La Londe-les-Maures, French Riviera

La Londe-les-Maures is a town in the Var department in France. It is located on the Côte d’Azur in the harbor of Hyères. Chic and residential, the city is known for its beaches, its golf course and its port, which is among the largest in terms of accommodation capacity in the Var department.

The territory of the commune covers 7,826 hectares at the foot of the Massif des Maures. About 75% of this space is made up of forest, 22% is devoted to agriculture (including 1,170 hectares of vineyards) and 3% is occupied by housing. The city has a marina, “Miramar”, which is among the largest in terms of accommodation in the Var department with more than 1,000 berths or on pontoon. Located opposite the Golden Islands, it is the frequent starting point for tourists who make the crossing.

The first human occupation of the territory seems to date back to 2500 BC. AD as evidenced by the dolmen of Gaoutabry, discovered in 1876 by Baron Gustave Charles Ferdinand de Bonstetten and located north of the town. According to the excavations carried out on the site, it would date from the end of the Neolithic. Many fragments of pottery and cut stone tools found on the site attest to the human presence although no vestige of housing has yet been discovered. In 1988, the dolmen site was classified as a Historic Monument.

In the centuries that followed, the site was probably occupied by other peoples: Ligurians, Bormani, Phocaeans, etc., but there are few physical traces that would allow us to attest these population movements with certainty.

Middle Ages
From the xi th century the territory of the town is designated as the Bormette. Several monks of Saint-Victor of Marseille, then of the Carthusians of Montrieux and especially of La Verne acquire important properties by donation. They built the first castles with agricultural vocation like Bormettes (built on the St. Martin peak xiii) and that of Bastidon built between the xvi th and xviii th centuries.

Modern Times
In 1678, Antoine Lemonnier, Sieur de la Londe, originally from Normandy, acquired large plots of land on the current territory of the commune and had a house called Château de La Londe built, which would pass his name on to the future village. Curiously, the term Londe is very suitable for this village surrounded by forests, londe meaning “forest, wood” in the old Norman dialect. In 1788, the nascent hamlet acquired the status of a parish while remaining dependent on the town of Hyères. In 1791, the village had 132 inhabitants and appeared on the cadastre as a district of Hyères.

Contemporary period
After the Revolution, the Carthusians are completely dispossessed of their property. Gradually, a new bourgeoisie arrived and established itself on the site during the 19th century. Newcomers build many residences (such as the castle of La Pascalette, built in 1889 by Victor Roux.), buy agricultural fields and expand them. One of these aristocrats, Horace Vernet (1789-1863), official painter to Louis-Philippe, bought the estate located at a place called Les Bormettes in 1855 and had a castle of classical and Moorish inspiration built. Thanks to land donations from certain bourgeois families, the village is growing. The church was built in 1847 and a municipal school was created in 1884 on Place Allègre.

Mining Town
Around 1875, Victor Roux, a wealthy Marseille financier and new owner of the Bormettes estate, rediscovered and developed the Argentière mine, which had been abandoned for centuries. In 1881, he founded the Société des Mines des Bormettes and restarted the exploitation of the zinc-rich mine in 1885. From 1890, other veins, lead and zinc, were discovered on the territory. The prosperity of these mines then required the creation of a railway in 1899 for the transport of miners and the transportation of ore to Argentière where it was shipped by sea. The prosperity of the mine energizes the entire economy of the region. In the village, a post office and telegraph is created, as well as schools and a gendarmerie.

From 1890, the village opened to the outside with the commissioning of the coastal railway line which made the Toulon – Saint-Raphaël route. In 1897, a lead foundry was built. The longest chimney-tunnel in Europe is built on almost a kilometer of hill. However, the foundry was an economic failure, being not very functional and ill-suited to the ore extracted. It therefore closes quickly.

In 1901, the mining railway was linked to that of the coast which passed through the village. La Londe then asked to be detached from the town of Hyères. Finally, on January 11, 1901, the status of municipality was granted to him. The town then takes the official name of “La Londe-les-Maures”. The word “Moors” from the Latin mauros which means dark brown, evoking the color of the massif of the same name.

As the village continued to expand, from 1901, mining operations declined. The exhaustion of the Argentière vein and the fall in metal prices from 1904 will generate a drop in productivity until the abandonment of mining which definitively ceases all activity in 1929.

From 1945 to 2000
After the mandate of André Barbier, from 1946 to 1947, the new mayor, Count François de Leusse (the college of La Londe bears his name) remained in business for 24 years, until 1971. After that date, it was the baron’s nephew, Philippe de La Lombardière de Canson who became mayor, for a period of 24 years, like his predecessor. In 1995, the union list of the left led by René Benedetto prevailed, ultimately being beaten after two terms, in 2008 by that of François de Canson’s UMP. In the municipal elections of March 2014 François de Canson was elected in the 1 st round (March 23) with 85% of votes.

In the context of the end of the Algerian war, a forest hamlet was installed there in 1962, intended for former harkis and their families.

21th century
On April 8, 2012, at the initiative of ACAL (association of London traders and artisans, the city of La Londe-les-Maures adopted its own local currency, the Cigalonde, which operates on a par with the euro. Triple challenge for the Cigalonde: – strengthen the local identity – perpetuate small trade and retain customers – play a social role at the commune level (CCAS, charitable associations…).

The municipality underwent heavy flooding in November 2014, giving rise to recognition by the state of the character of agricultural calamity.

In 2017, the vegetation of the town suffered extensive destruction by fire. In late July and early September, more than 800 and 460 hectares respectively were destroyed by strong winds.

Places and monuments
The main attraction of La Londe remains summer tourism. The number and the extent of the beaches of the commune as well as its privileged situation, favored by a microclimate, makes of it a seaside resort which offers nearly 300 days of sun per year.

Les Bormettes: built by the owner of the Bormettes factory for his employees, this district is a full-fledged village, grouped around Place Belot, typically Provencal, where the Bormettes theater is also located, not far from the port. and therefore beaches.
The dolmen of Gaoutabry: superb megalithic monument perched in the middle of a hill of the Moors, dominating a panorama on the Golden Islands.
Beaches: along the coast of the town there are four beaches which total almost 3 km of natural sand: Miramar, Tamaris, L’Argentière (awarded with the “ Blue Flag of Europe ” label) and Pellegrin.
The Argentière submarine trail: this is a protected nature reserve located at the tip of Argentière, home to unique flora and fauna, thanks to the Posidonia meadows, which are also completely accessible to the public.
The Museum of the public school: it reconstitutes a school class in 1903, with accessories, workshops, games…
The Golden Islands: Port-Cros, Porquerolles and the Levant Island are located just opposite the bay where La Londe-les-Maures is located, hence an easy connection with them. The strong Brégançon is also very close.
The Promenade des Annamites: this is an old metric railway (1912) running from La Londe station to the Schneider factory set up in 1907 in Les Bormettes to test the first automobile torpedoes. An artificial launch island was installed in 1908 off Pointe de Léoube to test these prototypes. The walk is named Annamite, that is to say Indochinese workers who built it. Today, it is a path reserved for pedestrians and bikes of about 2.5 km, from the city center to the beach.

Place André Allègre
In the heart of the city, shaded by many plane trees, the square, at the crossroads of the main arteries of the city, is lined with old buildings, such as the house of associations (old town hall) and large Provencal buildings.

It is bordered to the west by the axis formed by rue Joseph-Laure and rue Maréchal-Foch, to the east by rue Aristide-Perrin, to the north by rue Dixmude and finally to the south by boulevard Azan. The square is formed by a first high plateau, opposite the association house, connected by stairs to a second level, which is itself groomed, joined to rue Joseph-Laure by a new series of stairs.

The first level is articulated around the fountain in the square, then concentrically, benches and large planters are arranged, making the place particularly pleasant. The second level is a vast esplanade with a checkerboard pattern bordered by plane trees. On the south side, benches and planters are also arranged.

Charterhouse of la Verne
A few kilometers from Collobrières in the heart of the Massif des Maures you can explore the Monastery of La Verne. In the middle of this green setting you will easily spot this old priory which was classified as a historic monument in January 1921. Since 1983, the monastery has housed a community of nuns from Bethlehem, the Assumption of the Virgin and St-Bruno who open the doors of this Charterhouse all year round. Built on the site of an old abandoned priory which already bore the name of Notre Dame de la Verne, the Chartreuse was founded in 1170 at the initiative of Pierre Isnard, bishop of Toulon and Frédol d’Anduse, bishop of Fréjus.

At the time of the Carthusians, the line of division of the dioceses passed in the middle of the church and the cloister, that is to say the North South direction. For some, the Romanesque church was built on a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Laverna, protector of thieves to whom the thick forest of the Moors offered a safe haven, Verna also designates in Latin slave.This word was used to indicate the descendants buckwheat from Fraxinet (La Garde Freinet). Finally we also think of the use of vernium which designates the Alder. Indeed, alders are frequent on the banks of the river flowing at the bottom of the valley. The first Romanesque church was consecrated on October 3, 1174. It was destroyed by fire and rebuilt. Thanks to numerous donations or purchases, the Chartreuse de la Verne quickly became the owner of an area of land of over three thousand hectares (forests, pastures, cultivable and saline land). The Charterhouse was burnt down in 1214, 1271 and 1318. Fire destroyed all the buildings except the Romanesque church.

Each time he rose from the ashes. In addition, the convent suffered the assaults of many looters, sometimes lords around, but also Saracens and in 1577, during the wars of religion. It was probably after this last invasion that the vault of the Romanesque church collapsed. Others claim that this collapse took place between 1707 and 1715 following the attacks by the army of Duke Savoy against the troops of Louis XIV, during the siege of Toulon. In the search report at the Chartreuse established by the municipal officers of Collobrières on June 7, 1790, it is specified: “the old church having been destroyed for more than 200 years, Whether it be reconstruction or the continuation of the construction program, the Carthusians hardly “idle”: the dates of 1736 on the access door to the dwellings located west of the entrance vault, 1772 to pediment of the vault of access to the church and the cloister, 1789 on the “East” pedestal of the vault (West) of access to the gardens, are proof of it.

But in 1790, the Revolution led to the sequestration of all the property of the Chartreuse, then in 1792, after the departure of the last Chartreux, forced to flee, the sale of buildings and land as national property. The last prior Dom Raphaël Paris was able to take refuge in Bologna in Italy. By leaving the Chartreuse, the Chartreux had been able to gain the beach of Saint Clair close to Lavandou and from there by a fishing boat to reach Nice, where the bishop of Nice put at their disposal a wing of his bishopric. The religious history of the Charterhouse of Verne, placed under the term of the virgin “Notre Dame de Clémence”, had lasted a little more than six centuries. Then had to start a long period during which nature would invest the places and deeply damage the buildings with sometimes, the competition of unscrupulous walkers. By decree of January 18, 1921, the Charterhouse was classified a historic monument as “vestiges in the forest” with the exception of the farm buildings and the courtyard of honor that they surround. On March 1, 1961, the Waters and Forests became assigned, on behalf of the domains and installed a guardian there.

Nothing seemed to be able to save the Charterhouse from a certain disappearance, when in 1968, at the instigation of Mrs. Annette Englebert and her friend, Annick Lemoine, an association called “Les amis de la Verne”, was born and decided to tackle the renovation of the site. The dynamic team which was then formed, carried out between 1969 and 1982 with its limited means but with a lot of energy and desire, very important works which gradually brought the Charterhouse out of oblivion of history. It was in 1982 that La Verne returned to its original vocation by welcoming monks and then, from 1986, nuns from the monastic family of Bethlehem, the Assumption of the Virgin and Saint Bruno. Much more extensive renovation work begins all the buildings which will see in particular reborn the Romanesque church and the large cloister. These works are made possible by the combined action of the monastic family, historic monuments, the department, the town of Collobrières, the association “Les amis de La Verne” and the many visitors who now come to La Verne and some of which will be true patrons of the Charterhouse.

The monastery is built on a rocky promontory. The construction of these high ramparts was necessary for the layout of the buildings and made it possible to limit intrusions from the outside. The monumental door is made of serpentine stone, volcanic marble from the Massif des Maures.

In the 17th century the whole monastery was decorated with this stone extracted from a quarry in La Môle, a village near Cogolin.

To open the great book of the past: its ancestral laundries, its winding alleys lined with old houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, everything here rhymes with heritage.Pierrefeu du Var is an invitation to stroll, from place to place in search of the freshness of its fountains. This village also proudly displays its terroir, its organic market and its night of rosé. Further to the village of Collobrières, its Chartreuse de la Verne built in 1170 embodies the Massif des Maures. In addition, here authenticity has a name: the chestnut festival which attracts a large audience each year. Further outside, the hiking trails branch out and become an offer for all audiences.

Cuers village
Between vineyards and hills, this is the charm of one of the oldest Provencal villages. Le Vieux Cuers has shaped its history to offer you a present: medieval and tortuous alleys lined with beautiful houses from centuries past. They are gradually revealed to finally climb the hill… Another imprint of the past, the town has multiple fountains and washhouses. It also offers a magnificent view from the Notre Dame de Santé chapel, starting from hiking trails.

Collobrieres village
Nestled in a curve of its river, the “Réal Collobrier”, Collobrières is a village with character. It has preserved its architectural heritage and its authenticity: cobbled streets, religious buildings, historic monuments, fountains… You can enjoy its history from the East and the tourist routes of the Maures massif. They meander under the chestnut and cork oak trees. Another route is open to you: by the West and its causeway at the bottom of the valley along the river bordered by vineyards.

Pierrefeu du Var
At the gates of the Massif des Maures, leaning against a rocky outcrop, this picturesque Provençal village has taken up residence. Random old narrow streets, the green banks of Réal Martin play with light. Further, its vineyards have colored the plain. The particularity of its terroir and the generosity of the men who work it produce remarkable wines. They are recognized by the appellation “Pierrefeu” within the AOC Côtes de Provence. The Moors are a magnificent natural setting. It is logical that many hikes invite you to explore this exceptional landscape.

La Londe les Maures
Nestled between its hills adorned with vineyards, facing the islands of Porquerolles and Port-Cros, La Londe les Maures offers you the perfect balance between land and sea: hiking along our sandy beaches or in the Maures mountains; taste our local quality products; share moments of relaxation in a preserved and authentic natural environment, cultivate time and the art of living.

The accent gives relief to the colors and scents of Provence. You are at the heart of one of our many Mediterranean markets, Portes de Maures. Unmissable conviviality meetings, artisans and producers share the fruit of their work. An atmosphere of happy days wandering over the stalls of fresh and quality products. An ideal place also for souvenir gifts… and to discover the soul of our villages.

Tropical Zoological Garden
The ornamental and botanical garden of La Londe, classified as a remarkable garden, presents a collection of exotic animals and rare plants over six hectares. In total, the garden has more than 250 animals divided into 60 species from Asia, Africa and South America.

Wine estates
From the landscape around you to the shared glass, it becomes one with each moment of happiness. Several hundred hectares of vineyards surround you and take you on a journey where know-how, authenticity and modernity mix for the magic of the moment.

Pellegrin Beach
The Pellegrin beach, a magnificent cove of fine sand bordered by the vineyards of the AOC Côte de Provence – La Londe terroir, is accessible on foot from the Argentière beach. With its natural and preserved environment this beach is an exceptional site for all nature lovers. Pellegrin beach is also accessible by car (paid parking) by the coast road between La Londe les Maures and Bormes les Mimosas.

Miramar Beach
Miramar Beach, a large sandy beach facing Porquerolles and Port-Cros, is the ideal playground for enjoying the Mediterranean with family or friends. Located west of Port Miramar towards the Vieux Salins d’Hyères, Miramar Beach has many advantages. Thanks to its shallow swimming area, children can continue to have fun playing rackets or ball while staying in the water. For teens, several volleyball nets await them for endless games. The Miramar beach is suitable for everyone with an accessible mat for people with reduced mobility.

Argentière Beach
With its large pine forest, Argentière beach is the ideal beach for your family picnics and improvised naps in the shade of large umbrella pines. Located to the east of Port Miramar, the Argentière beach and its vast bank of fine sand will allow you to put down your towel and plant your parasol in an idyllic setting. A family beach with a shallow swimming area over a large distance so you can enjoy your family day with peace of mind. Accessible to all thanks to its bathing mat.

The Golden Islands
Treasures of the Var coast, the 3 Golden Islands, in the harbor of Hyères, are the jewels of this part of the coast. Steeped in history and vestiges of a rich past, they are also very pleasant places for excursions and hikes all year round.

Porquerolles, the largest, with the most beautiful beaches, to discover on foot or by bike.
Port-Cros, National Park, paradise of underwater flora and fauna.
Ile du Levant, naturist paradise.

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).