If you are one of my regular readers you must have noticed that I have a soft spot for small, quaint villages. Wherever I travel in Europe I try to discover these little gems that can satisfy my photography addiction and nurture my wanderlust. I just love to feed my curiosity as I roam the streets and meander into backstreets and hidden courtyards. So while staying in Bandol, a French seaside town, I also ventured into the backland to the medieval village Le Castellet. I had read and heard a lot about it and was therefore thrilled that it is only a 20-minute drive from Bandol’s marina. By car you follow a winding road up the steep hill with Le Castellet perching in view and vineyards adorning the slopes. As you circle and climb the slopes on a narrow country road your anticipation grows while the panoramic views take your breath away.
Le Castellet is best enjoyed in the morning when the summer temperatures are still bearable. Plan your visit so that you can roam the streets of Le Castellet in the morning, have a leisurely lunch in one of the many restaurants, and afterwards explore the winery route and visit a few vineyards.
Le Castellet’s village center is built on top of the hill which is in fact quite unusual for a French Provencal village since those are more commonly built on the slopes with only the church or a castle at the top. The 15th century ramparts and 2 fortified gateways into the village spark your interest because what to expect inside?
Charming Le Castellet
Le Castellet is an enchanting place with its typical Provencal picturesque setting. As you stroll through the narrow cobbled stone, sloping streets, you can’t help but feel like you are in authentic France. Small squares are lined with charming old stone houses. The stone walls are covered with colorful wisteria and bougainvillea.
The place is packed with heritage and moreover spectacular panoramic vistas on the Sainte Baume massif, rolling hills and vineyards as far as the eye can see.
Shopping in Le Castellet
The village is the ultimate place for souvenir and gift shopping. The streets are lined with artisan workshops, vintage/antique shops, art galleries and souvenir shops. It is really a joy to browse the hand-made soaps, ceramics, French linens or Provencal herbs, vinaigrette, and salts mixtures.
Lunch in Le Castellet
Around lunch time the call of aromas of French cooking wafting through the open windows will draw you to one of the cool and shaded open air terraces for a leisurely lunch.
Planning a trip to the French Riviera/Provence? Check out all my previous blog posts and tips about this destination here.