A medieval village in the heart of the Var

Besse-sur-Issole is a small Provençal town situated in the Centre-Var,

between Brignoles and Le Luc. Its situation is ideal for visiting the region, from the

Gorges of the Verdon to the Porquerolles islands.

This authentic spot, the birthplace of Gaspard de Besse, the Robin Hood of Provence, has kept all its original soul and invites you for a lovely stroll along its medieval streets to discover its heritage.

To see:

The 11th century Saint Pierre and Saint Marie Madeleine Church, which houses a painting by Frédéric Montenard, a Master from the Provençal School, and a statue of St Louis from the 17th century.

The 9 fountains, including the one on the village square surmounted by a statue of Marianne with the particularity of holding her torch in her left hand. That was the village mayor in 1891, a socialist, showing his political preferences!

The big square with its belfry, listed as a historic monument in 1946, surmounted by a cosmological campanile from the 18th century representing the solar system.

The 18th century Château St Dominique with its classical façade. Auctioned off in 1791, it was purchased by two separate owners.

At the start of the 20th century, it housed a silk factory that raised silkworms.

The house where Gaspard de Besse, the Robin Hood of Provence, was born in 1757.

He held up stagecoaches and robbed from the rich, giving a part of his booty to the villagers and thus sowing pre-revolutionary ideas in the minds of the people.

His motto was "Frighten but never kill".

Condemned to death, Gaspard de Besse was subjected to the wheel and killed on the square of Aix on October 25, 1781.

The Lake of Besse with its olive oil mill offers pleasant walks along its banks where there are specially set out picnic areas. Unfortunately, the lake was drained several times, notably in 2016, a year in which the drought was particularly devastating.

The Roman bridge over the Issole in the direction of the Sainte Agathe Hill.

The more venturesome will climb to the top of Mont Saint-Quinis, from where you have stunning views over the valley of the Issole. There, you will also discover the very pretty St Quinis Chapel and its ex-votos.

Besse sur Issole Lake

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