Ramatuelle is a medieval pituresque village huddled upto the hillside in the heart of nature. It is a quiet modest village which contrasts with the trendy celebrity side of its beaches of Pampelonne.
The heart of the village is built in the form of a snail. Shops and cafés hide in secret alleyways. The ochre façades and the pastel coloured shutters are decorated with jasmin, honeysuckle and bougainvillea. A pleasure for the senses ! On Thursdays and Sundays the local Provençal market livens up the cafés and restaurants of Place de l'Ormeau.
Ramatuelle - (Photos : golfe-infos)
The beach of Pampelonne became one of the most famous beaches in the world with the jet-set. Two private beaches created the Tropezian myth : "Tahiti Plage" opened in 1946, made out of the abandoned film set originally used by the studios La Victorine for the shooting of the film "Chant des îles" by Georges Manae in 1935 and "Club 55" (created in 1955) which was the canteen for the shooting crew of the famous film "Et Dieu créa la femme" with Brigitte Bardot and is now a renowned restaurant.
Plage de Pampelonne à Ramatuelle - (Photos : Hélisécurité ››)
For over half a century Pampelonne has seen many a show-biz star starting with Errol Flyn in the 50's, Brigitte Bardot, Roger Vadim, Jane Fonda in the 60's, Michèle Morgan and Gilbert Becaud in the 70's, Sylvester Stalonne, Claudia Schiffer, Elton John and Johnny Hallyday ...just to mention a few.
Area : 3 600 acres
Population : 2 271 inhabitants
. A touch of history : click here
Two theories, now refuted by historians, exist as to the origins of Ramatuelle.
Some believe that the name comes from the Arab word Rahmatu'llah meaning "Divine Providence" or "Blessed by the Gods". Others evoke the name of a Celtic-Ligurian settlement, Camatullici, established on the banks of Gapeau river before the Roman conquest arrived.
Chased from their homes, its people are said to have taken refuge in the hills, then set up on the site of the current village. At the time, the area was referred to as the Camatullici Region. The "R" of Region is then said to have replaced the "C" of Camatullici to form the words Ramatullucci, then Ramatuelle.
. Notre-Dame Church : Including a serpentine stone portal dated 1620, the church was built in the 16th century against the ancient ramparts - the covered way on the church roof is still intact. The bell tower was a former lookout post. Inside, you will discover two16th century gold-leafed wooden statuettes, a bust of Saint-André - the Patron Saint of Ramatuelle - carved from the stump of a fig tree and two 17th century altarpieces.
. The ancient prisons : Located in the street stretching round the bottom of the old village, the prisons were built during the reign of Napoleon III in a style so reminiscent of Arab architecture that legend tells they were in fact Turkish baths built by the Saracens !
. "Les Moulins de Paillas" : Ancient windmills used up to the turn of the 20th century. They are scheduled to be restored in the near future. Located on the RD 89 road, going towards Ramatuelle, the windmills offer superb panoramic views (altitude 325 metres) over Cavalaire Bay and La Croix Valmer on one side and the village of Ramatuelle on the other. On clear days, you can glimpse three of the Golden Islands (Le Levant, Port-Cros and Bagaud) off the coast of Hyères.
. The bell tower : One of the four 14th century lookout posts transformed into bell towers in the late 16th century when the church was built. Cannot be visited.
. "Col de Collebasse" : A picturesque hilltop road leading to La Croix Valmer through a beautiful umbrella pine forest (Alt.: 129 m).
. "Phare de Camarat" (lighthouse) : France's second-highest lighthouse for the hight of its beam, at 130 m above sea level. The lighthouse formerly ran on oil before being converted to electricity in 1946, then automated in 1977. Its range is 60 km. On clear days, you can see as far as Corsica from the top. Cape Camarat, classified an exceptional natural site, stretches out down below. Visits: please ask the keeper.
. "Cap Taillat" : A magnificent and remarkably well-protected peninsula, where rare Mediterranean species such as dwarf palms thrive.
Cap Taillat Ramatuelle - (Photos : golfe-infos)
. "Batterie Napoléonienne" : One of the defence posts set up by Napoleon along the coast during the blockade caused by the European coalition against France in 1804. Of note is the powder room - a small vaulted building - protected by large rocks.
. "Le Dolmen de la Baie de Briande" : Burial monument dated 2000 B.C. and protected by the "Conservatoire du Littoral" (Coastal Preservation Society). The dolmen is located 500 metres from the "Maison des Douanes". In 1935, the archaeologist Oscar Rappaz discovered arrow heads, quartz pendants and serpentine stone pearls on the site.
. The Provençal market : Every Thursday and Sunday morning, Place de l'Ormeau.
. The famous beach of "Pampelonne" : 5 km of fine, golden sand stretching from Cape Pinet to Cape Camarat… One of the main sites of the Allied Landings on August 15th, 1944, Pampelonne is now home to 25 internationally-famous beach concessions !
. "Le sentier du Littoral" : The Coastal Footpath takes you along sandy beaches and rocky coast, from Saint-Tropez to Gigaro beach in La Croix Valmer.
"Sentier du Littoral" Ramatuelle - (Photos : Hélisécurité ››)
. For diving fans : Discover the fabulous unspoiled sea beds, rich in subsea flora and fauna.
. Windsurfing : Great slalom spot when the west wind blows at Pampelonne beach (access by "route des Tamaris", by "Bd Patch", by "route de l'Epi" and by "route de Bonne Terrasse".)
. Take a walk : click here
. Cinema at the "Espace Culturel" : Every Tuesday and Wednesday. click here
. Shopping : Galerie de céramiques et de peintures, Poterie culinaire, terre vernissée, savons, senteurs l'Occitane, Textiles, bijoux, accessoires de mode, objets insolites.
. Vineyards and cellars : Visits, wine-tasting and sale.
Vineyards and cellars in Ramatuelle - (Photos : Château des Marres ››)
. LEADING EVENTS : click here
Santons and colours of Provence :
exhibition in April
Come and discover the local art of Christmas crib figures. photos
Les Temps Musicaux :
8 days starting mid-July
Classical music festival.
Theatre Festival :
from August 1st to 12th
Theatre and variety shows directed by Jean-Claude Brialy. click here
Jazz festival :
Created in 1986 this festival in the little open-air theatre of Ramatuelle offers precious moments between performers and audience. The concerts start at 8.30 pm in mid-August, directed by Denis Antoine. click here