Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Provence: tourism & sightseeing
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Tourrettes-sur-Loup is a perched village in the Alpes-Maritimes department, a little way north-east of Grasse and west of Vence, and just a short way inland from the major coastal resorts of Cannes and Nice. It is in a very picturesque setting surrounded by wooded hills and valleys.
Your first highlight is before you even arrive in Tourrrettes-sur-Loup: the pretty view of the village as you approach from Bar-sur-Loup. Whichever direction you arrive from you will see the Place de la Liberation, the main square and parking area in the village.
On the right hand side of the square you can visit the Tourrettes-sur-Loup tourist office to ask for a plan of the village.
On the other side side of the square you can see the Church of Saint-Gregoire. This church was built in the 12th century, then modified in the 16th and 19th centuries. The most unusual feature about the Church of Saint Gregory is its use of more ancient stones, some of which feature engravings and reliefs. See in particular the stone with an inscription dedicated to Mercury that dates from Roman times and is now part of the altar.
From the Place de la Liberation you can pass through one of the two old stone gateways to explore the heart of the old town. The town has an attractive medieval centre, strung out along the top of the cliffs of a rocky outcrop that at one time acting as a defense wall against possible attacks.
The layout of the historic village is simple to follow, with one road (Grand Rue) that follows the circumference of the village and several small roads that lead from here into the main square and the Town Hall, in a building that was originally a small castle. There is little in the way of 'major' monuments to discover but don't let that deter you, for Tourrettes-sur-Loup is all the same a pleasure in itself with the alleys and the ancient stone buildings.
At the southern end of the town you can see the viewpoint and 'table d'orientation'. Here you will find lovely views across the countryside beyond the ramparts. From here you can return to the main square, still following the Grand Rue, that leads to another stone gateway next to the medieval belfry and tower. The tower has its origins in the 12th century although most of what we see today was built in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Back in the Place de la Liberation you can follow the small Rue de la Bourgade behind the church to see a 19th century oil mill and the small aquaduct that supplies the waterfall for the mill to operate. Also in the Place de la Liberation take a look at the lavoir.
If you follow the Route de Saint-Jean a short distance out of the north-west corner of the square you can see the Chapel of Saint-Jean. Unassuming from the outside, the interior of the chapel is unusual because the walls were decorated in the 1950's with large colourful frescoes, almost childlike in their design, showing stories from the Bible.
Near the chapel you can also visit a small museum dedicated to the violet flower, once a very important industry for Tourrettes-sur-Loup. In the museum and information centre, called the "Bastide aux Violettes", you can learn all about the history and tradition of violets for the town as well as visit a garden containing lots of plants from the region. Violets are still grown in the region, with the flowers used in confectionery and the leaves by the perfume industry, and the village is often called the "Cité des Violettes".
Largely now focussed on tourism, Tourrettes-sur-Loup has an extensive selection of artisans selling their products in the town including several selling products based on violets, along with a selection of cafes and restaurants.
The weekly market in Tourrettes-sur-Loup is held each Wednesday morning.
There are a great deal of villages and beautiful scenery to enjoy in the immediate area around Tourrettes-sur-Loup and the French riviera is close to the south.
Among the unmissable sites, the village of Gourdon is in a stunning location and Saint-Paul-de-Vence has the modern art museum at Fondation Maeght. Be sure to also explore the town of Valbonne, and Antibes is one of our personal favourite coastal towns in the area.
Map of Tourrettes-sur-Loup and places to visit
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Address: Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Bar-sur-Loup, Grasse, Alpes-Maritimes, Provence, 06140, France || GPS: latitude 43.716944, longitude 7.060556
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Gourdon: most beautiful village (7km)
- Baou de Saint-Jeannet: site of natural beauty (7km)
- Le Vallon du Brec: remarkable garden (9km)
- Marineland d'Antibes: aquarium (12km)
- Grasse: secteur sauvegarde (13km)
- Jardin de la Villa Fort de France: remarkable garden (13km)
- Parc Phœnix: zoo or wildlife park (14km)
- Jardin botanique de la villa Thuret: remarkable garden (16km)
- Cascade de Gairaut: site of natural beauty (16km)
- Jardin botanique: remarkable garden (17km)
The French version of this page is at Tourrettes-sur-Loup (Francais)