While out and about one day we happened upon a chateau in the village of Solliès-Pont which is located near Toulon.
This chateau is actually easy to miss if your happen to not be looking out your side window (as I was) while driving by. In this modern day it’s surrounded by commerce, apartments and houses.
I love to go chateau hunting. It happens to fill me with the greatest excitement ever. It’s history happening right before my eyes and all other things around me just disappear. When I find a chateau or the ruins of one, I study everything about it. I love to walk around and touch the walls and feel every part of it. I will literally close my eyes and image what it was like to be there when it was in all its glory hundreds of years ago. I can visualize the people, the furnishings, the surrounding area and I marvel that such a thing could still be present even if it’s just the remains that are left.
On this day and with this chateau, I was able to see it as it almost was when it was built in the 16th century by the Forbin family. People like Charles IX, Catherine de Medicis and Louis XIV (who I am quite fascinated with) graced their presents here. Granted the chateau is not in the exact state it was when it was built. It had to be rebuilt after local citizens and others from Marseille set fire to it in 1792. After that, it was left in a state of disrepair. Of course today the chateau one sees has been modernized and is constantly maintained.
Nevertheless, it has stood the test of time and has its stories to tell. Whenever I have the chance to visit sites like this I really do wish walls could talk so they would tell me all that they have seen and the history that has transpired.
In April 1998, the community of Solliès-Pont purchased the chateau and park. Nowadays the chateau is host to the Office of Tourism, the police station and an art exhibition gallery amongst other things. During the month of July it is host to many outdoor concerts as it is situated on a beautiful park of several hectares. There is also a nice pond towards the back of the park that you can leisurely stroll around.
If you happen to be in the area, stop by for a visit. There is a terrific spot at the backside of the chateau to have an afternoon picnic on the lawn. This is by far the best view as you get to see the chateau, the park full of beautiful trees and the pond.
It’s a great way to spend the afternoon with family and friends and to show off the fact that you get to live in a country that has something like this!
If you want to see more photos of the Solliès-Pont Chateau they appear on Flickr. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Photos on Flickr.