The village is one of the places in the Var that you must see. Perched at the top of its promontory, Le Castellet seduces visitors with its beautiful little squares lined with old houses whose stones have been carefully restored. Along the sloping and largely flowery streets, we like to take the time to enter the shops and sit on the terrace of cafés, often dominated by a generously blue sky. Between its rich architectural heritage, including oratories scattered here and there, its exceptional location in the heart of the Bandol vineyard and its nature which calls for the practice of many outdoor activities, there is plenty to spend pleasant moments in the heart of the hilly landscapes and a stone's throw from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Le Castellet, an architectural heritage
You enter Le Castellet through two fortified gates, testimony to its long history. It is then that architecture lovers can take the direction of its most emblematic monuments. Starting by going to see the parish church of the Transfiguration, whose construction dates from the end of the 11th century and the beginning of the 12th century. It is the best-preserved part of the medieval castrum and its Romanesque architecture is to be scrutinized in every detail. In the ramparts there are various openings. The "Trou de Madame" offers a sublime panorama of the surrounding nature, tradition reports that the Ladies of Lombard used to stop there to wait for the return of their husbands. Afterwards, one leaves in the direction of the castle of Castellet, which now houses the town hall of the commune. Largely rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries, it is another element that highlights so well the use of stone, and the specificity of Provencal architecture
Le Castellet and the vine
In the village of Le Castellet, it is fairly easy to spot vines that have been planted here and there along the facades of some houses. These are climbing vines whose role is to provide shade in summer on the terraces of the houses. But this is not without reminding that when you reach the esplanade of the castle, you have a very beautiful panoramic view of the Sainte-Baume massif as well as of the estates and the vineyards that take place at the bottom of the village. These are excellent wines of the Bandol AOC. A stay at Le Castellet can also be the occasion to take long walks in the vineyards and to reach a key place: the Bandol Wine House, a stone's throw from the medieval village. All year round, sales and tastings take place in a bucolic setting, in the heart of olive trees, lavender and of course vineyards. Why not also visit the wineries on the Castellet hillsides, and plunge into the heart of a traditional vine growing culture where natural amendments are used to cultivate the vines, the aim being to respect this so precious environment.
The Paul Ricard circuit in Le Castellet, notice to the motorsport lovers
This is a site that seduces motor sport enthusiasts and is also a mythical place. If the Paul Ricard circuit in Le Castellet is historically known, it is because it has organized the French F1 Grand Prix for years, and again since 2018. It is a real cradle of motorsports with unmissable events such as the Bol d'Or, the Truck Grand Prix but also the 24 Hours of Cycling and the Sunset Bike. And throughout the year, thrill-seekers can drive exceptional cars and visit the backstage of this legendary circuit during guided tours. Open to the public, the site is now one of the must-sees of French tourism and it would be a shame to miss it when you visit Le Castellet. The tourist area of the village (2 rue de la Poste) will allow you to book guided tours and get more information about this Mecca of motorsports in France.
Le Castellet, village of the arts
If Castellet is spoken of as an arts village, it is also because along its narrow streets, you will discover numerous art galleries and small craft shops that make you want to stroll for hours and take an interest in the local specificities and know-how. Historically a favoured place for painters to set up their studios, the medieval village abounds in artists and craftsmen who make and sell their creations in the village. Each alleyway is an opportunity to discover a new artistic and craft universe. The brand-new art trail helps you to get lost among these creators, and a brochure of the trail is available at the tourist area so that you don't miss any of them.
Activities all year round
Every season and during the major events of the year, Le Castellet comes alive with several highlights. In spring, the Children's Festival is a weekend where many activities are offered: wooden games, creative and science workshops, puppet shows and food-trucks to eat. In summer, the agenda includes Les Nuits du Conte, which is aimed at an intergenerational audience, and where storytelling professionals and musicians perform in the majestic setting of the medieval village. In August, Les Soirées du Castellet is a classical music festival that takes place in front of the magnificent facades of the castle and to which renowned artists are invited. At the end of September, the medievals take visitors on a journey to the heart of the Middle Ages, with demonstrations of combat, period crafts and guided tours of the town. Then comes the holiday season and the Christmas Festival is also an opportunity to enliven the village of Le Castellet, with a medieval market, games, pony rides and the arrival of the long-awaited Santa Claus.