Chateaux of Var

Château d'Hyères

Château d"Hyères was one of the largest castles in Provence. The first mention of the castle dates from 1062. In 1524 and in 1536 the royal armies swept over Provence and Hyères castle was also besieged and conquered. It was reorganised by Charles I of Anjou in 1527 and ultimately dismantled by Louis XIII in a gesture of authority following the destructive religious wars. The castle has been labelled Histo ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Hyères, France

Château d'Entrecasteaux

Château d"Entrecasteaux was originally built in the 11th century, but rebuilt later in the 15th, 16th and 18th centuries. In 1974, after several decades of abandonment, the castle was restored by the British painter Hugh Ian Macgarvie-Munn who turned the castle into a museum.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Entrecasteaux, France

Château de Saint-Sauveur

On a wooded hilltop just southeast of Rocbaron village are the ruins of Château de Saint-Sauveur. A short hike up from the village visits the ruins and gives you a magnificent view across the land. About 10 minutes up the trail are the ruins of the ancient chapel. Really just the stone walls of the old building sitting in the trees at the edge of a small clearing. Interesting, but the real ruins are another 10-15 minute ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Rocbaron, France

Château d'Aiguines

Château d"Aiguines was built by the Templars at the request of the Bishop of Riez in the 12th century. It was again rebuilt by Balthazar de Gauthier, local lord from 1596 to 1641. Today castle is privately owned.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Aiguines, France

Château de Pontevès

The Château de Pontevès site is first recorded in a document in 1021 as the property of the monastery of Saint-Victoir in Marseille. Later, the lords of Pontevès progressively developed the site. In 1233 there is mention of a gate to the courtyard and the buildings arranged in the U-shape characteristic of the early 13th century. Further additions between 1560 and 1580 included a new bedroom, a great hall and the no ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Pontevès, France

Château De Bargème

The castle in small village of Bargème was constructed in the 13th century. During the Wars of religion it was in hands of Jean-Basptiste de Pontevès, Lord of Callas (1505-1579). In April 1579, the inhabitants of Callas, assisted by a resident named Jacques Sossy, a lieutenant of a Huguenot branch, broke into the castle and killed Pierre de Pontevès, then imprisoned Jean-Baptiste de Pontevès, his wife and his son B ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bargème, France

Château de Vins

Château de Vins was built by Saint Marc Jaumegarde, member of the Garde noble family in the early 16th century. The abandoned castle was restored since 1960.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Vins-sur-Caramy, France

Château de La Colle Noire

The Château de La Colle Noire is built on a promontory overlooking the plains of Montauroux. The chateau is surrounded by a park with a chapel dedicated to St Anne. The ensemble dates from the middle of the 19th century and was entirely redesigned by Christian Dior from 1950. It has been the property of Parfums Christian Dior since 2013.
Founded: 1826 | Location: Montauroux, France

Fort de Brégançon

Perched on a rocky outcrop, this islet had been inhabited since the 2nd century AD. The fortified castle, built in the Merovingian period, and the estate was to have countless occupants before coming under state ownership during the French Revolution. The fort was built in the 13th century and was used for military purposes for most of its life, belonging to a variety of noble families as they fell in and out of power th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bormes-les-Mimosas, France

Château de Taurenne

The Château de Taurenne is steeped in history. The castle, founded in the eleventh century, is magnificent and imposing with its 5 round towers. It is the center of an area of 253 hectares located between Aups and Tourtour. The estate has 8500 olive trees.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Aups, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.