Bargeme deserves with no doubt the title of “one of the most beautiful villages of France”; This official title is given to 150 villages in France and Bargeme is one of them! Let’’s discover it! :))
Bargeme is the highest village of the “Var” department and is located 1100 meters high. The village is well known for the ruins of it’s medieval castle who can be seen from very far away in the valley.
This castle has a kind of tragic story…. do you want me to tel it? Ok, here it is: The castle was built in the XIIth century and belonged to the family “de pontèves”, lords of this mountain area. Very soon, people went to live near of the castle, because of his high position over the valley, you could see everything that happened in the valley and if enemies were coming, the people would see them soon enough to get secured in the castle. And the village grew up very quickly.
In the XVIth century, during the religious wars in France (Catholics against protestants) the people choose mostly the protestant side, not because of the religious belief, but against their lord who remained catholic. The lord asked his cousin, chief of the catholic army in this area to occupy the village and force the people to remain catholic and under his orders. This army took the place, mistreated the people and went away by stealing everything they could from the village (as it was the custom for armies at this time…)
The Lord of Ponteves, back in his legitimacy, organized a special church service to inaugurate the new era of his power. But the people, once the army gone, wanted only revenge against their lord for what he made by calling this army to plunder the village. The took all the arms they found, interrupted the church service and killed their lord, went into the castle to plunder everything they could and began to destroy it! Gosh! they meant it seriously and seem that they really didn’t like their lord…. Soon after that, the 2 sons of the lords came to the village to claim the heritage of their father and lordship over the place: they were killed too by the people of the village who wanted to remain free. That’s why they decided to destroy the whole castle as they could, and stay free without any lord.
To be forgiven for their sins, they built some years later a little church near of the castle, and very soon the lordship was overtaken by another Lord of the area, but now they didn’t have anymore castle to be protected….
Well, this vlllage today has something magic about it… the ruins of the castle, the whole landscape made of mountains and valleys is absolutely beautiful and as it is a bit far away from every great town, the best is to stay there a bit (at least one night) in the only guesthouse of the place. It’s an old restored village house with 5 rooms and it cost’s 56€ for a double room with breakfast. The owner, Annie Noël, is a very nice person, who will answer any of your questions about the village and give you a lot of tips to visit the area. If you want more info’s, go to her website (only in french: http://rosesdebargeme.fr/index.html)
We had the chance to spend a night there, and the room was so pretty, with an amazing view (see the gallery) and it was really magic to look at the sunrise at 6 o’clock in the morning, see the day coming up and then go have a walk of a few hours in the mountain…. A perfect stay! :))