Fort Freinet

Fortifications - Ville

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A listed monument, this stone settlement was built in the late 12th century; the inhabitants deserted it later for the current village of La Garde. In Medieval times, men carved houses, a chapel, a seigneurial residence and a wide moat in the rock an impressive show of skill. Legend tells that Fort Freinet was inhabited by Saracens, who were present in the region in the 10th century. However, archaeological digs undertaken in 1980 revealed no traces of these Spanish-Arab warriors.

Posterity has left us the name « Fort-Freinet ». The term, however, is misleading and suggests the military function which it had only after its abandonment. In fact, the name refers to the ancient castrum “Gardia”, a fortified village perched upon a rocky spur, which was chosen for its natural defenses and for its dominant position. To strengthen these defenses, a moat was cut into the rock. This fortified village controlled the route to the gulf of Saint-Tropez which, at the time, was called “Le Freinet”, the ash-tree, because it was peculiarly characteristic of the plain of Grimaud and its surroundings. Archeologists had hoped to find some evidence of the well-known tradition – that these were the ruins of a saracen fortress, from which the Muslims of Spain launched their raids in Provence and beyond, between the end of the ninth and the end of the tenth century, but in fact they only found the trace of a medieval village society of about thirty houses. The inhabitants stayed a little more than a hundred years, leaving at the end of the twelfth century before descending to found the present village of La Garde-Freinet.

Access: either from the Tourist Office, Place de la Mairie car park, towards 'Aire de La Planète' - signposted footpath, length 60 mins return. Or from 'La Croix des Maures' car park - signposted footpath, length 40 mins return.

Fort Freinet
83680 La Garde-Freinet
La Garde-Freinet Tourisme
Chapelle Saint Jean
RD 558
83680 La Garde-Freinet