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TAKE YOUR PLACE AT THE SUMMIT OF THE ROCHER DE ROQUEBRUNE SUR ARGENS

With its red sandstone, the Rocher de Roquebrune is a must-see in the Argens valley. Towering 376 m above sea level, between the Maures and Estérel mountain ranges, the site has been listed as being of national interest since 1989. And it was integrated into the Natura 2000 network, which unites the natural sites in the European Union of a high heritage value due to their exceptional flora and fauna.

A WORLD OF TALES AND LEGENDS

Takes and legends have written the history of the Rocher de Roquebrune-sur-Argens. In olden days, it was said that young girls in particular were sacrificed to appease the sacred mountain. These pagan temples were destroyed by the early Christians and replaced by oratories. Once the witches and sacrificers had been chased out, a Christian version of the legend of Saint Trou was established. A young girl called Marie took refuge at La Roquette at the dawn of Christianity to lead an angelic existence, but she soon found herself in the clutches of a hunter called Robert. To escape her pursuer, she threw herself into the faults in the Rock and only owed her salvation to divine intervention, which, by causing a rockslide, allowed her to save herself through a narrow tunnel that Robert could not breach. And until recently, 1 May was the opportunity for the people of Le Muy and Roquebrune to go to the Roquette and pass through the Saint-Trou. It was said that “only people of virtue could pass through the Saint Trou”… The more curious can go and try to cross the fault, located right beside the ruins of St Jean.

MAJESTIC HOLY CROSSES

Another legend tells that when Christ died, the Rock split, opening three faults, three wounds matching the three Calvary crosses… In the Middle Ages, believers would therefore go on pilgrimage to draw these crosses on the summit of the Rock to recall this event. At the start of the 1990s, the artist from Le Muy, Bernar Venet, decided to sign this mystical landscape by sculpting three crosses. For this, he drew inspiration from the famous “crucifixions” painted in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, masterworks by Giotto, Grünewald and El Greco. These majestic works now dominate the Argens plain at the top of the Rock and are worth the hike of 2½ hours (change in elevation of approximately 350 m over 6 km). Caution: the level is hard as there are several steep parts where you have to climb, but the landscape between garrigue and forest and the exceptional panoramic view is well worth the effort!

ARGENS, A PROTECTED RIVER AT THE FOOT OF THE CLIFFS

The Argens river is one of the most beautiful wild sites on the Côte d’Azur! Lush green vegetation, calm waters, hills and cliffs offer a fabulous setting for trips on the river. Young and old can navigate up to the red cliffs of the Rocher. Whether by canoe, kayak or paddleboard, with the mandatory bathing stop of course, the environment is conducive to sensation!

There are six routes from the Base of the Rock. Ultimately, the last forty kilometres of the lower Argens valley are to be discovered! And the more curious can amuse themselves in looking between the leaves for a wasp nest, a kingfisher or a European pond turtle, not to mention the multitude of fish: zander, carp, mullet, barbel, tench, etc. It should be noted that the more athletic can also hire electrically assisted or classic mountain bikes to weave through the mountain range’s trails.

ROQUEBRUNE, MEDIEVAL CITY-STATE

At 28 km long and 6 km wide, Roquebrune-sur-Argens extends over more than 10,600 hectares. This small medieval village perched above the Argens plains houses an explosive mix of landscapes. Formed of three districts, Roquebrune-sur-Argens offers visitors a multitude of contrasting faces, pretexts to discovering the colours of Provence: green like the hills of La Bouverie, ochre like the façades in the old village and blue like the Mediterranean and the beaches in Issambres. All highlighted by an environment created from shades ranging from light red to dark brown, like the rock that makes up its floors and its contours. As its name suggests, Roquebrune-sur-Argens takes its name from its brown rocks. Discover the history of this surprising thousand-year-old city-state: its Castrum, its picturesque houses with their arcades and even its elegant belfry.

THE ROCHER DE ROQUEBRUNE SUR ARGENS
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