Le Castellet

This small medieval village perched on the top of a hill is one of my favourite places in the area around Bandol and Sanary. There’s a car park with plenty of places just outside the village walls, so don’t be tempted to follow the first signs for parking which will leave you with quite a walk to the village.

You enter the village through one of two fortified gateways and then you can just take your time wandering around the narrow cobblestone streets with attractive boutiques selling everything from pottery and soaps to fabrics and jewellery. And there are loads of restaurants to choose from, including a good crêperie Le Roy d’Ys where I’ve had lunch a number of times. But if you don’t fancy a full lunch, follow the signs dotted around the village for a fougasse shop called Lou Mestre Pin. From a small shop front in the ancient walls, they sell absolutely delicious fougasse with a range of different provençal toppings. Make your selection, and then find a perch with a great view (you’re spoilt for choice in terms of views) and tuck in!

From the esplanade of the 15th century château, that currently houses the town hall, there’s a fabulous view of the Sainte Baume range of hills as well as the vines and the vineyards that are below the village. And talking of wine, there are numerous winemakers  in the area where you can sample delicious Bandol red or rosé and buy direct from the producer. If you’re driving from Bandol you’ll see signs along the road – including one to my favourite producers – Le Galentin. Bandol wine is very difficult to buy outside France, and if you do find it, it’s very expensive, so my advice would be to take the opportunity to stock up whilst you’re there!

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