The Village of Gassin

Another day of cold, winter weather has my family stuck in the house. There was an advisory yesterday on the news that said if you didn’t have to go anywhere then please don’t. Stay at home, keep the roads clear and be warm is what they advised. Even though I don’t relish staying indoors too much (we are starting to get on each other’s nerves living in the kitchen), I do agree that it’s best to stay home and stay warm. We are still without heating oil, but at least the little electric heater is keeping us warmer than being outside.

Since I’m stuck inside for the day, I decided to rummage through my old photos that I’d taken last summer while visiting surrounding villages in Provence. Though I don’t mind the cold, I am anxious for the longer days, green leaves on the trees and blooming flowers that spring and summer brings with them. In flipping through my virtual photo albums I came across the medieval village of Gassin. Last summer we took a trip there one weekend and it was just delightful.

The ancient village of Gassin is situated not far from St. Tropez. In fact, from the edge of the 13th century ramparts which surround the village, the view takes you from the Gulf of St. Tropez to the town of St. Tropez in the distance.

Gassin is a charming little village which I’m not sure many people know about. We were there in the height of summer, on a week-end and there were not very many people around at all. I was very surprised by this since it is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Provence.

Since there were no crowds to dodge around, we were able to spend the afternoon leisurely strolling along the cobblestone streets. I was delighted to find that I didn’t have to fight the crowds for a photo opportunity. Normally, when you visit touristy places in France, it becomes very difficult to snap a good photo without some stranger ending up in it somehow!

The town was very neat and tidy. The houses well taken care of and very clean. The streets made of cobblestones and the old village houses with dates written above their doors are truly a find for the history lover like me. I took several photos of doorways with dates etched above them long ago. Oh, I love finds like these!

In anticipation of a lunch crowd, there were a few restaurants who dressed up to the nines.  Each one with a lovely view of the surrounding valley and vineyards.

The trees and flowers were in full bloom and I love the flower beds in front of some of the house. These always add richness to the color of the town.

I also love the houses whose owners had left the stone façade.

I much prefer to look at stone houses than painted facades, although the ones that were painted were done tastefully.

It is said that the Knights Templar could have built a castle high on a rock above the Gulf of St. Tropez and there did seem to be some remnants written into the ancient walls.

The church and its square tower were built around the 16th century.

It’s very quaint and nicely done. The interior is not grandiose like other churches you might have been to. It has been updated and painted and has an air of “modernization” to it, but is nonetheless a very worthy stop to make while visiting the town.

During the 16th century, the village also became known for its sorcerers. Between the Knights Templar and the sorcerers, there is definitely a lot of history to be found here.

Though there is no chateau to visit or a large number of touristy attractions, Gassin should be on the list of any traveler to Provence who enjoys the simple pleasure of lovely scenery. That’s exactly what this town has to offer, relaxation and beautiful scenery.

If you want to see more photos of the village of Gassin they appear on Flickr. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Photos on Flickr.

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About backyardprovence

I was finally able to realized my dream of living in France when I moved here in 2010. I love to read,I love history and road trips. I want to be doing anything outside in the fresh air. I want to have an entire room devoted to a personal library.

Posted on February 5, 2012, in Bon Voyage! and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. What a lovely little town. I hadn’t heard of it. While it’s nice not to have crowds, I always feel sorry for the little restaurants, etc. when their chairs sit empty and the waiter or proprietor stands there alone with his hands behind his back, hoping you’ll stop in.

    • Hi Lee-I know, it totally makes you feel guilty like you should stop in and give them some business! No doubt the food is superb at these places. If they took the time to set the tables that nicely, I’m sure the food is equally as good!

  2. Small world; we rented an apartment in Gassin for a week the year before we bought our house in Sablet. We were checking out various areas of Provence and went there for many of the reasons you write about. We ultimately decided that it was a little far off the beaten path so to speak and not all that easy to do day trips from.

    • Hi Michel- I agree it is a bit out of the way to make day trips from, but it’s an excellent day trip in and of itself. Sablet sure seems a long way from Gassin. Have you been back sense?

  3. Lovely post, Ashley! I’ll definitely look up Gassin next time that we are in the South of France. There are a lot of nice places there which are off the beaten track. St. Tropez is definitely out of my list and Gassin is in. 😉

    • Thank you Malou! It definitely is worth the drive. Much more peaceful and calm than St Tropez and since the village sits on a hill, you get the most spectacular views from many angles. Since it is sort of off the beaten path and takes a while to get to, I would also suggest you try and visit the village of Ramatuelle. It isn’t that far away and is really quite lovely, too. I wrote a piece on that village as well, back in July 2011. If you get an early enough start to the day, try and visit both to maximize your day 🙂

      • I guess we drove close to Ramatuelle on our way back to our camping sight in Roquebrune from Bormes-les-Mimosas. We went to this place with the lighthouse called Cap Ferrat and took the small roads.

      • I have yet to make it to Cap Ferrat. I hope you make it back to Ramatuelle, it’s quite different than Gassin. The centre village is much smaller with very tiny and narrow streets. Totally little French village! There are some wonderful restaurants on the main street, too.

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