France: Medieval Entrevaux from Nice

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Boarding the Train des Pignes to Entrevaux from Nice Chemin de Fer train station 

Today I’m taking the Train des Pignes from the Chemin de fer de Provence train station in Nice to Entrevaux which is to the northwest.  The train station and the line are from another era.  There is only one route from this small train station.  Entrevaux is about halfway on the route from Nice to Digne les Bains.  Apparently, this month the track is under repair and the train will stop halfway. A bus takes passengers from there to Entrevaux.   

I keep thinking Disney; but this is the real deal.

Arriving at the entrance, I’m charmed and can’t wait to get inside. 

When you enter the gates, there is a tourist office, formerly the guard room, on your left. I was able to get a map with information in English. You can also buy the token you need to climb to the Citadel. There is a token machine at the path entrance, but if it’s not functioning, you’d have to return to the tourist office to get a token. It cost 3 euro.  

This little girl didn’t seem to think much of my being there. 

The River Var flows right beside the walls. 

Just up from the entrance gate is a square with a small market and what looks like two or three shuttered restaurants. They may open on the weekends, or only open in late spring and through the high season. There are very few people around today.  

There is a sundial on the Mairie (town hall) keeping locals informed of the time since the 16th century. 

This woman was doing quite well, but as she began a steeper climb, a man came out to help.  

There are numerous fountains in Entrevaux; water was streaming or trickling continuously from each. Having heard the water is drinkable. I filled my water bottle. It was ice cold and delicious.  

The town was tranquil and charming.  It’s rare to have a historical site practically to yourself. 

There were doors that gleamed with new paint and polish and others that looked as if haven’t been used for years. 

There are no roads, so no cars in Entrevaux, but I imagine a 4-wheeler would be handy for hauling stuff. 

It looks very much like February here, but there are signs of spring. I want to come back when the trees and gardens are blooming. However, today I have an opportunity to see Entrevaux without the hustle of tourists. 

I easily found the Cathedral in the warren of Entrevaux streets. It was built in the early 1600s but is well maintained. I wasn’t expecting such an elaborate interior. The ceiling is especially lovely. There is a large painting of the Assumption of the Virgin by Francois Mimault and an organ dating to 1717. It’s still called a Cathedral even though it lost the official role in the 17th century. 

There are two olive trees outside the Cathedral

I have lots of time before the bus comes. I can either climb to the Citadel – or go across the street to the cafe, order a glass of wine and look up! In the long run, I knew I’d regret not making the trek.  

Following the path to the Citadel

The path zigzags up the hill which makes the distance longer but the pitch more doable. The views were really fantastic. There are a series of paths and stairs leading up to the Citadel on top. The walk up wasn’t so bad, the walk down though was hard on my knees. 

Parts of the walls are the natural cliffside. To raise the height man-made walls were added. 

There’s a handy map indicating direction.  

On the top floor, there are rooms in tough shape but I was intrigued by a ladder leading up to an attic area. Then I noticed the state of the ceiling and wondered why the ladder wasn’t taken away or closed off. I could see some ten-year-old deciding to climb up, then falling through the barely there ceiling. 

The citadel was last used during World War I as a prison for German officers.

Heading back to the bus stop I looked up. It seemed way higher than the walk up and I’m really glad I decided to climb.  

About

I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.

3 Comments

  • Sharen March 1, 2020 at 12:50 pm Reply

    Wonderful photos of the doors, Kathy! Good for you climbing up to the top – such magnificent views. Guess everyone there has developed strong leg muscles including the little lady you saw. According to The Blue Zones, that activity keeps people living to 100+ in Sardinia. Something to aspire to, eh?

  • Sharen March 1, 2020 at 12:56 pm Reply

    Wonderful photos of the doors, Kathy! Good for you climbing up to the top – such magnificent views. Guess everyone there has developed strong leg muscles including the little lady you saw. According to The Blue Zones, that activity keeps people living to 100+ in Sardinia! Something to aspire to!

  • Patricia Sands March 4, 2020 at 4:49 pm Reply

    Great photos! I’m glad you decided to go. Now you know why I was so intrigued by the town and decided to make it an integral location in Promises To Keep.

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