Nicknamed “the balcony of the Estérel”, Montauroux is one of the nine hilltop villages of the Pays de Fayence. It is situated all the way in the east of the Var department, a bit north of the Saint Cassien lake and approximately 20 kilometres from Cannes.
Typically Provençal, this very old village was built during the 11th century in tiers rising between 100 et 400 metres above sea level. But Montauroux, hidden in a lush vegetation, is difficult to see from far away!
Arriving at the foot of the village you pass in front of the big, traditional washhouse supporting on its upper storey the main square. Leave your vehicle on that square and take a moment to admire the vast panorama over the surroundings from the south-facing belvedere.
To explore the village, just take one of the little streets lined with pretty and colourful house and punctuated by small squares, fountains and some shops and cafés. All the streets lead to the top of the village and the Saint-Barthélemy parish church with its square bell tower topped by a wrought-iron campanile. The church was built in the 12th century and underwent alterations and extensions in the 17th and 18th centuries.
But the true gem of Montauroux is the Saint-Barthélemy Chapel. Built around 1630 by the White Penitents with stones from a fortress, today long gone, its architecture is quite plain. The surprise awaits you inside where you will see a barrel vaulted ceiling and painted wooden panels that cover the entire walls and ceiling, as well as an immense painting of Saint Bartholomew and the Annunciation behind the altar. Once the property of Christian Dior, he bequeathed the chapel to the town who then had it restored. The famous designer himself lived in the magnificent 19th century Château de la Colle Noir that dominates the plain of Montauroux.
Behind the chapel is a small cemetery and a view point from which you can see the neighbouring village of Callian.
In the area around Montauroux
Classed as a “Station verte de vacances”, or “green” vacation area, the areas surrounding Montauroux are as attractive as the village. To the southeast, the St Cassien lake stretches out with its intimate little beaches surrounded by hills as green as the waters. The lake offers many aquatic activities and in one of its arms you will find the Ornithological Reserve of Fondurane. This protected ecosystem is a haven for migratory birds and all sorts of aquatic wildlife.
Not far away are the peaks and the wooded mountains of the Estérel and the Massif du Tanneron.
To the north, direction Mons, the Gorges de la Haute-Siagne, classed a Parc Natura 2000, are interesting not only for the flora and unspoiled natural surroundings but also from a historic point of view with the bridges and mills. To finish the tour, the other villages of the Pays de Fayence are not far away, such as Callian at just 1 km and the village of Fayence, 6 km away.