Tourrettes, Var, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France

Tourrettes is a French commune located in the department of Var in the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Tourrettes attractive hilltop village with narrow streets, Tourrettes must be earned. On the Place de l’Horloge, the highest point, you can admire from the orientation table the panorama against the backdrop of the Maures and Estérel massifs and the Mediterranean on the horizon. Take the small stairs with centuries-old ramps, interspersed with arched passages, turn in circles, lose yourself in the streets and stroll under the plane trees of the Town Hall Square. In an incredible labyrinth of alleys, still ringing with mules, old doors, rustic porches and old stones steeped in history and legends offer you an astonishing route.

In the heart of the village, in a unique setting, facades, doors or shutters have been abandoned in the hands of more than 70 artists creating with their talent an unusual gallery. Luminous landscapes, mischievous portraits, facetious cats, play of shadows, lights and silhouettes, shimmering mosaics, metallic sculptures or doors with bronze reflections, From realism to abstraction and surrealism, all artistic disciplines are present for the greatest happiness of the visitor.

Located to the east of the Var department, Tourrettes is located between the two most developed towns in the Canton of Fayence: Fayence and Montauroux, and equidistant from the towns of Draguignan and Grasse (Alpes-Maritimes). The municipality is a member of the Pays de Fayence community of municipalities. The relief of the municipal territory is characterized by the Riou valley which crosses the municipality from east to west.

The name of Tourrettes evokes “the small towers” of a fortress, but it is probable that there was never a castle worthy of the name on this plateau because, one does not find in situ or on other buildings, no noble fitting stone. The Clock Tower presents a blocking device of stone and drowned lime mortar which has nothing in common with the military construction of fortresses of the time.

Built in 1830 by Alexandre Fabre, one of the first French polytechnicians. He was sent to Tsar Alexander I, by Emperor Napoleon I, as an engineer of Bridges and Roads, to trace roads within the vast Russian Empire. After spending 20 years in Russia, he returned from it General Major with an annual pension of 8,000 rubles. In memory of this period, he built the Château du Puy which he wanted to be a perfect replica of the Saint Petersburg Cadet School. He will make it his home but also a Museum for his collections.

Since prehistoric times, the territory of Tourrettes has been occupated by human: several Neolithic sites have been identified. The most remarkable, the Verrerie Vieille dolmen, was inventoried, restored and classified as a historic monument in 1987. The Verrerie Vieille dolmen, Neolithic site, listed on the supplementary inventory of historic monuments by order ofNovember 3, 1987, testifies to human occupation on the territory of the municipality.

An important Roman villa was located in the Saint Simon district, already establishing the agricultural vocation of the plain of Tourrettes. The Roman era has left more traces still: the Roman canal which brought water from the Siagnole to Fréjus crosses, partly underground, the northeast of the town. An important Roman villa was located in the Saint-Simon district, already establishing the agricultural vocation of the plain of Tourrettes. Other remains attest to the Roman presence over the entire extent of the town.

Middle Ages
The name of Tourrettes appears in 1032 in the cartularies of the Lérins monastery, then of Saint Victor of Marseille in 1043, date of the construction of the Saint-André church.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Provence had to face insecurity, and at the same time came under the sign of religious fervor. This is how the abbeys of Lérins and Saint-Victor de Marseille fought over the territory: the name of Tourrettes appears for the first time in 1010, in connection with the church (subsequently dedicated to Saint André), in the cartulary * of the abbey of Saint-Victor, and in 1033 the chapel of Saint-Simon, of which only the apse remains, is mentioned in the cartulary of the abbey of Lérins, as is the chapel of Saint-Martin today missing. Saint-Jacques was the church of the castrum * of Pibresson, and the ruins of Saint-Laurent are located a hundred meters from the castellum * of Velnasque.

The first mentions of the village castral Velnasque and the town of castral Pibresson at the XIII th century. The troubled period of the early Middle Ages favored the proliferation of “castra”, fortified villages or strongholds. Archaeologists have been able to identify ten fortified sites, including the first Château de Tourrettes which was built by Bertrand de Villeneuve, Lord of Tourrettes from 1321. Only the Clock Tower remains. Of the castrum of Pibresson and the castelet of Velnasque, only ruins remain today, the site of Tassy has completely disappeared.

The 14th century was fatal to certain fortified strongholds: the plague wreaked havoc in several waves during these dark years, and the wars of succession of Queen Jeanne * decimated isolated “castra” such as Pibresson and Velnasque, which were gradually lost. abandoned for the benefit of the village of Tourrettes which, through the play of various successions and alliances, had followed the rise of the powerful family of Villeneuve.

The church was rebuilt in 1546 and the old castle, refuge for Carcists, was destroyed by the Fayençois in 1590 (Catholics against Protestants).

Tourrettes spread its alleys and squares around the old castle. The church was rebuilt in 1546. The old castle was destroyed by cannon by the Fayençois in 1590 (Catholics against Protestants). In 1592, the Villeneuve family moved into a large building in the heart of the village (the current town hall), whose beautiful vaulted rooms in the basement recall the architecture.

A purely rural economy is developing throughout the territory of the municipality, which due to its location in the foothills of the Alps collects water from the mountains. Numerous canals and reservoirs are used to irrigate the plain of Tourrettes, and the mills, fountains, wells and washhouses are multiplying: they mark out today the paths and the rivers.

Bastides were built near arable land, including that of Villeneuve, the Grande Bastide, the Bastide Saint-Louis, Tassy…

The second part of the 17th century saw the heyday of the Villeneuve family thanks to the unscrupulous skill of Pierre de Villeneuve, born in Tourrettes in 1639. After a military career, he succeeded in having his land of Tourrettes built in a county, then reclaimed the inheritance and properties of Antoine de Villeneuve, Marquis de Trans. The marquisate was awarded to him in 1689, and he was “first marquis of France”.

French Revolution and Empire
The original bust of the revolutionary Marianne is in the Town Hall Council room. The last of the Villeneuve Tourrettes, Louis Henri, “the prettiest marquis of the kingdom” according to King Louis XVI, was arrested on August 10, 1792 by the revolutionary tribunal for having defended the King and guillotined on June 5, 1793.

Contemporary period
The 19th century saw little by little the population of Tourrettes decrease, a phenomenon which will last until the 1950s, and the local economy keeps its purely agricultural character. In the second half of the twentieth century, everything changed: the territory of Fayence became a land of tourism and second homes, which often developed into main residences, relying for this on its privileged natural space: perspectives of terraces, hills pre-Alps to the north, pine forests to the south, serve as a backdrop to our hilltop village.

Discovery of the heritage of the village, history of the Villeneuve family and famous men: the Americanist JM Aubin and the Polytechnician in the service of the Tsars: Jacques Alexandre Fabre. Discovery of St André church and its paintings, of the Museum of Art and Essays: Works from the Paul-Maurice-Perrier-Morillon foundation and the exhibition of works by the Artists of Tourrettes. Open-air museum with free access: paintings, mosaics and sculptures.

From the Roman period to the castle of Tourrettes which was built by Bertrand de Villeneuve, lord from 132, everything went through sieves until the cannon destruction of the old castle by the Fayençois in 1590 (Catholics against Protestants). Walked through its cobbled streets, and discovered its Open Sky Museum, its artists’ studios and its Saint-André church topped with a magnificent bell tower of polychrome glazed tiles. Discover the Château du Puy which aims to be a perfect replica of the Saint-Petersburg Cadet School, built in 1830 by Jean Alexandre Fabre. Today, the imposing and original building cannot be visited, but a small climb is worth the detour for its extraordinary panorama.

Religious places and heritage

The Church of St. Andrew (XI th century): As part of the backup of municipal assets, the municipality has partnered with the Heritage Foundation for the restoration of five paintings of the church, 2010,.
The Penitents chapel (XIV th century),.
War memorial,.

Civil heritage

The Verrerie-Vieille dolmen.
The castle of Puy of Jacques-Alexandre Fabre (ru), lieutenant-colonel under Napoleon I er.
The ruins of the medieval village of Puybresson or Pibresson-Venasque.
The Clock Tower (XIV th century).
The “I am luis for you ” sundial.
Works of art in the streets of the village, an open-air museum,.
The Boudoura washhouse.

Cultural space

Related Post

Art Town
The town of Tourrettes being the owner of a building in poor condition at 4 rue de la Jetterie in the village, the Mayor and the municipal council decided in early 2016 to rehabilitate and secure this building to make it a museum that would host a permanent exhibition of works by Paul-Maurice Perrier-Morillon but also temporary exhibitions.

The new Tourrettes museum, an “art and testing” museum was inaugurated in March 2019. This public facility is located on the route of the “Open-air museum” and thus completes the beautiful cultural and artistic walk of the village center. Since that date, many walkers, art lovers or simple visitors, have been welcomed.

Discover or rediscover the original works of Paul-Maurice Perrier-Morillon, but also the successful rehabilitation of this village house which brings together old and modern materials, creating an atmosphere conducive to the timeless beauty of paintings and other brassware.

Tourrettes municipal museum
Housed in an old village house, rehabilitated by the Town Hall, the Museum of Art and Essays, invites you to discover the original works of the copper maker and artist from Fayençois, Paul-Maurice Perrier-Morillon, and artists from Tourrettes. This public facility, located on the route of the “Open-air museum” in the heart of the village of Tourrettes, exhibits paintings and copperware objects donated by Ode Perrier, the artist’s wife, as well as paintings and works of art. sculptures by artists from Tourrettans. Admission is free and open all year round.

Tourrettes open-air museum.
Discover the medieval village of Tourrettes, a unique and magnificent setting, a veritable open-air museum. In the heart of the village, in a unique setting, facades, doors or shutters have been abandoned to the hands of more than 80 artists creating an unusual gallery with their talent. We invite you to discover the village, its church, its Penitents chapel, its castle square and its art workshops.

Tourrettes Media Library
At the first level: Reception, with volunteers, present to guide you, provide information, register your membership request, make loans and returns, then the adult area with the following sections: novels, detective novels, biographies, the Provence background with documentaries and novels, documentation (from philosophy to history, including computers, languages, literature, etc.), music with a range of CDs and DVDs. Large print books are available for people with visibility concerns and also a collection of audio texts (literature, poetry, philosophy, speeches, etc.) Tables are available for on-site consultation and / or research as well as a corner facing the fireplace with armchairs to read, discuss and exchange…

At the second level: A youth area, from 0 to 18 years. For the little ones: a carpet area, fireside chairs and ottomans to discover images, first words, games… the discovery of playful reading. For older children: tales, the first novels, children’s novels, tapes comics… For teenagers: Novels, comics, manga. For everyone: the documentation area.

The Paul-Maurice Perrier-Morillon Collection
Madame Odette Perrier, widow of the artist Paul-Maurice Perrier-Morillon, lives in Fayence, where she had settled with her husband several years ago. At the beginning of 2016, she decided to donate part of the works of her deceased husband to the town hall of Tourrettes. Discussions with the Mayor are fruitful and an agreement is reached. The city council decides to build a museum which will notably host this donation. On March 9, 2019, Madame Perrier was very happy to be present at the inauguration of the museum of “art and essays”, concretization of this agreement allowing to give new life to the contemporary works of the artist.

Born into a Lyon family, Maurice PERRIER, known by his artist name Paul-Maurice Perrier-Morillon (PM.PM), was born on August 14, 1925 in Marseille. In 1948 he married and left with his wife Odette for Chile where he did import-export. After 10 years of living in Chile, he returned to France and settled temporarily with his father-in-law near Lyon with the idea of working with his hands. The happy coincidences of life then allow him to be initiated into the work of brasswork and in a few months he perfectly handles the hammer and the work of soldering. At the end of the 60s, he exhibited in Munich, London, Athens, Dallas….

He created the association of brass and metal potters. Helped by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, he opened in 1966 in Lyon, a gallery under the name: “Formes et Muraux”. In 1974, he went to the United States for four months to give lectures in various universities and in 1979 he published “Le livre du Dinandier”, an initiation into this secular profession. The need to create of this “anarutopist”, as he liked to define himself (mixture of anarchist and utopian), will live there all his life, until his death in January 2004.

Arts and craft
The Village of Tourrettes wanted to highlight the artists by offering them to set up their workshops in the heart of the village. A beautiful continuity at the “Open Sky Museum” with the 70 works that adorn the alleys of Tourrettanes. You will be able to meet these artists in their universe and thus understand the workings of creation.

The Cinq Terres Workshop
Claudia wypych Claudia Wypych Painter
In a few words “Rust, patina, moss on wood, stone and metal… the imprint of time constitutes her main source of inspiration. On canvas coated with earth that she harvests in the Var, appear Trompes l’œil symbols. ”

Grimoires workshop Art bookbinder / Painting restorer / Art craftsman
In a few words “Graduated from Fine Arts in Avignon, restoration section 1994, specializing in the restoration of church paintings. Isabelle Gimenez learned art bookbinding from a master., restorer of paintings, art bookbinder, restorer of books, creation of leather and paper notebooks (unique pieces), bookseller and bookbinding courses for adults and children. ”

Atelier Anne Brun Gold leaf gilder
“My raw materials are gold and silver leaves, skin glue, shellac… Agate stones, a support, my cushion: my tools. I learned about the restoration of gilded and polychrome woods in Florence, Italy. After obtaining my diploma, I perfected my technique in leaf gilding workshops in Florence, New York, Paris. Today in Tourrettes in my workshop, in addition to traditional restoration work, I offer original creations and unique pieces. My work is organized around the notions of alchemy, transformation, light. With my gold leaves I want to make the ordinary noble, the ephemeral eternal. ”

Hung’art workshop: Manuela Cervantes Ceramist
Hung’Art Workshop”After graduating in fire arts in Vallauris in 2008, I joined the Hung’ART workshop where I exercise my passion: ceramics. It is for me a magical universe where each opening of the oven is an exceptional and unique moment. ”

Memory of Forms Workshop
Memory of Shape WorkshopPainting – Digital Art – Body casting Patrick Giner “Self-taught, I use different mediums to explore a world that is after all classic: the human body in general, women in particular. I hope for my singular visions. ”

Atelier JJ (Josef Jakubczyk) Art tapestry
Atelier-Josef-jakubczykArtist Lissier Creator, graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz (Poland). Highly decorative, warm and prestigious, a true original work of art to warm your interior and enrich your heritage. Permanent exhibition – Weaving demonstration – Weaving lessons (individual and group).

Vives Figures workshop
Christel Leleu-Ferro artist painter sculptor
“I opened my Figures Vives workshop in May 2011 on the Place du Térail in Tourrettes. I see myself as a researcher, experimenting with all kinds of graphic or pictorial techniques to feed my point. It is the expressive body that interests me: an emotion, a look, a movement, a posture, a presence… The body of man, animal, tree: to speak of life when it rises, unique in the moment. I work by theme, declining series. I like to perform live painting performances on a large outdoor medium. Trained as a teacher, I also take pleasure in transmitting my passion by giving lessons in my workshop. ”

Horizons Workshop
Beyond the framework of his photographs, the artist invites us to the limits of our imagination. A fluctuating tension from the intimate to the universal, Alain AGUANO’s photographs reveal and question our feelings, our weaknesses and inner strengths, but what are they really? If not through the walls, openings on thousand-year-old questions towards a future which constantly escapes our senses and which have no other answers than to go even further, as if beyond the visible hides a discover. Here we are, in front of spaces of silence, imbued with a sort of geopoesis at the height of the impermanence of the moment always in motion. Places where the myths of the Mediterranean and the Oceans abound between sky, land and sea, which always nourish our imagination. Invited to exhibit his works in Nice, Monaco, as well as at the Arles meetings, his work is noticed and today takes on an international dimension.

Atelier Delphine Dubois, Mosaicist
“I started with interior and exterior decoration in trompe l’oeil, in lime technique. Passionate about mosaic, my workshop has been open since 2006, in Tourrettes. Sources of inspiration: I create various mosaic lights, on the bust of a seamstress remodel and I make mosaic animals by decorating gardens or outdoors ”

Art’ypique workshop by Anthony Vignadocchio
Artypical Workshop The “Art’ypique” workshop is discreet, and yet, that’s where everything is created… Difficult to target this profile… Some people want to be a firefighter, doctor or even an airline pilot, he wanted to be an inventor. But he was far from suspecting that this word had various interpretations and would follow him throughout his career as an artist…

Anthony Vignadocchio is a young artist who has taken advantage of the different experiences of the past ten years. He has built his own and original artistic identity without depriving himself of walking several paths at the same time, as long as they are in the artistic or cultural field… Rich in the galleys of life, he feels privileged every day., and to quote only him: “Born with golden hands, he grew up without gold in his hands” (sentence taken from his author’s libretto that he also interprets under the pseudonym “UtopiK”) You might as well say that ‘by immersing yourself in his works, you will immediately be challenged by a complete artist with many facets… Self-taught, manual, inventive, dreamy and… ingenious out of laziness… So many words which resonate like the horoscope of his life which he draws on every moment .

Events and festivals

Tourrettes Jazz Festival
Then it’s the village of Tourrettes to resonate with the sound of jazz this time, with its famous Jazz Festival of Tourrettes: the first weekend of July. Two free concerts per evening two nights in a row during the first half of July on the magnificent place of the castle of Puy, whose facade illuminated for the occasion is part of the show. All styles of jazz are represented to satisfy all fans and the less fervent who will enjoy a beautiful summer evening at the foot of the castle.

Tags: France