The medieval village of Fayence is found in the South East of France in the Var, one of the largest departments in France. As part of Provence it naturally oozes all of the charm this region has to offer. Nestled in the hilltop, the historical village houses overlook the fields and private airport below.
It’s winding and steep narrow streets cork-screw up to the village centre where you will find the 18th century church. Consecrated in 1750, L’Eglise St Jean Baptiste dominates the market square. This church is probably the third largest in the Var measuring 50 metres by 20 metres and is 25 metres high with a bell tower measuring 37 metres high. It has a Baroque style but one could easily mistake this beautiful church for being much older.
Fayence was used as the summer retreat of the Bishops of Fréjus. They would stay at the Fayence Chateau. Sadly, all that remains of the Fayence Château is the tower since it was pulled down in the 18th century by Monsignor de Fleury who called it “too expensive and useless”.
The centre of Fayence is vibrant with its markets on
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings, its café-bars, fine restaurants and interesting little local craft shops. There is the ‘Espace Culturel’ where exhibitions, cinema movies, shows and classes are held.
“Fayence” is a Latin derivative of “Faventia Loca”, which means 'favourable location’. There is evidence of Roman occupation in the Notre Dame des Cyprès and the Moulin de Camandoule which is now a popular hotel and restaurant serving the finest of cuisine. In the 8th century the area was conquered by the Saracens who occupied parts of Provence for 200 years. Finally they were defeated by Count William, the Liberator in 973 AD. Fayence was left devastated and deserted for hundreds of years apart from the Monks of Lérins who built a convent in the 11th century.
In 1391 Turenne invaded the neighbouring village of Callian, pulling it to the ground. The people of Callian fled to the next village of Fayence rendering it populated for the first time in centuries.
Fayence boasts one of the best gliding centres in Europe at the Fayence-Tourettes Flying Club. It is open to tourists to trial a gliding lesson and there is also the restaurant over looking the airfield which is open to the general public.
This village is popular with cyclists. There are cycle routes to the Maures Mountains (6kms), through the hills to Lac St Cassien (8kms) and though the forest to Mons.
Le Four du Mitan was a bread oven which was in operation for 400 years until it’s closure in 1947. It has now been turned into an interesting little museum with free entry. Also visit the Eco Museum, open Wednesdays and Thursday during the summer, which is on the site of two old hydraulic flour mills and exhibits plenty of rural heritage from the area.
For the golf players there is the nearby Terre Blanche Golf and Spa resort. Horse riding is popular in the area as is swimming in the Mountain streams and at Lac St Cassien. Here you will find a beach atmosphere adorning restaurants over looking the lake, pedal-boats and great fishing locations.
Fayence is well positioned with it’s stunning mountain views and is only around 50 minutes drive from Nice airport. Other costal resorts, such as Cannes and Fréjus are only around 30 minutes away.