Bandol Historical Tour / Reading version


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The Motto

Here are some further details about the motto ‘Dux et Navigatinum Servitas’ which appears on the studs and which has offended those with a knowledge of Latin…and rightly so.

On 6th October 1751, the consul (mayor) of the time, Simon CAY asked for ‘a seal and arms’ for the town of Bandol from the marquis of Bandol, Ange Hilaire François DE BOYER DE FORESTA.

In the same document, the Lord granted ‘for free’ a coat of arms comprising ‘a green field with a golden star surrounded by the motto ‘Dux et Navigantium Securitas’ (Guide and Safety for Sailors), which is the one and only true motto of the town of Bandol! Errors in translation or interpretation have given rise to incorrect mottos (e.g. ‘Dux Navigantium Servitas ou Salus’).
Ipso facto, the phrase engraved on the studs comes from a ‘language mistake’. These have then been sold or distributed in variants which have no link to historical reality.




Landmark 01 : Alfred Vivien Bust


Alfred Vivien (1832 - 1909) was the head of Bandol boarding school from 1860 to 1880.

It was founded by his father Jacques in 1851. This institution (which used to be located at the top of today’s ‘Rue des Écoles’) expanded considerably up until 1908.

Elected mayor in 1881, Alfred Vivien, who was by then a 49-year old teacher, remained the town’s chief magistrate until 1902.

A bust was sculpted in his honor by Millin de Grandmaison in 1910. During the war, in December 1941, the bust was stolen to salvage the bronze.

In June 1949, Octave Maurel, who was the mayor at the time, decided to replace it with a bust made of marble sculpted by Paul Gondard, a sculptor from Marseille.

Alfred Vivien wrote the ‘Monographie de Bandol’, edited in 1872 in Toulon. 




Landmark 02 : Bandstand by Fleury Linossier


The bandstand was built between April and May in 1933 by the Girardi Frères company, who were masonry contractors from Bandol, following the plans drawn up by Fleury Linossier. It was opened on 4th June 1933, for Pentecost, by Octave Maurel with these words, “In our beautiful country where everything sings, the public must be able to listen to good music in imposing and peaceful surroundings.

This is why we decided to erect this building in a setting worthy of the art of music”.
Fleury Linossier was a French watercolour artist, born in Paris in 1902. He went to the School of Fine Art in Toulon, was qualified in architecture and came back to Lyon, where his family was living.

He began to create gardens and parks in this region. He then later moved to Bandol, set up       his own business and quickly gained a strong reputation for the construction of second homes for famous people such as Gregory Peck, Raimu, Maurice Chevalier, and Mistinguett.

He distinguished himself during the Second World War when he was part of the Resistance and played a prominent role in the liberation of the port of Toulon. His career as a painter really began in the 60’s and he received a multitude of awards, gold medals and first prizes.
The specialist press described him as one of the best watercolorists of the era and compared him to Joseph Mallord, William Turner and Jean Baptiste Camille Corot.

He created a huge body of exceptional work right up to his 80s, when he began to go blind and decided to stop painting. He died shortly afterwards, leaving behind his unique body of work which was such a key contribution to his era.
To build the bandstand, Fleury Linossier opted for a particularly unique Greco-Moresque style which combined well with the surrounding palm trees. He placed six twin columns on a circular double base to support a roof comprising three rows of graduated round tiles topped with a gable.

Linossier really left his mark in Bandol, as besides the bandstand, he also created the Octave Maurel educational complex, the primary school of Naron, the supporting wall of the Villa Raimu with its 15-metre arches topped by urns, the Etoile Bandolaise in Rue Didier Daurat, the redesigned gardens and the façade of the Grand Hotel at the town’s entrance.

After the war, he built the Town Hall, the Deferrari Stadium, the Ile Rousse Hotel in Avenue Louis Lumière and numerous villas. 

Bandstand by Fleury Linossier 


Landmark 03 : Beau Rivage Hotel

The whole building was completed at the end of the 19th century and this prestigious hotel opened its doors in 1900.

A lot of famous people stayed here, including Thomas Mann, D.H. Lawrence, Aldous Huxley and Katherine Mansfield, etc.
Kathleen Beauchamp was born the 14th of October 1888 in Wellington in New Zealand and published her first work at 9 years old. From 1903, she wrote under the name of her grandmother Katherine Mansfield.

In October 1915, to escape from the sadness caused by the death of her brother Leslie during the war, she left London, stopped off at Cassis and settled in the Beau Rivage Hotel. From January 1916, she lived in the Villa Pauline (situated in what is now Georges Clemenceau Boulevard) up until April of that year.

During this time, she wrote ‘Prelude’ (first entitled ‘L’Aloès’). This book marked her real of that year. During this time, she wrote ‘Prelude’ (first entitled ‘L’Aloès’). This book marked her real entry into the world of literature – a world in which she would become the master of the short story.

‘The main subjects of Katherine Mansfield date from her stay in Bandol: the feeling for detail (…), the impression of time (…), her fascination with the constant interweaving of beginnings and ends.’
In 1918, affected by pleurisy, she came back to Bandol in the hope of finding recovery there. The 9th of January 1923, she died from tuberculosis at the Gurdjieff Institute in Avon Priory located near Fontainebleau.

David Herbert Lawrence and his wife Frieda also stayed in Beau Rivage, following in the footsteps of their friend Katherine Mansfield, in the winters of 1928/1929 and in 1929/1930. In 1928, he published in Florence ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’.

During the winter 1929/1930, he received Aldous Huxley and his wife Maria, who stayed in a villa on the rocky ‘La Gorguette’ headland. The health of Lawrence declined quickly and in early 1930 he moved to the Ad Astra sanatorium in Vence. He died at his home ‘Robermond’ in Vence on 2nd March.

He was nearly 45 years old.

Down the Beau Rivage Hotel in 1930



Katherine Mansfield

David Herbert Lawrence


Landmark 04 : The Fishermen's Corporation 


‘The Fishermen’s Corporation is a judicial institution for professional fishing created at Antibes, Bandol and Sanary by the Royal Ordinance on 4th April 1792 and signed by Louis XVI.’

The first traces of organized fishing in the Mediterranean come from the archives of the Corporation in Marseille, where letters patent from the King René Comte de Provence are recorded written in 1452 and 1477, and confirmed in 1481 by Louis XI, establishing a professional fishing jurisdiction under the name of ‘Prud'homies’.

300 years later, following the examples of the Corporations of Sète, Marseille and Toulon, the fishermen in Bandol, Antibes and Saint Nazaire (now Sanary) created a petition to request that a fishermen’s corporation be established in their port. This was made into law on 4th April 1792.

Today, the building is still used as a place where fishermen hold their meetings.
For ten years (1970/1980), the Gulf of Bandol Bay was  a very important place for catching sardines using a lampara net.
Clément Bonnegrace, a former fisherman, first member of the Fishermen’s Corporation, Harbourmaster and Town Councilor, was honored by a plaque placed in 2004 in front of the Fishermen’s Corporation. 


"La Madrague ou la Pêche du Thon vue du Golfe de Bandol".

"Madrague or Tuna Fishing, view from Gulf of Bandol".

Painting by Joseph Vernet (1714-1789)

(c) Musée National de la Marine / National Marine Museum.


Landmark 05 : Harbour Development & Pier


In 1752, the town council, headed by mayor Simon Cay, discussed the construction of a pier for the loading and unloading of goods.

The construction of the Grand Pier did not finally start until 1847. Rock blocks were extracted from two quarries on Bendor Island and transported by barge and on a little steam railway built on stilts. Following financial difficulties, work ceased in 1850 and the pier remained a breakwater which ran parallel with the coast.

From 1857 to 1858, under the guidance of Joseph Antoine Cayol, the pier was finally completed and connected to the mainland.
In 1868, the town council, headed by Jean-Baptiste Blanchely, asked for the creation of a lighthouse at the end of the pier and for the pier to be lengthened by an additional 40 meters.
Under the leadership of Alfred Vivien, a major harbour development program was planned for the fishermen. Work was completed in 1885.

During the siege of Toulon in 1793, André Pons de l’Hérault (1772-1853, also called Marat-Lepeletier), a character well-known in the town for having saved 32 inhabitants of Bandol from the guillotine by defending them at the court in Grasse, was named commander of gunners and battalians at Fort La Motte by the General Jean-François Carteaux.

In 1794, he met Bonaparte, General of the Artillery in the south of France. (The bust of Pons de l’Hérault can be seen at the Town Hall).
Three of the fort’s canons were used as an anchorage for the pier. Later, they were restored and one of them was placed at the end of the pier.

It is said that some of the castle’s stones dating from its demolition (see landmark 8) can be found on the pier (western corner of the harbour up to the Ricard jetty). 

 André Pons de l'Hérault :


Anchorage - A canon can be seen in the foreground :


Bandol harbour nowadays :




Landmark 06 : Bendor 


In 1950, Bendor Island was bought by the industrialist Paul Ricard, the creator of the ‘pastis’ (anise-flavoured liqueur) which bears the same name.

He gave it its old name of ‘Bendor’.
Originally, the island was a refuge for pirates and wreckers.

It was then cultivated until the end of the 19th century for the production of flowers (Helichrysum and narcissus) before being abandoned.

In 1950, Ricard began transforming the harbour and building the small village, hotels, museums (including the wine and spirits museum, which opened in 1958).

Ricard, a painter in his spare time and passionate about art, wanted to make the island a meeting place for artists. The island is indeed strewn with statues and works of art. He also developed water-sports activities on Bendor, in particular a sailing school and an international diving centre.

In 1951, he erected the statue of the ‘Madone des pêcheurs’ (Madonna of fishermen).
The statue was blessed by Bishop Gaudel at a great religious festival, during which ‘planes flew over the island, hedge-hopping and making turns on the wing ...’.


                     Paul Ricard

                         (c) Lesilespaulricard



Landmark 07 : André Deferrari Stadium

The ‘La Corniche’ municipal stadium was opened in 1974 by mayor, François Fabre.
It became the André Deferrari Stadium in 1977, named after André Deferrari who died that year at the age of 57.

It was a spontaneous tribute made by the community to man who everyone knew as ‘Dédé’.

Everyone had had dealings with the kind teacher, the irreplaceable coordinator of the ‘Union Sportive Bandolaise’ or U.S.B., the selfless town councillor, and the tireless secretary of so many clubs. He was a simple and kind man, who was always ready to do his bit.
Passionate about football, he is remembered as the heart of the Bandol Sports Union.

With Zavatta, Bandol Sport Union Honorary Président 


Landmark 08 : The Ascent to the Castle


The castle of Antoine Boyer is built in 1610, the same year as the coronation of the Queen Marie de Médicis in the Basilica Saint Denis (on 13th May) and the murder of her husband Henri IV the day after.

After the separation of Bandol and La Cadière in August 1715, the castle became the home of the Boyer de Foresta family and the town’s stronghold, as well as its administrative, judicial and religious centre and headquarters for the management of the newly created village.
The last Lord of Bandol, Ange Hilaire de Boyer left the village to live in Paris. The abandoned castle went to ruin. In 1791, Ange Hilaire began to sell part of his lands and buildings (Act received by Master Hermitte of Saint Nazaire – Sanary).

In 1793, the remains of the castle were destroyed and converted into a battery to defend the village under the command of Pons de l’Hérault (Landmark n°5).

From April 1795, the ruins of the castle were totally destroyed, following an act signed by Paul Barras and Louis Feron. A certain contractor, named Louis Bouffier acquired it by auction. The rocks of the castle were transported by boat to La Cride to build another battery and it is said that some of the rocks form part of the pier (Landmark n°5).

In 1795, Ange Hilaire de Boyer sold the last parts of the castle to Gaudin de la Grange who gave them a month later to Jacques Fortier de Troyes. It was the last act made under seignorial rule.
In 1905, Augustine Tholozan acquired the fort and the terraces belonging to Monsieur Arden. She left her lands to her nephew, Luis Jean Tholozan. He sold the land lying outside the boundaries to several different people - the North West part being sold to Monsieur Cochat in particular. Then in 1923, he sold the fort and land within its boundaries to the estate agent, Auguste Gras who divided it into plots (approved by the act of the 12th of July 1926) and then sold these plots for construction.

During the 50s, the two imposing pillars located at the castle’s entrance, decorated with the ruling family’s coat of arms, were destroyed during private construction work.  A long wall beginning at the path leading to the castle went down on the eastern side of the rocky spur and ended in the sea (significantly where the current ‘Prud'homie’ is located) .

It separated the castle estate from what already was the new village of Bandol! 

Fort & Castle of La Motte - Painting by Joseph Vernet (1714/1789) :
(c) Musée National de la Marine de Paris


Landmark 09 : Castle Place

In 1594, following orders from the Duke of Epernon (Commission of the 10th of May 1594), Antoine Boyer built Bandol fort on 3 hectares on the peninsula of La Motte. It is the only real historic remains in the village.

A tower and two walls are still there, surrounding by villas and gardens. One villa still possesses a twelve-metre deep well in its grounds, which was at the centre of the fort. 

Tower & Wall of the Fort


Landmark 10 : Renècros Beach

There has obviously never been a nearby landowner called Monsieur René Cros.

The name of the beach could have originated either from the contraction of ‘arenas’ and ‘cros’, meaning sandy cove, or, in Provençal, from ‘rena’, meaning grumbling or rumbling, which with ‘cros’ gives ‘rumbling cove’ – an allusion to the sound of the sea, especially during a swell, beating against the walls of the surrounding houses.

The beach as we see it today is the result of development work to retain the sand carried out in 1965 at the instigation of François Fabre. The breakwater was built for this purpose. The part of the beach between the Golf Hotel and the Goélette has always been sandy, the rest was just a thin strip of pebbles and sand that got cut off some years by winter storms.

The Golf Hotel had obtained permission from the municipality for two years to play games – boule, baccarat – and to hold dances. In 1924, the establishment became the Casino Municipal, until the Casino as we know it today opened in 1930.


Renècros Beach in the last century.


Renècros Beach in 2018

(c) Benjamin Marziac


Landmark 11 : Windmill


When the Lord François II de Boyer De Foresta obtained the fief of Bandol in 1715, he decided to build a windmill for the population to use and for the collection of related taxes.

In response to an urgent need for food, the first thing he did was to build an oven where the residents could bake bread. This was followed by the construction of a windmill for the community in the borough of Saint Esprit on the land below the fort and the seigneurial castle on the eastern side of the La Motte rocky spur.



Bandol in 1902 - From the east side of the harbour.
The Shipyard & the Office, the former windwill & the loft.





Landmark 12 : Ile Rousse Hotel 

Its location was originally grazing land used by sheep and goats before becoming the property of Mistinguett, who built himself a home here: the ‘Youp la la’ villa.

Later, Monsieur Bazot established a sports centre here which was a great centre, frequented by young locals and summer visitors. There was volleyball, table tennis, a gym, various games, and even sun loungers for relaxing and sunbathing.

In 1960, the Hotel Île Rousse was built following plans drawn up by Fleury and Claude Linossier. The sculpture on the façade is by Gabriel-Antoine Cotel.


Mistinguett in 1911

(c) Wikipedia


5 * Ile Rousse Hotel in 2018

(c) Hotel Ile Rousse-Thalazur





Landmark 13 : Villa "Lumen" of Louis Lumière

Louis Jean Lumière was born on the 5th of October 1864 in Besançon and died the 6th of June 1948 in Bandol.

The personalities who best promoted Bandol were key players from the world of cinema. Louis Lumière was one such character.

He was the inventor of the cinematography who, in 1895 filmed ‘the arrival of the train in La Ciotat train station’. He was an inventor, industrialist, artist, photographer and researcher…and he chose Bandol to live out the final years of his life. He came first as a visitor as his father lived in La Ciotat, then as a regular staying in Grand Hotel or in a rented house in Montée Voisin.

In September 1936, he bought  ‘Les Ruines’ from M. and Mmme Souchon, a baroque house which he  made ‘civilised’ buy building ‘Lumen, his place of residence and ‘Altra’ a laboratory and a projection room. Some inhabitants remembered ‘his giant stature, his stooped back, his white hair, and his bushy eyebrows’. (R. Culioli).

He was an honorary citizen and an honorary president of the tourist office in Bandol.
In 1937, Aris Taviatian became friends with Louis Lumière. Aris was 28 and Louis 74.

In 1938, they decided to create the first booklet about Bandol for the tourist office.   





Louis Lumière in his laboratory


Louis Lumière facing Bandol Bay 




Landmark 14 : Villa "La Tartane"

Henri-Edouard Lombard (1855- 1929), a sculptor, created the War Memorial situated on Alfred Vivien Alleys (Landmark 27).

Henri, Elise his wife, and Annie their daughter, lived for years in the villa ‘La Tartane’, on Victor Hugo Boulevard.

Henri-Edouard Lombard was born in Marseille, went to the French National Art School with his older brother Frédéric, who was attracted to architecture. He was a student of the sculptor Antoine Bontoux.

After receiving a scholarship, he went to Paris to work in the studio of Pierre-Jules Cavelier. From 1878, he participated in the French Society of Artists Salon. His statue ‘Saint Cécile’ won a silver medal in 1880. Henri-Edouard Lombard won the second prize in Rome in 1882 and the first prize in 1883 with his bas-relief “The death of Diagoras of Rhodes.

He stayed in Rome from 1884 to 1887 as a boarder in the Villa Médicis. His official career began and he received orders from the State, such as the statue of “Pierre Puget”, but he also created decorative pieces for individuals.

He was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1894.

In 1900, he won the golden medal at the Universal Exhibition and he was appointed as a sculpture teacher at the French National Art School – a post he occupied until his death in 1929.

He is buried in the cemetery in Bandol.

‘La Tartane’ is today the studio of the architect Rudy Ricciotti (born 22nd of August 1952 in Kouba, Algeria), who won the National Prize for Architecture (2006), and is a Member of the Technology Academy (2014).

He was selected in 2002 to design the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MUCEM) in Marseille.

‘La Tartane’ is a typical Mediterranean sailing boat. It comes from the Arabic word “tabidah”, meaning ship.

Used for transporting goods, this type of boat ceased to be used at the beginning of the 20th century.


Villa " La Tartane " nowadays

(c) idc


Villa Médicis guests in 1885.

Henri Lombard stands in the middle, on the stairs handrail, holding a stick.
Claude Debussy lies next to him, wearing a light green jacket.



Landmark 15 : Villa "La Pinède"


This villa, now converted into a residence, was occupied by Georges Bernanos and his family in December 1945. He stayed here for nine months.

Georges Bernanos was a French writer, who was born on 20 February 1888 in the 9th arrondissement of Paris and died on 5 July 1948 in Neuilly-sur-Seine at the age of 60.
He is best known for ‘Under Satan’s Sun’ (1926), ‘The Diary of a Country Priest’ (1936), ‘The Great Cemeteries Under the Moon’ (1938) and ‘Dialogues of the Carmelites’, published posthumously in 1948.

In the 1930s, he spent time first in Mallorca then in the South of France at Toulon then Hyères. After a long exile in Brazil from 1938 to 1945, he returned to France with his family. The Bernanos family settled at Briasq, near Sisteron, then in Bandol at the villa ‘La Pinède’ where Georges did most of his writing at the Café de la Marine, looking out over the sea. He left Bandol in September 1946 and moved to Thoisy in the Loir et Cher.

One of Bernanos’s neighbours at ‘La Pinède’ was the French actor Raimu. Bernanos, who greatly admired him, often visited him.

The two men, who shared a similar character, hit it off well. 






Georges Bernanos vers 1940

(c) Wikipedia





Landmark 16 : Villa "La Ker Mocotte"

The villa was bought in 1933 by Jules Auguste Muraire also known as RAIMU, who was born in 1883 in Toulon and who died in 1946 in Neuilly sur Seine. This house, built from a combination of stone and wood, and where walls and trees meet, was christened ‘Ker Mocotte’ by him in reference to the Breton origins of his wife,Esther.

‘Ker’ in Breton means hamlet or house and ‘les mocos’ is a nickname given to people from the South. ‘La Ker Mocotte’ thus became the house of the Mocos.

Raimu became a famous actor thanks to Sacha Guitry in the 30s and thanks to Marcel Pagnol in the early 40s. He invited his friends Henri Poupon, Charles Blavette, Edouard Delmont and Henri Vilbert to Bandol. Pagnol visited him and he became friends with Fernandel. The inhabitants of Bandol admired these actors who lived and talked like them and who brought celebrity to the town.

In 1944, a big pine tree fell on the Ker Mocotte. Great walls were built to protect the house and Raimu sold his fortress.

It became a hotel and now it is a private property which has been entirely restructured. 


Raimu standing in his garden. 




Landmark 17 : The School

The school was set up in buildings that had been built in the early 20th century to house the new boarding school of Alfred Vivien (see landmarks 1 and 18) located at No. 1 Rue des écoles which had become too small and antiquated.

The first buildings date from the municipality of Lucien Bagarry and were built from 1906 to 1908.

The school was inaugurated on 8th October 1908 in the presence of President of the Council, Georges Clemenceau. The event featured in the local and national press. To give an idea of what this reception was like, a banquet for 515 people was served at the Rue des écoles.
From 1912, the state of affairs at the school began to deteriorate. The financial situation was catastrophic and the building’s foundations, which were inadequate for the nature of the land, required urgent work. Moreover, during World War I, the boys’ school was requisitioned and transformed into a military hospital.

Galitzine, a wealthy prince of Russian origin, is remembered as a generous benefactor of the commune of Bandol: he improved the lot of the wounded and sick at the hospital by paying for central heating to be installed in the requisitioned school, as well as for the supply of hot water to all rooms and the complete installation of an operating room and a treatment room.
After the war, Bandol’s financial difficulties and the scale of work required forced the municipality to close the school in 1925.

In 1935, the mayor, Octave Maurel, who had studied at the Alfred Vivien boarding school, decided to refurbish the state school. The plans were drawn up by the architect Fleury Linossier.

On 24 June 1972, the school became the ‘Groupe Octave Maurel’ (the latter having died in 1968).




Landmark 18 : Héro and Léandre Lucien Grillon Place 

This sculpture in marble created by Paul Gasq, representing Héro and Léandre, was first situated at the corner of Pierre Toesca Street and Tonneliers street. Then it was transferred to Canet Park and finally it was installed on Lucien Grillon Place.

Paul Jean Baptiste Gasq (Dijon 1860 – Paris 1944) went to the School of Fine Art in Bordeaux and then to the French National Fine Art School in Paris in 1879. He won the first prize in Rome in 1890 and was a boarder in Villa Médicis in Rome from 1891 to 1894. He also won a prize at the Universal Exhibition in 1900. He was Member of the French National Art Academy from 1935 and curator of Dijon Museum until his death.

The story of Héro and Léandre comes from Greek mythology. Héro, priestess of Aphrodite in Sestos, lit a lamp every night at the top of a tower to guide her lover, Léandre who was swimming to meet her. One night, a storm blew out the lamp and Léandre drowned. Full of sadness, Héro jumped from the top of the tower after having found the body of Léandre on the shore.

The building formerly on this site was a school for girls. After more than 11 years of formalities initiated in 1872 by Mayor Rouden, Alfred Vivien, on May 1, 1884, informed the town council that the final regulations for the construction of the school in question had been approved by the Prefect. In October 1935, under the municipality of Octave Maurel, the school for girls was transferred to the school complex. From the war occupation to 1954, the building became the temporary town hall (landmark n°25).

It is today an Administrative Centre (logistic and cultural services for the town).

This place is dedicated to Lucien Grillon (1903-1997), teacher, director of Supplementary Studies the former general school and the primary school for boys until his retirement in 1962. He was town councilor during several mandates.

At the age of 74, he was elected deputy mayor to Christian Goux. In love with Bandol, he wrote several books on the history of the town. 


Héro & Léandre, Lucien Grillon Place



Paul Gasq (1860-1944) 


Landmark 19 : Ravaisou Gallery

Joseph Ravaisou was born on 11 November 1865 in Bandol, where he took classes in drawing and music. He became a teacher in 1882. He was 17 years old.

In 1900, he met Cézanne on a visit to the Paris Exposition, which was devoted to Impressionist and Pointillist painters. He became friends with Cézanne, with whom he painted at the ‘Château noir’ near Le Tholonet.

Ravaisou was mainly a landscape artist, painting autumnal scenes of Provence and especially the Pays d'Aix.

He died on 22 December 1925 in Aix-en-Provence. His works can be seen at the Granet Museum in Aix-en-Provence and in Marseille, Martigues and Paris.


Joseph Ravaisou (c)


" Bastidon in Escracho Pevous, at the foot of Sainte-Victoire Mountain " (c)




Landmark 20 : Tholosan House

In the mid-19th century, this large building was divided into two wine cellars: a large one belonging to Henri Bergasse and a small one belonging to Joseph Cachard. Both men were wine merchants.

In 1860, Bergasse decided to negotiate with Isidore Brun, a ‘grand maître’ cooper. Brun, Bergasse and Cachard monopolized Bandol’s wine market.

This fine story ended in 1875 with the arrival of phylloxera, which decimated the 350 hectares of vines on the Bandol terroir.

In 1911, Isidore Brun sold the small cellar to Marie Augustine Tholosan, and in 1923, her son, Dr Louis-Marie Brun, sold the large one to Jean, Marie Augustine’s brother. The Tholosans were specialists in floristry and transformed the cellars into a big flower business.

One of the main flowers cultivated in Bandol is narcissus. Helichrysum, meanwhile, were used for making funeral wreaths or for dyed and dried flower arrangements. In 1953, the flower business went into bankruptcy.

In 1979, the Mairie de Bandol (town hall) bought the Maison Tholosan. It was immediately adopted as the ‘community centre’ before being converted into a Cultural Centre in 1981.

In 2017, it returned to its earlier vocation by becoming the ‘Maison des Associations’.


" Maison Tholosan " / Tholosan House , rue Gabriel Péri.




Landmark 21 : Saint-François de Sales Parish Church

The church ‘in its architectural form’ was listed as a historical monument on 23rd August 1990.
On 25th of March 1746, the community of Bandol took the initiative of building, at its own expense, a chapel in the commune.

Works began in 1746 and ended in 1748 because of a lack of money. Joseph Suquet, a young builder, was in charge of the works. The main part of the church was completed and comprised a building measuring 34 meters long, 9 meters wide and 12 meters high, the dome reached 16 meters high. The church, after having been blessed on the 18th October 1748 by His Grace Henri de Belsunce, was erected under the name and title of Saint François de Sales by ordinance of the 5th of June 1751.

The central nave soon became too small for the activities of the church. Spurred on by two fraternities, two side chapels were added. On the 27th of December 1771, the Saint Elme fraternity of fishermen obtained the authorization to build a chapel next to the central nave and to open an arch to link them. In May 1772, the priest Gardon selected the site on which to build and Joseph Suquet was in charge of the works.

The chapel was completed in 1773 and this date is engraved in the stone over the entrance. In 1776, the priest Gardon wanted to build another chapel for the Saint Vincent de Paul fraternity for wine-growers and coopers .Joseph Suquet began the construction in 1782 and completed it in 1783. During the revolution, the chapel was used for patriotic meetings.

It was sold as national property in 1798 as it wasn’t linked to the central nave of the church. It served as a sheepfold and it was reintegrated once again into the church in 1818. The bell-tower was completed on 11th March 1824, with a bronze bell for the clock which could be heard from far away. Two new bells were added on 4th October 1868.

 The parish possesses works of art including:

Notre Dame de Grace, a statue dating from the 17th century and sculpted from the single trunk of an olive tree in the studio of Pierre Puget
The Christ in solid oak dating from the 16th century, the dome painted by Siro Orsi, an artist from the Scala in Milan, a copy of the painting ‘Notre Dame de Lorette’ by Caravaggio.
An altarpiece, a copy of a painting by Caravaggio: Pilgrim’s Madonna.
The church is situated in the centre of the village and overlooks the market place, a public area where a fountain was built in the 19th century. It is an important site for commerce in the village.

Other religious monuments can be seen in the city:
1- The Chèche Well, situated in the gardens of the Isles de Bandol (590 avenue Albert I). During the Terror, the Virgin Notre Dame de Grâce was hidden by an inhabitant called Piche under the vines and a spring gushed out.

After the separation of the church from the state, this statue was again hidden in the same spot. It left a footprint next to the villa ‘La Lola’, which doesn’t exist anymore (it was located east of Eden Roc beach, on Albert I Boulevard). Road repairs in 1930 erased the footprint.

2- The statue of Notre Dame des Pêcheurs on the island of Bendor, inaugurated on 15th of July 1951, is the subject of an evening pilgrimage on 15 August each year. 


The former Church Place 


The Parish nowadays


Choir Dome


Central nave of the Church


Landmark 22 : Isidore Brun Place

This place used to be the public threshing ground for wheat. Vines, wine and cooperage are all elements that contributed to Bandol’s prosperity, but wheat was essential to the life of the community.

The wheat was harvested at the height of summer, using sickles or scythes. Everyone would gather on this public ground, where the sheaves of wheat were unloaded.

The Place de l'Aire subsequently became the Place ‘Isidore Brun’, Maître Tonnelier; the municipality wanted to honour the man who had donated the site to the commune.

After the decline of the vines, farmers turned their hand to cultivating flowers, in particular Helichrysum (‘immortelle’ or ‘everlasting flowers’, hence the name of the street), a flower that adapts to the aridity of the hills.

This led to the creation of a craft business, producing funeral wreaths; workers would sit in front of their houses (especially on the Place de l’Aire) dexterously attaching the flowers: they would take them one by one from their mouths and bind them in place, all the while chatting to their neighbours.

The fountain in this square is recent. The Oratory houses a small statue of Saint Joseph, a saint commonly venerated in Provence.

The rounded building at 12 bis rue Voltaire is a remnant of the dovecote belonging to the Lord of Boyer.

Isidore Brun Place Fountain (c) motsdusud/ 


Landmark 23 : The Monastery

The former girls' school, opened in 1862, was run by the ‘Dames du Bon-Pasteur’ (Ladies of the Good Shepherd) at 6 Rue de l'immortelle (in the house known as the Monastery – the courtyard occupied the site of the old public place used for threshing wheat in seigniorial times, now the Place Isidore Brun).

In 1884, when the building project was approved by the prefect, the girls' school was built at the end of the Rue des Ecoles (it is the building that used to be called ‘ancienne mairie’ – old town hall – and that has now become the media library).




Landmark 24 : The Covered Well

This well is located at the corner of the Rue des Jardins (once the site of the Lord of Boyer’s gardens) and the Traverse Aristide Briand (formerly Traverse du puits).

It dates back to 1776. The land register of the Rue du Dr  Marçon (formerly Rue de la Bourgade) from the Rue Voltaire (the first part of which was formerly the Rue du puits du Noyer) indicates that the Lord of Boyer used to own the tithe house (now ‘Le Scotch’ restaurant), a cellar, an inn, a communal oven, stables and the dovecote.

It was probably in this inn on the Rue de la Bourgade that Bonaparte met Pons de l'Hérault in March 1794. Three months after the fall of Toulon, Bonaparte, who had recently been appointed general of the artillery of the South and was visiting Bandol on a tour of inspection, was invited by Pons to eat bouillabaisse.

It was clearly a memorable bouillabaisse, as the Emperor spoke of it again during his stay on the island of Elba, as Pons relates in ‘Souvenirs et anecdotes de l’ile d’Elbe’.




Landmark 25 : The City hall


The first meeting of the Town Council took place in a building belonging to Lord François II  de Boyer de Foresta. This house was on the site of the present-day town hall. It served as both the town hall (whose premises were on the ground floor) and the presbytery (upstairs). The latter was abolished in 1924. The present-day town hall was built in 1954 on the original site to plans drawn up by Fleury Linossier.

The Bistro du Port was once a bar called ‘Le Suzy’. It was frequented by Marcel Pagnol and his friends, including Raimu, Poupon, Blavette, Maupi and Monti. Suzy and her husband Ernest Monti knew how to welcome well-to-do, fashionable customers. At Suzy’s bar, the clientele would sit around tables on the terrace having a drink during the day and dance in the evening. Tourists would join visitors from Toulon and Marseille who came to have fun in Bandol, where there was also dancing at ‘Poupoune’ and at ‘Le Pot d'Arrivée’ at the Casino Municipal.


 The City Hall nowadays



Le Bistro du Port:

This was a bar called Suzy, frequented by Marcel Pagnol and his friends, Raimu, Henri Poupon, Charles Blavette, Monty…





Suzy and her husband knew how to welcome well-to-do, fashionable customers.

Tourists were joined by the inhabitants of Toulon and Marseille, who came to enjoy themselves in Bandol by dancing at Poupoune at Le Pot d'Arrivée at the Casino Municipal




Landmark 26 : The "La Salière" Fountain

The fountain is composed of two marble basins separated by a sharp pillar and looks like a salt box, hence its name.

In 1895, the mayor, Alfred Vivien, in answer to a request by the citizens, decided together with the town council to provide a water source in addition to that in the public square.

The fountain was placed on ‘La Consigne’ quay. In 1903, the ‘La Salière’ fountain was moved on the western tip of the old castle road, now known as Victor Hugo Boulevard.



The " La Salière" Fountain in 1903.


Landmark 27 : War Memorial

The committee for the erection of the war memorial was created on 16th January 1919. The president was Nicolas Sergeïevitch Galitzine.

He was a very rich prince of Russian origin and a benefactor for the town, who settled in Bandol with his family (Landmark n°17).

The sculptor Henri Lombard chose an inhabitant as a model (Marguerite Olive); he transformed her into a winged and helmeted figure of Victory holding to her breast a stele on which the names of the 64 soldiers who gave their lives during the First World War are engraved.

The memorial was inaugurated on 4th September 1921 by Maurice Charles, the mayor, who gave a magnificent speech in honour of the soldiers from Bandol to mark the occasion.  


War Memorial, Xavier Suquet Place.


Landmark 28 : The Train Station

The lands required for the creation of the Aubagne–Toulon section of the railway line were the subject of a compulsory purchase order on 14 May 1856. The construction of the viaduct crossing the Rèpe and linking Bandol to Sanary took place in 1857. The viaduct is 180 m (590 ft) long and 27 m (89 ft) high and is composed of nine colossal arches.

For two years from 1857, the harbour was a hive of activity due to the construction of the railway and the viaduct: every day, tons of rails, oak timber and bricks were unloaded at the docks. Thus the harbour took part in the construction of the railway that would become its competitor and would eventually replace it.

The Bandol railway station was completed in 1858. On 3 May 1859, the Compagnie PLM line (Compagnie des Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée) was opened for operation.

The trains would bring wealthy clientele to spend winters or summers here and took Bandol into a new era of industrialisation and tourism.


Bandol Train Station in 1903 (c) Wikipedia.



Landmark 29 : The Municipal Casino


The history of the casino began in July 1923, after Bandol was classed as a health resort. Property boomed and led, in 1927, to the creation of the ‘Société du Casino Municipal de Bandol’.
The Casino Municipal de Bandol opened in July 1930.

Besides the games – boule, roulette, baccarat – the Casino Municipal was equipped with a large dance hall, and a cinema where the best films were screened. The cinema was transformed into a theatre or performance space for the end-of-year festivities of all the classes of the Octave Maurel school.

Bandol’s ‘Comité des fêtes’ organised all its events here (elections of Bandol beauty queens, USB galas, etc.). The ‘Pot d’Arrivée’ was created on its west façade: the cabaret was known for its fun atmosphere and the top Parisian bands it hosted.

The Municipal Casino in 1930 (c)


Landmark 30 : The Aqualung

The department of Var is the historic birthplace of scuba diving. In June 1943, during the occupation, scuba diving with an aqualung was born in Bandol. The town became the main place to discover the underwater world.

Indeed, as it is written on the first pages of the book of Jacques Yves Cousteau and Frédéric Dumas, in collaboration with Philippe Taillez, entitled ‘The Silent World’, the new aqualung developed in Paris by Emile Gagnan, had just arrived at the station in Bandol.

The three men, who would become the Mousquemers (musketeers of the sea), were living in Villa Barry beside the sea in the western part of the town and chose this place to try out the aqualung.

The results surpassed all their expectations.
On the 26th October 1987, a bronze plaque (based on a model by the sculptor diver Pierre Blanchard) was inaugurated by the mayor Doctor Xavier Suquet on Barry Beach.
This why so many visitors come to Bandol to discover the place where the pioneers of the aqualung lived, who, as Commander Philippe Tailliez pointed out :

"have opened for you and future generations the doors of a new world for centuries and centuries to come".



 " Thes Mousquemers "  by the end of 1947


Villa Barry (now called Clairefont Residence).


Commemorative Plaque unveiled in 1997, Barry Beach.


This "Historical Tour" was produced on the initiative of :

Max Moutte - Historian of the Cultural, Religious and Historical Heritage, biographer of local and corporate figures from the Commune of Bandol,
And with the participation of Monique Rebuffat, Rose-Marie Grillon and Jean-Marie Schneider