act of the first codicil of Charles III, bequeathing Provence to Louis XI, king of France. Part of the seigniory passed under the jurisdiction of Hyères. The consuls will remain lords of Carqueiranne until the Revolution.

The bishop of Toulon, Louis de La Tour du Pin de Montauban, died at the Château de Carqueiranne on September 12, 1737.

The town of Carqueiranne was created on February 3, 1895, from a section of the commune of Hyères. It has been part of the Toulon Provence Mediterranean Metropolis since 2002 and is located just a few minutes from Toulon-Hyères international airport.

A seaside resort since 1990, Carqueiranne has a long maritime facade which stretches from west to east for almost 10 km. It offers a great diversity of landscapes: sandy or pebble beaches, more or less steep cliffs, rocks with unusual shapes that alternate with terraces, beautiful mansions, parks and gardens. Inward, two sets of hills culminating at 300 meters above sea level, surround a strip of plains which crosses the town from West to East.

Since 2000, the city has organized around ten historical conferences free of charge per year. The theme for the 15 th season 2014 2015, is the wife and multifaceted in history. The 100th conference takes place in 2015. This cycle of historic conferences has become, on the strength of its success with more than 300 listeners at each conference, one of the cultural landmarks of the city.

Agriculture is present in the landscapes of Carqueiranne. The terraces covered with flowers, the plains punctuated by greenhouses and the coat of arms, remind us that the town has an agricultural vocation.

Geographically, Carqueiranne includes two large agricultural areas:

The terraces of Canebas and Bau Rouge, at the foot of Colle Noire, where crops descend to the sea. Agriculture benefits from a climate which allows the production of flowers in the open air.
The plains area which stretches from west to east from the Diligence crossroads to the bottom of the Mont des Oiseaux, is devoted to the production of tulips often in greenhouses and large flowers, market gardening, vines and in nurseries.

Historical heritage

The Fort of Bayarde
This battery dates from 1890, three batteries were pointed towards the sea, each armed with a 270 mortar with the mission of prohibiting the potential adversary from any anchorage area from which he could have bombarded the port or the city of Toulon. In 1988, the “Fort” of Bayarde was bought by the municipality from the French Navy. Today, equipped with a large outdoor stage, the Fort vibrates to the rhythm of the Festival Theater in Situ La Bayarde each year during the first half of August.

The Forts
Four forts and batteries, with complementary roles, were built in Carqueiranne between the end of the 18th century and the end of the 19th: three on the crest line of the Colle Noire massif and one “Pointe Peno”: the Fort de la Colle Black, the battery of La Gavaresse, the Battery of La Bayarde, the battery of the Cap de Carqueiranne (is, despite its name, in the town of Pradet) They were part of the defense line of the Grande Rade de Toulon and its military port.

Richet stele
The stele erected on Pointe Peno in 1921 brings together in one homage, engraved in stone: the father, scientist and humanist, who will participate in the genesis of aviation in France by launching a flying steam engine above the waves in 1896 and 1897 and the son, a glorious pilot who died in action. You can read on the stele:

“Here was launched in May 1896 and June 1897, a first airplane by Charles Richet and Victor Tatin, in the presence of Albert Richet, therefore aviator officer, died for France, in the battle of Anizy-le-Château, August 29, 1918 »Jacques Richet, mayor of Carqueiranne. May 1921.

Chateau Richet
It presents neo-medieval architecture decorated with elements in the pure Renaissance spirit. An unusual castle, to say the least, a beautiful two-story house surrounded by two towers. Its origins date back to the XVII th century, to the lordship of Carqueiranne. The Richet family acquired it in 1873, it has since been called “Château Richet”. The famous Nobel Prize winner in physiology Charles Richet inherits it. Passionate about technique and aviation, he built, during the years 1896-1897, buildings north of the Castle, in order to build, with his friend Victor Tatin, an airplane. This one “flew” over a hundred meters from the “Peno point” thus participating in the first beginnings of the French aeronautical adventure.

Today, once you have passed an original caretaker’s house which adjoins the property’s entrance gate, an alley leads straight to the Château, whose park is planted with vines. An ingenious system of greenhouses on rails is still visible, as is a beautiful metal greenhouse, very ornate at the foot of the East tower.

The wreck of the Moon
Monday January 23, 2012, we learned in the newspaper Var Matin, that “one of the most beautiful wrecks in the world would soon deliver its secret off Carqueiranne”. It is the wreck of “La Lune”, a three-masted ship of Louis XIV discovered fortuitously south-west of the Pointe de Carqueiranne in May 1993 by a submersible from Ifremer.

The history of this ship and its sinking is indeed most fascinating. In 1663, King Louis XIV decided to wage war on the Ottoman Empire and sent his armada to seize the port of Djidjelli, in present-day Algeria. Wiping a stinging defeat, he sent “The Moon” as reinforcement to evacuate the routed troops. The vagaries of history as well as a violent storm, will get the better of the ship which in poor condition will sink off Carqueiranne. More than 900 men will perish drowned and only about twenty will be rescued!

A tragic story, real boon for researchers from the Department of underwater archaeological research and underwater (DRASSM) that thanks to this discovery will learn about the fleet, crew, and navigation of the XVII th century. The three masts preserved from looters, is indeed in a very good state of conservation.

The André Malraux, ultramodern research ship, plunges us into the Carqueiran abyss at almost 90 m deep, to reveal to the world the archaeological treasures of the royal ship.

Witness to the art of living of an era, the Carqueiranne bandstand was built in 1931 in the purest art-deco style. Indispensable to the local musical society, the Philharmonic Union, to summer festivities and to the many music lovers of the town, the kiosk provides many musicians with a raised shelter and excellent acoustics, to be seen and heard by a large audience located around. A dedication with the names of eight great composers (Wagner, Mozart, Rossini, Beethoven, Massenet, Berlioz, Reyer, Gounod) is engraved inside the dome.

The railroad
Today, there are still some vestiges of the coastal railway on the territory of the municipality. The office of the Municipal Police is installed in the old passenger building of the Carqueiranne station. Opposite, a steam locomotive recalls the traditional traction of the famous train, until the use of diesel railcars in 1935. However, this machine does not come from the coastal network since it was built in 1921 by the German firm Henschel and Sohn in Kassel for industrial use. Acquired by the City in 1980, it was placed on a section of normal track (1.435m of gauge). Finally, the cycle track partly occupies the old track layout which was one meter apart.

Places and monuments

The Sainte-Madeleine church was built in 1844, and the two side chapels in 1858. The neo-baroque style organ, built around 1960 by Detlef Kleuker (1922-1988) for the Lutheran church “Christuskirche” in Beckum in Germany, was placed in the Sainte-Marie-Madeleine church in Carqueiranne in 1997 under the impetus of Father Laurent Garcia, previous parish priest. The furniture: statues of Saint Marie-Madeleine, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Saint Vincent, Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Saint Louis, Saint Antoine de Padoue, Saint Jeanne d’Arc, Notre-Dame, Saint Joseph, Notre – Lady of Lourdes, The Virgin and Child.
The chapel Saint Vincent beachfront, recommissioned in 1803 after the 1 st, 1801 Concordat.
Fort de la Bayarde, coastal battery of 1890, built to defend Toulon. We organize shows there in summer.
Hameau Bellevue: set of 117 social housing units built in 1978. First grand prize for national urban planning of social housing.
Castle Carqueiranne said today castle Richet: castle xvii th century Renaissance at three levels, flanked by round crenellated towers in corners. Didier-Dominique-Alfred Richet (1816-1891), professor, buys this house which will bear his name in 1873. His son, Charles Richet (1850-1935), Nobel Prize in medicine in 1913, was close to Prince Rainier of Monaco and of the Breguet family which enabled him to develop the airplane, with Victor Tatin.

War memorial, conflicts commemorated 1914-1918 and 1939-1945;
Richet stele: a stele erected at Pointe Peno in 1921 brings together in one homage engraved in stone, the father, Charles Richet, scientist and humanist, and the son, Alfred Richet, aviator who died in combat. Here is the text of the inscription: Here was launched in May 1896 and June 1897, a first airplane by Charles Richet and Victor Tatin, in the presence of Albert Richet, aviator officer, died for France in the battle of Anizy-le- Castle, August 29, 1918. Jacques Richet, mayor of Carqueiranne, May 1921. AUSUS SE CREDERE COELO.

Religious heritage
Carqueiranne has two religious buildings still visible, not to mention the oratories scattered over the territory of the municipality. These are the Sainte Madeleine church and the parish house, former Saint Joseph convent.

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Sainte Madeleine Church
This building organized according to a cross-shaped plan, sees its nave cut by two chapels which constitute the transept. It is lit by the rose window on the facade and by its twin windows. The facade has a set of beautiful stones and a pediment. Adjoining the apse, an elegant bell tower rises to 26 meters in height topped by a stone bell-tower open from triple windows, endowed with four bells dated from 1816, 1849, 1878 and 1893.

The Oratories
The oratories are distributed in various districts of the commune. They are found in the plains, in Paradis, in Roubauds, in La Benoîte, in Vallon, in La Martine, in the city center and in Canebas. Six are dedicated to Notre-Dame, two to Sainte Marie-Madeleine and one to Saint Antoine de Padoue.

Natural heritage
Carqueiranne has a rich natural heritage: three landscaped parks (Parc des Pins Penchés, Parc Beau Rivage and Parc Saint-Vincent ), a public garden (Jardin Beziaud ), six beaches (Pradon, Peno, Pins Penchés, Beau Rivage, Coupereau, Bau Rouge).
The lime kilns at Sabatière and Paradis.

The parks
Beau Rivage Park, located southeast of the city, covers an area of more than 5,000 m 2. By the sea, it invites you to relax and take a stroll. At the end of the week, it is very popular with families and fans of the pétanque game, which take over the site. The space also has large lawns, benches, picnic tables and public restrooms. Overlooking a rocky and sandy coast, it offers an exceptional panorama of the Giens peninsula, the Fourmigues and the Carqueirannaise coast on the Font-Brun side.

The Pins Penchés park, classified since 1938, is located by the sea, east of the Port des Salettes. He was known to many painters who described the charms of its pine forest. Among the most famous: Stan Sassy, Paulin Bertrand, Louis Gaidan, Vincent Courdouan, Jean Louis Carle. It is a paradise for bowlers and walkers who can savor the shade provided by the splendid Aleppo pines. We also observe the illustration of a natural phenomenon called anemomorphism (change of shape with the wind) given by the presence of pines which lean towards the sea and indicate the direction of the mistral.

Parc Saint-Vincent, with an area of approximately 1 ha, combines both a leisure area with the presence of children’s games, a relaxation area with benches and a fountain, as well as a botanical garden with more than a hundred species of plants. Several thematic areas can be discovered: the pine forest, the scent trail, the cacti space, the dry stone cascade, the olive grove, the Frédéric Mistral garden (inaugurated in 2014) and the “Carqueirannais corner”. It also houses an auditorium with a capacity of 465 seats, which hosts the “Moments of Clair Val” every summer, for outdoor public performances.

The gardens
The “Claire Béziaud” garden is fully open and maintained. This 500 m 2 garden offers a breathtaking view of the port. A wooden esplanade shaded by umbrella pines completes this opening which inspires relaxation. It has an ancient well surrounded by original botanical species. She was given the name of Claire Béziaud, Carqueirannaise, heroine of the Second World War, aide-de-camp to General De Lattre de Tassigny, on June 24, 1993.

The ” Frédéric Mistral ” garden is located to the north of St Vincent Park, where the fountain is located.

The flora
The Carqueirannaise flora is made up of typically Mediterranean essences such as: lavender, rosemary, thyme, myrtle… There are currently around 789 species of wild plants of which more than thirty are protected by law. Other species populate the Carqueirannaise hills, such as the different types of pine: Aleppo pine, maritime pine and pine or umbrella pine. Carqueiranne can be proud of a preserved nature whose landscapes are among the most beautiful on the Var coast. There are many wooded areas and some tree specimens deserve attention.

The seabed
Carqueiranne shelters a beautiful underwater environment, highlighted by a rather wild coastal fringe. On this coast, few areas exceed a depth of more than 20 meters, with the exception of the Bau Rouge bottoms. This natural configuration of the coast, under the influence of strong sunshine, favors a very rich marine life area. The local biotope can be characterized by three very distinct environments: rocks and scree, posidonia meadows and sand.

Pradon beach
It is the largest natural beach in Carqueiranne sheltered from all winds. Some bathe there all year round against all odds! It can be seen in its entirety from the promenade just above. The sand is fine there. However, the eastern part consists of rocks offering small natural baths. The beach hosts two restaurants at its two ends.

Coupereau beach
It offers a small stretch of sand wedged between sharp volcanic rocks, the origin of its name. Ideal for swimming, fishing, diving and walking on the seaside and chatting with fishermen out of their sheds.

The Maillets Bleus beach
Little known and not very accessible. To get there, you have to climb high rocks in calm sea from Pradon beach. The originality of this beach are the black basalt pebbles accumulated at the bottom of the creek which take on a dense black color when the water covers them.

Beau Rivage beach
Very narrow, it suffers from marine erosion in strong easterly winds. It has its charm, backed by the beautiful properties of Font Brun. Along the coast, small sandbanks line the Leaning Pines.

Peno beach
Emblematic of Carqueiranne, this “artificial” beach created in 1990, consists of three handles. Ideal for swimming and extending the day with a moment of relaxation in the shade of the tamarisks. The beach also hosts a beach restaurant, the Municipal Sailing School of Carqueiranne as well as a skate track and a volleyball court.

Bau Rouge beach
Located at the western end of the city, the site is well known to summer visitors, sea urchin fishermen and naturists… you need to access it, take a staircase of 220 steps! Once there, we understand the origin of the name: an alternation of wine-colored, purplish and beige geological layers, sometimes riddled with holes, all forming an escarpment which ends in a steep cliff. Difficult to resist the urge to bathe, however beware it is dangerous to venture into the water especially in mistral weather or east wind.

The Pines Penchés beach
The small beach of Pines Penchés mixes sand and rocks and allows the discovery and the observation of the inhabitants of the littoral (ex: sea urchins, limpets…). With fins or on foot, the Pins Penchés site is certainly worth a detour!

The port of Carqueiranne is located at the bottom of Anse des Salettes, between Pointe Peno and Beau Rivage. It has a capacity to receive 400 pleasure and fishing boats. Its vocation today is essentially for pleasure. The sharp ones are not very numerous any more, the immense majority of the boats of the port, that they are with engine or sail, are boats “leisure”.

The port was modernized in 2010 with a new wooden and stainless steel waterfront to improve its surroundings. The back of this waterfront is made up of a beautiful row of restaurants and terraces.

Festivals and events
Recognized for its actions in the field of events and culture, Carqueiranne is a friendly, dynamic and inventive city. Festival, forums, concerts, conferences, exhibitions follow one another throughout the year, offering to audiences as different as they are numerous, culture, theater, visual arts, lyric, jazz, dance, classical music…

Theater festival La Bayarde.
Summer Festival, established in 2000, and labeled “VARESTIVAL” in 2002, it takes place every year in Carqueiranne, during the 1 st fortnight of August.

Drawing its energy from the will of the Carqueirannaise Municipality and the sustained support of partner Territorial Collectivities, the Var Departmental Council and the Toulon Provence Mediterranean Metropolis, it is the flagship event of the city’s cultural season but also an essential moment of the Var cultural landscape.

Fairs and markets
The city of Carqueiranne offers its citizens a weekly market every Thursday morning on Place de la République and in the city center. You can also find a sale of fresh peach every Saturday morning in the port of Carqueiranne. During the summer season fairs and night markets are also organized.

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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